About this project

During the Spring 2019 semester, students in a community-engaged research course in the Urban Studies Department at Queens College of the City University of New York studied how communities around the United States are using community land trusts, community bills of rights and similar mechanisms and strategies to acquire control over local land and land use decisions. We worked with and learned from two community organizations that have formed community land trusts – South Bronx Unite, in the New York City borough of the Bronx; and GES Coalition in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods of Denver, CO – as they sought to understand how these mechanisms have been implemented to combat environmental injustice, displacement and gentrification. Using a variety of methodological approaches, students researched such broad concepts as where community bills of rights and community land trusts have been created, the specific issues that have led to their creation, and if, and the degree to which, those efforts at gaining local control over community assets have proven successful.

Our research identified three broad categories of primary mechanisms that organizations have used to gain local control:

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