Certificate of No Harassment

How can design help inform NYC tenants and take action to protect themselves?

Overview

The Center for Urban Pedagogy is a NYC-based nonprofit that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. As part of Envisioning Development, CUP collaborated with with the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD), Coalition Against Tenant Harassment (CATHnyc), and the Community Development Project (CDP) to explain a new policy, the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH), which gives tenants a tool to fight back against harassment and displacement. The program requires landlords who want to renovate or tear down their building to get a “Certificate of No Harassment” from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) that says they haven’t harassed tenants. While the new program puts the burden of proof on landlords, it’s important for tenants to participate and report harassment and other violations.

Process

I was tasked with creating an illustrated fold-out poster to explain how the new CONH program works, what constitutes harassment, and how tenants can assert their rights if being harassed.

One of the biggest challenges for this project was the illustration style. We needed to develop a style that did not look like something coming from the city, both to better represent the organizations collaborating on the project and to help build trust through the design and illustration. We settled on a palette of vibrant, surreal colors and asynchronous lines to represent movement, urgency, and energy.

Typography also had to be taken into consideration—it had to be large enough to be clear and legible for older populations.

Outcomes

The program recently launched and is being distributed to thousands of tenants and tenant right advocates throughout the city.

Read more about the project here.