Urban Room


    Using our HQ as a flexible community space for friends and neighbors.


    Photo: Cameron Blaylock

    Urban Room at Van Alen Institute
    303 Bond Street, Brooklyn
    Drop-in hours: Tuesdays–Thursdays, 10 am–6 pm

    The Urban Room at Van Alen Institute is a flexible, accessible, street-level space located at 303 Bond Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn. It’s a place for civic-minded organizations to meet and diverse groups to come together in dialogue, and serves as an information hub for the Gowanus community. For values-aligned nonprofits and community groups, Van Alen offers this space and meeting tech on a sliding scale, while private and corporate space rentals support our mission to create more equitable cities through inclusive design.

    To inquire about using our space, fill out this form.

    Why an Urban Room?

    When Van Alen moved to Gowanus in early 2020, we joined many community-based organizations already working to create a stronger, more connected neighborhood amid a major rezoning. So we opened our doors to our neighbors and listened. We learned that some lacked dignified, functional, inexpensive gathering space, and we made our flexible office and tech available at no cost. Today, we regularly host meetings of Brooklyn Community Board 6, the Gowanus Oversight Task Force, and Gowanus Mutual Aid, as well as a community fridge operated by One Love Community Fridge.

    We’ve found inspiration in the UK-based Urban Room movement, which aims to create a network of spaces where people come together to help create a future for their local area. Although Urban Rooms may differ, they share these principles: a focus on the shared built environment; an open door, especially for those traditionally underrepresented in decision making; exploration to prompt curiosity through creative activities; and location in the neighborhood under discussion. With these principles in mind and by being present in our own community, we’re learning how to best support community partners, ensuring their visions and self-identified needs are at the core of our work.

    Ongoing Activities

    Brooklyn Community Board 6
    Full Board Meeting
    Second Wednesdays of the month, 6:30 pm
    Click here for current calendar

    One Love Community Fridge
    Open 24/7 outside 303 Bond Street
    Restocked and maintained by One Love Community Fridge

    Upcoming Events

    Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 holds their monthly Landmarks & Land Use Committee meeting at Van Alen Institute. Open to the public.

    Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 holds their monthly Full Board meeting at Van Alen Institute. Open to the public.