Get to know your neighbors!
The Environmental Action Lab is a Brooklyn based non-profit committed to reconnecting borough residents to their bioregion and helping to build new food networks focused on the needs of the people. Through embracing agroecology principles that value community and regenerative farming, we hope to change the narrative and redefine our relationship to the land. The uncertainty of climate change has put the future into flux. We cannot keep living unsustainably if we want a future. Through our partnership with YIMBY farm we hope to create an educational teaching lab where students can come and learn about urban agriculture. These skills will ensure that future generations have the knowledge to build a society resilient against climate change.
WE ARE ANTI-GENTRIFICATION
Gentrification is a manifestation of inequality. It is a continuation of blockbusting, steering and redlining. During the Great Depression, real estate agents used these racially based tactics to socially engineer a neighborhood for profit. Blockbusting is the illegal practice of encouraging homeowners to sell because of an expected influx of minorities in the area. Steering is when real estate agents nudge buyers toward a specific area based on the client’s race. Redlining is another discriminatory practice. It is the act of denying services to residents of certain areas based on their race. People of color were denied access to loans that would enable them to buy or repair homes in their neighborhood. These structural inequalities lead to the accumulation of wealth in the white communities. After World War 2, white veterans were granted the GI Bill, which made it easier to buy homes in the suburbs, resulting in white flight. While people of color were trapped in disenfranchised urban areas, white people moved out of the city and now they are moving back in. Nowadays, cities are attractive to real estate. There is a push to bring more wealth back into cities through a process known as gentrification.
Gentrification is often viewed as neighborhood improvement, but it means a great deal more. Gentrification is defined as a process of neighborhood change that includes economic change in a historically disinvested neighborhood - by means of real estate investment and new higher income residents moving in - as well as demographic change. Tom Slater, a professor of urban geography, describes gentrification as the spatial expression of economic inequality, or the way in which inequality plays out in our neighborhoods and communities. The process is enacted through a combination of real estate speculation, increased investment, changes in land use and changes in the character of a neighborhood. Gentrification is often associated with displacement, which means that in some of these communities, long term residents are unable to stay and benefit from new investments in housing, healthy food access and transit infrastructure. Instead, long time residents, often people of color, are faced with rent increases and eviction.