Our key working assumption (rather than hypothesis) is as follows: Self-disruption of the built environment professions through leveraging creative innovation hub opportunities would expedite smart and sustainable city transitioning for African cities.

Within the pursuit of leveraging smart-sustainable city platform as the overall goal/objective, this proposal is based on prototyping co-located innovation hubs for urban entrepreneurship within built environment professional practices (architects, engineers, land-surveyors, urban planners, real-estate economists/developers), with architectural practices and property developers as initial focus.

This would allow architects to attract grants and sponsorships in order to exploit the resources they already have towards mentoring and incubating green/sustainable city start-ups and then graduating them into viable mature spin-off businesses which would in turn expedite smart and sustainable city transitioning for African cities. Expedited translation of innovations towards addressing our escalating city challenges, especially in Africa, requires drastic reduction of time-lapse between ideas and implementation. Equally, the imperative also calls for higher levels of stakeholder-inclusivity across the key stages of conceptualisation, developing and prototyping viability and adoption of such innovations so that subsequent iterations and improvements can achieve the expected impacts and outcomes. Faced with this challenge, most city stakeholders have adopted the City Futures Lab as a Trans-disciplinary platform where innovative ideas are collaboratively co-created, prototyped and assessed in order to expedite their adoption and scale-up. Whereas most City Futures Lab initiatives are still premised on the leadership and anchorage by the respective municipal authority as the key stakeholder, in developing country cities, such initiatives can also be led by private sector or civil-society organisations.

By Prof. Daniel K Irurah – Co. Investigator, Miji Bora Project