Community Land Trusts in Contexts of Informality

Process, Politics, and Challenges of Implementation

Patricia Basile and Tarcyla Fidalgo Ribeiro

Published in Issue 4.1 // The Long Read

Keywords: Community Land Trusts, informal settlements, affordable housing, community control, Global South


Informal settlements house a significant portion of the world’s population, who frequently struggle due to lack of proper housing, urban infrastructure, and insecure tenure. This is an overwhelming reality in Global South countries, requiring alternatives to guarantee permanent and secure affordable housing to residents while promoting community empowerment and quality of life improvements. Community land trusts offer promise for housing struggles due to their mechanism of securing housing affordability permanently and their premise of community control of development. However, despite such promise, there are scarce experiences of community land trusts in contexts of informality. Based on recent and ongoing CLT implementation experiences in Puerto Rico and Brazil, we explore the process, politics, and challenges of community land trust implementation in informal settlements. We consider its potentiality to support housing struggles and mitigate long-lasting dispossession in different urban and housing realities throughout the urban Global South.

Dr. Patricia Basile is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Indiana University—Bloomington. Her main research interests include housing and land struggles and politics, urban dispossession, the production of urban space, and egalitarian economic frameworks and futures. Dr. Tarcyla Fidalgo is a research fellow at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and currently coordinates the implementation of community land trusts (CLTs) in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Her research is focused on land tenure and community development, especially on CLTs and their potential in the Global South.

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