Simon Gusah

Simon Gusah

Biography

First CRO  (Chief Resilience Officer) City of Lagos, Nigeria. My primary assignment is the development of a City Resilience Strategy, which will ensure that Lagos can survive, recover, adapt and thrive through shocks and stresses over the long-term. I’m an Urban Development Planner, with an interest in informality, slums and Urban Governance; via, Community Engagement, Affordable Housing, Urban Infrastructure planning and delivery. In 2016 I co-founded the Nigeria Resilient Cities Network (NRCN), to drive; city resilience, urban governance, and Nigeria’s sustainable development.

My praxis involves action-research, leading to the development of; (i) the 4P Urban Governance Model (Public-Private-People Partnerships) bridging the gap between formal and informal land and housing markets; and (ii) Viral Mass Housing; self-build housing as a mechanism to meet Nigeria’s affordable housing needs. These innovations are influencing the way people think about inclusive development and urban resilience strategies in Nigeria. Closing the gap between the formal and informal economic systems is essential, if Nigeria is to achieve the UN New Urban Agenda (NUA) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Bridging the formal and informal economic sectors goes to the heart of breaking the poverty trap; the dilemma of strong institutions vs strong markets. It’s not a ‘chicken-or-egg’ problem, both can co-evolve; by first building markets on weak institutional foundations. This is an indicator on how we can build sustainable cities from the foundations of slums, as we lift people out from urban poverty.

Social impact and social inclusion are at the heart of my praxis. As a programme designer, I improve the social performance and Community Service Obligations of development interventions. My work is premised on the understanding that the unit of measurement of the success of infrastructure investment and urban development interventions is always the measurable impact on the lives of people.