Detroit native Nina O. Idemudia is an urban planner who has specialized in outreach strategies for government and non-profit entities. Her award-winning programs engage youth in the planning process and inspire a new generation of planners. Nina co-directs our Young and Emerging Planning Professionals group.
Please provide a brief overview of your current work in planning.
I currently work for the City of Los Angeles City Planning Department as a Planning Assistant in the Condition Compliance Unit, where I work on alcohol entitlement cases from across the city. I do case intake, prepare for public hearings, draft Letters of Determination, and ensure compliance. I love what I do! I get to work on very large projects and with “mom ‘n’ pop” establishments. In addition to my “day-job” I actively work with youth and planning education through other outlets.
What brought you into planning?
I was an African American Studies and Women’s Studies major in undergrad. My undergraduate advisor suggested that I get into Urban Planning when we were talking about my options after graduation. I didn’t know anything about planning at the time. I did most of my work with prisoner advocacy groups and pre-college programming for youth. I wanted to be an African American Studies professor. Once I Googled what an urban planner was, I was sold on the career. A year and a half later I was in USC’s planning school 3,000 miles away from home with no plan, but all I needed was PURPOSE! It has brought me a long way.
Where did you go to school for planning and why?
I applied to USC because they had a fee waiver for their application. It was the only school I applied to on the West Coast. I didn’t know much about the school when I applied, but I’m glad I decided to attend because being there taught me a lot about who I am.
Why do you love Los Angeles?
I like Los Angeles because it’s diverse. It’s totally different than the way I grew up and you can’t beat the weather, but home will always be where the heart is!
What’s something that’s happening in LA that excites you?
The empowerment of LA’s disenfranchised communities excites me! Communities that have been historically looked over are taking their power back and influencing policy for the greater good of creating equitable communities. As a planner/activist, nothing makes me happier! I also love how the City of LA is on the front lines of helping these communities become more empowered and engaged in the planning process.
What’s your favorite LA recreation activity?
Eating amazing food from all types of cultures!
Tell us about a good book for planners!
The New Jim Crow! It’s important for planners to be WOKE about the social issues we ultimately create by disenfranchising low-income communities and communities of color.