Protesters Declare ‘Housing Is a Human Right’ While Marching Against New Housing Construction
On Wednesday, protesters flooded People’s Park in Berkeley, California, chanting, “Housing is a human right, fight, fight, fight!” The reason the crowd was protesting? The University of California, Berkeley, was set to begin construction on a student housing project, which would not only house 1,100 Berkeley students at below-market rates, but also provide subsidized apartments for 125 homeless people. And the protesters want to stop this project.
According to the Associated Press, protesters threw rocks, bottles, and glass at construction workers. They also removed several sections of the chain-link fence surrounding the park. On Wednesday, the university announced that it would pause construction of the park, citing protester violence.
“All construction personnel were withdrawn out of concern for their safety,” Dan Mogulof, UC’s assistant vice chancellor, said in a statement to NBC News. “The campus will, in the days ahead, assess the situation in order to determine how best to proceed with construction of this urgently needed student housing project.”
The University has tried since 2017 to construct more student housing in a city where rents are often so high and student housing supply so low that some students have resorted to sleeping in their cars. The construction project would provide much-needed affordable housing to many students. However, the project has faced considerable pushback, including lawsuits to prevent the construction. In typical NIMBY fashion, the lawsuits claim that the University did not consider enough other building sites. According to The Real Deal, a San Francisco real estate news website, the University considered over a dozen.
“Ever since we announced plans for the People’s Park project in 2018, I have been convinced that we have an opportunity for a win-win-win benefitting our students, unhoused people in our community, and our neighbors across the city,” said UC Chancellor Carol Crist in a 2021 email obtained by The Daily Californian.
The main source of controversy is the housing site’s location, People’s Park, a university-owned plot of land with a
Article from Reason.com