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The Community Land Trust Reader, edited by John Emmeus Davis


Review by Hazel Henderson, author, Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006)

With the US housing market in deep disarray and millions of additional foreclosures expected in 2011, a more realistic approach to housing is desperately needed. Washington is still grid-locked on further financial reform beyond the Dodd-Frank law passed in 2010 which ignored the “too-big-to-fail” threat. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac posed additional threats: together, they underwrite some $5 trillion of mortgage debt – much of it as toxic as that held by the Fed and many of our biggest banks.

Thus, many groups and individuals are looking at the co-housing models pioneered in Denmark and elsewhere, including many in the USA such as the community land trust model pioneered by Robert Swann and other contributors to this important Community Land Trust Reader, lovingly compiled by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. This book is a gold mine, needed by groups looking for housing alternatives. Besides providing a guide and roadmap to affordable, sustainable forms of home ownership and rental, this over 600-page treasure trove covers the history of movements for sensible housing; policy initiatives; case studies of the many successful models and why they work; pitfalls to avoid and practical advice from activists, practitioners, legislators and scholars.

This book is indispensible in today’s uncertain housing and real estate markets, offering the commonsense alternatives so many people need now and for a worry-free, sustainable future in their housing options. From the earlier wisdom of Henry George, Ebenezer Howard, Ralph Borsodi and Arthur Morgan to Mildred Loomis, Robert Swann, Chuck Matthei, Holly Sklar, Jennifer Aird, David Morris and Peter Barnes, editor John Emmeus Davis has served up a feast to nourish us for decades to come.

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