El Bohio/CHARAS – A Contested Community Center

El Bohio/CHARAS – A Contested Community Center

Image source: https://www.villagepreservation.org/2021/05/06/celebrating-chino-garcia-co-founder-of-charas-el-bohio/
Country United States
City New York (Lower East Side)
Name El Bohio/CHARAS – A Contested Community Center
Date 1977
Description of the project The building of the former Public School 64 was made into a community center, known as El Bohio/CHARAS, beginning in 1977, led by the community organizations Adopt-a-Building and CHARAS. The grass-roots transformation of the unoccupied building was part of the Lower East Side’s reclaiming and revitalization by community members. El Bohio became a thriving space for arts, culture, fitness, and youth activities. In the words of the website Place Matters, “[El Bohio’s] special significance is in its identity as a public building, dedicated to the revival of community and of cultural survival.”
El Bohio/CHARAS is currently fenced off and not used as a community center; its status is actively contested. It was auctioned off my Mayor Giuliani to a developer 16 years ago, and has been the focus of activism to return it to community use.
Urban Co-Governance Moderate
Enabling State Moderate
Pooling Moderate
Experimentalism Weak
Tech Justice Moderate
Project Website
References, sources, contact person(s) Read more about the struggle to return El Bohio / CHARAS to community members at the links below: http://www.sohojournal.com/content/Save-Landmarked-former-PS-64CHARAS-El-Bohio,



605 East 9th Street, New York, NY

9th Street Community Garden Park

9th Street Community Garden Park

Image source : https://garden9c.org/
Country United State
City New York
Name The9th Street Community Graden Park
Date 1979
Description of the project The 9th Street Community Garden Park rests atop the basements of five buildings that fell down, formerly occupying the space. Along with the wave of abandoned buildings, property disinvestment, and the economic downturn that came through the Lower East Side (and New York City more widely) beginning in the 1970s, there was a mobilization in the Lower East Side to take back the buildings and grounds as squats and gardens.

Rainwater is captured through a series of drains and bins. Composting also takes place, producing soil for the garden’s plots. The city has studied and recognized both the composting techniques and the rainwater capture when looking to spread techniques to other parts of the city.

Urban Co-Governance Weak
Enabling State Strong
Pooling Moderate
Experimentalism Weak
Tech Justice Weak
Project Website https://garden9c.org/
References, sources, contact person(s) 9th Street Community Garden NYC | Loving And Serving The Lower East Side (garden9c.org)

Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/9thstreetcommunitygardenpark

Northeast corner of East 9th Street & Ave C

Umbrella House

Umbrella House

Country United States
City New york
Name Umbrella House
Date 1988
Description of the project Umbrella House has come a long way from the late 1980s when a handful of squatters broke into what was then an abandoned city-owned tenement house and claimed it as their home. It was given such name by their residents who imagined it might function as a central hub for housing activists.

The building is now operated as a limited equity co-op and in accordance with Housing Development Fund Corporation rules, residents said. An agreement with the city specifies that buyers can earn no more than 120 percent of the median area income.

The building’s newest undertaking: an 820-square-foot vegetable garden tended by volunteers, which provides fresh produce and herbs for the 32 or so inhabitants of the 18 apartments, as well as a respite from some of the rigors of city life.

During the 1970s housing crisis, activists, punks, hippies, street kids and other homeless individuals took over and reclaimed derelict buildings on the Lower East Side through mass homesteading and squatting movements.

At the peak of these movements in the late 1980s, over 30 squats existed in the Lower East Side, providing homes for nearly a thousand people. The City has since granted many of these older squats limited-equity co-op status. Community members transformed buildings from a derelict state into livable.

Urban Co-Governance Moderate
Enabling State Weak
Pooling Moderate
Experimentalism Moderate
Tech Justice Weak
Project Website http://www.umbrellahouse.nyc/
References, sources, contact person(s) https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/realestate/umbrella-house-east-village-co-op-run-by-former-squatters.html


Contact : info@umbrellahouse.nyc