As DC neighborhood revitalizes, a community land trust will help minimize gentrification

Readers of REVITALIZATION have already seen several articles about the revitalizing 11th Street Bridge Park project on the east side of the Anacostia River in Washington, DC, such as this Guest Article by Adam Kent and Scott Kratz.

The following is a slightly-modified excerpt from an excellent article that goes into more detail about how the park’s planners hope to minimize the disruptive effects of gentrification, since the park is certain to dramatically raise real estate values (indeed, it already has, and it’s not built yet).

The 11th Street Bridge Park project will build DC’s first elevated park, reusing the remnants of a demolished vehicular bridge that connected the newly-revitalized Navy Yard area on the west side of the river with the Anacostia neighborhoods, across the Anacostia River.

While new public works often generate jobs and economic activity in a neighborhood, they can also raise its profile and subsequently its price tag.

In anticipation of rising housing prices around the new park, the Bridge Park group’s equitable development task force is planning to create the District’s first community land trust (CLT) to encourage homeownership and maintain affordability.

The land trust is part of the group’s equitable development plan, which they hope will maintain affordability, mitigate potential displacement, and ensure that increases in employment, health, and safety are actually felt by current residents.

The units may be scattered or include rentals. For small businesses, a land trust can provide a low rent, so business owners can stay in the neighborhood and provide their goods and services for below-market value.

As part of a larger investment in Wards 7 and 8, JP Morgan Chase has provided a grant to the project, $3 million of which will go to acquiring properties for the trust.

Clark emphasized that the land trust is not the single answer to preserve affordable housing in the District. “The idea of a community land trust is not a panacea. It’s not a cure-all for affordable housing or to address all the housing issues that we have in the area. But it does have the opportunity to provide a much lower price point for people to purchase a home and get into home ownership,” he said.

See full article by Lilah Burke in Street Sense Media.

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