The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) and Urban Design Forum join forces for Power After the Pandemic: Rebuilding Our Post-COVID Cities. Collaboratively, we are convening civic leaders from New York City and across the nation to reimagine a path toward a just recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The growing movement for Black Lives Matter and the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare the deep structural inequalities among our cities. As New York City begins to reopen, US cities still struggle to manage the virus, while government leaders fail to provide lasting relief to the hardest hit. The uneven distribution of healthy housing, good jobs, and access to healthcare have driven mortality, amplified risk of displacement, and magnified economic precarity in low-income, BIPOC communities.

As we plan for lasting consequences in the coming years, New York City leaders and community development practitioners must acknowledge long standing racist housing and economic development systems in order to radically redefine post-pandemic recovery efforts.  This historic moment of social unrest calls for transformational ideas that collapse systems of oppression to build a new path moving forward.


Power After the Pandemic is gathering leaders in community development, urban planning, public policy, and municipal finance to discuss alternative recovery plans through the lens of community power: How can we build a more just city for New Yorkers hardest hit by the public health and economic crisis?

Speakers share ideas from across the five boroughs and country on topics including: strengthening community finance in low income neighborhoods; re-centering the role of transit in our cities; and rethinking the design of housing around health goals. These ideas are essential for us to consider as we work to rebuild New York City and we are excited to continue hearing them and figuring out how to operationalize them with you. Watch and read about past events below and register for our next Power After the Pandemic conversation here.

Past Programming

Keynote with Mehrsa Baradaran (watch here)

ANHD Executive Director Barika Williams and scholar and author Mehrsa Baradaran discussed the factors that have led to—and strategies to combat—the racial wealth gap through banking policy. While COVID-19 has exacerbated the gap, Mehrsa explained that through collectively building community power, advocates can fight to radically rethink the Community Reinvestment Act, protect against predatory equity, and mandate government stimulus funds be distributed equitably.

“We can’t rely on the banks out of the goodness of their hearts to work in favor of equity. We have to mandate that if that’s what we want.” -- Mehrsa Baradaran


Community Finance (watch here)

Kerry Mclean, Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco), Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, California Reinvestment Coalition, and New York State Senator James Sanders Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, discussed the need for racially just financial institutions to foster equitable economic recovery in their constituencies.

“New York City's budget is roughly $90 billion dollars before COVID. If 10% was put into a public bank, to buy down the student debt, or other social needs, you could do amazing things. We have enormous capital that we insist Wall Street benefit from rather than the people.”

-- Senator Sanders


Transportation Equity (watch here)

Betsy Plum, Riders Alliance, Robbie Makinen, Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, and Warren Logan, Mayor’s Office of Oakland, shared strategies for increasing access and economic impact with zero fare transit, centering the needs of communities who rely on public transit, and the need for a national coalition of transportation advocates to fight for federal funding.

“The return on investment, for empathy, for compassion for access, and options far outweighs the return on investment for concrete and asphalt and steel.” -- Robbie Makinen


Healthy Housing (watch here)

Nikil Saval, Pennsylvania State Senate Elect, Jonsara Ruth, Healthy Materials Lab, and Diana Hernández, Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University, discussed the connections between housing insecurity and environmental health and the importance of building material regulations for the health of residents. ANHD-member Sandra Lobo and UDF-fellow Eric Fang joined as respondents to discuss how these challenges intersected with their work in design and community development.

“I hope this crisis shows everyone involved in the building industry that human health is closely linked to the materials and building products of our built environments. And that there is potential to create healthier lives for all people.” -- Jonsara Ruth


Power After the Pandemic is made possible through the support of Citi, the supporters of the ANHD 10th Annual Community Development Conference, and the Urban Design Forum Director’s Circle.


If you are interested to learn more about supporting this program, please contact Lauren Nye.