Washington, DC, continues to grow and develop, with more people moving into the city and being born here every day. As the city grows, development pressures will continue to mount. When development reaches its limits in certain neighborhoods, people will look for opportunities elsewhere in the city. Development can bring new investment to such areas as communities east of the Anacostia River that have suffered from structural disinvestment, but it can also increase living costs and displace residents.

The 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of the Ward 8 nonprofit Building Bridges across the River, demonstrates the possibilities and challenges of development. The park and City First Enterprises are spearheading a new community land trust with financial backing from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Citi Foundation, and Ford Foundation.

The recent VoicesDMV survey found the threat of displacement is real for many in DC and in the broader region, primarily because of the rising cost of living. Too often, new development does not serve current residents because it excludes their concerns and disempowers their input.

Community land trusts help preserve affordability and prevent displacement in communities undergoing rapid change. These private nonprofit corporations buy and hold land and then make that land available for residential or commercial development that aims to benefit the community.  One of the main goals of the new community land trust will be to sell homes at affordable prices to low- and moderate-income residents, giving them a more stable foothold in the community.

Read the full article about community land trusts by Mychal Cohen and Peter Tatian at the Urban Institute.