Building Equities illustrates emergent urban development models across the U.S. that respond to the problematic effects of real estate speculation.

Throughout history, collective ownership has been used as a strategy to democratize real estate and redistribute power. Rent strikes, cooperative conversions, land trusts, investment co-ops, and other means of sharing equity and leveraging property rights continue to emerge from communities disproportionately vulnerable to displacement; primarily those facing systemic racism, segregation, and poverty. We believe these stories should be shared, discussed, and held up as our guides towards more equitable development practices.

The name of the index plays off the dual meanings of the term equity. First, justice according to natural law or right, and freedom from bias. Second, a risk interest or ownership right in property; “the total package of rights, responsibilities, risks, and rewards that accompany the ownership of residential property.”¹

In collaboration with Violet Whitney with support from the Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s Percival and Naomi Goodman Fellowship.


1. John Emmeus Davis and Alice Stokes, Lands in Trust; Homes that Last: A Performance Evaluation of the Champlain Housing Trust, Burlington: Champlain Housing Trust (2009), 6.