Gabriela Rendón
—Founder and Director

Gabriela is a Mexican-born urban planner,  researcher, and educator committed to social and spatial justice. She is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development and a Faculty Fellow at the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School. Gabriela is a founding and active member of The Shape of Cities to Come Institute, Urban Front, and Cohabitation Strategies. Over the last twenty years, she has worked in urban, housing, and community-based projects commissioned by art and cultural institutions, as well as municipalities and public agencies in diverse cities in Western Europe, North America, and South America. Gabriela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust and the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association II. Read more→

Lynn Lewis
— Housing Justice Oral History Project ‘s Advising, Training, and Development

Lynn works at the intersection of community organizing, oral history, and popular education, focusing on documenting grassroots leadership in social justice movements. She received her MA in Oral History from Columbia, after working with Picture the Homeless for seventeen years in a range of roles. Lynn has worked on issues of housing, homelessness, land tenure, and police brutality for four decades. She is the recipient of an inaugural NEH/OHA Fellowship 2022/2023 for her work on the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project. She is inspired by revolutionary struggles in the U.S. and internationally to construct justice and is a mother and a grandmother residing in NYC. Her book, Women Who Change the World, a collection of oral history interviews with community organizers will be published in 2023 by City Lights Publishers. Lynn is an adjunct faculty at the New School.

Rob Robinson
—Housing Justice Oral History Project’s Community Engagement Liaison

Rob is a formerly homeless community organizer and activist based in New York City. His work focuses on changing people’s fundamental relationship to land and housing. He works with social movements around the world including the Movement of People Affected by Dams in Brazil (MAB), the Landless Workers Movement in Brazil (MST), Abahlali baseMjondolo in South Africa (the Shack dwellers movement), and the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages in Spain (the PAH). Rob is the USA-Canada Coordinator of the International Alliance of Inhabitants, an alliance of 12,000 members worldwide that supports a Zero Evictions Platform. As a longtime member of the US Human Rights Network, his work is framed in international human rights law. In the US he works with communities on several social issues including, poverty and debt, police violence against the poor, gentrification, and access to broadband. Rob has lectured widely and is currently an adjunct professor of Urbanism at the MS Design and Urban Ecologies program.

Eric Brelsford
—Housing Justice Oral History Project’s Platform, Repository, and Map Development

Eric is a Brooklyn-based software developer focusing on mapping and data visualization. He is particularly interested in how maps affect the way we see and interact with cities, and how people can use maps to have an impact on their neighborhoods. Eric got started with web mapping and community-driven data projects while working on a map of publicly-owned vacant land in NYC that also acts as an organizing tool ( He has worked on numerous similar projects since and is well-versed in open-source GIS. Outside of mapping projects, he teaches GIS, Python, and web mapping part-time at local universities, including The New School.

Mia Charlene White

0Mia Charlene White is a parent, daughter, differently-abled dreamer from Queens, currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Environmental Studies Program at the New Schools for Public Engagement, with a co-teaching appointment at the Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. She identifies as a Black woman of African American and Korean descent.  Mia is an ongoing faculty affiliate of the Tishman Environment and Design Center, a 2017-18 Fellow with the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography and Social Thought (GIDEST @ The New School), and a 2018-19 Faculty Fellow with the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism StudiesShe currently serves as Co-Chair of the University Faculty Senate, where she labors to build shared governance capacities across the university. Mia has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science from the State University of NY at Stonybrook, a Master of International Affairs (Environmental Policy / Environmental Justice focus) 0from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Ph.D in Urban Studies and Planning (Housing and Environment) from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Read more→

Kevin McQueen

Kevin McQueen leads the Community Development Finance Lab at Milano’s Nonprofit Management, Public, and Urban Policy Program at The New School. He is currently the Director of Lending at Leviticus Fund, an organization rooted in social and economic justice.  He balances his extensive experience in community development finance with a deep commitment to facilitating social change through mission-driven organizations. He is the Lincoln Institute Senior Fellow at Grounded Solutions Network, where he directs a national initiative to create acquisition funds for community land trusts. McQueen holds an A.B. in  Ethics and Political Philosophy from Brown University and an MA in Global Political Economy and Finance from The New School. Read More→

