Wasted Space and Housing Rights in NYC

By Jen

Cover of the NYPost in response to Bullet Space’s coop conversion: Image via EV Grieve

This week’s readings made me think a lot about the problem of homelessness and the (political and need-based) motivations behind the squatters rights movement. If we’re taking about wasting space — what’s more wasteful than an unoccupied, unused property in a place like NY, where rents are high and homelessness is pervasive? How do our notions of waste and wastefulness relate to our conceptions of ownership vs. use?  What are the ethical ramifications of proclaiming housing as a right?

The legal precedents of squatters rights in NYC are really interesting I think. For instance, there have been a number of former squats on the LES that have taken ownership of buildings from the city and been converted into housing coops (like Bullet Space, C-Squat and ABC No Rio).


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