Real estate speculation, rapidly rising costs, homelessness, expiring subsidies, predatory landlords, foreclosures, gifting public land to private developers—community land trusts (CLTs) seek to address all of these housing issues. By separating ownership of land from the buildings on top of it and managing both through non-profit organizations, CLTs keep housing affordable in perpetuity and offer local control.
Most of the 200 CLTs in the U.S. today are in suburban contexts, but there’s a groundswell of interest in increasing their presence in cities and with multifamily housing. New York City currently has one active CLT—Cooper Square—but many new organizations have formed in recent years, and the city signaled support by allocating funds to bolster CLTs earlier this year. For our 14th Brass Tacks discussion, Mychal Johnson and Monxo López of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards will detail the structure and advantages of this shared-equity model and their work to establish a CLT in the Bronx.
Mychal Johnson has a long-standing track record in community-based advocacy for environmental and economic justice. He is a co-founder of South Bronx Unite and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the NYC Community Land Initiative, the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, the Watershed Advisory Committee of the Park’s Department Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan, and the Community Advisory Board of Columbia University’s NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan
Angel “Monxo” López Santiago teaches at Hunter College’s Africana, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department, CUNY. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from CUNY Graduate Center, an MA in political science from Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and a BA in political science from the Universidad de Puerto Rico. Currently a Mapping Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Space, Monxo is a GIS and cartographic practitioner with over 10 years of professional and teaching experience. His current research centers on digital mapping and historical GIS within the field of Latino Studies, and he is currently at work on a manuscript entitled Spatial Latinos.
Ample time for conversation will follow Mychal and Monxo’s presentation.
About Housing Brass Tacks
Understanding housing policy, finance, and regulation is daunting. One must wade through a sea of acronyms, untangle public and private interests, trace knotty financial flows, and decrypt complex bureaucracies. Making heads or tails of all this can take a lifetime, but the need to understand is urgent. We all feel New York City’s housing squeeze; increased affordable housing is a centerpiece of our mayor’s agenda; and sweeping changes in housing and community development policy may soon come at the federal level. The Architectural League is here to introduce (or refresh) our housing proficiency. Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development. We’re getting down to brass tacks: the fundamentals that structure this unwieldy topic.