Pgh Housing Summit

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Human Rights and Housing in the 21st Century

In 2016 and 2018 Pittsburgh residents came together to discuss ways to address our worsening affordable housing crisis. A basic premise of this effort is that we need to make housing a human right and shift away from policies that treat housing as a commodity reserved only for those who can pay market rates. We believe our society needs to find new ways to ensure that all residents have access to safe and affordable housing, and we are committed to working across our many differences to make Pittsburgh and our larger region a place that is most livable for everyone. The Pittsburgh Housing Summit is an ongoing process of movement-building for housing justice.

Housing Summit Goals

  1. Promote wider understanding and discussion of housing as a human right and build a political constituency to support the human right to safe, decent, and affordable housing for all.
  2. Build and strengthen local and national housing justice movement
    1. Promote greater awareness and understanding of the causes and human impacts of the affordable housing crisis in the Pittsburgh region among all residents;
    2. Center the leadership and experiences of those most impacted by housing crisis;
    3. Raise consciousness about the connections between the affordable housing crisis in our region and national and global policies;
    4. Learn about how people in other parts of the city and country are addressing housing rights and build participation in local housing justice activism/ tenant unions;
  3. Build upon and expand work for a county-wide tenant’s organization to help residents know and defend their rights
    1. Provide resources and skills training: legal / know your rights; Housing, Organizing skills and strategies
    2. Mobilize allies and new constituencies (i.e., student renters)

Housing Justice Resources & Links

Pittsburgh Housing Summit 2018

2018 Highlights Keynote Speaker Gianpaolo Baiocchi, director of the Urban Democracy Lab at New York University and author of We the Sovereign (Radical Futures) and Communities Over Commodities: People-Driven Alternatives To an Unjust Housing System. Democracy for Social Emancipation: Lessons from Around the World

  1. Housing Summit 2018 Program

Housing Summit Organizing Coalition: Hill District Consensus Group, Landless People's Alliance,Homes for All Pittsburgh, Human Rights City Alliance, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing;Penn Plaza Support and Action Network, University of Pittsburgh Human Rights Working Group, Pitt Students Advancing Communities Together (ACT), Urbankind Institute, University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh Urban Studies Program Center for Health Equity Pitt Sociology

Target Audiences

  • Renters
  • Residents with special needs (i.e., disabled, vets, elderly, etc.)
  • Housing justice advocates
  • Social justice advocates
  • Landlords
  • Service providers
  • Legal professionals
  • Housing professionals
  • Students
  • General public/media

Summit Planning Committee Organizations

Housing Summit 2016:

2016 Plenary Session Recordings

  • Thursday November 10: 'Dr. Mindy Fullilove'''''--"Where is home? How housing instability affects us all" Link to recording
  • Friday November 11: Big Money and Local Lives: Globalization and the Affordable Housing Crisis Desiree Fields, and Ernesto Lopez-Morales Link to recording
  • Saturday November 12: Taking Back the Land: Global Perspectives on Land Reform and the Human Right to Housing Max Rameu, organizer and author of Take Back the Land, Rob Robinson, International Alliance of Inhabitants & National Economic and Social Rights Initiative Link to recording
  • From workshop, "Tales of Displacement and Local 'Root Shock' "Soho Stories" aims to raise public awareness of issues impacting the quality of life for members of our community, such as disparities in standards of living, food and environmental justice and equity in neighborhood redevelopment initiatives. The Uptown and West Oakland area, which includes DeRuad Street and the rest of Soho are part of the City's Eco Innovation District, for which a community driven plan highlighting equitable and green redevelopment will be implemented over the coming years.
  • See Full Schedule

Pittsburgh's economic re-development has earned it the reputation as a 'most livable city.' But growing numbers of residents ask, 'livable for whom?' It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the reality of a growing divide between two Pittsburghs”one affluent, professional, and largely white, and the other low-income people with long-term roots in the region, largely people of color. Such patterns of growth, rising inequality, increased economic and racial segregation, and displacement of poor minority residents is the direct result of global level development processes. Globalized imperatives to promote markets and economic growth has exacerbated inequalities and divisions in cities around the world between elites and the people for whom the city is primarily a place to live and work. And around the world people are coming together to resist their displacement from their homes and communities.
The Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh is helping convene the Housing Summit as a space for residents to come together with organizers and experts from around the world to learn about and discuss the global and local forces affecting people's access to affordable housing and the efforts to address them. A series of public lectures, panels, workshops, and cultural events will facilitate learning and networking aimed at highlighting this issue on the public and policy agenda while advancing new thinking and community organization that can help Pittsburgh residents realize their human right to housing. Global Studies Center Faculty Fellow Professor Jackie Smith, whose research focuses on social movement responses to globalization, is coordinating the initiative, with the help of a steering committee of Pitt faculty and community leaders working in the most impacted neighborhoods. Keynote speakers, leaders in community activism, public policy, and scholarship, will contribute to discussions about the relationships between affordable housing, urban social movements, and globalization. Participatory workshops are designed to help participants learn skills to help them end discrimination and displacement while building a movement for housing justice and human rights.

Facebook event

2016 Housing Summit co-sponsors:

*Major financial support for the Housing Summit has been provided by the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing.

Other co-sponsors: Casa San Jose, Hill District Consensus Group, Hill House Association, Homes for All Coalition-Pittsburgh, Human Rights City Alliance, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, United Steelworkers, University Human Rights Network, University of Pittsburgh--Global Studies Center, Architectural Studies, Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), Consortium for Injury Research and Community Action (CIRCA), European Studies Center (ESC), Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), School of Social Work, Department of Sociology,, Office of the Provost-Year of Diversity, United Students Against Sweatshops; University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSR)



Media Advisories
Main Poster

Project Description and Rationale

*Thanks to artist Emily Simons for her logo designItalic text.