Liz Ogbu: What if gentrification was about healing communities instead of displacing them?
Liz Ogbu - Designer, urbanist, social change agent
Liz Ogbu works with/in communities in need, to use tactical, human-centered design to tackle wicked social problems and catalyze community healing. Full bio
of social scientists,
in my mom's Sears catalog ...
personal art gallery,
was surprised when I became an architect.
of the architect I became
around my family's dinner table.
lived and connected to one another,
on a village in Zambia
in the streets of San Francisco.
does that have to do with architecture?"
of texting and tweeting,
hasn't done a great job
of monuments like the Gherkin
rather than the have-nots.
to certain peoples' stories --
most often been silenced.
means that we understand
of resources, services and access
that once held a power plant.
who lived in the public housing
like land entitlements,
for at least five to 10 years.
near a power plant for decades,
in their backyard.
to about 30 football fields.
didn't want to be the bad guy here.
that responded to that call,
with those mothers
and the utility company.
with all types of events
of spatial justice.
that we've been operational,
and done something on this site
their relationship to it.
that events are not enough.
in this neighborhood.
to talk concretely
to sell it to a developer,
luxury condos like everyone else?"
and resources in this neighborhood?"
had failed to bring joy.
there was still pain here.
of environmental injustice
uses in this neighborhood,
one of the lowest per capita income,
like Twitter, Airbnb and Uber call home.
a gentrification push
to talk about gentrification.
it's kind of like a dirty word.
with the displacement
of losing a place that held your story.
and imagine your way into it right now.
to find your favorite local spot,
with the old-timers or your friends,
you're feeling right now,
who harmed you meant to do so.
to hang around long enough
and economic displacement as inevitable?
of past injustices --
people's capacity to stay --
at those past injustices
that is interwoven into them.
on my own work,
have been recurring themes.
in the Bayview Hunters Point project
set aside like an island --
with day laborers.
of being robbed of his wages many times
the sacredness of this site?"
in Charlottesville and New Orleans ...
their industrial lifeblood
with a very long trail of broken promises
that the foundations cannot hold?
was never part of my job description
when there's space for pain.
in the neighborhood,
who had led the fight to close the plant.
a sense of impending loss.
stories were being lost.
the amazing things
we reached out to StoryCorps.
recorded for posterity.
on NPR every Friday morning.
just talk about joy
to grow up in the neighborhood.
and questioned by a police officer
of living in this neighborhood,
that had sprung up
to first express pain and grief,
to brainstorm ideas for a site --
of what we did over the next four years.
different meeting now?
was not created in a day.
go to therapy just once and be cured?
more listening sessions,
in a place where pain didn't exist
honing my skills as an architect,
where I should be telling you
I have learned along the way.
to listen to everyone.
to see built in the future
lost or unfulfilled.
with our own guilt,
Anne Marks once observed,
to put a clean slate over our pain,
in Bayview Hunters Point.
says that healing renews our faith
as an architect-healer
what I can become,
that I work with can become,
to take that journey alone.
with the way that things are now.
far more resilient than you think.
to stay in the presence of it,
that we can make together
About the speaker:Liz Ogbu - Designer, urbanist, social change agent
Liz Ogbu works with/in communities in need, to use tactical, human-centered design to tackle wicked social problems and catalyze community healing.
Why you should listen
Liz Ogbu writes: "While I received my architecture training at a prestigious architecture school (Harvard), my vision of architecture has always been broader than just bricks and mortar. I believe that the very act of design is about creating places that enable people to be and feel acknowledged, to connect to one another, to heal and to thrive. For me, design solutions emerge not just from an aesthetic place but from also taking a human-centered approach in which people’s needs and desires drive the process; problems (and solutions) are looked at not at the level of isolated objects but from the perspective of systemic injustices. Ideas are prototyped rapidly, in real time, at human scale, and in collaboration with communities.
"I’ve intensely pursued opportunities to advance this vision throughout my career, from founding an innovative social impact design consultancy, Studio O, to projects like designing shelters for immigrant day laborers to advocacy work like Dick and Rick: A Primer on Social Impact Design to research around issues of equitable development in urban marginalized communities in Australia and South Africa."
Liz Ogbu | Speaker | TED.com