PhD focus: Daniel Adamu on tackling affordable housing issues


Dr Daniel Adamu, former PhD candidate at IHS, has recently defended his doctoral thesis. Looking back at his time in Rotterdam, he was eager to share his perspective on the time spent as a researcher within the PhD programme in Urban Development and Governance.

Daniel comes from Nigeria, where one of the largest urban issues is housing. Dark and empty buildings in the inner cities triggered him to research into the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Models applied in his country. The need to create an impact on his community drove him to look for solutions. That is why, Daniel decided to conduct research on the topic of ‘Partnership-Led Housing Delivery. The influence of PPP Models and Collaborative Capacity on Affordability: Nigerian Experience’. 

Source of inspiration

Daniel shared that the figure that inspired him to pursue a PhD degree after his master’s was his father, who was also very active in the education field. According to Daniel, education was extremely valued in his family and his father always encouraged him to strive for more when it comes to learning. Despite the unfortunate departure of his father and surviving the economic crisis in Nigeria, Daniel remained focused on his dream.

The housing challenge in Nigeria

The choice of his career did not come as a surprise, since Daniel cherished the city a lot as a child. He shared that “everything that has to do with the city was an inspiration”. For Daniel, the housing topic strikes a sensitive chord “because housing is one of the basic human rights”. From a Nigerian experience, affordable housing is a challenge, but Daniel finds this challenge appealing because he understands that housing is about creating communities.

Without affordable housing in the inner city, the people who work in the center, but live in the outskirts are forced to commute long distances every day. Lack of affordable housing is the core aspect that creates transportation issues, which in turn cause other urban problems. This situation has a spiral effect which extends beyond the city into a regional problem. To tackle this core issue, Daniel researched into the PPP Models dynamics applied in several ways in Nigeria.

During his defense, Daniel described his personal experience of passing by many tall buildings in his city between the hours of 7 and 8 pm. He was hoping to see houses with lights as this will indicate these houses were homes. The lighted houses will mean that people have returned home from work. But, to his sadness, the enormous rows of buildings were all in the dark. Unoccupied buildings were a burning issue which Daniel strongly resonated with. He felt a need to raise awareness on this matter and create an impact on his community. This, along with a wish to create more inclusiveness, is what drove him into research.

Future plans

Having now conquered this milestone, Daniel shared that he is seeking further professional opportunities in the Netherlands. At the same time, he would also like to continue improving his skills in the research field and develop fully as an academic. He is striving to pass on the knowledge that he gained throughout his journey and to create more impact on society.

If you are interested to learn more about the PhD in Urban Development and Governance offered by IHS, please visit the programme’s page here.

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