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New York City has been shaped by endless immigrant waves that have arrived, settled, and grown side by side taking advantage of their differences and affinities. Historically, the political, social and cultural convergence of different communities has brought about progressive visions, approaches, and practices promoting the production of a unique city. Often lead by labor movements, immigrants, and minorities, the most radical urban advancements have emerged in times of scarcity and crisis as a way of resistance and survival. In today’s context, the very same urban communities find themselves threatened by the increasing racial, economic and social inequality. Radical approaches defying the status quo in urban and community development are being reconsidered to preserve communities and to make them thrive. Cooperativisim is one such approach.

United for Housing addresses the city’s housing crisis by delving into local cooperativism in Sunset Park, a traditionally immigrant neighborhood in Brooklyn. This collaborative project has been developed by students from Parsons’ MS Design and Urban Ecologies program, Milano’s Community Development Finance Lab, and United Families of Sunset Park (UFSP). UFSP is a group of over 15 immigrant families who have organized to stay in their beloved neighborhood through the development of cooperative housing. The project involves the co-production of educational tools to advance the organizing efforts of the group, the design of methodologies to identify potential properties for the project in the neighborhood, and the creation of different scenarios to develop cooperative housing considering local assets and available public programs and funds. This project builds on last year’s project Women, Care, and Housing, which was developed by students from the MS Design and Urban Ecologies Class 2020 in collaboration with Milano’s Community Development Finance Lab which is led by Prof. Kevin McQueen.

United for Housing is part of a multi-year project. It intends to strengthen the existing relationships between our community partners and organizations and experts in housing, as well as building new relationships for future collaborations and partnerships. Some of the existing collaborators include the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), the New Economy Project, and the Center for Family Life.

Team Members

MS Design and Urban Ecologies:
Emily Bowe
Jason Brown
Daniella Castillo
Daniel Chu
Rachel Crist
Amron Lee
Ashley Lehrer

MS Urban and Public Policy:
Ana Milena Prada Uribe
Andrew Stark

MS Economics:
Adam Schiabor

MS International Affairs:
Douglas Salathe

Graduate Certificate Leadership and Change:
Dirk Van Stee


Gabriela Rendón, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development


Urban Homesteading Assitance Board (UHAB)

New Economy Project

Center for Family Life

Community Development Finance Lab


Sunset Park Design Proposals 2019: Community Pedagogy Booklets, Housing Hope: Working with Religious Institutions, and Redefining Collective Care/Reclaiming Contested Spaces.