Floating school in the lower left. Photograph by Iwan Baan

This is a floating school in Lagos, Nigeria, and it’s become an icon of Africa’s rapidly developing economy.

Let’s back up. Stats from The World Bank show that in the past 75 years the global population has seen some enormous changes for the better. Life expectancy has almost tripled, median income has vastly improved and for developed and emerging economies, population growth is slowing down.

The world’s population will grow to 9 billion over the next 50 years, and in Africa, this growth will be the most pronounced. The population of African cities is expected to triple, from around 400 million today to 1.2 billion by 2050.

Lagos is a prime example of this growth. Already home to 17.5 million people, the city is expected to double in size by 2050. This slum pictured above — nicknamed the ‘Venice of Lagos’ — is a thriving community of over 100,000 residents who live out the entirety of their lives on the water. However, a lack of regular power supply, waste disposal, basic schooling and multiple health risks are constant threats this slum must face.

Seeking to solve one of these pressing needs, architect Kunle Adeyemi, with support from the United Nations and Heinrich Boll Foundation, built a low-cost school in the village. With the capacity to serve 100 school children, the floating school has since become an icon of urbanization in one of the world’s fastest growing megacities.

Don’t Panic — The Facts About Population
Concept image from NLE, featured in “Uneven Growth,” MoMA, New York
Construction of the Makoko Floating School in Lagos.
256 recycled barrels keeping this afloat

Article by: Nicholas Graham Platt

Posted on: Cultural Facts of the Day