If you have trouble wrapping your head around the impact of gentrification and the ever-changing housing landscape of Brooklyn, let the new Bushwick Community Map be your guide. This is now your bible for understanding housing justice. You may be surprised to know how many Bushwick residents aren’t aware of code violations on their buildings, or even know who their landlord is. The team behind the community map wanted to provide a free and community-owned resource to help residents be more aware of what’s going on, and what they can do together to fight the injustices.
Every day, it seems there’s a new luxury building popping up, and these developments have virtually no affordable units. A prime example is the controversial Colony 1209, recently renamed 1209 Dekalb. Studios start at a little over $1,800. According to the building’s website, “Just next to Williamsburg, Bushwick is quickly gaining a name for itself as the new hipster hub – it even has its own scented candle.” (Cringe)
So, apparently, having a scented candle warrants rent that is TOO DAMN HIGH. And you know who really thinks that the rent is too damn high? The people who have lived in Bushwick for years now and are being priced out of their homes, kicked to the curb, sometimes (uh, oftentimes) under illegal pretenses.
Colony 1209 is one of the luxury buildings showcased on the community map—but it’s not for promotional reasons. The map is made to educate! It reitterates that buildings like this have no affordable units for the average person living in Brooklyn. It also sheds some light on the reasons as to why rent in Bushwick is growing the way it is. The community map says it best: “Bushwick’s former industrial land is being transformed into luxury developments. These buildings provide no benefits for the local residents and cause rents to increase, displace the working-class tenants of Bushwick. Rents in Bushwick have increased 23% this year.”
This map has been under construction for years, and now it’s finally up-and-running. Once you understand how to use the map, you can figure out basically anything you want to know about Bushwick housing, from tax information to notifications of new constructions. This was a project that was led by housing justice activists at the North West Bushwick Community Group, and they really want you (yes, you!) to come to Express Yourself Barista Bar (82 Central Ave) this Thursday, August 25th at 6PM for a workshop on how to get the best out of the map. After the workshop, there will be an afterparty with a DJ and most importantly—FREE METROCARDS! See more details and RSVP information via Bushwick Daily.
Be there or be square, and by square, I mean one of those fools who actually buys a Bushwick scented candle. Oooof.
Image courtesy of Bushwick Community Map