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Resident and Community Engagement in Community Land Trusts

Emily Thaden and Jeffrey S. Lowe

Julho 2014, inglês

Community land trusts (CLTs) are gaining ground as a model that effectively creates community control of property for affordable housing and community development. Resident and community engagement are critical for CLTs to accomplish their objectives. Six well-established CLTs were investigated to understand their reasons and practices for engagement. These included: 1) fostering leadership, betterment, and improved quality of life among residents; 2) creating community control of land and neighborhoods, 3) building community, 4) promoting civic engagement, 5) ensuring resident-driven organizational decision-making and strategic planning, and 6) bolstering organizational sustainability.

Factors that affected resident and community engagement were also identified. Informants from the six CLTs reported that effective engagement needed to: 1) accommodate the lifecycle of residents, 2) address capacity constraints, 3) involve partners for efficacy and efficiency, and 4) attend to challenges relating to growth and geographic spread. Results indicated that the CLTs did not prioritize the same objectives for engagement, and their orientations towards engagement were significantly influenced by the broader temporal climate when the CLT was established as well as by the local socio-political environment in which the CLT must operate.