Gallery Project , , , , ,

Counter-Mapping Evictions in NYC

Manon Vergerio
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Ariana Allensworth
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Ciera Dudley
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Worst Evictors NYC
https://www.worstevictorsnyc.org/map

Narratives of Displacement and Resistance NYC http://www.antievictionmappingproject.net/nycnarratives.html

Gallery Project Statement

The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project is a volunteer-run data visualization, mapping, and storytelling collective that documents the dispossession of residents upon gentrifying landscapes. Founded in San Francisco in 2013 in the wake of the tech boom 2.0, the collective has since expanded to form chapters in Los Angeles and New York City. Today, we present two cartographic pieces that convey our emerging practice here in NYC.

The NYC Worst Evictors project is the product of an ongoing collaboration with the Right to Counsel Coalition, JustFixNYC, and the Housing Data Coalition. The website combines a citywide map of evictions that can be searched by address or filtered by top evictors, along with rights-based education for tenants around the new Right to Counsel (RTC) legislation,[1] and a list of the worst evictors in RTC zip codes. Combining the grassroots knowledge of tenant organizers with the power of data analysis and cartography, NYC Worst Evictors portrays displacement as a system with identifiable perpetrators, shifting the burden and shame of evictions from individual tenants to corporate landlords. The map also makes tangible the massive scale of the eviction crisis in NYC and highlights “hot spots” through the accretion of eviction dots on the map. These convey the presence of new frontiers of “accumulation by dispossession[2]” in areas like the Bronx, where working class tenants are violently evicted to make way for a new speculative landscape and profit extraction. Yet, far from a depiction of defeat, NYC Worst Evictors is a call to organize tenants across the city and to strategically highlight serial evictors, who were put on trial at the first People’s Tribunal on Evictions in North America, held on October 28, 2019.

While we embrace the power of maps in their ability to depict the unsettling scale and pace of displacement, we also recognize the tendency of GIS software to perpetuate the “god trick of seeing everything from nowhere” (Donna Haraway, 1988) a cold and disembodied gaze upon a city. In our commitment to never reduce the texture and richness of people lives to a dot on a map, and to value knowledge that is situated in the everyday experiences of those who inhabit the city, we developed Narratives of Displacement and Resistance, a multimedia map combining a quantitative dataset of evictions with oral histories, photographs, and videos of tenants impacted by displacement and organizing to stay in SF, LA, and NYC. For the NYC portion of this map, we combined a dataset of 2018 evictions in New York City with oral histories gathered with tenants. We are still in an ongoing process of collecting oral histories by organizing recording sessions around the city and inviting oral historians to contribute their own stories to the map. While the stories are archived and live on our publicly accessible digital map, we also carve offline spaces to share our storytelling practice in collective, embodied settings. In May 2019, we organized an Oral History 101 community training at Picture the Homeless in Harlem, and in August 2019, we held a collective listening party in Bushwick in partnership with other storytellers and housing activists.

References

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599. doi:10.2307/3178066

Harvey, D. (2004). The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession. Socialist Register 40: 63-87.


[1] RTC grants free legal counsel to tenants facing eviction.

[2] Term developed by critical geographer David Harvey (2004).