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Architects called upon for urban regeneration, economic development

Architects have been tasked on providing new urban solutions required to optimise the use of space and energy resources leading to improvements in the environment.

The Guardian reports that the Managing Director, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), Michael Okonkwo made the call in a keynote address delivered at the conference of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Anambra state chapter held in Akwa.

Okonkwo, an architect, said architects could achieve this by injecting into their projects design,  themes such as urban regeneration, environmental sustainability and economic development in varying ways.

He said: “Our practices should aim to pursuing programs of urban regeneration-a sustainable building practice in itself that could lead to reliable, long term economic development”.

The Guardian reports that at the event, themed: ‘Private Sector Investment and Potentials in the Building Industry”, the former Secretary to  Anambra State Government (SSG), Mr. Oseloka Obaze lamented that poor infrastructure and construction quality had resulted in massive loss of life and property through collapse of buildings and erosion menace.

Speaking on ‘ Infrastructure Development; a Panacea Economic and Social Development’, he called for strict regulation and funding for the construction and maintenance of already existing infrastructure and the mainstreaming of private sector in the sector.

Obaze warned that Nigeria would remain at risk of under-development if leaders who lack vision and commitment continue to pilot the affairs of the nation, even as he express worry that under investment in infrastructural development could rob the country her vision of becoming a top 20 economy in 2020.

“Developmentally, Nigeria lags far behind where it should be in terms of infrastructure, there should be clear policies, focus and political will. The core premise is that development of infrastructure or lack of it therefore will continue to impact on Nigeria economically and socially,”

According to him, there is an inextricable nexus between infrastructure development and economic and social wellbeing of the people or nation, noting that nothing could be achieved if laws are not in place, respected and rigidly enforced.

“So the sanctity of the laws regulating the development and maintenance of infrastructure as well as the pertinent ethics that guide your profession must be rigidly upheld, failure to do so will always result to varying scope of disaster”.

He canvassed for a synergy between the government and the organized private sector to work under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), saying that government alone cannot build national infrastructure.

He added that governments’ role remains that of regulator and creating the enabling environment.

In addition, The Guardian reports that meanwhile,  architects in the West African countries, have been called upon to develop modern architectural style and designs to meet the housing needs of the people.

NIA President, Tonye Braide, explained that the maiden edition of the West African Architecture festival (WAAF) would reinvigorate Architectural designs in the sub-region to make up for the current economic reality.

Braide said the festival would usher in a renaissance, which will sweep through architecture lifestyle and maintain minimum values till the economic recovery is achieved.

According to him, architects from across the world will also use the festival to proffer solutions to the current economic challenges facing construction industry in Africa due mainly to falling commodity prices.

“WAAF shall be a platform to present the building and construction portfolio of members countries to the international audience. This will attract investments to the member countries and create greater chance cohesiveness within the region”, he said.

Source: The Guardian

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