On the materiality of law: Spatial and legal appropriations of the Lagos set-back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper provides an historical account of the governmental ambitions and unintended side-effects of a specific form of urban regulation in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. A counter-intuitive parable of ‘corruption’, its describes the perversion of this laws primitive purity, as it is transformed and redirected to serve the declared and undeclared interests of a wide range of urban actors. This account is brought into dialogue with studies in Law and Geography studies – particularly the concept of ‘seeing like a city’ – that suggest we recognise such processes of transformation as politically ambivalent, and necessary to the openness and vitality of urban life. Drawing on research methods from the field of Infrastructure Studies, the paper speculates on the particular ‘actancy’ of architecture in the construction and maintenance of this openness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-265
JournalArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Seeing like a city
  • architecture
  • regulation
  • Lagos
  • Infrastructure
  • Actor Network Theory


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