Editor’s Note: Last year, Nolavie’s Renee Peck interviewed Luisa Dantas about her LandofOpportunity platform, an experimental web platform that “explores post-crisis community (re)building in America.” The site features an interactive video player that allows viewers to explore and compare layered narratives about people and processes across urban landscapes. These multimedia stories are organized into categories, and last week, Luisa and the Land of Opp team launched a new category: “Community/Commodity”, with three spanking new videos. Below, Luisa & Co. share and discuss one of the videos, “This Land is Our Land.”
Post-Katrina New Orleans, has often been touted as a “laboratory” for the best and brightest ideas for solving major urban issues. Yet, in the “new” New Orleans, the discourse around progress has often been deeply polarized. Do we want dilapidated and dangerous public housing that concentrates too many low-income households, or do we want good, clean, safe housing (with fewer poor people)? From healthcare to housing to schools, displacement of minority and low-income New Orleans families is often treated as the cost of progress. But does it have to be that way? Part of the drive behind the Land of Opportunity platform is to show a more nuanced and complex view of the pressing community (re)development issues we’re facing locally and nationally.
We also seek to highlight some stories of resistance and success, where improving communities doesn’t mean displacing and criminalizing the most vulnerable. We find inspiration in the interactive video “This Land is Our Land,” which delves into an innovative community land trust in Boston that ensures permanently affordable housing in a predominantly Black and Latino working-class community. As you watch, you can dig deeper into additional multimedia content about New Orleans (including a map of foreclosures in New Orleans at minutes 2:58 and an opportunity to learn more about the local Crescent City Community Land Trust at 3:11). This video underscores how the challenges and solutions we’ve engaged with in New Orleans are “happening to a city near you…”.
*Check back next week for another video from Land of Opporunity