The Community Land Trust (CLT) movement is at an exciting and critical moment in history. Never has the model been more prominent or generated more interest. Right now, more than 20 communities are starting a CLT through the support of our Priming Program. Major journals like the Atlantic are covering the power of community controlled land—and doing so more frequently. A few years ago, I often began trainings by telling people that I was going to let them in on the best kept secret in community development. No more! The secret is out.
This groundswell of interest in CLTs is not accidental; it is the direct result of countless people working hard to develop community land trusts over the past 50 years. While we haven’t historically used this language, these dedicated people are the original CLT Community of Practice (CoP). This community has already achieved so much, including:
- The formation of the National Community Land Trust Network,
- The first Network conference and every conference since,
- The 2011 CLT Network Model Ground Lease,
- The 2011 CLT Technical Manual,
- The 2009 CLT Delinquency & Foreclosure Survey that demonstrated that stewardship works, and
- The Roots & Branches website and the Roots of the CLT course.
These resources have advanced the CLT movement across the country and abroad. They raise the profile of the CLT model, identify and promote best practices and, perhaps most importantly, connect practitioners across the globe in the pursuit of more just, equitable, and sustainable communities.
The (not so) New CLT Community of Practice
Today, I am excited to share the CLT Community of Practice Concept Paper with you and to ask for your final thoughts and feedback before we send it to the Grounded Solutions Network board for their consideration. The board is charged with determining how to incorporate the values and vision expressed in the concept paper into the organization’s strategic plan and mission. From there we, Grounded Solutions Network staff, will be charged with implementation.
Once the plan is finalized over the next few weeks and months, you can expect to see:
- A call for volunteers to further lead and shape the CLT Community of Practice
- An in-person gathering of the community of practice at Intersections 2016 in Park City, UT in September
- A dedicated space for community of practice members to connect virtually on our website
Much More Coming for CLTs in 2016
The work never stops! We already have some exciting CLT initiatives in the works this year, such as:
- The Start-up CLT Priming Program which supports CLT “explorers” in the early phases
- The Start-up CLT Capacity Building Institute which supports CLT organizations to launch their initial operations
- The Resident Ambassador Program which builds the leadership skills and power of CLT residents
- Business planning assessments for well-established organizations
- HomeKeeper adoption and implementation support to make your lives easier (stay tuned!)
We are also advancing the CLT movement by researching new ways that CLTs can partner with land banks and preserve at-risk manufactured housing communities. As always, we will actively advocate for more funding and financing opportunities for CLT programs.
Join the Community Conversation
I want to thank and recognize the hundred plus people who shared their thoughts about and visions for this community of practice over the past year. Your commitment to this community is humbling and I hope that you, like me, are excited about what is to come. I especially want to thank John Davis, who graciously and heroically mulled and massaged all of our collective thinking into the final concept paper that serves as a summary of our best thinking on the subject to date.
I hope that you will take a few minutes to read the Community Land Trust Community of Practice Concept Paper and to leave your comments in the forum on the page! Thank you!