A Call to Action for the Rights of the Neighborhoods

The following statements were read at the Friends Center and at Occupy Philly in Philadelphia’s City Hall grounds on Monday, October 10, 2011, in conjunction with the 2011 Design in Action conference.

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A Call to Action for the Rights of the Neighborhoods 

“It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for rethinking the American Dream. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure. Communities in need are not free communities. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

This new social contract is based off of the historical model of the Second Bill of Rights that was delivered by Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 11, 1944, which this a quote from.

The right to a useful and remunerative job;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every community to produce its own resources with a rate of return that will give it a decent dignity;
The right to enable an economy that is inclusive of the small, free from domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to culture and a practical education.

Design AS Action

We demand that institutions of power rethink themselves together with communities;
We demand that the municipalities rethink their own fragmented bureaucratic silos and resources;
We demand accountability of municipalities to invest in marginal neighborhoods;
We demand the political and economic tools to develop our neighborhoods incrementally.  We demand the political support to temporarily activate vacant spaces and to incubate new social organizations;
We demand the restructuring of tax credits, subsidy financing, and zoning codes to enable small and inclusive development;
We demand the power to deny developments that do not plan for social and economic benefit;
We demand the re-invention of housing beyond abstract units;  We demand the rethinking of lending practices;  We demand the taxing and accountability of the wealthy 1%;
We demand intelligent public spending on education, culture, and transportation;
We demand other forms of property, and the valuation of memory and social relationships;
We demand the right to culture and education, not as expendable commodities but as civic responsibilities;
We demand a new political language that includes public culture;

We, the undersigned,

Teddy Cruz, Aaron Levy, Diana Lind, Quilian Riano, Elizabeth Grimaldi, Sally Harrison, Aviva Kapust, Mimi Cheng, Megan Schmidgal, El Sawyer, Melissa J Frost.

Collectively representing: Slought Foundation, Estudio Teddy Cruz, the Village of Arts and Humanities, Next American City, the Urban Workshop at Temple University, and DSGN AGNC.

Teddy Cruz, the signees to this call of action, and many designers, architects and urbanists recite the Call to Action for the Rights of the Neighborhoods at Occupy Philly.

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