Agege, Nigeria
City population: 461123
Duration: 2014 – 2018
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Sub-microscale: Street scale (including buildings)
Project area: 4 m2
Type of area: Residental, Building
Last updated: April 2022

This intervention was initiated in 2014 in Agege, a slum and a city in itself belonging to Lagos. Agege is one of the 7th most populated low-income communities in Lagos with a total population of around 1,033,064 people. Climate change in Nigeria led to seasonal droughts and floods, causing pressures in terms of food security as well as high temperature and humidity levels which affect directly the economically disadvantaged population in the slums of Lagos. In 2014 a research team at the University of Cardiff alongside community leaders of a Yoruba community in Agege implemented a study on vertical gardens in residential areas with the purpose of alleviating local temperatures and enhancing biodiversity. The implementation started with a study and was continued with the introduction of practical gardens maintained by the local community of 3 residential buildings (one in Suru Street, another in Lagos Street in Agege, and a third in Abeokuta Street). (1,2,3,4)


Nature-based solution

  • Nature on buildings
  • Green walls or facades
  • Balcony greens

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Inclusive and effective governance (SDG 16)
  • Inclusive governance
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social justice and equity
  • Economic development and employment (SDG 8)
  • Employment/job creation
  • Sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12)
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Sustainable production


Knowledge creation and awareness raising, Other

Project objectives

The main goals of the intervention were: 1. To bring both thermal comfort and economic benefits to low-income residents of Agege. Inhabitants of these Yoruba communities are living on less than 1 GBP/day; 2. To enhance biodiversity in the residential buildings: the plants used in the vertical walls have a range of uses, from the medicinal properties of aloe vera, to the snake repellent characteristics of the Lantana Camara plant. Most envisioned crops had pollinating properties. 3. To reduce indoor temperatures and fight humidity and the effects of high outdoor temperature. 4. To introduce an innovative responsible approach to vertical gardening that involved locally sourced materials for local people. 5. To increase ownership participation by embracing indigenous ideas as offered by the recruited skillset/ community members in the process of adapting an otherwise expensive prototype within a reasonable financial limit for the target group (Low-income groups). 6. To preserve the building façade from weathering. 7. To reduce urban heat island effects (as vertical gardens add pockets of greenery to overcrowded areas)(1,2,3,4)

Implementation activities

This intervention adopted a bottom-up approach to low-cost innovation: VGS prototypes were developed in partnership with the local community of Agege (Lagos, Nigeria) and were a 2 stage initiative. Community members contributed to every step of the research process with their context-based expertise, sharing decision-making and ownership. In order to convince the local residents to participate in the intervention, the research team appealed to the community leaders (Baale). A selection of the most "cooperative" streets and residents followed. In the first phase, 2 sites were selected: 1 in Suru street, the other in Lagos street. Community engagement followed for the development of the prototype and had 4 stages of community meetings. A HDPE prototype was installed in Lagos street and a bamboo one was designed in Suru street. Planting started in early May 2014 and plant maturity was reached around 6 weeks later. Phase 2 was implemented in 2016 in Shobowale Street with the help of Guinness Nigeria Inc. Community engagement happened this time in 3 stages. Contrarily to phase 1, prototypes in phase 2 were designed to transfer weight to the walls rather than the ground. Containers were sustained by a wooden frame rather than wooden poles to avoid drilling the ground of the community centre near water boreholes. Planting started at the beginning of September 2016 and plant maturity was reached within 6 weeks. It was reported that the prototypes were still in use in 2018. (2) It is unclear if the intervention was continued after 2018. Sources after this date were not found online or in any other academic journals making it very hard to reach a conclusion whether the intervention is still functional.

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Implement green walls or roofs to lower indoor temperature and provide insulation

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Raise public awareness
  • Public engagement
  • Capacity building

Main beneficiaries

  • Researchers/University
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Marginalized groups: Low income citizens
  • Food producers and cultivators (i.e. farmers, gardeners)


Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Researchers/university

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning
  • Dissemination of information and education
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)
  • Co-management/Joint management
  • Citizen science
  • Citizen monitoring and review

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The intervention was designed as a study and initiated by a team of researchers at the University of Cardiff. The evaluation of the proposal was done together with the residents who also took lead in implementing the green walls. (2,3)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? Unknown


Total cost

Less than €10,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Other

Type of funding

  • Other

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of labour
  • Provision of expertise
  • Provision of other services
  • Exchange of services
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Lowered local temperature
  • Green space and habitat
  • Promotion of naturalistic styles of landscape design for urban development
  • Increased conservation or restoration of ecosystems
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Increase of jobs
  • Generation of income from NBS

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Fair distribution of social, environmental and economic benefits of the NBS project
  • Increased visibility and opportunity for marginalised groups or indigenous peoples
  • Increased involvement of locals in the management of green spaces
  • Increased access to healthy/affordable food
  • Increased sustainability of agriculture practices

Type of reported impacts

Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting


Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.