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Speaker Biographies

Desiree Fields is an urban geographer at the University of Sheffield (UK). Her research theorizes the rise of financial markets, actors and imperatives as a contemporary process of global urban change. With a particular focus on housing, Fields is interested in how the link between real estate and finance is being reconstructed since the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, how residents experience this process, and its implications for housing policy and advocacy. She was trained as an environmental psychologist and urbanist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. (link)

Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, is professor of urban policy and health, The New School. Dr. Fullilove's research has focused on the health problems caused by inequity. She is the author of Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It, which profiles stories from Pittsburgh's Hill District residents. She is currently leading a study of Main Streets in New Jersey. Many of the state's more than 500 municipalities have a functioning Main Street. What are these streets like? What is their function in today's city? This project is examining these questions and others. For more information, visit www.mainstreetnj.blogspot.com.

Ernesto Lopez-Morales is Associate Professor in the University of Chile and PhD in Urban Planning from the DPU, University College London. He is also associate researcher at the Centre for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies (COES) where he focuses on land economic, gentrification, neoliberal urbanism and housing in Chile and Latin American cities. He is author of Urbanismo proempresarial y destrucción creativa (Redalyc, 2013), and co-author of: Planetary Globalization (Polity Press, 2016). He co-edited Global gentrifications: Uneven development and displacement (Policy Press, 2015). His other published research assesses exclusionary displacement through rent gap analysis in the urban redevelopment of inner Santiago, Chile. In addition to his academic work, Lopez-Morales works in cooperation with activist organizations including the Movimiento de Pobladores Ukamau in Chile and the 06600 Plataforma Vecinal y Observatorio de la Colonia Juarez in Mexico .

Max Rameau is a Haitian born Pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer and author. After moving to Miami, Florida in 1991, Max began organizing around a broad range of human rights issues impacting low-income Black communities, including Immigrant rights (particularly Haitian immigrants), economic justice, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, particularly for ex-felons and police abuse, among others. As a result of the devastating impacts of gentrification taking root during the housing "boom," in the summer of 2006 Max helped found the organization which eventually became known as Take Back the Land, to address 'Land' issues in the Black community. In October 2006, Take Back the Land seized control of a vacant lot in the Liberty City section of Miami and built the Umoja Village, a full urban shantytown, addressing the issues of land, self-determination and homelessness in the Black community. (Read more)

Rob Robinson, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, Special Adviser to the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights. Rob is co-founder of the Take Back the Land National Movement and a member of the US Human Rights Network. Rob Coordinates the USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants, which is part of the International Alliance of Inhabitants. He will have just returned from Quito, Ecuador where he helped organize the international tribunal on evictions and the Peoples Alternative Social Forum to Habitat III. Rob spent two and a half years, homeless in Miami and ten months in a New York City homeless shelter. He eventually escaped his cycle of homelessness and has been in the housing movement in New York City since 2007. In the fall of 2009, Rob was chosen to be chairperson for the first ever official visit of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He is connected with housing movements in South Africa, Brazil, and other countries around the world. He is a member of a social justice media collective which produces and airs a monthly radio show over WBAI in New York City called Global Movements Urban Struggles.