Utopia Lagos

Creating a network of CITYLabs to build the ecosystem for emerging cities & slum


Our Manifesto – Five things we know to be true

The urban center of the world is radically restructuring itself.

By the end of the century, the world’s megacities are no longer New York or Tokyo. They are Lagos (88m), Dhaka (76m), Dar es Salaam (74m), Mumbai (67m), Kinshasa (63m), Lilongwe (57m).

We need a more light touch, an emergent model of urban development.

The West’s model of urban development has dominated. We need a fresh, more emergent blueprint that is a better fit for cities across Asia, Africa, and Latin America in this century.

Slums aren’t destroying our cities, they’re creating something new.

We’ve never seen anything like the rate of urbanization today. A new model of cities is trying to emerge. Rather than resisting, we should be paying attention to what is trying to emerge.

Slums are an asset, not a deficit.

The growth of slums tend to correspond with the growth of the economy of a city. Urban societies are healthier as they grow more diverse.

The rethinking of emerging cities and their slums could bring about a future of urban living that’s better for all of us.

Formal cities are already calcified and slow to change. Emerging cities and informal slums are often highly decentralized and adaptive, some of the very characteristics we’re looking for from our cities today.

Utopia is creating a network of CITYLabs across Africa, Asia and Latin America to build the ecosystem for emerging cities and their slums

The CITYLabs are urban venture studios for emerging cities and their slums

We’re building and backing urban startups and solutions to make cities better for the many, not just the few. We launch new ideas and projects. We collaborate with exceptional entrepreneurs to found and grow urban startups.

We’re creating the next generation of urban startups for emerging cities and their slums

We commit up to eighteen months to each venture we help launch. Half of the startups are focused on solutions for the formal city and half are focused on the informal city.

We go all in to build the urban solutions and urban startups

We bring together design, technology, prototyping and marketing. We provide space to create and find basic seed funding. We match the team’s ideas with process. We support the business model around the product. We bring together mentors who open their networks to the teams.

Utopia is building out the platform and infrastructure for urban entrepreneurs to transform their emerging cities and slums
Will this make the city better for the many, not just the few? This is our single driving question.


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