Brenda Torpy

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Brenda Torpy
Posted almost 2 years ago
How can we build cities that are sustainable, inclusive and truly just?
Brian raises a valid point. The fact is our model is being applied in much larger cities with all the sizeable challenges they face and I will invite these leaders to talk to you on themselves. They are in London (ELCLT), Brussels and other across the US. In London, all three political parties endorsed the creation of a CLT and they call it the Burlington model. The UN World habitat Program recognized the transferability of our initiative and spread it through a variety of programs included a site study visit here with leaders from every continent and 14 nations. We didn't succeed because we were small. We succeeded because we had the political will and have sustained the effort each and every year since we started. These gains are not won once and then gifted to you in perpetuity. We have to continually organize, advocate, demonstrate our effectiveness and tell our stories. We have defeated efforts to dismantle this from unfriendly administrations, private sector reaction and funding cuts. The fact is that owning the land collectively makes this hard to undo. You are also right about our economy . Vermont has one of the highest housing-wage gaps and were it not for our permanently affordable housing and related city and state policies, our entire state would be heading the way of other beautiful resort areas where all the poor people are driven away. But I'm leaving this space now to make room for others...
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Brenda Torpy
Posted almost 2 years ago
How can we build cities that are sustainable, inclusive and truly just?
Burlington Vermont is a small city that had a big idea. Thirty years ago we set out to keep the city accessible to all citizens even as we improved our neighborhoods, our waterfront and our local economy by creating and preserving permanently affordable housing on community controlled land through the creation of a community land trust. Called Champlain Housing Trust, today we have over 2,600 affordable homes of all kinds in Burlington's metro region. Through this government/citizen endeavor Burlington itself has made exceptional strides towards the goal of inclusion. Twenty percent of the city's rental housing is price restricted by income. In addition, we have the nation's largest stock of shared equity homes, assuring that homeownership will remain affordable even as property values increase all around us. Burlingtonians created a housing trust fund and passed a host of ordinances funding and favoring affordable housing like inclusionary zoning, condo-conversion protections and renter protections. CHT's large and active membership has provided leadership to sustain these gains over the years and continues to develop new, permanently affordable homes and preserve the quality as well as the affordability of our portfolio. Inclusion builds political power for people of modest incomes which leads to further gains. At one point residents of CHT homes held four of the 14 city council seats. Key to achieving our goal has been the commitment to permanent affordability protected through the collective ownership (through CHT) of the land. This is a democratic and durable way to keep your city open and inclusive and it is being implemented in over two hundred communities in the US and several large cities abroad. At tedcity2.0 in NY I was inspired by Enrique Penalosa's achievements in Bogota and his conclusion about the need for collective land ownership to achieve environmentally sustainable as well as just cities. View it now, and think, respond, act!