Gentrification is Colonialism: Housing & Colonizing Architecture

Forge Project, a new Native-led arts and decolonial education initiative based in Ancram, is hosting a three-part series of dialogues and intimate conversation sessions, “Gentrification is Colonialism,” between local organizers, community members, and Indigenous activists whose work fights against gentrification, the housing crisis, “sick” architecture, and the ways in which artists and cultural spaces are complicit in their construction.

Forge Project, una nueva iniciativa de arte y educación decolonial liderada por indígenas y ubicada en Ancram, está organizando una serie de diálogos y sesiones de conversación íntimas en tres partes, "La Gentrificación es Colonialismo", entre organizadores locales, miembros de la comunidad y activistas indígenas que luchan contra la gentrificación, la crisis de la vivienda, la arquitectura "enferma" y las maneras en que los artistas y los espacios culturales son cómplices en su construcción.

Housing & Colonizing Architecture/Vivienda y Arquitectura Colonizadora
Location: RUPCO Kirkland building, 2 Main Street, Kingston NY
Moderator: Kwame Holmes, scholar in residence at Bard, Human Rights
Panelists: Chris Cornelius, architect, studio:indigenous
Alec Martinez, urban-planning student, Harvard Graduate School of Design

The second panel, “Housing and Colonizing Architecture,” took place in Kingston, a city with severe and compounded housing, affordability, and zoning crises that are pushing families with the fewest options into increasingly desperate circumstances. The dialogue will focus on the ways in which architecture itself, including but not limited to "public” or government housing, is a tool of the colonial project in the United States and Canada. In this context, Indigenous architecture, both historical and contemporary, offer non- and anti-colonial models useful in understanding and extending both organizing and scholarship with regards to government housing.

Cada panel será moderado por un artista o organizador local, y contará con la participación de activistas locales conocidos por su trabajo sobre el tema en diálogo con un activista, arquitecto, artista o académico indígena de la comunidad del Proyecto Forge que esté adoptando un nuevo enfoque de este antiguo problema colonial. Al panel público le seguirá una conversación informativa entre los panelistas y los miembros de la comunidad, en la que los participantes podrán hacer preguntas más específicas y debatir en mayor profundidad las temáticas que se han presentado durante estas conversaciones.

About Kwame Holmes
Kwame Holmes researches the intersection of race, sexuality, class identities, and politics within the history of the modern city. Holmes has worked at the intersection of academic and community activism throughout his career and, since moving to Kingston, is working to transform the public discourse on housing justice through the Kingston Housing Lab. Through KHL, data is emerging about the role of corporate ownership in the local property market, the impact of Airbnbs and other vacation rental sites on the rental market, and the unforeseen consequences of the state's efforts to curb homelessness.

About Chris Cornelius
Chris Cornelius is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of New Mexico and is the founding principal of studio:indigenous. Cornelius was a collaborating designer with Antoine Predock on the Indian Community School of Milwaukee. Chris is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the inaugural Miller Prize from Exhibit Columbus, a 2018 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Award, and an Artist residency from the National Museum of the American Indian. Chris has been exhibited widely including the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Cornelius was the Spring 2021, Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale University.

About Alec Martinez
Alec Martinez is an urban planning student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. They study the decommodification of land and housing and are currently writing a thesis on land use and value systems inspired by indigenous ecotheologies and anti-capitalist geography. They are originally from Laredo, Texas, along the Rio Grande River, the homelands of the Coahuitecan and the Comecrudo Nations from which they derive their lineage. Prior to being a student, they did activist work on the border, ranging from organizing protests to creating urban gardens.

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