What is Solidarity?
Movements, research, and design for another world
WATERLOO ARCHITECTURE ARRISCRAFT 2020-2021 ONLINE SPEAKER SERIES
RIGHT TO REMAIN
Yogi Acharya, Former Organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
Geraldine Dening, Lead Architect and Co-Founder of Architects for Social Housing, UK
Audrey Kobayashi, PhD FRSC, Patricia Monture Distinguished University Professor and Queen’s Research Chair
Members of Vancouver’s Right to Remain Collective describes this as "the existential right to be free from oppression; the material right to the basic necessities of life; the cultural right to sustain a community; and the political right to access democratic mechanisms that protect human rights." Many architects design housing, but most is market-rate and unaffordable to all but a minority of residents with well-paying jobs or personal support networks. Newly designed housing often replaces existing stock displacing tenants; in other cases, it drives up the cost of housing in a neighbourhood, making it unaffordable to current residents. Instead of contributing to gentrification, how can architects help defend the right of residents to remain in their homes and their community when faced with eviction?
Yogi Acharya is a former organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.
Geraldine Dening is the co-founder and Director of Architects for Social Housing (ASH), and a qualified architect with her own practice based in London. She is also a Senior Lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture, where she lectures on professional practice and ethics, as well as running a design studio. Recent projects with Architects for Social Housing include design and feasibility studies for additional housing and improvements to six council- and social-housing estates in London threatened with demolition. These include proposals to increase the housing capacity on Central Hill Estate in South London by up to 50 per cent with no demolition, and on West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estate as part of the community’s application for the Right to Transfer the estate into community ownership. She also devised and co-ordinated Open Garden Estates, a series of events hosted by estates threatened with demolition. As ASH’s lead architect, she is currently working with a number of housing co-operatives to explore new forms of community-led development. In 2018 Geraldine was named by the Evening Standard newspaper as one of London’s 30 most influential architects, and with ASH co-founder Simon Elmer she is working on a book titled For a Socialist Architecture.
Audrey Kobayashi has been involved in participatory community research for more than 40 years. She has researched and published in the areas of human rights and social justice, anti racism, employment equity, and immigration. For the past decade she has worked closely with colleague Jeff Masuda and a team of community researchers to improve housing conditions in the single residence occupancy buildings in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, where she is also engaged in community centred projects on art, poetry, and music.