Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are non-profit organizations that create perpetually affordable housing through decommodification of the land. CLTs essentially serve as community stewards of land by acquiring the land that the housing is on and maintaining ownership of it through a ground lease document and use of a resale formula to determine a fair sale price of the home. Initially founded in the United States by Black farmers and civil rights activists in rural Georgia in the 1960s as a response to structural racism excluding people of color from accessing land, there are now over 200 CLTs in the US alone today, with many of them located in urban areas. Through an analysis of the different ways that CLTs choose to operate, this project attempts to understand what factors contribute to CLTs with an enhanced ability to provide fully democratized housing for residents on top of just an affordable home to live in. This thesis explores what conditions lead to CLTs that are able to empower residents in all aspects of decision making processes. Findings indicate that CLTs are most effective when they collaborate with actors both inside and outside of traditional systems which often looks like partnering with both grassroots organizations and city government. Rooted in place, the goal of this thesis is to provide resources for anyone assisting in the process of starting a CLT in the Tree Streets Neighborhood of Lewiston and apply CLT best practices to the context of Lewiston. While it is necessary to acknowledge the ways that CLTs are forced to operate under the constraints of capitalism, hindering their ability to transform in certain scenarios, the CLT model does provide a viable alternative option to more mainstream affordable housing models. The process of establishing a CLT is time consuming and involves many actors, but hopefully this thesis will serve as a baseline resource for anyone interested in taking up the project of establishing a CLT in Lewiston.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Francis Eanes

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Community Engagement


Open Access

Available to all.