ON COMMON GROUND is a collection of original essays, written by 42 scholars and practitioners from a dozen countries, tracing the growth and diversification of the international community land trust movement.
A community land trust (CLT) is a transformative strategy of community-led development on community-owned land that has taken root in the Global North and is now spreading to the Global South. CLTs produce and preserve affordably priced homes, community gardens, retail spaces, and a variety of neighborhood facilities – all developed under the guidance of the people who live nearby; all managed to remain permanently affordable for people of modest means.
Introduction - On Common Ground - María E. Hernández-Torrales, John Emmeus Davis, and Line Algoed
The book’s editors explain why they decided to produce On Common Ground, what it contains, and how they hope the book will be used. They acknowledge the variety of ways in which CLTs are being organized, operated, and applied throughout the world, while pointing to values and commitments that are shared by most CLT practitioners and scholars, including the 42 contributors to the present volume.
Chapter 1 - In Land We Trust: Key Features and Common Variations of Community Land Trusts in the USA - John Emmeus Davis
The global CLT landscape is one of enormous diversity, even in the United States where the “classic” CLT was conceived. Defining ownership, organizational, and operational features of this “classic” model are detailed in the present chapter, along with the most common variations in each. Five “causes of continuing variation” are considered as well.
Chapter 2 - The Once and Future Garden City - Yves Cabannes and Philip Ross
Cabannes and Ross revisit the Garden City, originally proposed by Ebenezer Howard over 100 years ago, to ask how his vision might be delivered in a modern setting. Community land trusts, they argue, provide a partial answer, serving as “a vehicle for gradually assembling land and putting Garden City principles into practice – now not later.”
Chapter 4 - Making a Case for CLTs in All Markets, Even Cold Ones - Steve King
Arguments justifying CLTs tend to focus on their effectiveness in preserving affordability and preventing displacement in strong real estate markets where prices for land and housing are rising. Most justifications regularly overlook the multiple roles that CLTs can also play in improving conditions and empowering residents where real estate markets are weak. The executive director of the Oakland Community Land Trust in California endeavors to correct this rhetorical imbalance, making a case for the CLT’s counter-cyclical effectiveness in all markets, hot and cold.
Chapter 6 - From Model to Movement: The Growth of Community Land Trusts in the United States - John Emmeus Davis
How did an experimental “model” of community-led development on community-owned land grow from a single CLT prototype in 1969, seeded by African-American activists in a remote corner of the USA, to a national “movement” of over 280 CLTs today? The answer is to be found in five “growth factors”: message; champions; performance; policy; and hybrid vigor. Despite a steady rise in the number of CLTs and the size of their holdings, however, key features of the model and core values of the movement are precarious. The future may look different than the past.
Chapter 7 - Origins and Evolution of Urban Community Land Trusts in Canada - Susannah Bunce and Joshua Barndt (read by Bob Rose)
Susannah Bunce and Joshua Barndt (read by Bob Rose)
The development of community land trusts in Canada occurred over a 40-year period in two distinct phases. The first generation of Canadian CLTs (1980 – 2012) either combined community-owned land with multi-unit housing cooperatives in Toronto and Montreal or promoted individual homeownership in western and central Canada. More recently, a second generation of CLTs has emerged in cities throughout the country in response to an escalating crisis in affordable housing, taking the form of either community-based or sector-based initiatives. Since 2017, older and newer CLTs have coalesced, via the Canadian Network of CLTs.