‘We build our own homes’: Practices of power and participation in a community land trust development
This project worked in close collaboration with a community land trust to explore how partnering with a housing association impacted on the future residents’ sense of power and control in developing their homes.
This research looked at how the community land trust and housing association worked together and particularly, the balance between enabling future residents to have control over the development process, whilst also ensuring the homes provided for those in housing need. The research draws attention to the complexity of communities and housing association working in partnership and contributes to a significantly under explored discussion on the future of these partnerships.
This research captured how the nature and form of Bristol Community Land Trust led to struggles in enacting aspirations of community access and participation. The prospective residents’ experiences of the development process were significantly shaped by their sense of power and their ability to articulate their needs and aspirations for the future community. Institutional norms and external pressures reduced opportunities for residents to have control over development decisions.
However, this research highlights how the community land trust model can challenge who accesses community-led housing and may act as a driver of high-quality, shared equity and social rented housing, which is influenced by local community members and future residents, and is designed to foster high levels of social cohesion.