Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands: Revitalising The WPA With Action Research
Christopher Robbins details the counterintuitive results of beginning a project intended to highlight the failings of post recession governmental strategy
The Gothamist has an interview with Christopher Robbins, the man behind the squatting skill exchange workshop being run in the lower East Side Trade School.
In the interview, Robbins details one of his previous projects, wherein he revived the historic WPA as an illegitimate government work program in the wake of the 2009 Great Recession. Robbins tells how the project was funded through Kickstarter and that they established two offices:
Robbins – We opened one in the rural hamlet of Wassaic, New York, and the other in the urban center of Jamaica, Queens – and hired local people as WPA workers to complete unauthorized but needed public works in their own neighborhood, under the auspices of the WPA. Basically people would come in and I’d collect ideas for public works that they wanted or if they wanted employment I’d take down their names. Once we came up with a project and agreed on it, I’d hire some people and we’d go out dressed as construction workers in WPA uniforms.