COMMUNITY LAND TRUST

The Community Land Trust (CLT) is a legal mechanism created in order to allow the participatory stewardship of urban areas. Firstly implemented in the U.S, the CLT was rapidly adopted in many other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Belgium.

At the cornerstone of the CLTs is the need to find feasible solutions to the emergency shelter and gentrification affecting our cities through a model which opposes participation and sustainability to the speculative logics of the market.

Recent researches and several bottom up experiences are starting to create CLTs which go beyond social housing. The CLT is nowadays becoming a legal institution which bears the ambition to re-design the governance of our territories.

Generally speaking, a CLT is a bundle of legal tools, kept together in order to pursue the following goals:

 

  • Socialization of Rent: rent, namely the increase of the value of an immovable good due to public and private investments performed in the area, shall not be an exclusive gain of the owner. Part of it should be socialized and reinvested in the regeneration of the area.

  • Participatory stewardship of the urban territory: the CLT embodies institutional mechanisms which allow the stakeholders of a given good to have a voice, through democratic procedures, in its administration and governance.

  • Access and collective enjoyment: the good(s) under the CLT are open to public enjoyment. In the CLT, the concept of exclusion, typical of private property, is replaced by a governance based on access and inclusion, typical of common property. This system does not entail the absence of rules: still it allows the good the be openly enjoyed, in a communal way, to its community of reference.

  • Use restrictions and sustainability: The legal structure of the CLT 1) permanently allocates the good to one or more specific uses (social housing, culture, agriculture etc.); 2) permanently enforces the governance of the good to be consistent with the principles of the CLT (participation, collective enjoyment, intergenerational justice, environmental sustainability).

 

Besides the legal institution the model specifically relies on (which may be quite different one from another depending on the context), the model of the CLT appears to be consistent with the projects of our association.

 

  • The CLT would indeed allow: 1) to lock in the project the rent of the immovable good where the vegetable garden is eventually built upon; 2) to guarantee and regulate the public enjoyment of each garden; 3) to restrict permanently the good to one or more specific uses; 4) to create, in advance, rules aimed at the participatory governance of the good.