Proactive and Reactive Counter-Mapping with the Bronx Development without Displacement Roundtable

Authors: Nicholas Shatan*, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Katherine Mella, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Topics: Urban Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: GIS, development, gentrification, displacement, economic democracy, Bronx, New York
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iberville, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In many North American cities, grassroots community development organizations have come to include anti-gentrification and anti-displacement campaigns as a focus of their work. Previous research has shown that such groups have adeptly deployed data-driven knowledge production and counter-mapping to shape narratives and fuel political action (Fields 2015; Dalton and Stallmann 2017). Activists and scholars have also emphasized the importance of doing "offense" as well as "defense," as organizing is strengthened by building alternatives in the form of equitable development and economic democracy. The Development without Displacement Roundtable, a coalition of various community organizations representing neighborhoods across the Bronx, takes this approach and uses counter-mapping as a major element of its strategy. This paper examines how the Roundtable uses publicly available data sets, various interactive and static GIS media, and real estate development scenarios to repurpose the tools of state and capital for and by the grassroots. This paper contributes to a broader understanding of the methods and challenges of using spatial analysis to fight gentrification, predatory speculation, and the state initiatives that support them, as well as proactively support the envisioning of greater economic democracy and spatial solidarity in strong market cities.

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