Guiding Principles

Strategic Focus:  Among the many strategies employed around the world for assisting people and places in need, the community land trust (CLT) has proven especially adept at promoting local development that is both equitable and sustainable. The Center was founded to raise the international profile of the CLT and related models of community-led development on community-owned land, while supporting their incubation in regions and countries where CLTs are in their infancy or unknown.

Geographic Focus:  Most CLT development to date has occurred in the Global North. The Center will maintain and expand the online archive, Roots & Branches, documenting the origins and evolution of these northern hemisphere CLTs which are found mostly in the USA, England, Canada, and Belgium.  The majority of the Center’s activities, however, will be focused on the Global South, where the community land trust (CLT) model could be an instrument to secure land tenure for hundreds of  millions of persons living in informal settlements, thereby extending the model’s reach on an unprecedented scale. Our secondary priority will be on urban agriculture, where land insecurity places many growers at risk of displacement. Here, the Center is likely to devote as much attention to the Global North as to the Global South.   

Building a Global CLT Movement:  We believe that movements bring energy and hope to people, organizations and governments advocating for social justice and equitable access to land and other natural resources. We will work to facilitate connections between activists and grassroots organizations engaged in similar issues, and bring additional resources to their efforts through our connections with global entities.

Collaboration Not Competition:  We commit to seeking alliances — and not falling into turf battles. Where duplication of efforts exists, we will seek ways to harmonize our efforts. We will also work collaboratively on approaches to funding in order to avoid unnecessary competition, and to ensure fair allocation of resources.

International Collaborations:  Learning + Doing:  While maintaining collegial relations with existing CLT networks in the Global North, we will seek to develop and to support new collaborative efforts in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia. These collaborations will be framed along the themes of (a) learning and (b) doing. LEARNING will involve information sharing (such as digital platforms and peer exchanges), as well as placed-based and distance learning instruction (workshops, courses, conferences, webinars, etc). DOING will focus on bringing together teams of experienced practitioners to work collaboratively with local activists, attorneys, NGOs, and government officials to help establish new CLT programs.

Information Sharing:  We will aim to create an online set of resources to serve the global CLT movement, with a focus on emerging CLTs in the Global South. This will include (a) an online archive of historical materials pertaining to the growth of the global CLT movement, (b) collection and dissemination of research on CLTs and related models of community-led development on community-owned land, (c) documentation of CLT innovations and best practices that lift up exemplary organizations, projects, and model documents. These resources will be produced in multiple languages in order to cater to a global audience, and other considerations will be made to ensure accessibility to those with visual and hearing impairments.

Conferences/Peer Exchange Gatherings: We will seek to support regional conferences and peer exchange gatherings by providing structured curriculum about CLTs and their application to informal settlements and urban agriculture.