Housing & Environmental Justice
AALDEF’s Housing & Environmental Justice Program provides legal representation, community education, and organizing support to immigrant communities on land use, anti-gentrification, and environmental justice issues. One of the chief consequences of gentrification is the involuntary displacement of low-income residents and small businesses that cannot afford the rising costs of rent and everyday goods. Gentrification has changed many immigrant neighborhoods from vibrant, residential communities into tourist spots. If community input is not considered, local ordinances and zoning, the introduction of large institutions and sports complexes, and unfettered luxury development can destroy neighborhoods. Our program aims to counter this impact in our neighborhoods. At the heart of our work is the principle that every community should be able to choose what is best for itself.
We collaborate with tenants, small businesses, and local community groups to sustain neighborhoods where immigrants live and work.
- In 1986, we won the landmark New York Court of Appeals ruling requiring environmental review of new developments that may displace low-income tenants and small businesses. Furthermore, blocking the construction of Henry Street Tower, a proposed high-rise residential condo in Manhattan’s Chinatown.
- In 1996, we won a consent decree in Nhem v. Fall River Housing Authority after the racially motivated killing of a Cambodian resident, which improved services and security for Massachusetts public housing tenants.
- In 2013, we published a report on the gentrification in the Boston, New York, and Philadelphia Chinatowns. 10 years later, we have organized hundreds of volunteers on land use surveys. These surveys contribute to a first-of-its kind comparative 10-year study of the East Coast’s three largest Chinatowns. The resulting comparative reports will greatly enhance our understanding of how Chinatowns have fared in the last decade and the solutions necessary to ensure their survival in the future.
- In 2019 and 2022, we filed a lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs from the Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan, whose rights to health, welfare, and safety were infringed upon by the Two Bridges Large Scale Residential Development project.
- In 2023, we are representing a coalition of community groups to fight against the Philadelphia 76ers arena currently sited right next to Philadelphia’s Chinatown.
- Advocacy for equitable zoning that protects tenants and small businesses in neighborhoods like Chinatown.
- Building coalitions with community organizing and base-building groups to ensure community control of land.
- Litigation, in partnership with community groups, to oppose predatory forces in low-income neighborhoods of color.
- Documenting gentrification and displacement in neighborhoods with significant low-income immigrants, residents of color, and small businesses.
- Countering policies that result in environmental racism.
- Housing and Environmental Justice
- MA Appeals Court row house win protects housing affordability and resident safety in Chinatown, Boston
- Using NY’s New Environmental Protections, AALDEF Files Lawsuit Against Two Bridges Development in LES and Chinatown
- Press Advisory: AALDEF and Chinatown & LES Community to Announce Lawsuit Using NY’s New Environmental Protections Against Major Developer
- Court Nullifies Approvals for 4 Residential Towers in Manhattan's Chinatown/Lower East Side
- AALDEF files lawsuit to block four residential towers on Manhattan's Lower East Side
- AALDEF comments on Two Bridges Large Scale Residential Development in Lower Manhattan
- Billy Penn at WHYY: Sixers arena update: Developers tout union jobs at first public meeting, activists quietly strategize
- Philadelphia Inquirer: What’s next for the Sixers proposed arena? Experts will weigh in on whether a new venue makes sense
- AsAmNews: AAPI advocacy groups submit request for info on 76ers arena communications
- Billy Penn: Chinatown orgs form official coalition to oppose Sixers arena, with high-powered legal support
- 6ABC: Coalition created to fight construction of new Philadelphia 76ers arena near Chinatown
- Philadelphia Inquirer: AALDEF to join Chinatown coalition to fight against Sixers arena
- WCNY | The Capitol Pressroom: Green amendment to be tested in court
- amNewYork: Lower East Side, Chinatown residents sue to stop tower developments based on ‘Green Amendment’
- The City: LES and Chinatown Residents Sue To Halt New Towers in Two Bridges, Citing New NY Constitutional Right to Clean Air
- Curbed New York: In Two Bridges, judge lands another legal blow to contested towers
- NY Daily News - N.Y. judge rules against luxury 'Two Bridges' development that de Blasio had embraced
- Gothamist: Judge Grants Temporary Halt On Two Bridges Mega Development After Hearing Three Lawsuits
- NBC News: Asian American enclaves survived racist laws. Can they survive redevelopment?
- NY1 - Lawsuit Aims to Stop 'Two Bridges' Development
- Gothamist: LES and Chinatown Community Groups Sue City Over Two Bridges Mega Development
- Curbed New York: Two Bridges tower hit with lawsuit from community groups
- Bowery Boogie: Neighborhood Group Sues the City to Stop New Towers in Two Bridges
- Fortune: raceAhead: Happy Chinese New Year
- The Atlantic: The End of the American Chinatown
- Chinatown Property Owners Claim New BID Overcharged Them