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Deqah Hussein-Wetzel

Deqah Hussein-Wetzel is a Doctoral Student in Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP. Her work centers around the use of digital media and its role in the preservation of cultural memory in urban environments. The mission of this work is twofold: to amplify Black American stories in danger of being lost to posterity and to raise awareness around preservation-based development in the U.S. by using history as a weapon against the forces of displacement and as inspiration for new forms of inclusive development. As a first-generation American from Somali-Kenyan background also pursuing a Certificate in Comparative Literature and Society, her research further interrogates the socio-political role of urbanism and development on East African v. African American cultural landscapes, focusing on topics that explore the meaning and symbolism of place-associated storytelling within the African Diaspora.

Deqah received a Bachelor of Urban Planning from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning and a Master of Historic Preservation with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. She is also the founder of Urbanist Media, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating and preserving underrepresented voices and places, and the co-host/producer of its flagship podcast, Urban Roots, which aims to preserve these places (the tangible) through story (the intangible).