About the Anti-Displacement studio

Displacement is the forced relocation and exclusion of people from places of origin, residence, and belonging. In the 21st or “urban” century, the restructuring of cities as engines of economic growth based on knowledge and service sectors, commodification of housing as financial assets and instruments, and escalating socioeconomic inequality have destabilized urban neighborhoods and routinized gentrification and displacement. 

A growing number of local communities are pushing back against speculative profit-driven development. They build on urban histories and progressive movement traditions of community activism against urban renewal, highway construction, and other spatial injustices as well as advocacy for better social services, municipal policies and programs, tenant rights and rent control; inclusive workforce training and hiring on publicly-funded construction projects; and fair housing and financial lending policies. 

The Anti-displacement studio is a Boston-based community-engaged research and design studio offered at Northeastern University that activates the role and responsibility of the designer as creative accomplice to place-based activists and frontline communities. Taught by Professor Lily Song, the studio is motivated by the key question: how do we retool and reformulate planning and design methods to work alongside anti-displacement activists and movements?