Lagos (NLE & Zoohaus)

When Spanish architects from Madrid's Zoohaus started researching conditions in Lagos, they found that maps weren't helpful; the city was growing so quickly, the guides were almost outdated as soon as they were printed. To address the unique challenges of this African metropolis, where electricity is available for a few hours a day, waterways are under-utilized and zoning and regulations are non-existent, the team developed a system that was built for Lagos, according to Juanito Jones.

"How do we address the informal markets with intelligent strategy?" says team member Lys Villalba. "Let's propose new ways to use local materials . . . the locals are the experts with the real design vision."

The result was a sprawling map of the city dotted with small stations and sheds to encourage a new informal economy, a layer of speculative infrastructure set to sync with instead of fight the sprawl. Bamboo bike repairs centers, upcycling centers, and canal stations all would give a leg up to entreprenuers.  Photo 2 of 6 in Housing in Megacities is a Mess. What Can We Do About It?