Updated: Apr 16
Every month, the APA-IL will turn the spotlight on members who are making an impact in Illinois urban planning and with the APA-IL. These members exemplify the APA-IL's determination to Make Great Communities for All in Illinois!
This month, we talk with...
Nina Idemudia, AICP Director of Planning, MUSE Community + Design
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a native Detroiter - born and raised on the east side of the city. I earned my bachelor’s degree in both African American Studies and Women Studies from the University of Michigan. I also have a Master of Planning with a specialization in Social Justice from the University of Southern California. This background has allowed me to understand various social movements and the inequities perpetuated by various institutions.
I have created several programs to address inequities within urban planning. I have two awards from the American Planning Association for the work that I have done surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion within the planning field. I am currently the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association, a Vanguard Fellow, and a New Leaders Council Fellow. In 2015 I was honored with a SHEro Award from Los Angeles Council Member Curren D. Price, Jr. for my community leadership. I have previously worked as a Planner for both the City of Los Angeles and City of Chicago.
What are some of your current or notable projects?
Due to my extensive experience in the public sector both in Los Angeles and Chicago I have a unique perspective on how systems of government work for and against societies most vulnerable populations. I have had the pleasure of working on project planning, policy planning, and management.
My past work includes the adoption of the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), which involves a 14 billion dollar renovation to the Los Angeles World Airport in order to improve LAX passenger experience, bring economic development to the surrounding area, and secure the Los Angeles bid for the 2028 Olympics.
I also created a training program for LA planning department’s 380 plus employees to help increase employee professional skills which included Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training. I also helped the department evaluate and standardize city-wide outreach and engagement strategies so that our long-range policies, plans, and initiatives are more equitable.
During my time with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development not only did I work directly with the City Plan Commission on Planned Developments but I also had the pleasure to co-authoring a draft rewrite of the Planned Development manual to incorporate more outreach and engagement as well as researched ways to incorporate equity into the Planning process.
How have you been involved with the APA/APA-IL?
American Planning Association Illinois Chapter - Board of Directors
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
February 2019 - Present
American Institute of Certified Planners
November 2017 - Present
American Planning Association California Chapter - Board of Directors
Young Planners Group Coordinator
October 2014 - January 2019
American Planners Association – Los Angeles Section
Director of Membership
Young Planners Co-Director
September 2015 - December 2017
What lessons have you learned in your career that have made you successful?
Be unapologetic about who I am as a Black Woman.
Always stay true to my purpose, which is to create more opportunities than I had for little Black girls everywhere.
Speak truth to power and use my privilege to uplift others.
Never dim my light to make others feel comfortable.
Approach everything as if I were Beyonce. Success will always follow.