In May of 2016 the University of Minnesota Law School Published a report titled “The Rise of White-Segregated Subsidized Housing.” Focusing specifically on Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, the report outlines how the market for federally subsidized housing led to the creation of white segregated housing via the invention of the artist loft, what they term Politically Opportune Subsidized Housing (POSH’s). As a non-white artist working at the intersection of cultural production, community-based practice, and urban planning, this article was not a surprise but rather provided valuable data sets that evidenced a social phenomenon that remains largely disavowed and sublimated beneath layers of passive conservatism known by the colloquium “Minnesota Nice. This project weaves together an interdisciplinary study that brings together practices of black feminism, geography, and architecture. Through the construction and attempt to locate an informal house, the epistemic, political, economic, and affective contexts of intersecting disparities in each of these areas became clear, particularly as problems that relate to living in cities. Using an interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach, I focus on understanding the formation, production, erosion, and/or annihilation of, a black sense of place through zoning and housing policy that continues to negatively impact Black people and also the ways that Black women and women of color have and continue to work against these policies by creating loopholes within these systems for themselves. Using a tiny house built by me and my friends/collaborators, I explore the question how and for what purposes does housing policy affect the production of Black spaces and how might we understand and respond to the politics of gentrification, ownership, and cultural production as labor. Further, I ask how time affects the way we think about, create policy around, and therefore are allowed to inhabit our homes.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. SEptember 2018. Major: Feminist Studies. Advisors: Jigna Desai, Catherine Squires. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 198 pages.
Sensing Place: House-Scale, Black Geographies, and a Humanly Workable City.
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