Tenants united: Navigating allies and adversaries in housing movements

Caitlin Waickman, Fordham University


This work investigates the current dynamics of participants in housing movements in New York City. Through case and context analysis, this project seeks to provide insight to the difficulties that tenants face in not only fighting for fair housing, but in working with the activists, politicians, and nonprofits that seek to help them their efforts. Through literature, history, and social research, this project provides a timely analysis of the current state of rental housing and the efforts to improve it. Rental properties continue to be affected by the housing crisis of 2008. Overleveraged or foreclosed buildings leave tenants at risk of deteriorating conditions or pressure to leave, so owners can attract higher paying occupants. Tenants in Sunset Park, Brooklyn responded to their own unfair housing conditions with protests, supported by other community actors. While supporters provided much needed experience and exposure, they also came with their own agendas and ideas for the direction of the movement. Tenants were challenged to keep a clear vision of their wants and needs as the legal status of their building changed multiple times. Similar dynamics can be found in a 1904 rent strike in New York, as well as a modern foreclosure prevention movement. Through comparative analysis of the movements and their actors, this project provides insight into the roles and division of actors in housing movements.

Subject Area

Social research|Clinical psychology|Urban planning

Recommended Citation

Waickman, Caitlin, "Tenants united: Navigating allies and adversaries in housing movements" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI1561147.