Crossing Borders, Building Bridges – Open House Lagos 2019
The global village concept has generally been long-accepted as the destination for human civilisation considering its current trajectory. Its premise is that cultures would focus on communicating and move towards personal interactions, and this has turned out to be more  Social media has galvanised advocacy across borders, financial transactions and economic activities spread across continents, air travel has dismantled many hindrances to physical exchange and the human experience, and technology has circumvented numerous communication obstacles. To be considered as relevant to the global scene and encourage development, municipal authorities and governments are advised to open up physical and virtual borders for trade and build multinational connections. With maps illustrating global connectedness and expanding geographic conurbations and articles stressing regional interdependencies, researchers and development experts have stressed the importance of building connections outside of localities.

As a default standpoint, it was inevitable – globalise or die. However, in the midst of this, some recent events have revealed a vehement, and sometimes violent, push back against the previously assumed irresistible forces of integration and coalition. The exit of Britain from the European Union, the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the increasing tilt towards nationalist politics across Europe seem to indicate a shift in these perceptions, or at the very least, a hitherto unnoticed discontent with prevalent globalist tendencies.

Beyond making an argument for or against protectionist ideals, it is important to drill down to the crux of the matter as it is obvious that there are many layers of interests that need to be addressed. While there are pertinent questions to answer about loss of identity, cultural appropriation and so on, tackling poverty, evening out inequalities and knowledge exchange are even more vital to the survival of humanity. One might argue that the true measure of prosperity is how much it is spread out across cultures, ideologies and geography. This dissemination will have to mean continuing to build common ground through/on which research, advancement, technology can flow seamlessly and truly benefit all.
At any rate, the figures speak for themselves and the reality is that by 2030 one of every seven persons will live with a disability, there is a growing youth population in the world, gender-based inequalities continue to persist, and the Earth still needs taking care of. There is currently more trade and more immigration than at any point in history. There is an ever-growing exchange of goods, services, finance, people, data across time and space. In such an age, the need for connections between cultures, classes and groups is more and more important, Homogenous society is an unattainable dream and it is crucial to look beyond the rhetoric that paints inclusion as harmful, and instead, look at the many ways various groups in society can complement one another. Considering that humanity is growing more interconnected by the second, we need to act accordingly.
Open House Lagos firmly believes in the efficacy of openness and accessibility in building stronger communities. Open House Lagos 2019 is centred on showcasing the exchange of ideas and solutions through architecture. We believe that architecture is a language with many dialects – numerous style variances due to culture, history, climate but one that is understood and appreciated by many. Good design allows people to live together prosperously beyond the constructs of physical and non-physical barriers, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, wealth or ability. In this year’s theme, Crossing Borders, Building Bridges, we hope to show how architecture can be used as an instrument to foster inclusion and openness in our societies. We welcome you to join our conversations and events on- and offline.

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OHL Editor