It is often said that the people closest to a problem are closest to a solution.
That expertise is borne from experience.

The Right 2 Root campaign agrees.


Right 2 Root is a community-led approach designed for community members affected by displacement and gentrification to work with planners, architects and other progressive firms to become architects of our own lives, communities, families and futures.

We believe that Places can be remade to center our most at-risk community members to improve health, wealth, quality of life and community prosperity for all.

To thrive, People need a nurturing, healthy environment. The healthy choice must be the easy choice.

Radix's Right 2 Root campaign shares the mission of healing symptoms by changing systems. We use data to our advantage!


Root shock is a concept borrowed from gardening by Dr. Mindy Fullilove to explain the impacts of serial forced displacement on Black/African Americans. She defines it as “the traumatic stress reaction to the loss of some or all of one’s emotional ecosystem,” which can result from “a natural disaster, development-induced displacement, war, and changes that play out slowly such as those that accompany gentrification.”

Specifically, community-level root shock is defined by the loss of interpersonal ties (health) and the capital (wealth) that is generated by reciprocal connections and a circular economy. The stress and loss of connections associated, creates chronic stress and trauma, increasing risk for stress-related diseases across entire populations for several generations.


Trauma and destabilization caused by contemporary displacement is a result of the impact of both historic and current policies and cyclical serial displacement including, segregation, redlining, urban renewal, planned shrinkage/disinvestment, deindustrialization, mass criminalization, gentrification, HOPE VI and the foreclosure crisis.

Right 2 Root's human-centered design flows from the bottom up; designing networks and nodes, not pyramids, and mimicking nature, which shows this method to be more robust, flexible and scalable than a system architected from a top-down plan. Policies centering the regeneration of the built environment and/or preservation and conservation of the natural environment often externalize poor outcomes to populations with the least ability to mobilize social and human capital, resources and assets to protect themselves, or rebuild.

Therefore, communities must be involved early and often, and must be supported in their desire to prevent displacement and say how their neighborhood will change. To this end, our team utilizes a culturally specific, trauma-informed public health approach coupled with community cohesion and capacity-building strategies to facilitate recovery, resiliency, opportunity and outcomes. This asset- and strengths-based approach to community development and placemaking highlights the role and impact of complex, interlocking systems on one’s ability to respond to or thrive as a spring-board to innovate solutions and opportunities with a double return on investment: health and wealth.

Radix (biology): A root; going to the origin, essential
Mission: Healing Symptoms, Changing Systems


Individual symptoms are our early-warning system. People must be analyzed and understood holistically—within their place—to diagnose a situation proficiently and create healthy outcomes. Reoccurring displacement separates people from cultural institutions and services they rely on for living and working. Public health scans community-level data to find patterns and prioritize them thorough diagnoses.

“Here’s What Four Decades of Gentrification in North and Northeast Portland Looks Like”
- Denis C. Theriault



2014 Diagrams reflect migration of African Americans over the last 46 years. “Census tracts that were 31 percent African American in 1990, in a city that was 8 percent African American, are now just 15 percent African American, in a city that’s now just 6 percent African American ... a community once concentrated close to the Rose Quarter and lower Albina and inner Northeast [was] steadily pushed up north, peaking in 1990—and then, especially in the decade since the urban renewal area was drawn out, pushed out altogether.” - Denis C. Theriault


Reoccurring displacement illustrates a cycle of disinvestment, gentrification and investment that causes population removal, forced movement and dispersal from high opportunity to disinvested areas.

Both the Root (The North) and Anchor (The Numbers) areas must reconcile disinvestment, gentrification and displacement. Community investment must benefit underserved populations.


Community capacity builds systemic changes that in turn enable resilience. Leveraging existing tools, creating new tools and facilitating collaborative action assist in recovery from unplanned economic or climate change shocks.

The African American community is recovering from the unplanned economic shock of gentrification that is displacing vulnerable community members to areas with marginal services that lack cultural significance and responsiveness. Based on discussions with the community, we heard that members are also recovering from the ongoing disaster fueled by an unimagined state-wide economic upturn, which has not yet proved beneficial for the Black community. Our process understands the potential of a new system to organize the region’s urban form to recover from the current economic uptick and build resilience in preparation for other unplanned natural or human-made disruptions.