The Nigerian capital of Lagos is considered to be the most lawless city on the face of the earth. It is one of the largest and is wracked by crushing poverty; electricity, water and sewage fail constantly. Traffic is grid-locked for up to 14 hours a day. Somehow, Lagos gets on with life and thrives.
For the past four years, Harvard Professor Rem Koolhaas'winner of architecture's Nobel, the Pritzker Architecture Prize'has come to Lagos to research the type of urban environment that is produced by explosive population growth in megacities. The Harvard project on the city is framed by two concepts: bewilderment with new forms of accelerated urbanisation in developing regions and the failure of the design professions to adequately cope with these changes.
This is a compelling study of organisation that has magically risen from total chaos. Merchants, for example, make excellent use of the traffic problems: commuters are able to buy everything from groceries and drugs to a new DVD player while sitting in their car, stuck on a freeway. For Koolhaas, Lagos is a case study of a city at the forefront of global modernity: 'Lagos is not catching up with us. Rather, we may be catching up with Lagos.'
D/S Bregtje Van Der Haak P Pieter Van Huystee WS NPB Sales L English, Dutch w/English subtitles TD Video/Col/2002/55mins
Bregtje Van Der Haak's films: Lagos/Koolhaas (MIFF 2004).