In a new report, Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty, authors of the book The Resilience Imperative: Co-operative Transitions to a Steady-state Economy, explore the connection between community land trusts and the Commons.

Community Land Trusts, Urban Land Reform and the Commons is broken into three articles that cover different aspects of the connection and provide a “crash course” in community land trusts, cooperative land banks, and how “practical land reform can be systematically implemented to return land to the Commons.”

The first article, “Affordability Locked In,” looks at the issues we face around housing and argues that community land trusts are a viable solution to many of them. It provides an overview of the viability of the community land trust model and details how some of the most successful community land trusts in North America, including the Champlain Housing Trust, have succeeded.

The second article, "The Best of Three Worlds," looks at Mutual Home Ownership as a housing solution that combines the best of community land trusts, tenant cooperatives, and a cooperative land societies.

Providing examples and backing data, the report does a deep dive into the specifics of this housing alternatives. As it states, “The model keeps housing permanently affordable while giving current member-tenants incentives to maintain their dwelling and to contribute as much as they can to paying down the collective debt.”

The third article, "The Cooperative Land Bank: a Solution in Search of a Home," argues the fact that exclusive forms of ownership concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. The Cooperative Land Bank, which was designed by Dr. Shann Turnbull from the International Institute for Self-governance as a means to “reverse the erosion of community wealth and accountability,” creates the means to divert ownership, wealth and responsibility into the hands of local residents.

“In theory,” the article states, “affordable housing and many other social and economic benefits can be achieved without recourse to cash-strapped governments.”

Read more and download the report at Commons Transition.


Photo: The Lithos Road Housing Coop in London (CDS Co-operatives). Follow @CatJohnson on Twitter

Cat Johnson


Cat Johnson | |

Cat Johnson is a content strategist and teacher helping community builders create strong brands. A longtime writer, marketing pro and coworking leader, Cat is the founder of Coworking Convos and