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. 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.

Third, Rights Here plans to help channel investment into rights-respecting building that is closely connected to locally-defined needs.

Rights Here is a project of Annabel Short, who has extensive experience on human rights at the international level, as well as experience local community coalition-building in New York City. She is also creator of “30th Ave – A Year in the Life of a Street” and “I live here – Queens“.

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