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Urban Justice

Urban planning, housing, transportation, the privatization of public space and the criminalization of people of color and poor people.

The Moving Art House

By Christine Joy Ferrer

Book Mo/Biblio Guagua event at the Portola Branch Library, July 2015. ©2015 Sibila SavageBlanca Gotchez Melara remembers it well. The potent fragrance of basil, black melons and geraniums adorning Nativity dioramas in her hometown of Santa Ana, El Salvador.

The Nacimientos or Nativities were never just Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus but a more elaborate arrangement of clay, wax, wood, metal, fabric, and beads depicting the Christ birth. The main focus was the replication of a whole town with three-dimensional illustrations from one’s daily life in a variety of scales, symbolizing one’s connection to one’s environment relative to the Nativity. The dioramas could include, among the biblical scenes, figurines of women making tortillas, farmers milk

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“School Reform” and Land Grabs Threaten SF’s Community College

Who Wants to Kill City College?

By Marcy Rein

The door to Edgar Torres’s office stands open on the first day of the 2016 spring semester, as it has on the first day of every semester for 14 years. “I do that for the students who get lost and need directions,” says Torres, head of the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). “I love the hustle and bustle of the first day. But today I’m sad, because it’s so quiet.”

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Planning for People, Not Profit

Human Development for the Right to the City
By Dawn Phillips

Photo courtesy of CJJC

Working class urban dwellers are in crisis. Neighborhoods that have seen decades of public and private disinvestment, environmental degradation and racist segregation are now being flooded with an influx of new capital, new developments and new residents. Is this new wave of investment actually good for people and neighborhoods? Who is really benefiting from urban development?

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Gentrification is Making Us Sick

Envisioning Healthy Development without Displacement
By Zoë Levitt

Photo courtesy of CJJC

The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) has witnessed the health consequences of gentrification for years. As Oakland neighborhoods have become less affordable and housing resources have decreased, the health threats have increased for the county’s most vulnerable residents. Case managers in ACPHD’s home visiting programs have heard numerous stories of low-income clients being threatened with eviction if they complain about housing conditions that contribute to asthma and other health issues.[1] Many of our clients have been forced into areas where services are less accessible and still others have been pushed into homelessness—a devastating scenario for health.

Gentrification and displacement have also come up repeatedly in the work of Place Matters, a community-centered local policy initiative of ACPHD.* This initiative was built on the recognition that the places where we live critically shape our health. Social inequities drive health inequities,[2] and policies and institutions are largely responsible for the vastly unequal conditions faced by people based on race, income, and geography. Over the years, it has become clear that while Place Matters and our community partners were successfully engaging in housing, land use, and transportation policy to improve health, gentrification was undermining those efforts by displacing longtime residents and preventing them from benefitting from neighborhood and city-level policy change.

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