Monday, April 02, 2007


organized by In the Field
Global housing crises are not abstract. They are visible and viscerally experienced on the ground where people sleep, gather, eat and raise their families. While conditions in distinct and distant cultures may differ, they are increasingly interrelated; so are the processes that generate these conditions. People are actively (and passively) unhoused by markets, governments, wars, ethnic violence, gentrification, natural and manmade disasters, and other factors. Where markets and governments fail to provide housing, people are left to provide housing for themselves. The creative efforts of individuals, groups, and others invested in improving the condition of daily life and shelter at the margins of affordability are the subject of this exhibition. The material presented here is drawn from research on creative responses to global housing crises we are doing in preparation for a book called UNHOUSED.

We are putting multiple forms of housing crises in relation to one another in a way they never are. We are exploring the relationships between diverse phenomena: gentrification in wealthy Western cities, the slum clearance that accompanies the Olympic Games nearly wherever it goes, the occupation of large tracts of land in rural Brazil by thousands of “landless” people and more. The purpose of this project is not to glorify or fetishize life under difficult conditions. Rather, our intention is to give visibility to the magnitude and complexity of housing crises and to stimulate thoughtful action, facilitate potential collaborations amongst innovators on the ground, and – we hope – inspire meaningful policies that can better house people at all levels of society.

Over the next 5 years, we will travel to dozens of cities to conduct research. We will seek out highly localized forms of creative engagement with housing problems all over the world – from direct actions to house people to innovative changes in public policy. Our efforts will combine the work of artists, urban planners, activists, architects, and UNHOUSED populations themselves. We will seek out people who have already conducted in depth investigations of UNHOUSING, like some of the material presented in this exhibition.


NORC Planning and Architectural Support Service
Phase I: Listening to Co-op Village
This piece of paper is part of the exhibition you just walked through. When we (INTERBORO) were asked to exhibit some of our recent architecture and planning work, we knew very little about Co-op Village, or about NORCs. Spending time here, however, has made us very curious about both. We especially love the idea that retirement communities can grow organically, and agree that it doesn’t always make sense for older adults to abandon the Big Apple for some “purpose built” facility in the suburbs.
But we would like to better understand some of the challenges and opportunities presented by growing older in a NORC. Can you take a few minutes to fill out the following form?

Are there any thoughts you have on NORCs that you’d like to share?

Would you be interested in discussing NORCs with the PASS
(Planning and Architectural Support Service)?