The Cooper Square Community Land Trust (CSCLT) is the oldest community land trust in New York City still in active operation. Born out of the struggles in the 1950s and 1960s against Robert Moses and his troubling urban renewal plans, we own and steward the land under 23 buildings in the Lower East Side in perpetuity. Our success has been possible through decades of political organizing and support from the local government.
In a neighborhood with a rich migrant history, we protect the homes, small businesses, and community spaces within our service area against land speculation and support the very fabric of a neighborhood where residents have been traditionally disenfranchised by both disinvestment and gentrification. Inspired by the know-how and ingenuity of the communities we serve, we are committed to helping pass their wealth — both concrete and intangible — for the enjoyment of future generations.
Our current housing and preservation strategies are innovative and expansive, with deep roots in the critical urban thought of activists such as Fran Goldin and Walter Thabit. Today, as we celebrate our decades-long history of successful activism, we are also actively exploring ever more complete ways to unleash the full potential of our communities.
The Cooper Square CLT is located in Manhattan's Community District 3. This vibrant area has a rich history of being a melting pot for working-class immigrants from different corners of the world. From the early waves of European immigrants and Puerto Ricans, to more recent arrivals from Latin America and China.
NYC COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS
We are a proud member of the New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI). We support city- and state-wide campaigns waged to combat speculation and evictions and promote the growth and creation of CLTs across the city and beyond.