Around the world


Illustration : Monica Gallab

The Community Land Trusts movement is thriving. It was already the case ever since the early 2000s in the United States, their country of origin, but it’s also the case globally especially since the 2008 financial crisis.

A proof, as well as a trigger of this expansion is the World Habitat Award which was awarded twice in less than ten years by the United Nations to projects of the Community Land Trust.

In 2008, the winner was the Champlain Housing Trust (Burlington, Vermont, USA), the biggest CLT. In 2015, it was the Caño Martin Peña Community Land Trust (San Juan, Puerto Rico).

As of today, there are Community Land Trusts in Canada, Great-Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya and hopefully soon in France where the notion of “Organismes FOnciers Solidaires” was introduced in the law in order to allow the development of French CLTs.

 Since its creation at the end of 2012, the CLTB, the first CLT of Europe, has received widespread interest from local authorities, associations, foundations, international institutions, academics from various European countries (France, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia, Sweden,…). We have already welcomed several delegations and taken part in numerous events abroad. In this way, we are contributing to the model’s distribution on a European and global scale.

 Since September 2017, we have been developing the Interreg Shicc project with the cities of London, Lille and Ghent as well as the Global Fund for Cities Development (FMDV).

European project SHICC

Many European cities face the same problem that led to the creation of Community Land Trust Brussels: how to house low-income households and strenghten local communities in a context of continuously increasing housing prices?

CLTB initiated a partnership between pioneering urban CLTs in four different European cities – Lille, Londen, Ghent and Brussels – to promote the CLT model as a model for the production of sustainably affordable housing, managed by local communities. 

These four CLT’s are associated with the Britain National CLT Network and the Global Fund for Cities Development (FMDV) to launch the Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities (SHICC) project as part of the European Union’s regional cooperation program Interreg Northwest Europe .

The project SHICC aims to:

  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of the CLT model for creating affordable housing. 
  • Create a policy, juridical and financial environment conducive to CLTs at all levels of government.
  • Launch a dynamic to diffuse the CLT model throughout Northwest Europe.

To achieve these objectifs, the SHICC project strives for the following results:

  • Consolidate the four CLT’s in Ghent, Brussels, Londen and Lille.
  • Set up a system of financial and administrative support for the launch of new CLTs in the different states and regions involved.
  • Create a mechanism for exchange between European CLTs.
  • Develop a guide for financing CLTs.

The project, which spans three years from 2018 to 2020, will result in the creation of dozens of new urban CLTs throughout North West Europe. It will be the foundation for a sustainable development of the CLT model in Europe that can give hope to the growing number of households that are victims of the affordable housing crisis across Europe.

To dig further: a brief review on the American and British experiences.

 In the United States:

The United States are the cradle of the Community Land Trusts. It’s also where most CLTs are located. They all constitute the Grounded Solutions Network. There is quite a lot of interesting information on this network’s website, especially for any organization intending to create a Community Land Trust.

More useful information can also be found on the website of Schumacher Centre For New Economics.

One of the biggest and most experienced Land Trusts is thus the Champlain Housing Trust, active in Burlington, the Vermont capital. On our website, it is possible to view a video in which the Trust manager wishes the Brussels’ initiative all the best of luck!

In Great Britain:

There are also around seventy Community Land Trusts that are either in use or currently being established in Great Britain. For an overview of their fast-growing development, please visit the National Community Land Trust Network’s website. It’s full of very useful information.

Note that in London, the London Community Land Trust is putting together very instructive activities in a metropolitan context/background. It is more or less at the same development stage as us in Brussels and is also developing a project of 23 CLT housing facilities on the site of a former hospital. The acres of land of the Olympic Village have also sparked its interest.

Elsewhere, in England, most of the CLTs are small and rural.

In Scotland, this tool is primarily used to allow the residents of certain islands to reclaim these islands whose owners are namely wealthy investors and companies. A recent land reform allows the communities to reclaim the land where they live and work. More information about this subject can be found on the Scottish CLT network.