Community Land Trusts - a model for community land ownership in the USA, and beyond?

What do communal or collective forms of property look like in North America? The Atlantic just published an article about Community Land Trusts, a model of collective land ownership designed to keep housing prices affordable in cities. In a time when privatization of land seems so dominant, it is inspiring to see communities championing alternative models! Read the article here.

The idea was first popularized in America as part of the civil-rights movement, when a community activist named Robert Swann decided to try and obtain a large piece of land for black sharecroppers to settle and develop. The backers of that land trust took inspiration from the Jewish National Fund, which at the time was buying up land and setting up settlements in Israel, and the Bhoodan Movement in India, which tried to persuade wealthy landowners to give some of their land to the poor. Despite Swann’s success, the idea didn’t really take off in urban areas in America until the 1980s, when rapidly increasing real-estate prices began shutting many out of homeownership…

For more on Community Land Trusts, check out the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s page or the National Community Land Trust Network.

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in kibra , we adopted CLT in 2001 and have struggled to have it accepted thru the Ministry of Lands. we have been engaged thru the former Director of Physical Planning, Mbagua and his officers. we are grateful that it was our contribution to the formulation of the National land Policy formulation process that was adopted and quoted in the Land Policy document that is currently in force. CLT is closely related to CLP and similar provisions . governance, equality and equity across board, mapping, rules and by laws among other, we did make our own cogitation, Trust deed, our area and been surveyed and a PDP approved. a lot still needs to be done dealing with both enemies within and external forces, political and economical interest groups, local investors who are eager to grab land cheaply, community mobilisation and coherence, sustainability issues and community ownership. we loom forward to working with Namati to achieve our objectives and request nematic to work with us reviewing the community land bill, address its limitations and bring communities together to increase their strength as we engage the duty bearers. i personally thank the organisers of Namati in inviting me to share experience with other community representatives


This is great to know, Jamaldin! I would like to sit with you to learn more - I studied CLTs for a few years in grad school and have been very interested in the model, but have only heard about them in the US and Europe.

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You’re most welcome Thanks

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