Lindsay SAWYER


Lindsay Sawyer is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Architecture of ETH Zurich and a researcher in the Urban Sociology module of the Future Cities Laboratory at the Singapore-ETH Centre. Her research focuses on the urbanization of Lagos, Nigeria. Lindsay received her Master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in The City – an innovative transdisciplinary course combining urban studies with design studios. Her research thesis “Functional Dysfunction: Lagos, Koolhaas and the Southern Turn of Urban Literature” was awarded a distinction. She has also worked professionally as an RIBA Part 1 architect in Sydney, Australia.


My research focuses on processes of urbanization in Lagos, Nigeria. Rather than the exceptional urban conditions of the richest and the poorest of the city, my research thesis looks at the ordinary urban condition of Lagos, which affects the majority of people; in particular tenement housing and community organisations. My research engages with postcolonial urban studies, aspects of subaltern literature and urban geography. I am also part of the research project ‘Planetary Urbanization in Comparative Perspective’, which is conducting an innovative, systematic comparison of nine of the world’s largest metropolitan regions: Tokyo, Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, Paris, Mexico City, Los Angeles. I am currently involved in collaboratively developing categories of urbanization regarding popular urbanization and the phenomenon of ‘tenant cities’. I regularly conduct fieldwork in Lagos.

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