Sub-Saharan Africa » Nigeria » Abuja

MetroAbuja: From Urban to Metropolitan, a scale leap
  Metro Matrix Metropolitan Abuja Mental Map Urban
  Abuja is 30 years old. A new Federal Capital located strategically in the center of Nigeria. Planned 30 years ago as an urban structure with a typical ‘two wing’ shape south and east from the central Institutional and Business district, has benefited from huge federal investments to make it possible: a formal Plan for an informal society. Reality has departed in a certain extent from what was planned. The question lately is what to do next. Come back to the Plan or go ahead to incorporate new circumstances?

One of those circumstances is the metropolitan structure of Abuja, beyond the urban one. The control of land supply has produced a speculation spiral from those lucky enough to benefit from concessions. Like in Brasilia prices of land and housing have expelled most of the low-income population beyond the Federal Capital limits. The States of Niger and Nasarawa, the towns of Suleja, Madalla, Kura or Keffi had suffered from a settlement of population that did not came paralleled with the required public budgets and investments. Masses of workers in sub-standard urban settlements flow the capital every morning (500.000 car inflow) without the inexistent public transport. The issues and problems of Abuja are beyond the urban scope of the original master Plan boundaries. They are now of Metropolitan nature and have to be addressed as well at this scale.

Metropolitan Abuja follows higher scale topo-geographic patterns. The east-west flow of continental Africa determines both the east-west flow of Nigeria ecosystems and the east-west structure of Metro-Abuja. Metro Abuja goes from Minna to Lafia in a very clear linear structure. Intermediate locations grown (and to be grown) out of the metropolitan overspill of Abuja have to be served by a mass public transport (rail) to provide a basic skeleton to the metropolis. The perpendicular directionality to Kaduna in the north and Lokoja in the south at the junction of the Niger, provide the matrix pattern to integrate towns like Nasarawa, Kuje, Tafa, Bwari among others. Metro-Matrix provides the structure for Metro-Abuja.