Published in: Global-

Makoko floating school by NLE Architects

Understanding the need for transformation in African cities

Collaboration and long-term planning are necessary parts of strategies for adaptation to climate change and transformation of cities in Africa. That is the core message from Mistra Urban Futures, the Swedish research centre for sustainable urban development, that today publishes a policy brief based on the outcome of an international workshop and expert consultations.

”An urban-focused strategy is essential”, writes professor David Simon. ”African cities account for a rapidly increasing proportion of greenhouse gas emissions”.

The recommendations include an emphasis on the governance structures. Change and initiatives are often inhibited due to lack of over-arching structures, not least in metropolitan areas consisting of many smaller municipalities. Climate change challenges cross all borders.

It is necessary to adapt a long-term perspective, beyond election cycles and donor funding schemes. Building political consensus and ensuring that there are people trained to take over if and when the ”champions” move on to other tasks, thus distributing knowledge and keeping institutional memory. 

To ’make a difference’, the authors note, diversity is essential and including also surprisingly low-tech and cost effective. One such case is the ’floating school’ designed by an architecture company for use in the water city of Makoko, Lagos, but with a wide potential for use in flood-prone areas.

For further information, please contact professor David Simon, Mistra Urban Futures. 


  • Understanding climate adaptation and transformation challenges in African cities
  • Comprendre les enjeux d'adaptation et de transformation des villes africaines face aux changements climatiques
  • Compreender os desafios das adaptações climáticas e das transformações nas cidades africanas