Neighborhoods Now: Cooper Square Committee

This work is part of Neighborhoods Now, an umbrella initiative; learn more about it here.


    CSC worked with Curtis + Ginsberg Architects (C+GA) to carry out several retrofits to their office on East 4th Street in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for their staff and clients, including improved ventilation and safer physical barriers between staff and the public.

    About Neighborhoods Now

    A collaboration between the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute, Neighborhoods Now connects New York City neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in our collective network. Launched in May 2020, Neighborhoods Now initially convened eight working groups led by community organizations in Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, the Lower East Side, and Washington Heights. What was intended to be a six-week sprint turned into long-term partnerships, and nearly all of these working groups continue to collaborate beyond their initial scope.

    In February 2021, we expanded the initiative with new working groups based in Chinatown, the East Village and Lower East Side, and the South Bronx. With new coalitions of designers, engineers, and landscape architects, each working group aims to convert underutilized outdoor spaces as sites for community programming and cultural revitalization. The Forum and Van Alen have granted each new community partner $10,000 to implement these strategies, and will provide additional fundraising support as funds become available.

    Who We’re Working With

    Coordinating Firm

    Goals and Outcomes

    Redesign Reception Area
    C+GA designed a new reception area using simple materials including wood, sheetrock, plexiglass. A glass paned door also maintains maximum visibility between the lobby area and the office, adding to a bright open ambiance.

    Enhanced Safety Recommendations
    C+GA also recommended installing operable side storefront windows and purchasing air purifiers. They designed the new windows and assisted CSC with filing the permit to obtain approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which was successful.

    Signage and Protocols
    C+GA worked with CSC to develop staff safety protocols and signage to post in the office, encouraging the public to wear a mask, stand six feet apart, and use hand sanitizers when visiting the office.