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The Cooper Square CLT is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of shareholders and non-resident directors. Directors are chosen for their demonstrated commitments to the principles of community solidarity, low-income housing, and social justice. 



Harriet Cohen is a long-time Lower East Side resident who has been active in many community struggles and led the successful fight to save the NENA Community Health Center and bring back former site tenants of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area to new housing recently built on the site. Harriet has a long track record in housing and homeless services with experience in program development and management, operations, grant writing and fundraising, policy analysis, advocacy, and mediation. She has created, directed, and supervised housing programs for people with special needs, including those living with HIV/AIDS, drug use, mental illness, and the formerly incarcerated, and created NYC’s first supported housing for young adults aging out of foster care. Her history also includes a Mayoral appointment as a Tenant Representative to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board and a NYS Supreme Court appointment as a Special Master in the class action lawsuit involving shelter access for Homeless Families. Here she provided consultation and mediation to the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Legal Aid Society and advocacy for homeless families. Harriet has served as the Senior Policy Director for Housing and Homelessness in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, Director of Development and Operations for Pathways to Housing, Director of Programs at the Lantern Group, and the Director of Housing for the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC). Harriet holds a Master of City Planning from Yale University and a Master of Arts in Psychology from The New School. She has taught classes at Quinnipiac College, the University of New Haven, Brooklyn College, and New York University.



Monxo López is a museum curator, urban thinker, educator, cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental and urban justice activist. He is currently an associate curator at the Museum of the City of New York, and holds a PhD in political science from CUNY’s Graduate Center, and an MA from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. He previously taught in the CUNY system, and was a Mapping Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Spaces.

Monxo is a founding member of South Bronx Unite, and a founding member and board member of the Mott Haven/Port Morris Community Land Stewards (aka South Bronx Community Land Trust).He was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, and lives in Mott Haven in the South Bronx. 

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Growing up in New York City in an immigrant household, Larissa was raised in a family of long-time garment factory workers. Throughout her life, she has witnessed firsthand the struggles working class families face in order to survive in this city. This understanding is what motivates her to pursue work that is community driven.

Larissa has been dedicated to work that centers social justice, our built environment, and the well being of community members. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a Masters in Urban Planning and a focus on Housing and the Built Environment and has over 10+ years in public service work. Larissa has worked in a variety of fields that include the development and preservation of affordable housing, providing comprehensive care management services, and implementing waste reduction strategies for a more sustainable and cleaner environment. What drives all of her work is the purposeful engagement of people and making sure community benefit comes first.

Gabriela Rendon New York City


Gabriela Rendón is an urban planner, researcher, and educator committed to social and spatial justice. Over the last 15 years, she has worked with immigrant and low-income community groups facilitating participatory-action research projects, community-led plans, and neighborhood-based initiatives. Gabriela is a co-founder of Urban Front and Cohabitation Strategies, where she has collaborated in diverse urban and community projects commissioned by nonprofits, public agencies, municipalities, and national governments across cities in Western Europe, North America and Latin America. Since 2010, Gabriela has worked closely with grassroots and immigrant community groups advancing, their organizing and anti-displacement efforts in Brooklyn. She is currently working on three books, Cohabitation Strategies: Thoughts and Actions for the Production of Social Space (ORO Editions, 2025), Defiant Neighborhoods: Rise, Revitalization, and Gentrification of Immigrant Communities in Latinx Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2026) and The Gruyter Handbook of Housing Justice (De Gruyter, 2027) .

Gabriela is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development and Director of the Housing Justice Lab at The New School. She holds a Ph.D. in Spatial Planning and Strategy and an MS in Urbanism from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and a BS in Architecture from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. Gabriela was born and raised in Mexico and worked in the Tijuana/San Diego border region, where she developed a passion for housing and immigrant justice.

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Tom Angotti is Professor Emeritus of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He founded and directed the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development (CCPD). He recently co-edited Zoned Out: Race, Displacement & City Planning in New York City with Sylvia Morse (UR Books) and edited Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism (Black Rose/Univ. of Chicago Press). His book, New York For Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate (MIT Press, 2008) won the Paul Davidoff Award and International Planning History Society Book Prize. New Village Press published Service-Learning in Design and Planning: At the Boundaries, which he co-edited with Cheryl Doble and Paula Horrigan. The New Century of the Metropolis: Enclave Development and Urban Orientalism was published by Routledge in 2012. His other books include Metropolis 2000: Planning Poverty and Politics, Housing in Italy and a book of short stories, Accidental Warriors. 