Xavier Moysén Alvarez
Research Assistant

Xavier is a Sociology PhD student from Monterrey, México. His main research interests are populism, authoritarianism, new media propaganda, radicalization, and law and society. In Mexico, he worked as a researcher for CEEAD, a center dedicated to the study and improvement of legal education in Mexico. Based in Brooklyn since 2021, Xavier is currently an adjunct faculty at CUNY City Tech where he teaches introductory Sociology courses. He previously worked as a researcher at the CUNY Mexican Studies Institute. Xavier is a horror movie and music fanatic.


Jiray Avedisian

Jiray is a graduate student in the MS Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons School of Design at The New School. They have extensive experience in leadership development, dialogue-based problem-solving, and administrative support. Their academic background is in political anthropology, and they are asking questions about incarceration and the political economy of US cities. Curious, imaginative, and proactive, Jiray is adept at identifying points of difference and communicating across diverse identities, experiences, and organizations.

Maria Llona García

Maria is a poet from Lima, Peru, and a Creative Writing MFA candidate at the Schools of Public Engagement at the New School. While living in Peru, she wrote and managed the newsletter for local brand Miel de Casa where she featured femme Latinx artists. She has worked translating other Peruvian authors’ texts from Spanish into English to expand their reach while keeping the text’s original significance intact. She believes that diligent, educated, and respectful translation can be used to amplify marginalized voices and is very excited to be a part of the Housing Justice Lab’s Oral History Project.

Drake Reed

Drake is a nomadic urbanist with a background in grassroots housing advocacy. He received his B.S. at Towson University (‘15), in Baltimore Maryland. After college, he developed an interest in social anthropology and redlining in racially segregated cities. Since then, he has lived in San Francisco where he worked in housing development and attained a post-baccalaureate at UC Berkely (‘19). Drake centers his practice in social infrastructure that focuses on the needs and evolution of black and brown neighborhoods. He is an illustrator,music-lover, videographer, and urban investigator who is passionate about developing data visualizations to imagine Afrofutures.  His current research addresses the necessity of a radical shift in affordable housing, which he envisions through centering blackness and all of its dimensions.

 Sara Devic

Sara is an urbanist and maker from Belgrade, Serbia, with an academic background in architecture and urban planning. She has been involved in urban justice movements in her hometown and the city administration helping develop the Housing Strategy for the City of Belgrade. Her experience at the municipality and on the streets triggered her interest in the dynamic between activism and policy. Her current research focuses on New York City. She is delving into how housing justice groups with a long history of organizing, advocacy, and activism have managed to pass their demands into legislation. In the future, she intends to contribute to their empowerment by producing argumentation through alternative research approaches such as critical cartography and militant research. She hopes to close the gap between academic thought and lived urban experiences, contributing to envisioning a different world and actively building it.

Jason Brown

Jason is a community artist, facilitator, designer, and social investigator. As a designer, he started the brand Geocommunetrics, which seeks to explore aesthetic and psychogeographic investigations into place-based identities through textiles, installations, collective cartography, and creative collaborations. As an urbanist, he is informed by local community organizing, alternative housing models, participatory planning, and expressive, iterative-making practices. Professionally, Jason has worked in spaces ranging from surface design to residential construction and design with various forms of community-based and educational programming and facilitation. These cross-scalar experiences are a base for current investigations into alternative community development models, critical pedagogies of place, and civic engagement.

Jacqueline Catañeda

Jacqueline Castañeda is an urban thinker with an academic background in Architecture and Urban Design. As an urbanist, her passion focuses on designing strategies, processes, and projects with an integrated approach, using both everyday tools and breakthrough technologies to develop a balanced and equitable society and preserve our environment. Her practice involves urban planning and design, public spaces, sustainable mobility strategies, participatory design, and community development. She co-founded CITAD, a design collective that aims to improve the urban experience for everyone. CITAD was a 2018 Public Access Design Fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Jacqueline is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she is exploring and doing research about the intersection of spatial justice and women’s bodies.