About

From the earliest times, people have travelled to cities to realize their dreams and support their families, or to escape conflict and environmental degradation.

The trend continues. By 2050, two thirds of the World’s population will live in urban areas. Yet too often, what we see being built in our cities prioritizes construction for the 1%, undermines worker protections, and ignores the growing risk of climate change.

The Rights Here project aims to help move investment and development in cities in a new direction. It will amplify and build connections between people who have a vision of just and resilient cities, where all our rights are realized.

The Rights Here model of change involves three strategies:

First, Rights Here will share and amplify the stories of people who are transforming the way we build from the ground up, recognizing that stories have the power to build connections and open up new opportunities for collaboration and change. Rights Here will start in 2019-20 with a neighborhood-by-neighborhood journey throughout the five boroughs of New York City, starting in Staten Island and ending in Manhattan, talking with immigrant worker organizers, women forging their careers in construction, architects of affordable, green housing and others, to create a shared vision and strategies for rights-respecting construction. Similar projects will follow in other global cities.

The second strategy is to follow the money, challenging building owners, developers, local officials and others that have enormous sway over the future of our cities and our lives, to take human rights and climate change into account throughout their activities. While a growing global movement has raised the expectations of companies across many sectors to respect human rights, to date there has been little attention to the real estate and construction industries, in part due to the fragmented nature of the way in which investments and decisions are made.

Third, Rights Here plans to identify ways to help channel investment away from “extractive” approaches, and into rights-respecting building that is closely connected to locally-defined needs.

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