Going green with ‘smart cities’
Smart or Business Cities are a common feature in most developed climes. Its goal is to improve quality of life by using urban informatics and technology to boost efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs. ChannelDrill, an indigenous firm, is set to deliver such a city through reclamation and dredging of the Lagos lagoon. MUYIWA LUCAS reports that when completed in 2021, the multiplier effect will not only grow the economy astronomically, but also ensure that the city conforms to the clamour for environmental development.
Cities, according to Town Planners and other players in the built environment, are engines of growth. This is why experts and other stakeholders in the industry are clamouring for more investment in real estate. For them, this is a viable option to drive the economy out of recession. This is because of its potential to attract new entrepreneurs, promote job creation and make artisans and masons huge contributors to the economy. A smart city is one equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. It is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets.
Part of the features include but not limited to assured water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens. Others are public information, grievance redressal, electronic service delivery, citizens’ engagement, waste to energy and fuel, waste to compost, 100 per cent treatment of waste water, smart meters and management, monitoring water quality, renewable source of energy, efficient energy and green building, smart parking, intelligent traffic management system.Through the use of ICT, officials running the city to interact directly with the community and the city infrastructure and to monitor what is happening in the city, how the city is evolving, and how to enable a better quality of life. For instance, through the use of sensors integrated with real-time monitoring systems, data are collected from citizens and devices – then processed and analysed.
Smart cities are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. Therefore, a smart city is usually more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple relationship with its citizens. Major technological, economic and environmental changes have generated interest in smart cities, including climate change, economic restructuring, the move to online retail and entertainment, ageing populations, urban population growth and pressures on public finances. In China, ZTE Corporation have more than 150 cities with Smart Solutions; in the United Arab Emirates, smart or business cities are the order of the day, Dubai, smart cities.
A city can also be classified as ‘smart’ when investments in human and social capital and traditional transport and modern communication infrastructure fuel sustainable economic development and a high quality of life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory action and engagement. Now, with an increasing population and need for more housing units, an indigenous firm, ChannelDrill, in partnership with The Elegushi Royal Family (ERF) has secured approval to build a business city in Lagos State on 200 hectares of reclaimed land from dredging the Lagos Lagoon. This project, known as the Imperial International Business City (IIBC), has Channeldrill Resources Limited as the developer and Joint Venture (JV) partner to ERF . The development of the project, which started last August, will be completed in 2021.
The IIBC, being built on the Lagos lagoon, will run from the end of Freedom road to the end of NICON town; that is, from freedom road to Kunsenla Road, to Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Road, through Lekki Phase 1 ( Lekki Third Roundabout). Its access routes will be through 4th Roundabout of Lekki-Epe high way, by spa supermarket before Jakande bus stop.Smart, Business city
According to the managing director of ChannelDrill Resources, Mr. Femi Akioye, since IIBC is a new city that is being built from the scratch, the firm has decided to make it a fully planned city with distinct zones and building regulations. Each zone, he explained, will have low, medium and high density areas with water view. He said the land to be built on will be completely reclaimed from the Lagos Lagoon, with dredging of between two and 2.5 metres above sea level to avoid flooding, which is common in the Lekki axis.
“The Lekki-Epe corridor is reputed as the fastest growing not only in Nigeria, but in the whole of West Africa, with the biggest seaport, airport, refineries and other infrastructure coming up. The people, who will work there must live somewhere, and this is a motivation for developers. The future demand of the Lekki Free Trade Zone will only increase demand for comfortable homes within the metropolis,” Akioye said.
Expressing optimism on the prospects of the IIBC, the ChannelDrill boss noted that the new city would correct some of the mistakes recorded in the development of the Lekki Phase 1. The project, he further explained, gives the developers the opportunity to build smart and go green for the future. The city, he revealed, will be well planned and will be Africa’s first eco-friendly city. This will be achieved with the creation of lakes and waterways within the city, as well as underground drains, the first smart shopping mall in the country and the first six-star hotel in Africa to be built.
Already, Akioye said a consortium of experts in building, such cities have been recruited for the IIBC project. These include Dredging International (Dredging Contractors), Royal Haskoning (Marine Engineer & Reclamation Consultants), M. Arthur Gensler & Associates (Master Planner/ Architects), Delloitte Real Estate Middle East (Project Manager), Belgium Dredging Company, Netherlands Marine Engineer and Reclamation Consultants, United Kingdom Infrastructure Engineering Consultants, United Kingdom Master and Town Planner, Germany Shoreline Protector, and Kedari Capital Limited, among others. With this team, Akioye is convinced that “we have entrusted the job to one of the best dredging companies in the world.”
Director, Maritime Projects, Royal Kaskoning DV, Mr. Roland Stive, assured that his firm has adopted a state-of-the-art reclamation design without silt, coarse and angular quartz as well as flood resilient platform level, stable and sustainable waters edges and settlement control in the project. He said that since 60 per cent of the world population live in coastal areas, then there is the need for safe and resilient coastal development, which the city would offer.
According to the General Manager, Dredging International, Stefaan Van Velthoven, dredgers had already been positioned in the lagoon for the project. In similar vein, the Project Coordinator and Adviser to the Elegushi Family, Benson Evboren, disclosed that all necessary approvals for the project had been obtained. He said reclamation would take two years, while the actual construction would last for three years. “It will be a sight to behold when completed and will also stand the test of time. IIBC is also designed to take pressure off Lekki Phase 1,” Evboren explained.
The IIBC project also has Nigerian financial advisors on board, with lead consultant, Kedari Capital, acting as Joint Financial Adviser and Fund Arrangers to the IIBC project. According to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Kedari, Mrs. Ife Fashola, the firm brings to bear its experience in project and structured finance, especially having proven experience in delivering its services in the real estate sector and on similar projects. She explained that part of its focus as a firm is to partner with public and private sector players in delivering infrastructure, real estate, energy/power projects and even provide funding for manufacturing concerns through properly articulated financing structures and issuance of suitable instruments.
She assured the public that Kedari, in pursuit of the successful delivery of the over $300 million project, would guide the promoters, proffer suitable financing structures and assist in raising the required financing for the project. Kedari, Fashola said, is particular about the professional pedigree and integrity of project promoters and their ability to successfully deliver on their promises. “We have worked closely with the promoters of IIBC right from the conceptualisation of the project and we are very confident about the pedigree of the assembled project team on the IIBC project. The project will be successfully delivered to global standards,” she assured.
Other infrastructure to be put in place by Channeldrill include a 250-metre entrance road. The road network will include walkway and bicycle way; waterway and lakes; underground drainage, sewage treatment, potable water and water treatment plant, independent gas fired electricity and cooking gas piped to every house, including fibre optics cable. Others are cloud enabled communication network and smart city/house infrastructure for willing subscribers; mini-marina and water park, Mini Gulf course; Perimeter fencing, First Smart shopping Mall in Africa; cloud enabled 24-hour spy eyed security connected to a central security center; private data centre and a world-class hospital and recovery resort within a dedicated health care zone.
The project offers various sizes of plots. The minimum is 650 sqm. Others include: 800sqm, 1000sqm and 1200sqm, 2000sqm, 3000sqm & 5000sqm.
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