From Atlanta to Nigeria: A Conversation on Gentrification


For Ark Republic’s gentrification series, urban planner and professor, Nmadili Okwumabua, tells of her time spent at town halls in the early 2000s, with residents pushing back against encroaching developers.

As she saw older Black citizens and low-wage earning community members gradually get priced out, she decided to move to her father’s home country, Nigeria. While there, she saw another type of displacement tied to religious clashes.

Nmadili Okwumabua is an urban planner and a professor of African architecture and urban design. In 2005, she founded, Southern Sahara USA, a design consultancy service specializing in the research and development of new African and diasporic architecture, which she promotes through exhibitions and lectures. In 2013, she launched the Community Planning & Design Initiative, Africa, (CPDI Africa), a research-based, culture-inspired initiative created to develop this new architectural language for Africa through design competition. Okwumabua lives in Atlanta, Georgia and Abuja, Nigeria.

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