Theses Master's

Surreal Estate: A Historical Case Study of the East Village + Lower East Side's Squatter History (1970-2000)

Saah, Daleen

This thesis serves as a historical case study of the squatter movement of New York City’s East Village and Lower East Side from the 1970s-2000s. Informal squats form in Western cities experiencing blight and abandonment, with a plethora of vacant buildings reclaimed by a population unaccounted for by the “for-profit” housing market. The civic action taken in East Village and Lower East Side resulted in 11 buildings previously owned by the city to be converted into low-income cooperatives through an urban homesteading program. By examining the squatter movement as it relates to gentrification, this thesis aims to pull key demographic patterns to indicate how the neighborhood changed during its transition from disinvestment to reinvestment, as well as investigate the feasibility of urban homesteading as an alternative solution to housing crisis.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Sclar, Elliott
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2013