Never not Organizing: Long Resistance and the Fight Against Gentrification in Pilsen, Chicago
Winifred Curran and Euan Hague
A Research Agenda for Gentrification (2023) | Edited by Winifred Curran and Leslie Kern, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited
Resistance is not about any one project or tactic, but rather is a constellation of practices and events that creates an alternative of what a neighborhood could be and who it should serve. This requires what we call “long resistance,” a sustained and multi-faceted engagement with community-building and contestation that utilizes a full array of tools in the community organizing toolbox, from direct action to electoral politics. In Never not Organizing, Winifred Curran and Euan Hague, Professors at DePaul University, illustrate one such case of long resistance by detailing the history of struggle at one site in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood on the lower west side. Through decades of activism around housing justice, activists have reshaped the conversation around urban development, leading to successful organization against market rate housing and the city’s commitment to build affordable housing on the site.
Offering a new theoretical framework for understanding gentrification and displacement, A Research Agenda for Gentrification focuses on resistance as the central research area in this subject field. Arguing that the future of gentrification research should focus on accomplishing the end of gentrification, chapters provide practical organizing and policy strategies using international case studies which are rooted in community-based research.
Dr. Winifred Curran is an urban geographer. Her research has focused on understanding the effects of gentrification on the urban landscape, looking at labor, industrial retention, policing, environmental gentrification and the gendering of urban policy. She is the author if Gender and Gentrification (Routledge 2018) and co-editor, with Trina Hamilton, of Just Green Enough: Urban Development and Environmental Gentrification.
Professor Euan Hague is a cultural and urban geographer with interests in gentrification, urban activism, Confederate commemoration, and cultural relationships between Scotland and America. His work examines how Chicago’s cultural and urban landscapes have developed historically and are continuing to change and he lives in that city where he regularly engages in community-based research and collaboration with local non-profit organizations. Dr. Hague’s recent work includes partnerships with the Pilsen Alliance, the Chicago Furniture Bank, and the DC-based food justice organization, Roots for Life.