Soul Vitamins

Who Belongs In A City?

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Underneath every shiny new mega city, 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. 

Gentrification is when a lower-income neighborhood is elevated to a level of living that is seen primarily by the middle-class, or the super rich. With this often comes higher property values and taxes. Because of this there is great potential for many people of lower income to be displaced. We have seen this happen in Lagos in recent time,  research suggests that urban renewal programs that focus on a single factor (such as tearing down or refurbishing dilapidated housing) simply do not work. Our government needs to not only increase the availability of affordable housing but also create more jobs at a livable wage, increase access to health care, and fund job training and education at higher levels.  Improving the quality of life for lower-income families is a monumental task, but a more comprehensive approach can ensure that “all” groups live healthier, longer, and more productive lives. 

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