Interviews

Interviews graphic

The Center is presently in the process of recording video interviews – in a variety of languages – with practitioners and advocates who are actively involved in operating and promoting CLT programs in their own countries. These interviews will be made available here for free streaming or downloading when ready.

Collected here, as well, are interviews that appeared in print over the years. These published accounts captured reflections and ideas from some of the people who seeded the modern community land trust movement or who played major roles in nurturing its growth.

Print Interviews

  • Group Interview with the Pioneers of New Communities (1971).  Over the years, a few high-profile leaders of New Communities Inc. (NCI) have been featured in print and on film. The voices of lesser-known participants in this inspiring story have seldom been heard. An exception is a rare interview conducted by Ed Feaver in 1971, one year after New Communities had completed purchase of 5,735 acres of rural land near Albany, Georgia. Eight people who were then organizing on NCI’s behalf, serving on NCI’s board, farming NCI’s land, or waiting in line for a chance to live on NCI’s land expressed their personal hopes for the journey ahead.
  • Ralph Borsodi (1974). Mother Earth News interviewed Ralph Borsodi a few years after he had retired as executive director of the International Independence Institute, the organization he had founded in 1967. He was 88 years old at the time of this interview, looking back on a long life of considerable achievement as a writer, homesteader, and social philosopher. Inspired by the ideas of Henry George, he had founded an intentional community in 1936 called the School of Living, where the buildings were owned by individuals and the land was owned by a nonprofit organization. He was the first to call this arrangement a “land trust.” He later spent five years in India, studying the Gramdan Movement. Returning to the United States in 1967, he founded the International Independence Institute (renamed the Institute for Community Economics in 1972) to promote land trusts, local currency, food security, and decentralist economics – youthful ideas he was still espousing and refining in his 88th year.
  • John Emmeus Davis (2011).  By 2011, John had been furthering the development of community land trusts for 30 years as a writer, teacher, and provider of technical assistance. The evolution of his personal and professional involvement with the CLT movement was explored in this interview recorded by Steve Dubb, then the Research Director at the Democracy Collaborative and now the editor of Nonprofit Quarterly. They also discussed the differing roles that CLTs can play when and where real estate markets are strong – and when and where they are weak.
  • Roz Greenstein (2007).  Roz was Chair of the Department of Economic and Community Development at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 2005 when a national CLT conference that had been planned for Portland Oregon was abruptly canceled for lack of funds. She stepped in with funding from the Lincoln Institute to save the conference. One year later, she helped to start the National CLT Academy, served for three years as co-chair of the founding board, and used Lincoln’s resources to subsidize the Academy’s first regional trainings. She also played a pivotal role in spurring and funding scholarly research into CLTs and in shepherding Lincoln’s publication in 2010 of The Community Land Trust Reader.
  • David Ireland and Jerry Maldonado (2020).  David Ireland and Jerry Maldonado have been key supporters of the community land trust movement, and contributed the foreward to On Common Ground.  David is Chief Executive of World Habitat, a UK-based international housing charity that helps to scale up solutions to the world’s housing problems, from slum upgrading to post-disaster housing and homelessness. His organization also operates the World Habitat Awards in partnership with UN-Habitat, and runs programs aimed at ending homelessness and scaling up community-led housing.  Jerry is Director of the Cities and States Program at the Ford Foundation. He joined Ford in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, overseeing the Foundation’s Gulf Coast Transformation Initiative. Over the past decade he has developed and managed several of the Foundation’s national, regional, and state grant-making initiatives, working at the intersection of equitable development and civic engagement.
  • Eugene “Gus” Newport (2020) is the former Mayor of Berkeley CA. He later served as executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston MA, the Institute for Community Economics in Springfield MA, and the Partnership for Neighborhood Initiatives in Palm Beach County FL. He has been a visiting fellow at several universities, including MIT, Yale, Portland State, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and the University of California-Santa Cruz. He was vice-president from the USA to the World Peace Council from 1980 to 1986 and served on two committees at the United Nations. Earlier in his career, he worked for the U.S. Department of Labor in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
  • Charles Sherrod (1982). At 23 years of age, Charles Sherrod arrived in Albany, Georgia to do community organizing and voter registration for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He never left. In 1968, he was one of eight Americans who traveled to Israel to study land leasing and agricultural cooperatives. After returning to the USA, he was part of the planning committee that founded New Communities, Inc. (NCI). When the organization’s founding president, Slater King, was killed in a car accident in 1969, Charles assumed the presidency, an office he held for 16 years. NCI was still a going concern in 1981 when John Davis traveled to southwest Georgia to record an interview with Charles for inclusion in the The Community Land Trust Handbook, published by Rodale Press the following year.
  • Bob Swann (1973).  This is one of the earliest interviews given by Bob Swann. It appeared in Lifestyle! Magazine, soon after he and three colleagues had published The Community Land Trust: A Guide to a New Model for Land Tenure in America; and soon after Bob had become executive director of the Institute for Community Economics, after Ralph Borsodi’s retirement. At the time of this interview, there were few existing organizations that resembled the “new model for land tenure” described in his book. This interview provides a rare glimpse into Bob’s thinking as CLTs were just getting underway in the United States.
  • Bob Swann (1992).  Two decades after being interviewed by Lifestyle! Magazine, Bob sat down for an interview with Kirby White, co-editor of Community Economics, a newsletter published for fourteen years by the Institute for Community Economics. In the intervening years, many changes had occurred in Bob’s life and in the CLT movement that he had helped to start. He had stepped down as the Institute’s executive director in 1980 and moved to Western Massachusetts with his partner, Susan Witt. Together they had started the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and the E.F. Schumacher Society (now named the Schumacher Center for a New Economics). Meanwhile, the number of CLTs had grown from a handful of rural experiments to nearly a hundred, operating mostly in cities, suburbs, and towns. This interview afforded Bob a chance to reflect on the model’s evolution and to lament the tendency of present-day CLTs to focus narrowly on affordable housing alone.
  • Liz Alden Wily (2020).  Liz Alden Wily, PhD (Political Science), is a specialist in land tenure, working as a researcher, technical adviser, and practitioner on community landholding.  She has worked on this issue in approximately twenty countries.  She contributed a chapter in On Common Ground entitled "Challenges for the New Kid on the Block -- Collective Property".  She has been instrumental in helping to launch regional and global initiatives in support of community land rights such as LandMark, an online facility which collates and makes maps and information publicly available about community lands. Liz is a Fellow of the Van Vollenhoven Institute at Leiden Law School, the Katiba Institute, a constitutional advocacy body in Africa, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global coalition.

Audio Interviews

Australian journalist Karl Fitzgerald's interview with John Emmeus Davis (November 22, 2018)

Video Interviews