Space is biased: navigating eviction in Bronx Housing Court
Herman, Sasha Rose.
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The affordable housing crisis has had an immense toll on New York City renters. Many New Yorkers struggle to afford rent each month, and those that cannot are sued for eviction. More than 2,000 people enter Bronx Housing Court daily, at risk of losing their homes. This paper examines how the physical spatialization of housing court affects tenants’ experiences navigating their eviction cases in housing court, and their ability to access justice. This study understands physical space as a social system reflective of broader structures of power and examines how race and class affect tenant experiences in housing court. The methodology involved eight interviews with low-income tenants being evicted, and a week of observation. According to the interviews and observations, the physical space of Bronx Housing Court causes issues of accessibility for tenants and the environment of housing court fosters hostility and confusion. Looking forward, it is necessary to re-evaluate and redevelop the space of housing court in order to empower tenants, while also improving the policies, systems, and circumstances that lead tenants to housing court in the first place.
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