Housing Justice Voices

There are many community voices that should be heard by the City planners, planning commissioners, and the Mayor and councilors to bring some “real world” perspective to the deliberations on code amendments being proposed to implement HB 2001.

One of the glaring aspects of the State and local HB 2001 processes is that they have been tightly orchestrated by pretty much a white, middle class group of planners and advocates. Very few, if any, of these individuals have significant experience working among Black (or other nonwhite and/or poor) neighborhoods.

Consequently — as they’ve been forced to admit — City planners have done nothing to assess the potential impacts of extreme deregulation that has no accompanying provisions for requiring affordable housing or protecting against displacement.

Below are three voices, of two Black women and one (Asian) Indian woman, that planners and officials should hear and read because the three individuals presented below provide compelling insights into zoning and housing justice — issues are being ignored by City staff, Planning Commissioners, and many City Councilors.

Lisa Bates, PSU professor.
Lisa Bates Speaks to Planners at Rutgers University

Portland State University researcher, Lisa Bates, aims to build new models for emancipatory planning practices and to dismantle institutional racism. She is a nationally recognized authority on displacement and housing justice.  She is currently collaborating with Dr. Amie Thurber to evaluate Portland’s ground-breaking policy to support housing opportunities for families displaced over multiple generations of urban renewal.
Professor Bates earned her B.A. is in Political Science from the George Washington University and her Ph.D. in City & Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina. 
Learn more about Professor Bates at:
Lisa Bates | Portland State University (pdx.edu)
Selected Works – Lisa K. Bates (bepress.com)

There are three segments to Professor Bates’ presentation:
  1. Portland’s history of exclusion and displacement of Black residents
  2. At 32:20 Principles and actions to address displacement,
emphasising — let the communities lead
  3. At 57:45 Q & A
The 25-1/2 minute second segment is where the “payload’ is. The Q&A isn’t very interesting. The Portland history is good background, but not necessary to get the value of the second segment. One counterintuitive fact in the first segment is that in Portland, “redlining” was put in place around poor white neighborhoods well before the main influx of Black residents during WW II.

Lydia Edwards, Boston City Councilor.
Speaking about zoning,housing justice, and integration

This is a video of Councilor Edward’s comments, excerpted from her participation on a panel at Boston University.

Lydia graduated from American University Washington College of Law and received a LLM in taxation from Boston University School of Law.

  • Boston’s Most Impactful Black Women, 2021 (Get Konnected!)
  • Bostonian of the Year Honorable Recognition, 2015 (Boston Globe Magazine
  • Boston Rising Stars, 40 under 40, 2015 (National Law Journal and Connecticut Law Tribune)
  • Community Peacemaker Honoree, 2013 (Community Dispute Settlement Center)
  • Attorney of the Year, 2012 (Matahari: Eye of the Day) 

Boston City Councilor, Lydia Edwards, has been a lifelong advocate and voice on behalf of society’s most vulnerable. Prior to being elected to the Boston City Council, Lydia worked as a public interest attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services focusing on labor issues such as fighting for access to unemployment insurance, back wages, fair treatment for domestic workers, and combating human trafficking. Additionally, she coordinated a statewide campaign to pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights – and she won. Following the bill’s passage, she was named Bostonian of the Year, Honorable Mention, by the Boston Globe.
Learn more about Councilor Edwards at:

A great New York Times interview with Ananya Roy, UCLA professor

How to solve the housing crisis (8/19/2021) (nytimes.com)

The article may be behind a paywall. Click here for PDF.

Here is one of the “takeaways” from Professor Roy’s analysis:

“I want to make a distinction between ‘all housing matters’ and housing justice. Housing justice is a set of programs and policies focused on the experiences and needs of communities on the front lines of dispossession and displacement. It recognizes that the land and
wealth loss suffered by such communities has often been the 
grounds for gentrification and other forms of urban development. 
Most important for the issue at hand, housing justice insists that the housing market is the problem, not the solution.

These three individuals above have a lot more credibility than any of the City planners and planning commissioners, and the City Council needs to heed their advice before adopting purely “free-market” zoning deregulation.