OluTimehin Adegbeye

Underneath every shiny new megacity, there’s often a story of communities displaced. In this moving, poetic talk, OluTimehin Adegbeye details how government land grabs are destroying the lives of thousands who live in the coastal communities of Lagos, Nigeria, to make way for a “new Dubai.” She compels us to hold our governments and ourselves accountable for keeping our cities safe for everyone. “The only cities worth building, indeed the only futures worth dreaming of, are those that include all of us, no matter who we are or how we make homes for ourselves,” she says.

“Among the Yoruba, we have a saying, “Èkó gb’olè, ó gb’ọ̀lẹ,” which can be translated to mean that Lagos will welcome anyone. But that saying is becoming less and less true. Many Lagosians, including the descendants of those fisherpeople who arrived generations before my grandfather, are now being pushed out to make room for an emergent city that has been described as “the new Dubai.” 

You see, Lagos inspires big dreams, even in its leaders, and successive governments have declared aspirations towards a megacity where poverty does not exist. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the eradication of poverty as you would expect, the strategy of choice focuses on eliminating the poor.” – OluTimehin Adegbeye

Watch her full TED Talk:


This talk was presented at an official TED conference. Transcript and video from the TED site.