Eko Atlantic City: the satellite city re-emerged from the water

The floating megalopolis currently under construction in Lagos, Nigeria, is rising on land reclaimed and reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean

Eko Atlantic City: the floating megacity under construction in Lagos, Nigeria, is rising on land reclaimed and reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean
Eko Atlantic City in 2018: the megalopolis under construction in Lagos on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean will be an important urban landmark in the coming decades (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

A Lagos, in Nigeria, coastal erosion has been a considerable problem for some time. Due to tides, climate change and sediment characteristics, it is estimated that the country loses around 30 meters of shore every year.

To address this progressive lack of space, in 2013 the private client South Energyx Nigeria started the development project of Echo Atlantic City. With a total of 10 districts, in the exclusive Victoria Island area, the satellite city promises to be the next generation of real estate on the African continent.

So inclusive in trying to halt the loss of beach width, “the Dubai of Lagos” it is equally divisive on planning policies. In fact, there is no shortage of ethical-economic debates between the local low-income population and government planners. The project, also known by its initials “EAC”, therefore opens the doors to the first African Smart City. But also to a much older history of exclusion of residents.

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Echo Atlantic City
Eko Atlantic City in 2018: the megacity under construction in Lagos on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

Lagos: origins and causes of coastal erosion

The project was approved, and above all promoted, also on an environmental level, as a barrier to stop the erosion of the coasts of Lagos. As mentioned, the main objective that the international trade city of Nigeria has set itself is precisely to recover lost land.

But how does the battle against the advancement of the ocean? Climate change, rising sea levels and increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena have exacerbated the vulnerability of the coastal region.

Despite the contribution, over the years, of enormous quantities of material, beach bar it has in fact continued to erode. Lack of monitoring and maintenance, on the other hand, has helped the ocean gain further ground. The aforementioned popular beach in Lagos, known for once being the place where coup plotters were executed, has been lost.

The water swallowed more and more lands and residents. Property and business owners in the area have struggled in vain against the incessant flooding. The entrepreneurs, who used tourist visits as a service hub, remained on the sidelines.

A case neither distant nor dissimilar, is located along the Atlantic coast of Benin. Here, the government has built 13 macro-structures along beaches, particularly east of Cotonou, in an effort to slow ocean erosion.

"We are now tackling the problem segment by segment, according to the investment and attack plan drawn up by the government. Those still vulnerable are being studied and will be addressed in due course”, he said Esquill Outiclissou, director of the Government's General Directorate for Environment and Climate.

Coastal erosion, on the other hand, impacts all of West Africa. Exactly like in many other countries in the world. For all these reasons, in 2003 the idea of ​​creating a modern city on the Atlantic coast was first discussed. And this is how Eko Atlantic City was born.

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Lagos
Lagos, Nigeria, way back in 2005: the erosion of the African coast of Bar Beach is particularly evident (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

The unstoppable evolution of the Nigerian project

Let's do temporal order. It was talked about for the first time in 2003, in 2008 construction of the new city officially begins. The following year, during the dredging of the site, approximately 3.000.000 cubic meters of space were filled with sand and placed in the reclamation area. At the same time, approximately 35.000 tonnes of rock were delivered to the site.

2009 is also the year the project received global attention. Notably, when the Lagos State Government and private sector partners in the project, South Energyx, received the Certificate of Commitment from Clinton Global Initiative.

It is a foundation, established by former US president Bill Clinton, which brings together world leaders, Nobel Prize winners, CEOs, non-profit organizations and philanthropists. At the center of the debate, the great challenges globally.

In 2013, Eko Atlantic City was then officially commissioned by the former governor of Lagos, Akinwumni Ambode. The megacity plans to meet the needs of huge financial, commercial, residential and tourism facilities. The fully independent Smart City is a sort of new Atlantis. For better or for worse this omen.

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Echo Atlantic City
Eko Atlantic City in 2009: approximately 3.000.000 cubic meters of space were filled with sand and placed in the reclamation area to support the city (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

Aims and objectives of the African Smart City

Lagos State launched the Eko Atlantic City project to recover approx 10 millions of square meters of land from the sea. It is essentially 10 square kilometers of sand dredged from the ocean. The environmental impact study attached to the project states this: "It is a more comprehensive and permanent solution to address the persistent erosion problem, which is likely to be exacerbated by climate change and increased storms".

