'Neighbors' is an autobio comic story told in nine parts
about housing and homelessness, about home and belonging.
Read the entire comic or see individual chapters below.

This story is my journey through figuring out the roots of my uneasiness at seeing signs of homelessness on my block. How do we understand 'home' in cities where so many are 'homeless'? The story also touches on the complicated complicity and mixed feelings I have about my own role in gentrification. How do we become good neighbors to each other? If this work resonates with you, please support it by sharing it with others. I have been thinking about 'home' a lot this year, and these are some of the conversations I believe we should be having.

The comics updated weekly during September and October of 2017, and I also blogged weekly. These written essays drew from all of the research and thinking that I could not fit into the comic itself. Topics included: urban alchemy, mental geography, the sorting of our cities, and reflections from my time studying homelessness in Austin for grad school at AC4D. I also wanted to continue the reflection evoked with these stories through an online writing circle and conversation during November 2017.

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Part 1: Discomfort

Uneasy reactions to a new neighbor.

Accompanying blogpost about mental geography.

Part 2: Distance

Over time, I get used to the view.

Accompanying blogpost about overwhelm and self-protective disengagement.

Part 3: Sympathy

Most days: "Sorry I don't have any change." Today: I stopped and listen.

Accompanying blogpost about the awkwardness of being asked for help in the streets.

Part 4: Empathy

There was a time when stopping and listening to gather stories was my default mode.

Accompanying blogpost about what I learned while researching homelessness as part of the inaugural class of the Austin Center for Design.

Part 5: Experience

I should be able to relate on an even more personal level...shouldn't I?

Accompanying blogpost about a circling missing of home.

Part 6: Intersectionality

Practicing empathy that doesn't flatten our differences.

Accompanying blogpost with footnotes and resources for learning more about the sorting out of our cities: gentrification, displacement, and systemic oppression.

Part 7: Interdependence

"My needs cannot be met unless yours are, and yours cannot be met unless mine are." -- What We Say Matters

Accompanying blogpost with more context behind the concept of interdependence and sources for the maps of displacement.

Part 8: Agency

What makes a neighbor.

Accompanying blogpost about compassion on our journeys and glimpses of paradise during disaster.

Part 9: Story

Whose story is it, who is telling it, and whose voices are missing?

“If one person is watching a huge calamity, there are always three principal options. Option 1: Run away. Option 2: Launch a demonstration. Option 3: Bring a bucket of water and throw it on the fire. If you don’t have a bucket, bring a glass. And if you don’t have a glass, use a teaspoon. Everyone has a teaspoon. And yes, I know the teaspoon is little and the fire is huge, but there are millions of us, and each of us has a teaspoon.”

~Adapted from Amos Oz writing about the 'Order of the Teaspoon'

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