Meet a MnDRIVE Human in the Data Fellow: Liz Calhoun


Liz Calhoun
Geography, Environment, and Society; College of Liberal Arts
MnDRIVE Area: Environment

MnDRIVE Human in the Data Fellow, Summer 2021


Our Unhoused Neighbors Are Our Neighbors: Encampments, Housing Affordability, and Gentrification in Minneapolis

This project engages issues of racialized housing precarity and state-induced movement central to my work within Geography. My dissertation asks how urban planning practices and police use of GIS subject certain populations to higher levels of surveillance in contemporary New York City, but my activist commitments to mutual aid projects providing resources for the unhoused and advocating for rent control in Minneapolis have focused my Human in the Data project here. The research I undertake this summer will produce a cartographic representation of the public parks where the city allowed and subsequently evicted homeless encampments between May and December 2020 in relation to the affordability of surrounding residential properties. My aim is to visualize the spatial relationship between the gentrification of housing markets and the city’s response to the repurposing of civic amenities unhoused people have undertaken to cope with the affordable housing crisis. By geographically representing the city's response to recent encampments within the broader story of this crisis, I hope to demonstrate that supporting the unsheltered requires municipal intervention into property trends that persist in supporting the expansion of capital at the expense of human life.


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