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Principal Investigators: Dr. Ayana Allen-Handy, Drexel University, School of Education, Department of Policy, Organization, and Leadership; and Rachel Wenrick, Drexel University, Writers Room, College of Arts and Sciences

Community Partners: De’Wayne Drummond, Mantua Civic Association; Carol Richardson McCullough, Writers Room Drexel; George Jenkins, YouthBuild Philadelphia; and Christine Witkowski, Artist Year

Title: Anti-Displacement: The Untapped Potential of University-Community Cooperative Living

Drexel University’s project brings together an intergenerational research team of university faculty, community residents, Drexel undergraduate and graduate students, Drexel alumni, as well as students from YouthBuild Philadelphia to investigate the landscape of residential displacement and affordable housing options in the rapidly gentrifying and federally designated West Philadelphia Promise Zone. The proposed Community-led Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project seeks to illuminate the existing housing options that are available, how well these options are understood by residents in need, and whether the community is interested in alternative options, specifically in university-community cooperative living.

The university’s research is based on the concept that without knowledge of the complex systems affecting rapid urban change, there can be no meaningful ground level response. Therefore, their project focuses on building community partners’ capacity in education and the dissemination of knowledge, both of which are essential steps to achieve engaged participation and comprehensive community involvement.

Researchers expect that the research gathered and disseminated will be used to highlight the urgent need for more affordable housing in the Promise Zone through centering the funds of knowledge of the neighborhood residents to generate meaningful conversations with community and city stakeholders. Additionally, they hope to provide tangible products that can be easily disseminated and used as resources to inspire and support other residents, youth, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and organizations with an interest in responding to this issue.

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