Means-testing in New Gahania? It’s highly doubtful that neighborhoods can be revitalized without gentrification.


Can you so much as imagine Jeff Gahan leading the Floyd County Democratic Party in a discussion of Community Land Trusts, when CLTs wouldn’t benefit the same old suspects?

After all, New Gahania has strict principles of means testing.

A means test is a determination of whether a for-profit development is eligible for government assistance, based upon whether the developer or corporate entity possesses the means to donate to a local politician’s re-election campaign.

Cooperative, schmo-operative. They simply don’t wet sufficient beaks.

Can Neighborhoods Be Revitalized Without Gentrifying Them? by Michelle Chen (The Nation)

Baltimore’s new housing plan could provide a form of neighborhood uplift that benefits communities, not developers.

 … Under the CLT’s cooperative ownership structure, the resident owns the property, while the community retains the land. The resident pays an annual leasing fee, plus other mortgage and maintenance expenses. When the property is sold, price is controlled through a prearranged agreement with a community authority, with representation from neighbors and “public stakeholders” such as local officials or community-development organizations. The homeowner can share in any appreciation of the sales value.

When these community controls are leveraged against market forces, neighborhoods can ensure a communally managed recycling of ownership, and avoid the frenzied churn of renters and developers commonly associated with boom-bust speculation and gentrification.

The model could also be applied to commercial properties, including self-sustaining small businesses in struggling neighborhoods. Or it could help establish community space, as East Baltimore’s Amazing Grace Lutheran Church has already done by stewarding a recreational green space known as the “sacred commons.”