Through the CCPD and in collaboration with others, Tom has completed studies on New York City’s PlaNYC2030, Wal-Mart, NYU’s expansion plan, Fresh Direct, and Atlantic Yards. He has collaborated on many community-based plans and written about community land trusts. He is founder and co-editor of Progressive Planning Magazine, and Participating Editor for the journals Latin American Perspectives and Local Environment. He is a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and served as Fulbright Specialist in India, Italy and Vietnam. Tom previously served as a senior planner with the City of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. 

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Valois Mickens has been a performer at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club since the 1970s, where she currently acts as house manager. Founded in 1961 at the heart of the Cooper Square area, LaMaMa has been home to generations of artists of all identities, races, ages, and cultures. Valois is a long-standing shareholder of Cooper Square MHA and a building captain. In this role, she works closely with shareholder neighbors. 



Michael Atkins is a long-standing resident at Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association II, where he served as a board member for several years. He is currently a board member of the Two Buildings Tenants United (TBTU), the most recent acquisition of Copper Square CLT. In addition to his commitment to housing justice, Michael is also involved in the art scene of the neighborhood by serving as a board member at Rob Rodgers Dance Company, a space connecting today's society and it's relationship to Black figures of yesterday and today.

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Christopher Hirschmann Brandt is a poet, translator, and political activist.  He currently teaches poetry workshops and Peace and Justice Studies at Fordham University and in the past has been an actor, theatre worker, carpenter, and furniture designer. Chris moved to 77 East 4th Street in 1978 into an illegal sublet, after the building on Avenue C and 9th Street where he had lived for six years was sold to a landlord who immediately raised the rent, and later on became a shareholder of the Cooper Square MHA. In the 1980s he traveled to Central America and worked in the Nicaraguan Revolution’s Ministry of Arts and Culture for half a year. When he returned to New York full of revolutionary enthusiasm, he immediately joined the Cooper Square Committee. He served several terms on the Steering Committee, and later on the CSMHA Board of Directors. Besides the fight for affordable housing, and international solidarity efforts, he is also active in the War Resisters League, Witness Against Torture, and in the anti-nuclear and climate justice movements.


Chris poems and essays have been published abroad in, among others, Inverse Journal (Kashmir); Laterál (Barcelona); El signo del gorrión  (Valladolid);  Liqueur 44 (Paris); La Jornada (Mexico); and in the US in Poiesis, Syndic, …and Then, Phati'tude, Appearances; The Unbearables; Big City Lit, and in the anthologies Crimes of the Beats (Unbearables), Classics in the Classroom (Teachers and Writers) and Off the Cuffs: Poetry by and About the Police (Soft Skull, ed. Jackie Sheeler).  His chapbook, The Place Where Grief Begins, was published in 2021 by Tebot Bach. His translations of Cuban fiction have been published in The New Yorker and by Seven Stories Press and of Cuban poets are included in The Whole Island  (Berkeley, ed. Mark Weiss). Chris translated four collections of poetry by the late Puerto Rican poet and teacher Carmen Valle.  



Lucas Tatarsky is an educator committed to better understanding the harmful effects of gentrification and urban inequality while supporting marginalized communities to fight for their rights.

A born and bred New Yorker from downtown Manhattan, Lucas has also lived and worked in Colombia, Panama, Peru and Cuba. He recently completed a Master's in International Affairs from the New School with a concentration in cities and social justice. His research methods combine video, photography and creative nonfiction writing with informal interviews and conversations with stakeholders. Projects have explored urban life and community development and organizing strategies amid rising inequality in Bogotá, Panama City, Havana and New York.

He currently works for the adult education department at Make The Road NY, teaching, supervising and providing services to immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens. He is also a peer in the inaugural cohort of the Shape of Cities to Come Institute at the Clemente Soto Vélez Center as part of the Canal Street Research Association.

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