Wednesday, August 12, 2020
As New York City confronts a housing crisis, and questions abound around how to build affordable and middle income units around the 5 boroughs, let’s look back at a “revolution” in urban housing: the cooperative. This virtual tour will offer a history of cooperative housing in New York from 1881, when co-ops emerged in the city as a way for upper-middle-class urbanites choose their neighbors, to the turn of the century when the co-op model was the rage in artists’ housing, through the 1920s, when union-backed labor cooperatives represented a new dawn in comfortable, equitable and affordable, housing, to the post-war years and the rise of Mitchell-Lama middle-income cooperative housing development, to the 1970s, in the depths of the city’s fiscal crisis, when the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board emerged to help New Yorkers turn their buildings co-op strengthen their tenant associations. Today, the co-operative model is a familiar throughout New York, but the arts and labor history of the form are less well known. Can the history of the cooperative movement in New York City offer lessons for today’s housing crisis?