Jola Ajibade

Assistant Professor • Department of Geography • Portland State University

I am an environmental and human geographer. I apply a political ecology lens to study the intersection of climate change, urban sustainability and societal transformation. My research focuses on how individuals, communities, and cities respond to global environmental change, and their different capacities for adaptation, transformation, and long-term sustainability. Specifically, I explore how sustainability practices, disaster risk reduction strategies, adaptation projects, and future city planning, exacerbate vulnerability, promote eco-gentrification, and foster uneven development.

My research projects fit in with other political ecology work that examines the hegemony of market solutions to climate change and narrow interpretations of sustainability. I consider the concept of climate change, sustainability, and resilience (where justice is silenced) to be an oppressive force hiding the historical connections of the carbon economy to colonialism, uncontrolled capitalism, and unfettered commodification of nature. In my work, I reject conventional and post-politics environmentalism, which gives unbridled power to government and scientific experts, or allows big corporations to dispossess impoverished populations under the guise of sustainability planning and climate change adaptation and mitigation. My research projects examine how the (re) production of urban spaces has deep roots in neoliberal metabolic processes, unequal power relations, and socio-spatial dynamics that lead to environmentally degrading outcomes, uneven socio-ecological development, and perpetuation of winners and losers.

In my work, I emphasize transformative ideologies that allow for the articulation of multiple and alternative trajectories of future socio-environmental and socio-economic possibilities, i.e., of human-to-human and human-to-nature assemblages. This includes exploring unconventional approaches and partnerships such as the role of social entrepreneurs, grassroots coalitions, cooperatives, and small businesses in promoting a shareable economy, sustainable lifestyle changes, low-carbon development, and socially just resilience planning in cities.


  • Ph.D. Geography and Environmental Sustainability (2013) Western University Canada

  • M.A. International Law and Human Rights, (2006) University for Peace, Costa Rica

  • B.A. Philosophy (2004) Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Professional Courses and Certifications

  • United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Germany.

    • Certificate in Climate Change and Fragile States: Rethinking Adaptation (2011)

  • University of Brown International Advanced Research Institute, Rhode Island, USA.

    • Certificate in Climate Change and Its Impacts (2010)

  • Notre Dame Law School and Institute for Human Rights Research, Netherlands.

    • Certificate in Universal and Regional Systems of Human Rights Protection (2006)

  • United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan

    • Diploma in International Cooperation and Development (2005)

    • Diploma in Human Rights Concepts and Issues (2005)

Interested in studying with me? Email me at:

I am currently accepting students interested in future cities, sustainable cities, environmental justice, climatic extremes and adaptation, managed retreat, cascading disasters, gender and disaster, water security and governance, land transformation, green capitalism, and urban resilience.

Google scholar profile

Contact information

Idowu (Jola) Ajibade


Twitter: @JolaAdapts

Phone: (503)-725-3167

Cramer Hall room 424K

Portland State University

1721 SW Broadway,

Portland, OR 97201, USA