Desiree Fields

Closed (1) Housing justice and the University of California

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This project will develop an analysis of the impact UC’s presence as a landlord and developer has on local housing costs and supply in order to support struggles for housing justice by community groups and organized labor. The project will be undertaken in collaboration with activist researchers, including union organizers. The research aims to produce knowledge that will enable the research team to make policy recommendations for UC to reverse trends of rent increases and displacement in the communities it serves.


We are seeking 2-3 students to undertake the following activities:
1) Map UC-controlled housing in and around Berkeley, and determine what percentage of overall housing supply this represents.
2) Determine what property UC has bought in recent years.
3) Document rent costs and trends in UC housing and in the private housing market, to determine if there is any relationship.
4) Understand and document private-public partnerships that the UC has or is planning (eg Anchor House).
5) Summarize the history (and results) of recent tenant organizing, especially organizing that contests UC development and expansion.

Qualifications: All team members should be interested in housing justice, using research in support of activism, and the relationship of the University to local communities. All team members should also be comfortable collaborating as a team and actively contributing to group meetings that include off-campus organizations. Self-directed individuals with strong organizational skills and ability to use the Google suite of applications (Sheets, Docs, Forms, etc.) are ideal for this work. Additional desirable/preferred qualifications include: 1) geospatial analysis, in order to undertake the mapping component of the project. 2) quantitative/statistical analysis, including data entry and cleaning in preparation for analysis. 3) passion for doing deep dives into reports, news articles, and websites in order to gather the qualitative information necessary for this research project.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: Research activities may be undertaken remotely, with the expectation that team members be available for regular meetings on campus as public health guidance and University policy permits.

Related website: http://desireefields.org

Closed (2) Tracing the Evolution of Corporate Landlords

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This research project examines the role of corporate landlords (such as Invitation Homes) in the single-family rental market. The project builds on my past work examining how corporate landlords made single-family rental a new financial asset class after the 2008 foreclosure crisis. Currently I am investigating how the growth strategies of corporate landlords have evolved since their entrance to the single-family rental market, and detailing the flurry of new deals that signal the growing popularity of single-famly rental for a wide range of investors. The goal of this research is to produce knowledge that will support efforts to enhance public understanding of corporate landlords and the wider process of housing financialization.

Student researcher(s) will:
1) Support interviews with industry players: keep participant database updated, take notes during interviews, correct transcripts, and work with me to identify key themes and areas for further research
2) Monitor news outlets/Google alerts and update database of notable deals
3) Participate in meetings with activists and organizers
4) Support the production of a report and/or popular education materials related to the project

Qualifications: Students who apply to this project should: 1) Have interest/experience with qualitative research 2) Be motivated to produce knowledge to support housing justice activism 3) Have some familiarity with, or be willing to learn about, housing financialization 4) Be self-directed individuals with strong organizational skills 5) Be able to use the Google suite of applications (Sheets, Docs, Forms, etc.)

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: Research may be completed remotely, with team meetings on campus as local public health guidance and University policy permit.

Related website: http://desireefields.org

Closed (3) The Archive of Urban Futures

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The Archive of Urban Futures is a project of the Berkeley Lab for Speculative Urbanisms (BLSU), founded in 2021 by Professors Brandi T. Summers and Desiree Fields. The Archive of Urban Futures will take the form of a database of material about Oakland, CA and visions of and for its future over time. Our vision for the Archive of Urban Futures is to explore socio-spatial, political, and economic dimensions of Oakland’s past, present, and potential future by bridging the official, the top-down, and speculations of capital and development with the unofficial, the almost forgotten, the impossible struggles, the bottom up, and the speculative acts and visions of communities. We will collect a variety of items, ranging from official reports, plans, and legislation to videos, counter-maps, and material cultural objects. Over the course of the 2021-2022 academic year, we will develop the structure of the archive through a series of community workshops; devise protocols for data ownership, maintenance, and use; and pilot methods for populating the archive.

We are looking for two (2) undergraduate apprentices to support our efforts to establish and grow the archive. Students should submit applications to either Dr. Summers or Dr. Fields. One will be selected from each pool of applicants.

Apprentices will be responsible for identifying and compiling archival materials, searching existing archives (such as Bancroft Library, Oakland Public Library, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Museum of California, etc.) while scanning and obtaining use permissions for relevant material. Apprentices will also serve as a key member of the team that assists with the scheduling and organization of workshops, walking tours, and the public launch.

Research may be completed remotely, with team meetings on campus as local public health guidance and University policy permit.

Qualifications: Students should have: 1)Strong organizational skills, self-directed 2)Proficiency in using Google Drive, Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) and Word suite products 3) Effective communication skills—ability to communicate through various means (email, phone, etc.) with community partners and colleagues 4) Students should also be comfortable collaborating as part of a team and actively contribute to group meetings that include off-campus organizations

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: Research may be completed remotely, with team meetings on campus as local public health guidance and University policy permit.

Related website: https://www.desireefields.org/
Related website: https://branditsummers.com/