About the Spatial Futures Fellowship

Welcome to the Spatial Futures Fellowship, where we're shaping a more just future for housing, land, and communities. Space and place are political, and for too long, they have been structured in ways that limit the resources and possibilities available for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. That’s because this country was set up from the beginning to secure housing, land, and generational wealth for some, while many others — disproportionately Black, Indigenous and people of color — have been displaced, disenfranchised, redlined, or otherwise locked out of housing opportunities

This initiative asks what our futures can look like when space is restructured toward justice. The Spatial Futures Fellowship (SFF) aims to support leaders that are visioning these new futures — where all Black, Indigenous, and people of color will have a secure place to call home, the opportunity to repair their relationship with the land, and restitution for centuries of racist policies that have denied them the ability to thrive for generations. SFF foregrounds reparative approaches to addressing environmental and spatialized racism's harmful impacts on marginalized communities.

In 2024, the Spatial Futures Fellowship brings together 11 leaders from across the country who are working to advance reparative spatial justice in their communities. Discover more about the fellowship below and stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to apply to be part of future cohorts.

Why Does Reparative Spatial Justice Matter?

No matter where we come from or where we live, we should all be able to have a safe and stable place to come home to. Yet, too many have denied this basic human need. In order to transform this reality, we need to address historical and persistent spatial injustices, especially related to housing, land use, and environmental disparities. A reparative spatial justice approach aims to repair these historical wrongs, recognize and rectify systemic racism, and restructure the American landscape to serve all communities equitably. 

Today, leaders are seeding new policies and programs to grow this future in rural towns and big cities alike — from efforts for land rematriation to Indigenous communities, to campaigns for housing reparations and removing racist deed restrictions, to land restoration and restitution projects addressing environmental injustice and gentrification. These communities not only seek redress for past injustices, but to be the architects of their futures — where homes and land are for the people, instead of commodities to be bought and sold.

What is the Spatial Futures Fellowship?

The Spatial Futures Fellowship supports advocates leading these efforts for spatial justice around the country — campaigns and strategies rooted in repair, abolition, restitution, and reckoning. The fellowship foregrounds reparative approaches to addressing environmental and spatialized racism's harmful impacts on marginalized communities. In our inaugural year, we're establishing a transformative learning community centered on reparative spatial justice frameworks. 

The Spatial Futures Fellowship will serve as an incubator for housing and land justice leaders dedicated to infusing this "Reckoning, Repair, and Transformation" approach into their work and the broader ecosystems they influence. Through this fellowship, we will test and scale innovative interventions, advocate for local and federal reparative land and housing policies, and forge new models for public and private investment in communities.

Who Should Apply?

Spatial Futures Fellows is designed to support advocates, organizers, policymakers, leaders, and other changemakers leading housing and land work that seeks to address historical harms, dismantle systemic barriers, and build equitable futures. 

Applicants should share their ongoing or envisioned projects centered on spatial justice using reparative strategies and approaches, whether they involve research, community engagement, policy advocacy, communication, or narrative strategy. We encourage applicants who bring their experiences and identity into their work, and strongly encourage applications from those that have been directly impacted by or have lived experiences of systemic injustice. We prioritize applicants with clear connections to their communities and demonstrated engagement in grassroots movements relating to housing and/or land.

Applications are currently closed. Please look out for information about future cohorts in Fall 2024.

What Capacity Building Will Spatial Futures Fellows Receive?

Spatial Futures Fellows will share their ideas and experiences, forge new alliances, expand networks, and take action to infuse a Reckoning, Repair, and Transformation framework for housing and land justice into the national consciousness. Fellows will receive: 

  • Reparative Frameworks: Gain a comprehensive understanding of reparative spatial justice frameworks, tools, and strategies that challenge the status quo and pave the way for equitable housing and land use.
  • Policy Advocacy: Learn how to advocate for policies that address historical injustices, center community priorities, and expose racial inequities in land use and housing policies — all with the aim of influencing national policy conversations and ushering in a new era of housing and land equity.
  • Narrative Power: Acquire the skills to shape and change the narrative about reparative spatial justice, both internally and externally, to create a broader understanding of its importance.
  • Coalition Building: Explore how to engage a diverse range of allies and partners in the pursuit of shared equity goals, amplifying fellows’ impact in the housing and land justice movement.
  • Peer Exchange: Connect with like-minded fellows in a collaborative learning environment. Exchange ideas, lessons, and tools that will support fellows to build new partnerships and a strong sense of solidarity that will drive transformative change.

Fellowship Details

The one-year fellowship provides fellows with ongoing support and opportunities for growth, including: 

  • A stipend to support their work in the fellowship and to help advance a reparative spatial justice project, initiative, policy, or campaign.
  • Monthly virtual meetings for shared learning, group discussions, and professional development.
  • An in-person convening to build relationships with other fellows, advisors, and PolicyLink staff.
  • Coaching and mentorship from expert advisors.

SFF Informational Webinar FAQs

Q: Do I need to be a full-time staff member of an organization to qualify?
No, We recognize that housing and land justice work is often carried out through grassroots organizations that do not have paid staff. Applicants should be affiliated with an organization that is actively participating in this work, but this can be through a volunteer or membership role. We also encourage applications from students, government employees, artists, and/or thought leaders who are not employed by institutions or organizations. Our primary concern is that applicants are able to commit to the full 5 hours per month expected for the fellowship.

Q: Is this opportunity open to people who are not in the United States or are nationals from other countries?
At this time, the fellowship is open to people who are located in the United States. Fellows must have a social security number and be authorized to work in the US. Please contact us with any questions about individual circumstances or additional context we should consider. 

Read the full list of questions from the informational webinar.

Join Us in Shaping the Futures of Reparative Spatial Justice!

The Spatial Futures Fellowship is an opportunity to be at the forefront of the movement to repair, abolish, and transform the current housing and land justice paradigm. Together, we can create a future where homes and land are for the people, not commodities.