How More Democratic Forms of Ownership of Land and Housing Can Revive Our Places

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* Co-ops and commons approaches to reviving places. Special issue of New Start magazine. October 2014.


"The magazine for making better places"; ISSUE 525, OCTOBER 2014; SPECIAL FOCUS ON CO-OPERATIVES AND COMMONS


"The social cleansing of London to release land value – reported in New Start in 2009 – has accelerated in recent years as social housing is sold off. The high profile campaign by the E15 campaigners in Newham shows the power of resistance but our commentators argue that without land reform, inequalities will continue.

In this issue of New Start we consider ways in which more democratic forms of ownership – of land, housing, workplaces and the public realm – can revive our places.

In the series of essays that follow we consider how land ownership can be democratised through the new garden city movement, through ‘common good’ placemaking, more co-operative forms of ownership and new models for community investment.

We make the case for a bigger social economy in the UK, assess the power of co-operatives to revive local economies, and offer ideas for how a local civic economy can be kickstarted.

Later in the issue we meet Tessy Britton who has documented and helped expand a new ‘urban commons’ of people-led initiatives which are helping re-build social capital and local power, and report on how Lambeth Council’s co-operative vision is developing on the ground.

In the US worker co-ops and other models for community wealth building and gaining momentum. John Duda outlines policies for more equitable places and we talk to Ed Whitfield who is helping people to regain power in the southern states of the US.

Finally, we scan the world for examples of the emerging movement for building co-operative local economies, from Wales to North Carolina.

In recent months we have witnessed the renewal of civic and democratic life from Scotland to Hong Kong. People-led actions in local areas – from resisting land grabs to finding new ways to talk to their neighbours – are building a new power dynamic and bringing new hope to areas feeling the impact of growing inequalities. As communities begin to exercise their democratic muscles again they are gaining a sense that there is an alternative to the status quo and that they – the people – can help build it." (