Solidarity-based infrastructure to streamline housing development in the community sector - QC-688

Project type: Research
Desired discipline(s): Engineering - other, Engineering, Resources and environmental management, Natural Sciences, Law, Social Sciences & Humanities, Urban studies
Company: Brique par brique
Project Length: Longer than 1 year
Preferred start date: As soon as possible.
Language requirement: EnglishFrench
Location(s): Montreal, QC, Canada; Canada; Canada
No. of positions: 1-2
Desired education level: Master'sPhDPostdoctoral fellow
Open to applicants registered at an institution outside of Canada: No

About the company: 

Brique par brique is a nonprofit organization founded in 2016 by community organizers of colour in order to build affordable housing in the multicultural neighbourhood of Parc-Extension through the lens of transformative social justice. We build infrastructure for social change by bringing diverse people together around community spaces and housing where residents can dream, thrive, and find joy in collective action. Through our programs and actions, we nurture grassroots leadership and initiatives that amplify our rootedness and community wealth into the future.

Describe the project.: 

We broke into the affordable housing sector by pioneering the use of community bonds in 2018. Since then, we have begun developing a 31-unit affordable housing project and have acquired and optimized a semi-commercial duplex in Parc-Extension. While our community bond campaign allowed us to acquire property, further innovation was required to secure cash flow to optimize our assets and scale our impact. This further innovation leverages the talent of local residents through community organizing, allowing us to produce valuable cultural content that is then distributed online in exchange for funds that subsidize our real estate. We will refer to this latest innovation as a set of “tools” which consist of functionalities gleaned from software such as Airtable, Mailchimp, Zeffy, Zapier, Notion, and Squarespace, which we have adapted to community organizing.

To make our success resilient and scalable, we are looking to consolidate our tools and strengthen our business by building out a powerful data management system and communication infrastructure that can support other inner-city community organizations in Canada to develop housing for their beneficiaries. While many platforms exist to mobilize communities, none are adapted to the needs of community organizations that have the most to gain in developing affordable housing for their members. This leads to many managerial inefficiencies, which in turn often result in membership attrition, a loss of community engagement, and mobilization challenges. 

We are looking for ways to optimize existing technologies by integrating them, customizing them, and building solutions to make them more accessible for non-technicians. By adopting a bottom-up approach to technology adoption in the community housing sector and by investing in inclusive design, community organizations can benefit from the value-adding properties of communication technology. By effectively bringing different stakeholders together and mobilizing resources collectively, we can grow our impact and our investment capacity exponentially. 

Required expertise/skills: 

Technological, communications, project management, research, and/or legal expertise required to help us improve, scale, and share our unique housing-focused digital infrastructure and navigate the complexities of this tool’s development and implementation, including data and privacy protection.