The Politics of Displacement in the American City


Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


Land Hall, 4th Floor Belfer Building, 79 JFK St, Cambridge, MA

bulldozerThe Politics of Displacement in the American City: A Conversation with Two Documentary Filmmakers

King Williams, Director, The Atlanta Way; Andrew J. Padilla, Director, El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA; Karilyn Crockett, Director of Economic Policy & Research, City of Boston; and Quinton Mayne, Assistant Professor of Public Policy

About the Event
At their best, cities can be places where people with different socio-economic and ethnic and racial backgrounds come together and use the ballot box and other political means to achieve a just and fair society. Likewise, city governments can use land-use and social policy, among other tools, to strengthen community life and improve access to basic goods and services. Yet often these same policies – both in the processes through which they are decided and in their ultimate effect on residents’ lives – exacerbate rather than reduce social exclusion and economic disparity.

Documentary film provides a powerful tool to explore the impact of urban policy, giving voice to alternative viewpoints – in particular those with perhaps the greatest stake and yet whose opinions are often excluded from traditional decision-making processes.

Join us for an evening with two accomplished documentary filmmakers whose work explores the challenges and potential of American cities and urban policy. Andrew J. Padilla, director of El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA, and King Williams, director of The Atlanta Way, will share clips from their documentaries, discussing their craft as well as the motivation and message of their films, and engaging in what promises to be a lively conversation on how we might achieve the democratic potential of our cities.

Watch a clip from El Barrio Tours: Gentrification USA

Watch a clip from The Atlanta Way

Watch a Video Recording of the Event

View Photos from the Event

Listen to an Audio Recording of the Event

About the Speakers

Andrew J. Padilla is a filmmaker, independent journalist and educator born and raised in El Barrio, NYC. His family immigrated to New York City from Puerto Rico during Operation Bootstrap, and his work has centered around communities fight to and right to determine their own fate. Since premiering his film “El Barrio Tours: Gentrification in East Harlem” at the San Diego Latino Film Fest in 2012, he’s been screening and holding dialogues on gentrification and displacement across NYC. In the fall of 2013, he raised 12k from 240 people all over the world to take the film nationwide and begin creating a new film on the effects of gentrification and displacement across the USA.

King Williams is both a New York City and Atlanta-based filmmaker, who from 2011-2012 interned under the tutelage of director Spike Lee. Williams is currently working on 3 separate film projects, his debut film, ’The Atlanta Way’ due this spring, his film blog ’Free Film University’, and a debut novel to be released in fall of 2015. With a passion for community engagement, Williams also splits his time to support two nonprofits in Atlanta: The Sneaker Ball and Virtuous Careers.

Dr. Karilyn Crockett’s research focuses on large-scale land use changes in twentieth century American cities and examines the social and geographic implications of structural poverty. Karilyn's dissertation entitled, “’People Before Highways:’ Reconsidering Routes to and from the Boston Anti-Highway Movement” investigates a 1960s era grassroots movement to halt urban extension of the interstate highway system. Prior to graduate school, Karilyn co-founded Multicultural Youth Tour Of What’s Now (MYTOWN), an award-winning, educational nonprofit organization. A Boston organization, MYTOWN hired public high school students to research their local and family histories and produce youth-led walking tours for sale to public audiences. During its nearly 15 years of operation, MYTOWN created jobs for more than 300 low and moderate-income teenagers, who in turn led public walking tours for more than 14,000 visitors and residents. The National Endowment for the Humanities cited MYTOWN as “One of ten best Youth Humanities Programs in America.” Karilyn holds a Ph.D. from the American Studies program at Yale University, a Master of Science in Geography from the London School of Economics, and a Master of Arts and Religion from the Yale Divinity School. She pursues Post Doctorate studies at MIT. Her career goal is to continue to work at the nexus of education, economic development, and urban revitalization.

Quinton Mayne is an assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Politics at Princeton University and came to the Ash Center as a Democracy Fellow from the European University Institute where he was a Max Weber Fellow. His research and teaching interests lie in the area of comparative politics with a focus on public opinion, political participation, and political institutions. Mayne’s primary research focus is on better understanding how the design of democratic political institutions affects how citizens think and act politically. A particular concern of his work is studying how public opinion and political behavior are shaped by cross-level interactions between individual-level characteristics on the one hand and features of the socio-economic and institutional environment on the other.