We are happy to announce that last Fall, we started the Housing Justice Lab’s Oral History Project with the aid of Parsons Cross-School Funds and a generous grant from the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. This oral history project seeks to harmonize the widely told stories of housing and neighborhood restructuring in the city with the voices of all New Yorkers whose organizing efforts have shaped the city and its history. It seeks to honor, amplify and preserve the voices, stories, and movements that have changed how we live and relate to each other in the city. It focuses particularly on the efforts of immigrants and people of color that have used community organizing, cooperativism, and coalition building to not only fight against profit-driven development, gentrification, and displacement but also to envision in collectivity new policy platforms and development approaches leading to the production of non-speculative housing and urban development and social space for the benefit of all. Additionally, this project underscores the struggles against the environmental injustices that have plagued Brown and Black communities for centuries.

The Oral History Project will realize these goals through the following interconnected actions and in close collaboration with communities and narrators.

1. Co-designing and conducting localized oral history projects to compile individual voices/stories and emphasize the powerful collective memories, views, and imaginaries that animate past and current struggles for social and spatial justice in New York City. 

2. Co-developing a critical cartography exposing these narratives — an online interactive spatial repository that connects these histories — with images, maps, audio recordings, and knowledge-sharing tools.

3. Disseminating community advocacy outcomes and reflections to different audiences through publications and public discussions that promote cooperation and knowledge exchange.