The new 21st century skyline is in fact protected by a coastal covering, designed by Royal Haskoning. Colloquially known as the “Great Wall of Lagos”, it is one barrier 8,5 km long, built mainly in rock and covered with concrete armor. The long-term solution to erosion carries with it the intent to protect the future free zone of Nigeria. In addition to restoring the lost territory, the city therefore proposes itself as new business district for West Africa.

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Echo Atlantic City
Eko Atlantic City in 2017: the swimming pools of the megalopolis under construction in Lagos on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

Eko Atlantic City: A Geographic Overview

The image of the former Bar Beach in Lagos has evolved into Africa's first Smart City. According to daily sun, Eko Atlantic City was designed to be “a completely new coastal city built on Victoria Island, adjacent to Lagos".

Once completed, Eko Atlantic City”It will be built on 10 million square meters of land reclaimed from the ocean and protected by a sea wall. Self-sufficient and sustainable, it includes cutting-edge urban design, its own energy, clean water, advanced telecommunications, spacious streets and 110.000 trees".

The Smart City, once completed, will be able to accommodate approximately 300 thousand residents. To which will also be added 250 thousand commuters. Upon completion of the works, it will have 3.000 buildings and 400.000 homes for residential, commercial, financial and tourism purposes. The area will be composed in total of ten districts.

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Echo Atlantic City
Eko Atlantic City in 2018: An aerial view shows a series of completed streets, roundabouts and even a section of the Lagos Great Wall (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

The Smart City: there is a visual preview

The cost of land, sold per square meter, depends on its size and location. Suffice it to say that apartments range between 1.800 and 3.000 dollars per square metre. In 2023 the famous Nigerian Afrobeats superstar, David Adeleke, aka Davido, revealed that he is building a villa for himself and his wife. Where? Right in the exclusive city of Eko Atlantic.

There is no maximum limit to the amount of land that can be purchased. Each plot can be used for a residential or commercial development or a mix of both, as the area is designed to be a mixed-use city.

Visually, it will be a hub of skyscrapers, fountains, large avenues and vertical forests. As well as a nervous crossroads of money and politics. In fact Eko Atlantic will be able to produce a billion the year of GDP for Nigeria, the twenty-sixth economy in the world. “EAC”, although still in development, is already well imprinted in the collective imagination as a Smart City.

A small anecdote has it that, in 2015, Nnedu Okorafor he set his novel “Lagoon” in a near and alternative future, right on Bar Beach. In the book, the beach is presented as a thriving entertainment district, as well as the site of the first contact between humans and extraterrestrials.

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Eko Blvd
Eko Atlantic City: in the heart of the new city near Lagos, Nigeria, Eko Boulevard will be built, an avenue 2 kilometers long and 60 meters wide (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)

Eko Atlantic City: controversies and controversies

The project was born with a positive environmental impact, intent on stop erosion of the coast of Lagos State. There are evaluations, however, that reach opposite conclusions. Considerations that see the cause of the latest storms precisely in the skeletons of the buildings under construction.

Quartz Africa, in a 2017 article, notifies how the environmental impact could produce the opposite effect for residents. What does it mean? That, after the reclamation of the coast, the poor neighborhoods are at water level, without anything protecting them from the tides.

Indeed, according to what has been highlighted, the wall of Eko Atlantic City could direct the storm surges towards them. Furthermore, the city's development has been harshly criticized by local residents for another reason.

The development of the area leveraged the removal of 80.000 Guests who lived along Victoria Island and in the Bar Beach area. The creation of Eko Atlantic, and its eviction of the local population, therefore reflects the long exclusionary planning that has shaped Lagos's urban development generally.

In fact, opponents of the Government criticize how the local population was not involved in the planning and execution of the project. Those evicted from the community on the opposite side of the Lagos lagoon, a Tarkwa Bay.

The irresistible rise of Eko Atlantic City opens the door to reflections on a avant-garde urban project. But also on elite tourism, on the reclamation of the territory, on the new footprint of sustainability, on the technological-digital redevelopment. And on the country's tangle of economic interests. Social disparities included.

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Eko Atlantic City will be the first African smart city in Nigeria (the presentation)

Eko Atlantic City in Nigeria will be the first African smart city (works in 2023)

Eko Atlantic City in Nigeria will be the first African smart city (works in 2022)

Eko Atlantic City in Nigeria will be the first African smart city (works in 2021)

Eko Atlantic City in Nigeria will be the first African smart city (works in 2020)

Eko Atlantic City: the floating megacity under construction in Lagos, Nigeria, is rising on land reclaimed and reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean
Eko Atlantic City in 2018: for the megalopolis under construction in Lagos on land recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, work is also done at night (Photo: ekoatlantic.com)