In the Bronx and across New York City, residents and small businesses in many low-income neighborhoods of color face significant displacement pressure. Private and public development processes exclude the critical knowledge and aspirations of local residents, avoid meaningful community engagement, and fail to consider the risks and benefits of development to existing community members.  


The purpose of this toolkit is to provide the practical lessons, frameworks, and tools generated over the past 18 months through the collaborative process the MIT Community Innovators Lab, its partner, the Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative, and the Development without Displacement Roundtable have undertaken. By creating this model for other boroughs, neighborhoods, and cities across the Americas, we endeavor to overcome these dynamics by fostering approaches that advance equitable development without displacing residents and small businesses.

What we mean by development without displacement

Development is building collective ownership and governance assets by and for marginalized people

Displacement is forced migration from home, neighborhood, place, space

Development without displacement is a broad array of strategies, policies and activities that advances the former while preventing the latter

Fighting back and fighting forward

Our strategy for Development without Displacement is rooted in balancing two critical approaches, Fighting Back and Fighting Forward.

Fighting Back involves stopping displacement that is happening right now with traditional organizing tactics such as exposing bad landlords, demonstrating against unfair city planning campaigns, and working to expand the rights of tenants.

Fighting Forward involves building equitable development projects such as establishing community land trusts, creating spaces for high-road local businesses with high-paying jobs, and envisioning and advancing future development that will build opportunities for shared wealth creation and ownership and prevent displacement in the long term.