Project Brief

MIT Co-Lab and Research Action Design (RAD), in partnership with GreenRoots, CityLife, and Everett Community Health Partnership brought together planning and design disciplines to create a suite of aesthetic tools to support community organizing and advocacy efforts around displacement and gentrification in the Greater Boston region.

Through this partnership we created, built, and are sharing a multi-media toolkit and film intended to help jump-start organizing against displacement in neighborhoods in the Greater Boston Area and beyond. This toolkit was be the outcome of a collaborative design process rooted in the work of the partner organizations. This was a co-design/participatory project which aimed to achieve the following goals:

1. Deepen local collaborations with values-aligned partners seeking to advocate for social change around these issues

2. Engage and train emerging planning practitioners at MIT in creative, participatory methods for community research and action, and leverage student expertise to support the work of partners on the ground

3. Co-create an array of popular education tools, usable by community partners, to share critical research findings with broader audiences, magnify community values and voice, educate and engage others in shared struggles, and inspire action to impact current gentrification and displacement trends

4. Develop, disseminate and scale up new knowledge about aesthetic inquiry as a means of addressing social injustice in ways that can’t adequately be measured using traditional social science methods.

The finished toolkit lives at

This project was funded by the Surdna Foundation. Illustration by Agustín Cepeda. Film by Puck Lo.