Can a community land trust give long-term residents a foothold in a changing neighborhood?

Blog post by Mychal Cohen, Peter Tatian
January 29, 2018

Urban–Greater DC   (Washington, D.C.)

Washington, DC, continues to grow and develop, with more people moving into the city and being born here every day. The latest population estimates peg DC’s population at more than 693,000, the largest number since the end of World War II.

As the city grows, development pressures will continue to mount. When development reaches its limits in certain neighborhoods, people will look for opportunities elsewhere in the city. Development can bring new investment to such areas as communities east of the Anacostia River that have suffered from structural disinvestment, but it can also increase living costs and displace residents.

The 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of the Ward 8 nonprofit Building Bridges across the River, demonstrates the possibilities and challenges of development. The park and City First Enterprises are spearheading a new community land trust with financial backing from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Citi Foundation, and Ford Foundation. The land trust will focus on the Anacostia and Fairlawn communities, but it could include other areas.

The Urban Institute is helping track the community land trust’s progress to verify that it is accomplishing the bridge park’s goals to spur positive development while protecting current residents.

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