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Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Oct 23, 2017

Protecting Communities from Gentrification

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/protecting-communities-from-gentrification-community-land-trusts/

This article was originally published in our The Public Good: Reports from the Front Lines (September 27, 2017), available here.

About 15 years ago, the half-century flight from America’s cities came to an end.  A growing number of cities began to see a growing in-migration, often of people with higher incomes.  Rising real estate prices spurred land speculation and new developments, threatening existing neighborhoods with displacement and reducing affordable housing.

Some cities have tried to do right by their long-term residents.  But the strategies they’ve embraced look to bribe developers with tax breaks or higher densities than the zoning code allows in return for the developer including in their high rise condos a portion with a sales price set to households with less than the area’s median income. On the whole, these bribes have only marginally increased affordable housing, done little if anything to preserve existing neighborhoods and in the long run, are unsustainable.

In the 1960s activists proposed a new strategy: Community Land Trusts (CLT) The first incorporated land trust was established in 1969.  New Communities was a 5,700-acre land trust and farm collective in southwestern Georgia owned and operated by approximately a dozen black farm farmers from 1969 to 1985.

In 1972 Robert Swann, one of the creators of New Communities, wrote Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model of Land Tenure in America, which among others things, explained in detail how a land trust differs from conventional ownership.  A trust separates the ownership of the land from the ownership of the building.  A nonprofit organization, with a board usually composed of representatives from tenants and the surrounding neighborhood, owns the land and leases it to the homeowner for a designated period, often 99 years.  The homeowner has the right to sell the land at any time, but the return to the homeowner is limited.

Keeping the land out of the real estate market holds down housing prices, as does limiting the equity gains that accrue to the homeowner. The objective of the land trust is not to maximize profit, but to maximize community and diversity.

In 1984 Burlington, Vermont established the nation’s first urban CLT.  Burlington offered fertile ground for the concept.  A rapidly inflating housing market created the need.  A mayor, Bernie Sanders, receptive to the concept of social markets created the opportunity. Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under The Public Good | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 15, 2017

Why Local Self-Reliance? – Episode 22 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/why-local-self-reliance-episode-22-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

In this week’s episode of Building Local Power, host Christopher Mitchell (of our Community Broadband Networks initiative) interviews ILSR co-founder David Morris about the history of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and why the message of local self-reliance is as relevant today as it was in the 1970s. This wide-ranging conversation takes in the role that… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under The Public Good | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jul 27, 2017

Fishing for Local Power – Episode 25 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/fishing-for-local-power-episode-25-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

This week’s episode of Building Local Power is a great conversation with a close ally and friend of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Niaz Dorry, coordinating director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, sits down with hosts Christopher Mitchell and Stacy Mitchell to talk about the growing privatization of the fishing industry, how she organizes her fishing community, and the damage that large-scale fishing does to the environment and her local economy.  Continue reading

Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Jan 26, 2017

Taking on the Billionaires

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/taking-on-the-billionaires/

Combatting defeatism may be our single most important psychological objective in the wake of the election. We need to revive the spirit embodied in Barack Obama’s vague but hopeful campaign slogan in 2008, “Yes We Can.” At the federal level this is a time to expose, to educate and to resist. But at the state and local level we can act proactively to fashion strategies that both embrace progressive values and directly benefit those who mistakenly voted for Donald Trump as an economic savior. This is the first in a series of pieces focusing on what can be done. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband, Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, The Public Good, Waste to Wealth | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 30, 2017

Independence & Local Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/independence-local-self-reliance/

Here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we advocate for independence in a variety of forms. From strengthening the status of independent businesses in the economy to encouraging local governments to break free from monopoly Internet Service Providers and invest in their communities’ connectivity, independence is vital for small-scale, local economies. That’s why, in honor of Independence Day 2017, we’ve gathered resources from across our work that you can delve into during this long weekend.

We have a number of podcasts, articles, and infographics from all of our initiatives that discuss the vital role independence plays in the local economy. We know that you need some fodder for conversations during BBQs, travel to be with loved ones, and fireworks shows. Continue reading