From the earliest times, people have travelled to cities to realize their dreams. Cities are places of connection and protection, of aspiration and creativity.
And yet too often, developers, contractors and investors stand in the way of those dreams. As construction booms, we are seeing buildings go up that prioritize an elite 1%, ignore the growing risk of climate change, undermine working conditions for construction workers, and displace people from their homes.
In other words, construction that deepens economic, racial, and gender inequality.
Luckily people are working both within and outside the construction industries towards a different vision, of cities that work for all of us.
Rights Here has a vision of just and resilient cities where all our rights are realized. Its strategies are to:
Share and amplify the stories of people who are transforming the way we build, to open up new opportunities for collaboration (see its first project, district-by-district stories in New York City).
Follow the money, challenging building owners, developers, investors, elected officials and others that have enormous sway over the future of our cities, to respect human rights and take action on climate change.
Channel investment towards rights-respecting construction, with the long-term goal of shifting investment away from extractive construction for the 1%, and into construction that benefits us all.
My name is Annabel Short, a UK-US national based in Astoria, Queens, NYC. I’ve worked for many years on corporate accountability and human rights, from mining companies’ impacts on indigenous peoples, to garment firms and workers’ rights in their supply chains.
With two-thirds of the World’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, I believe it’s critical that we build connections and new systemic approaches to shift the real estate and construction industries towards building cities that work for us all, with human rights at the forefront. Our decisions today about what gets built, how, and for whom, will make or break our ability to respond to inequality and climate change.
Formerly, I have been Deputy Director of ALIGN- Alliance for a Greater New York, Deputy Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and I created the 30th Avenue and I Live Here – Queens projects.
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