CLT Case Studies

The Origin Stories of Community Land Trusts

CLT Profiles GraphicWhile the community land trust movement as a whole is relatively young, there are now a number of CLTs in the United States that have been in operation for over 20 years. A few have now celebrated their 30-year anniversaries. Younger CLTs have begun appearing in Australia, Belgium, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

CLTs have been asked to choose someone in their own community to write an historical overview of approximately 1500 words and to collect photographs and documents from their organization’s early days. They have been urged to tell their own story in their own words, addressing such questions as:

  • Impetus: What problems or opportunities prompted people to start a CLT?
  • Leadership: Who were the CLT’s original advocates and organizers?
  • Community: What population and territory did the CLT plan to serve?
  • Activity: What were the first lands and buildings to come into the CLT?
  • Engagement: What was done early on (and later on) to keep the “C” in CLT?
  • Evolution: How has the CLT changed over the years?

These origin stories are worth preserving, especially for a movement that prides itself on local accountability to people and places. These stories give us a glimpse into the kind of planning and organizing that goes into creating a CLT that has the potential to last. They also give credit where credit is due, honoring the contributions of “local heroes” who have helped to turn a theoretical model into a practical tool for promoting affordable housing and equitable development.

European CLT Case Studies

SHICC LogoAs part of SHICC (Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities), a cross-national program funded by the European Union, six financial case studies of community land trusts were commissioned and published in 2019.  And in 2021, SHICC published a report containing ten organizational CLT case studies.

Georgetown Climate Center

Adaptation Clearinghouse LogoAs part of her work on the Georgetown Climate Center Community Land = Community Resilience report, researcher Jennifer Grannis developed detailed case studies of one European and eight US CLTs.