This summer, I learned that Facebook is no longer cool and climate change is depressing. I was standing in a room of Oakland high schoolers, attempting to teach them about how to use social media to spur action and understanding of climate change, instead thinking, “I guess I’m not cool anymore”. I had been talking about Facebook Live and its potential for talking about climate change, a platform for getting your voice out there with facts presented in a digestible way. But the response I was getting was, “No one even uses Facebook anymore! Only my mom…We just use Instagram”. My social media knowledge was clearly out of date and I had to adapt to new formats of thinking and demonstrating ideas visually and textually.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Peter Moskowitz’s book, How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood is its accessibility and simplicity. Moskowitz joined the Urban Democracy Lab for a discussion on October 4, 2017. He presented on his new book, answered questions, and led a discussion on gentrification and housing justice movements.
Gentrification is a notoriously nebulous, complicated, and heated topic that is difficult to define and link historically. It is also something that is necessarily defined in terms of place, because it is so specific to the space that it is occurring in, and yet it is universal and follows similar patterns in many cities across the United States and the world. It is also, as Moskowitz shows clearly, a violent act, predicated on systems of oppression and colonization that have persisted for centuries. As Moskowitz says with regards to New York City, his hometown, “It became clear that for most poor New Yorkers, gentrification wasn’t about some ethereal change in neighborhood character. It was about mass evictions, about violence, about the decimation of decades-old cultures” (4).
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi is a professor at Gallatin and is organizing and participating in the event, “Dadaab Is A Place on Earth: Architecture in the Twilight of the World’s Largest Refugee Camp,” on April 18th, 2017, 6:00-8:00 pm at 20 Cooper Square, 2nd floor. I sat down with her for a brief interview about the event and the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.
More information on the event can be found here: http://urbandemos.nyu.edu/event/dadaab-is-a-place-on-earth-architecture-in-the-twilight-of-the-worlds-largest-refugee-camp/
Can you tell me briefly about Dadaab and the history of the region?
In 1991, the UNHCR and the government of Kenya established a refugee camp near the village of Dadaab, Kenya, to accommodate a massive influx of refugees after the collapse of Siad Barre’s regime in Somalia. This settlement, established for 30,000 refugees, has since expanded into five settlements in a permanent humanitarian complex housing half a million refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, and aid workers. Dadaab is situated in a borderland between Somalia and Kenya and it is a part of Kenya that’s ethnically Somali. It’s a much less developed region than the rest of Kenya. Continue reading