In the 1984 Boston residents created The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and established a community land trust to combat the devastation of white flight, arson, and disinvestment of more than 20 percent of city’s land. The residents gained eminent domain authority to 60 acres of land (mostly abandoned trashed lots), and developed an “urban village” that currently holds 225 units of permanently affordably housing surrounded by parks, gardens, urban farms, a greenhouse, a community center, and a charter school.
Even as gentrification in Boston has triggered a rise in the city’s housing market, homes on the land trust are restricted to a .5 percent increase per year, with a cap after 10 years. And all homeowners operate in a democratic system with the land trust board.
The land trust model continues to grow in popularity and exists in several major cities including: Atlanta, Chicago, Durham, and Albuquerque. Community land trusts are an excellent tool for overcoming rising real estate prices and establishing alternative economic streams through urban farming and other collective initiatives.
Sources: Yes Magazine; Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative