Baltimore, MD (USA) – Charm City Land Trust

Location East Baltimore
Name The Charm City Land Trust
Date Initiated 2000
Shared or Co-Governance The Charm City Land Trust, is a Maryland based non-profit organization whose slogan is “stewarding land in Baltimore.” It has engaged in a variety of land renewal projects in Baltimore in coordination with community residents and groups, and in collaboration with the non-profit and private sectors, local churches, as well as the local and state government.  They are run by a 15-member board, most of whom are from the East Baltimore neighborhoods that they focus on, and they also have members, who provide input and shape the major decisions of the organization. The CCLT maintains close and strong ties with the communities they work in. For example, it has developed a long-term relationship with communities in East Baltimore, particularly McElderry Park, where it has partnered with the Amazing Grace Lutheran Church on a number of ventures. As such, the community, and its residents, are very involved in the work of the CCLT; they are consulted and invited to join the organization as a member, or to apply to be a board member.
Relationship to State While the CCLT is committed to decision-making at the local level, they recognize the critical, indeed essential, roles played by the state.  Since their founding, they have cultivated and maintained “strong relationships” with government agencies. It is only through the state, the the CCLT has been able to acquire, develop and maintain the land they now possess.  It has engaged in two major projects since its founding and both have required the presence and cooperation of the state.
Pooling of Social and Economic Resources The CCLT’s core goals include the stewardship, democratic inclusion, and community-control of land. Embedded in these goals is the idea of pooling, or sharing the social and economic resources of the community equally or equitably.   One of their largest projects, creating the “Sacred Commons,” involved creating a space where all were welcome, where the community as a whole could coalesce, be together, and have a say in how the space is used. The Sacred Commons is not exclusive or private, anyone can come and benefit from its beauty, open and green spaces, artwork, and places for quiet reflection or play.  The CCLT shares its resources equally, making them available to all members of the community. Its second major project, to provide affordable permanent housing to those who can least afford it, will serve to share and spread the community’s resources to the economically disadvantaged in their community.
Local Need(s) or Services Provided The CCLT provides access to open, green, shared urban spaces for communities in East Baltimore. It transformed delipidated, vacant land into beautiful open spaces full of art, playgrounds, and places for community socialization; and it maintains these spaces and protects them from gentrification, private development, or further deterioration. It also seeks to provide affordable permanent housing through its CLT program, which is still in its early stages.  Once in place, this program will help to provide long-term homeownership to individuals who have been priced out of the Baltimore housing market. And it will also allow the CCLT to maintain control over the future direction and use of their land, ensuring that the land remains in control of the community.
Digital Infrastructure, Open Data, Other Aspects N/A
Comments The CCLT is older than NEHI, but despite its 18 year existence, it has only acquired, to date, one home, a foreclosure, which has yet to be sold to an eligible community member. CLTs take time, money, patience, and require the support of the local and state governments, as well as the broader community.  The CCLT achieved much success in its creation of the “Sacred Commons,” but has yet to prove whether its goal to provide permanent housing through its CLT to members of their East Baltimore community will be sustainable.
References and Sources CCLT website: here

CCLT Facebook: here

CCLT Twitter: here.

CCLT email:

The Voice of the Commons, their newsletter: here.

The Housing Roundtable: here.

2424 McElderry St. Baltimore, MD 21205

Project Details

Added: 8.06.18