Crisis and the Common(s): Understanding Urban Community Land Trust Activism

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Martha Mingay
PhD student
Planning, people and place, Urban inequalities and social justice
Martha's research explores urban Community Land Trust activism as a political response to the housing affordability crisis.

Supervised by Professor John Flint, Dr Berna Keskin and Dr Tom Moore (ext).

My PhD aims to explore urban Community Land Trust activism as a political response to the housing affordability crisis, using the autonomous Marxist theoretical framework of the common(s) and its critics. Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a model of community-led housing with the potential to offer affordability through the separation of housing and land ownership. My research is grounded in participant action within a North London group campaigning both against the disposal of a large NHS Mental Health Trust site and for the establishment of a large CLT as a mechanism to guarantee affordable housing in perpetuity in a suburban borough experiencing and politicised by the rapid transformations of its housing market, including the proposed loss of social housing.

The potential of the CLT model as a contribution to solving the housing crisis in the UK depends on its success and scale in urban areas, where affordability is most acutely pressured. I am particularly interested in this case for its potential to illuminate the particular characteristics and practices of CLTs as urban social movements, in campaigning both against public land disposal and for affordability, in a city typified by high land values, established regional governance and embedded development actors alongside population density, inequality, displacement and community ‘hyperdiversity’. These conditions pose challenges to CLTs in their organising, internal decision-making and negotiations with state and market actors, many of which are shared with other urban community planning and political campaigns.

MA (Hons) in History and Politics, University of Edinburgh
PG Dip in Urban and Metropolitan Histories, Birkbeck College, University of London
MSc in Urban Studies from University College London.

I have a background in urban policy, having worked as a Policy and Scrutiny Research Officer for the London Assembly Labour Group, Greater London Authority, 2008 - 2017.