CommonBound Track: "Development Without Displacement"

Gentrification, segregation, and displacement are growing problems for neighborhoods across the country.

Low-income neighborhoods in major, prosperous cities are disappearing rapidly. From 1990 to 2010, several major cities saw more than 50 percent of low-income communities displaced by new middle and upper-middle income residents. In the face of these trends, many ask: is equitable community development is possible?

Workshops in this track will explore examples of community organizing, as well as successful policy and communications strategies used by grassroots advocates to fight gentrification and ensure that community change doesn’t lead to the displacement of long-time residents and institutions. Participants will learn how to identify underlying economic, cultural, and environmental conditions that enable institutions (banks, government agencies, corporations) and individuals (real estate developers, civic boosters, elected officials) to advance projects and policies that create unjust and inequitable cities, and how we can work together across sectors and issue areas to build power within vulnerable communities. Participants will also walk away with strategies to implement in their own communities, and grounded in a belief that equitable development is possible, that community organizing is critical, and that vulnerable communities have a direct role to play in building and controlling truly sustainable development models.

Participants will bring a variety of experiences, perspectives, and knowledge to workshops. Ideally the entire track will include opportunities for long-time community activists, people looking for tools to tackle gentrification in their own backyard, and those interested in a solutions-based perspective on complicated issue. We hope to accomplish this through a mix of workshops ranging from introductory to more advanced levels. Please indicate in your application the experience, skill, or knowledge level anticipated for participants.   

We’re looking for session proposals that:

  • Explore specific strategies that your community has implemented to make community change more just and inclusive. We particularly want sessions that discuss specific policies and initiatives, as well as the community organizing and coalition building that led to their implementation.
  • Define what gentrification and displacement are and what they look like in our communities.
  • Identify the underlying institutions and economic conditions that allow gentrification and displacement to occur.
  • Exchange best practices for organizing and coalition building for anti-gentrification and displacement strategies
  • Recognize that while gentrification and displacement is occurring not only in cities with red hot housing markets, but also those whose markets are weaker--and that strategies change depending on market conditions.

Some examples of the types of sessions we’re looking for include (but are not limited to!):
Participatory education workshops on what gentrification is, what actors and institutions are involved, and how it impacts our communities.

Case studies of particular policy strategies--including successes and lessons learned--and campaigns to implement them. Some strategies we’d love to learn more about include, but again, not limited to:

  • Inclusionary Zoning
  • Community Benefits Agreements
  • Strengthening tenant’s rights
  • Rent Control
  • Community Land Trusts
  • Shared Equity Cooperatives
  • Participatory Budgeting
  • Affordable housing development
  • Community Investment Trusts

“How-to” Workshops on organizing and coalition building around displacement and gentrification

For more information, contact Jen Kaminsky at jen [at]

Coordinated By:

  • Jen Kaminsky, PUSH Buffalo
  • Carl Nightingale, University at Buffalo