In the early 1970s, government disinvestment from neighborhoods in New York City, coupled with widespread landlord neglect and abandonment, gave rise to squatting, urban homesteading, and other forms of self-help housing. Residents took control of city-owned land and buildings, and developed or rehabilitated their own housing. The ultimate goal for many of the tenant associations in the self-help housing movements was to take their buildings out of the speculative housing market and own them collectively and democratically. Today, around 1,300 resident-controlled, low-income housing cooperatives exist in New York City, providing some of the most deeply affordable and stable housing in the city.
The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) grew out of the self-help housing movement. The exhibition features the families and people who fought to turn vacant or neglected buildings into vibrant co-ops, as told through the photographs, newsletters, oral histories, and training manuals found in UHAB’s archive. Their stories illuminate the origins of New York City’s affordable housing cooperatives, and the work that residents put into saving and preserving the city’s housing stock, one building at a time. This exploration of a single organization’s archive offers one way to understand the people, policies, and programs that helped shape this history.
Decades after the homesteading and squatting movements took hold in NYC, there is a resurgent public interest in exploring cooperative ownership models, particularly as a tool for addressing the current housing affordability crisis. Building for Us honors both the vibrant history of cooperative housing in NYC and sheds light on the hard work and the community it takes to create and sustain cooperatively owned housing.
October 17, 2019 - February 2, 2020
Exhibition Opening: October 17, 2019, 7-9pm
Exhibition Dates: October 17, 2019 to February 2, 2020
In the early 1970s, government disinvestment in New York City, coupled with widespread landlord abandonment, gave rise to squatting, urban homesteading, and other forms of self-help housing. The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) grew out of the self-help housing movement. This exhibition features the people who fought to turn vacant or neglected buildings into vibrant co-ops, illuminating the origins of New York City’s affordable housing cooperatives.
More than just an exhibition catalog, this publication acts as a resource to illustrate the history and how-to of cooperative housing. With fully bilingual (English-Spanish) text and a glossary, this publication features sections on sweat equity and homesteading, UHAB, training and education, TIL (the tenant interim lease program), and community building in the homestead movement.
"The city had so many buildings, it had no ability to manage them themselves, no ability to even outsource the management...if you were alive and breathing and raised your hand, you could have a building in the city of New York." -- Charles LavenListen
"We plant gardens in vacant lots...we turn abandoned buildings into homes, we turn street corners into liberated zones...For a moment, for an hour, for a year, for a decade..A space opens up and we are in control, We the people seize control of public space, seize control of housing, seize control of those things that make up our lives"Listen
Building For Us: Short Films about Housing and Homesteading | Construyendo Para Nosotros: Películas cortas sobre viviendas y casa habitación
Sunday, January 26, 2020 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday, January 26, 2020 from 3 PM to 5 PM | Domingo 26 de enero, 2020 de 3 PM a 5 PM
Join us for a screening of short films about the history and creation of cooperative housing in New York City, as well as struggles for housing justice more broadly. | Acompañanos para una proyección de películas cortas sobre la historia y creación de viviendas cooperativas en la ciudad de Nueva York, y también luchas más generales para justicia de viviendas.
Preserve Your Co-op’s History (Archiving Workshop) | Preservar la historia de su cooperativa (Taller de Archivado)
Thursday, January 9, 2020 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM | Jueves 9 de enero, 2020 de 6:30 PM a 8:30 PM
Join archivist Maggie Schreiner to learn easy tools and techniques to document, organize, and preserve the history of your building – both for the present and for the future. | Únanse con archivista Maggie Schreiner para aprender medios y métodos sencillos para documentar, organizar y preservar la historia de su edificio - para el presente y para el futuro.
We the People Won’t Go: LES Artists on the Squatting movement / Nosotros la Gente No Nos Vamos: Artistas del LES acerca del movimiento de Ocupación
Sunday, December 15, 2019 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
December 15, 2019, 6 PM to 8 PM | 15 de diciembre, 2019 de 6 PM a 8 PM
This panel will feature artists who were a part of the Lower East Side squatting movement. Artists will discuss how they’ve tried to document this movement through their work, or how their involvement in the squatting movement has shaped how they make art. / En esta mesa de discusión aparecen artistas quienes tomaron parte del movimiento de ocupación del Lower East Side. Artistas hablarán de cómo han intentado de documentar este movimiento a través de su arte, o como su participación en el movimiento de ocupación ha determinado la manera de que producen arte.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
November 13, 2019 from 6 PM to 9 PM / 13 de noviembre, 2019, de 6 PM a 9 PM
Help us edit Wikipedia pages related to co-operative housing in New York City. Please RSVP in advance. / Ayúdenos a revisar las páginas de Wikipedia relacionado con viviendas cooperativas en la ciudad de Nueva York. Se requiere registro en avance.
Saturday, October 26, 2019 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday, October 26, 2019 Space is limited. Registration is required at tiny.cc/LEStour Meet at 11 AM at Tompkins Square Park
Sábado 26 de octubre, 2019. Espacio es limitado. Se requiere registro en avance en tiny.cc/LEStour. Reunir a las 11AM en Tompkins Square Park
Saturday, October 19, 2019 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2-4pm / Sábado 19 de octubre, de 2 PM a 4 PM
Come hear original HDFC homesteaders share their experiences and personal histories in the cooperative housing movement. There will be space to ask questions. Spanish translation will be provided.
Ven a escuchar los creadores originales de casa habitación de HDFC compartir sus experiencias e historias personales del movimiento de viviendas cooperativas. Habrá espacio para hacer preguntas. Se proveerá traducción a Español.