Behind the List
Listings Project 20th AnniversaryBy Stephanie Diamond
May 23, 2023
Happy anniversary, Listers ❤️
This month marks 20 years of Listings Project, and whether you joined on our first day or last week, this moment is for you.
Before Listings Project became a business, it was a community. The fact that we are a community first is now what keeps us in business as a self-funded mom-and-pop operation that grows by word of mouth.
The project was born when Stephanie sent an email to friends asking for housing leads in 2003. It worked so well for her that she kept assembling listings week by week for others who also wanted to share spaces in a way that was equitable and empathetic.
Over time, she realized that the service was both a business and a social practice art project. As the team grows and we collectively define the practice over time, its basic tenets have stayed the same: care for community enables each of us to thrive. After all, finding a home or a job is up there on the stressful scale with things like grieving a death, going through a divorce, or facing a life-altering illness. Listings Project aims to be a support in the search process.
Every week, we vet our listings, and always have, to make sure we’re offering each other fairness, justice, and transparency. From the beginning, we have not allowed NYC brokers or listings with fees, and Listers submit honest, genuine listings and stay accountable to them. If you’re messy, you say it, so you can find a roommate who’s messy in the same way you are (or who’s a healthy and consensual balance!). You share your love of Bridgerton so the Listers responding to your listing can know if there’s a spot on the couch to binge watch together. When you come together around who you are and how you live, you can embark on a relationship based on joy and harmony.
For 20 years now, we’ve led with the idea that sharing your reality is healthy. That wasn’t popular when we started (other than on Friendster). The world has caught up a bit on this front, and we are joyously welcoming a growing set of listers who believe that it’s ok to be yourself in full view.
Of course, that’s not the only thing that has changed in these 20 years. When we started, there was one new construction complex in Long Island City and one office building (the City Lights building and Citibank building, respectively), and Williamsburg didn’t have any glass buildings.
As neighborhood borders have shifted and rent prices have changed dramatically, vetting listings has become even more important. To ensure that we are offering fair and equitable housing options to our community, we always follow up when we see a listing that is reposted at a price that’s significantly higher priced than the market rate.
We also find that the company we keep is as important as ever. Now that we’re at home working remotely, we need to be in community — to find landlords that support us and roommates we get along with, whether they share our lived experience or simply have room to accommodate it.
That’s why we’re so excited to embark on the years to come, building out corners of the internet and lived space where we can support each other, one-to-one, and as a group. This work has made us better contributors everywhere we find ourselves in the world — not just on Listings Project — and we hope the same is true for you. We’ll be announcing opportunities to celebrate together over the course of the year. In the meantime, thank you for everything you do to nurture Listings Project day in and day out.
Stephanie Diamond and the Listings Project team
Stephanie is an artist, dancer, entrepreneur and CEO of Listings Project. She creates communities of collective self-care. As a social practice artist Stephanie creates with a community as opposed to an audience. As a dancer, she connects with her intuition while simultaneously connecting with a community of dancers. As a consultant she shares her learnings from three decades of community building. The largest community she has created to date is Listings Project. Learn more about Stephanie at stephaniediamond.com.