NLÉ believes that developing cities are the home of global advancement.

Thus they will provide the sustainable solutions necessary for the environmental, infrastructural and human challenges posed by this megacentury.

  • Philosophy


One of the megacentury’’s dominant and unstoppable trends is urbanization. The outcome is a growing number of megacities worldwide, all of which face the same challenges. Within this context – just as Silicon Valley acts as the home for new technologies, it is the cities of the developing world that will generate responsible solutions for the larger world.

As thinkers, creatives and agents of change, NLÉ’’s role is to reveal these solutions and apply them so that we shape the physical, human and commercial structures that are critical to the near future of human civilization.

Our activities encompass city development research and strategy advisory service, conceptualization and creative structuring, architecture and product design, infrastructure design, arts and cultural urban interventions.

Across all these fields we explore the infusion of relevant global ideas and the advanced technologies that add sustainable value. And our global and diverse network of experts and collaborators, as well as our products and our services, are of world-class quality and integrity. At the same time, we ensure authentic relevance through the deployment of local resources, capacity building and economy of means.

In this way, NLÉ acts as a new language for shaping and advancing the multiple physical and human architectures of the megacentury.


NLÉ means ‘‘at home’’ in Yoruba, the language of Africa’’s first truly urbanized population. From the 11th century onwards, the Yoruba lived in a network of West African cities characterized by sophisticated commercial and governing structures.

But within NLÉ’’s philosophy, the ‘home’ is much more than walls, floors and ceilings. Instead, it refers to the fundamental building blocks of the city, to everyday life and the uses of public space in the emerging and endlessly complex urbanisms of developing regions.

Due to rapid urbanization and the forces of globalization, the people in such cities have redefined our understanding of cities through their innovative and economical appropriation of spaces, materials and infrastructure. The environment – streets, bridges, side walks, raw materials and junk – are acquired, cultivated and reconstituted to achieve maximum necessities through minimum means. This creates unique organizations and advanced social structures in which people live, work, trade and play in ways that are now rarely seen in the ‘‘developed worlds’’, which are now ironically the ‘less developing world’.

We believe that these colorful and seemingly chaotic worlds hold some of the solutions to the problems faced by cities in the century of mega needs. Our aim is to work with, and be inspired by these worlds to create more social, political, and economically responsible interventions for and with the people who have made them home.