A strategy for affordability
From: Richart Keller (richart.kellergmail.com)
Date: Fri, 14 May 2010 11:53:39 -0700 (PDT)
I just received the following as part of an email from the Lincoln Institute
for Land Policy.  As cohousing becomes more popular, the price of units are
increasingly out of reach of many people.  In this changing economic
environment, even where some of cohousing units are reserved for "low and
moderate income" folks the prices put the houses out of reach of the target

As someone who headed a CLT back in the 1970s, it occurred to me that this
approach would be one strategy for assuring that cohousing remains
affordable.  While the CLT approach has its limitations, they need to be
weighed against the loss of economic diversity in our communities, a loss
both to the community and to the people who want to join but who are, in
effect, locked out.

"Origins of the CLT

     The community land trust, where buyers can purchase homes eclusive of
the cost of land, occupies some interesting space in the context of the
housing meltdown: CLTs, it turns out, are good for neighborhood
stabilization and have negligible foreclosure rates. What's even more
fascinating is that this is an idea a hundred years in the making. This
month, a new collection of essays, assembled for the first time, trace the
roots, evolution, and prospects of the community land trust: The Community
Land Trust Reader.
     The essays - many of which have never before appeared in print, and
others written expressly for the volume - trace the intellectual origins of
an eclectic model of tenure that was shaped by the social theories of Henry
George, Ebenezer Howard, Ralph Borsodi, and Arthur Morgan, and by social
experiments like the Garden Cities of England and the Gramdan villages of
India. The community land trust arrived quietly on the American scene in the
late 1960s, an outgrowth of the civil rights movement in the Deep South to
help African-American farmers gain access to agricultural land. It soon
found many other uses, including affordable housing and neighborhood
revitalization, as it spread to urban, suburban, and rural communities
throughout the country. By 2005, there were more than 200 CLTs, with a dozen
new ones being organized every year. Today, CLTs are operating in 45 states
and the District of Columbia, and they are being introduced in other
countries including Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, and Kenya.
     "Community land trusts are at a critical turning point, and many
opportunities lie ahead," said Gregory K. Ingram, president of the Lincoln
Institute, which maintains a partnership with the National CLT Network to
support training and research on community land trusts. "This book aptly
frames an approach that can counter today's tumult in housing markets and
provide sustainable affordable housing."
     "We've recently seen an immensely damaging housing bubble that was
built on speculation suddenly burst, with disastrous results not just for
our national economy, but for individual homeowners and renters. Homes that
are needed by working families are too often priced beyond their reach - or
pried from their grasp - by dramatic rises and falls in real estate prices.
The Community Land Trust Reader show us there is a more equitable way of
keeping land-based resources available, affordable, and secure for people
who need them the most," said Bernie Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont.
     The editor of the volume, John Emmeus Davis, will be at Lincoln House
in Cambridge June 15 for a special event including remarks followed by a
reception and book-signing."

Rick Keller

Richart Keller, AICP
120 Pulpit Hill Road #27A
Amherst, MA 01002
401 486-2677 (cell)

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