Tag: Counter-mapping

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

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.


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).

Augmenting People’s Geographies of Seattle: Digital platforms as participatory methods

Christian Anderson
University of Washington Bothell

Abraham Avnisan
Kent State University

Amir Sheikh
University of Washington Bothell

This paper jumps off from a discussion of two overlapping place-based projects which the authors and additional collaborators are currently working to develop in the Seattle, WA metropolitan region. One project, called unARchived, entails an open-source augmented reality iOS app and accompanying website, which are themselves sub-elements of a larger umbrella-project called the People’s Geography of Seattle (PGS). The PGS started in 2017 as a university-public collaboration among community-based public historians, artists, storytellers, activists, and faculty at the University of Washington. Both projects draw on frameworks of participatory action research, counter-mapping, and community archiving and story-telling. Rooted in such approaches, both projects aim to curate historical and contemporary images, oral histories, interviews, maps, tours, and other artifacts in a manner which might amplify existing community capacities while at the same time countering dominant, naturalizing understandings of the rapid tech-capital led development and displacement ongoing in the city and the region. Crucially, we approach such activities as methodological starting points rather than outcomes. In that context this paper aims to extend ongoing conversations about how digital cartographic and visual humanities platforms—unARchived being a first iteration of one such platform—might accommodate overarching visions based on the approaches outlined above while also engendering additional engagements including further place-based collaborations, organizing efforts, and anti-displacement actions themselves.

Restoration of erased landscapes, Counter-mapping and memory Activism: The Case of Zochrot’s Nakba Maps

Orna Vaadia
Ben-Gurion University

This paper examines the ways in which civic organization uses counter-mapping and memory activism to restore the erased landscape and the silenced history, within transitional justice proses, in ongoing conflict situations. Counter-mapping and memory activism are practices that seek to challenge the hegemonic perception of space, the hegemonic modes of commemoration and the collective space memory construction. Relying on the assumption that each technology enables the production of different forms of knowledge, which in turn, represents and constructs different ideas and different political relations, this paper will examine the Nakba maps: the printed map, the interactive map, and the navigation app- iNakba, produced by Zochrot. Zochrot (Hebrew word for “remembering”) is an Israeli NGO operating to promote the responsibility to the Palestinian Nakba among the Jewish public in Israel and to realize the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. The ‘Nakba’ refers to the results of the 1948 war and it stand for ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic. The Israeli and Palestinian narratives of the 1948 war constructs conflicting narratives. In light of this, the discussion of Zochrot’s Nakba maps will trace the spatial modes of representation provided by the different mapping technologies, the way they define the memory discourse in which the map seeks to operate and the ways of commemoration that they offer to each memory community.