This oral history project is dedicated to connecting the voices of all New Yorkers who have played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s history through their past and ongoing organizing efforts. It sheds light on the enduring struggles against redlining, predatory practices, rezoning processes, and environmental injustices that have disproportionately impacted Brown and Black communities for decades. Its primary objective is to amplify the voices, stories, and movements that have been instrumental in reshaping the way we live and interact within the city.

The project places a special emphasis on initiatives that utilize community organizing, cooperativism, and coalition building. These efforts not only confront profit-driven development, gentrification, and displacement but also collectively envision new policy platforms and development approaches. Lastly, to honor and preserve the voices of those involved in housing movements, this project visually represents the locations where these voices and stories have unfolded and make local narratives accessible to a broad audience through an interactive digital cartography that serves as a permanent archive.

The Housing Justice Oral History Project is carrying out these goals through the following interconnected actions and in close dialogue with narrators and communities:

1. Collaboratively designing and conducting localized oral history projects to gather individual voices and underscore the collective memories, perspectives, and visions that drive past and current struggles for social and spatial justice in New York City. 

2. Jointly developing an interactive repository that showcases these narratives with multimedia content, including images, audio recordings, and popular education tools. Integrating a critical cartography, this repository is intended to visualize and connect the various practices dedicated to housing justice throughout the city.

3. Disseminating the oral history projects to diverse audiences through community discussions and events that encourage cooperation and the exchange of knowledge.


Cooper Square Community Land Trust Oral History Project by Gabriela Rendón and students from different disciplines from The New School.

Community Action for Safe Apartments Oral History Project by Diana Zacca Thomaz

Picture the Homeless Oral History Project by Lynn Lewis

Voces Ciudadanas Oral History Project by Gabriela Rendón and students from the MS Design and Urban Ecologies Program

Sunset Park Oral History Project by Gabriela Rendón and Xavier Moysén Alvarez


We are working on the Housing Justice Oral History Project‘s online platform. This repository will assemble and bridge multiple oral history projects based in New York City. You will be able to access the recordings and the transcriptions of the interviews of past and ongoing oral history projects for educational, research, and organizing purposes. Interested? Join the project launch event on Friday, November 3rd from 3:00 to 5:00pm at 66 West 12th Street, Room A404. 

Besides discussing the project’s purpose, values, methodology, and ways to get involved, we will present four ongoing oral history projects. As part of the conversation we will be in conversation with some of our collaborators, including students, scholars, community organizers and housing activists. REGISTER HERE.


The Housing Justice Oral History Project is looking for students, scholars, and community organizers interested in oral history and housing justice. The Oral History Intern will be able to observe how oral history projects are carried out from conception to implementation, including research, developing questions, contacting interviewees, gathering metadata, conducting interviews, transcribing interviews, indexing interviews, developing descriptions, and creating popular education tools. The intern shall be committed or have background in social justice activism. A background in oral history is not required. Training will be provided.

This internship is designed to provide an introduction to oral history work in a community setting. The intern will be assigned to an ongoing Oral History Project or be assisted to develop their own project.

How to Apply

Please submit the following materials to: housingjustice@newschool.edu
• A resume listing relevant courses, previous experience, and special skills
• A brief personal statement including interests and study/community/advocacy goals. Use this to tell us how the internship will advance your academic/community/activism work.
• One letter of reference that can speak on your behalf


Director, Project Coordination and Development

Gabriela Rendón, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development

Project Advise, Training, and Development

Lynn Lewis, oral historian, educator, community organizer, and Adjunct Professor

Online Platform and Repository Development

Eric Brelsford, web developer and Adjunct Professor

Research Assistant

Xavier Moysén Alvarez, PhD Sociology Candidate

Project Advisors

Mia White, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Kevin McKeen, Adjunct Professor and leader of the Community Development Finance Lab


Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility

School of Design Strategies