Constructing Solidarities for a Humane Urbanism

Community Land Trusts as Organizing Model

In this module, you will learn about how community land trust organizing responds to structural abandonment and absence in the context of gentrification. Abandonment, as Eric Goldfischer explains in his talk, is a cumulative process that happens through passive disinvestment from neighborhoods or through active forms of planning such as planned shrinkage. Detroit. Bronx. The people in these cities have undergone structural processes of abandonment. 
Goldfischer argues that Picture the Homeless, an organization founded and led by homeless people, is challenging structural forces of abandonment through organizing around community land trusts. Community land trusts call for a fundamental rethinking of our relations to land and housing. In module two, we examined Take Back the Land’s organizing for community land trusts. In this case study, we will see how Picture the Homeless developed a political economy analysis of housing and vacancy in the New York City and engaged with policymakers, members, and community folks in different capacities. The readings will help us engage further with the case study and the dynamics of land trusts. We will also pay attention to the importance of images and imagination in the making of urban reality.

Reading Suggestions

Home - Picture The Homeless. (2018). Picture The Homeless. Retrieved 7 January 2018, from

Banking on Vacancy: Homelessness & Real Estate Speculation - Picture The Homeless. (2018). Picture The Homeless. Retrieved 7
January 2018, from

Harvey, D. (2003). The new imperialism. Oxford University Press: USA.

Davis, J. E. (2010). Origins and evolution of the community land trust in the United States. The community land trust reader1(4).

Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

Hochberg, G. (2015). Visual Occupations. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Picture the Homeless, Banking on Vacancy. Accessible at

Simpson, A. (2014). Mohawk Interruptus. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Smith, N. (1996). The New Urban Frontier. New York: Routledge.

Blomley, N. (2009). Homelessness, Rights, and the Delusions of Property. Urban Geography 30(6): 577–590.

Gilmore, RW. (2002). Fatal Couplings of Power and Difference: Notes on Racism and Geography. Professional Geographer 54(1): 15–24.

Gowan, T. (2010). Hobos, Hustlers, and Backsliders. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Wallace, D and Wallace, R. (1998). A Plague Upon Your Houses. New York: Verso.

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