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Linking houses prices to income, forever!

Community Land Trusts, a collaboration to help deal with the housing crisis?

  • 25 January 2017
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 240
  • 0 Comments
The approach to the Auckland housing crisis will need a variety of methods to be resolved.  Whilst most will look to the private and government sectors to supply new homes to meet the demand there is a ‘Third Sector’ approach that has its roots in the 1960’s American civil right movement, Community Land Trusts, (CLT).  In the  USA the largest CLT has over 2000 homes and over the last decade CLTs has found increasing and popular support in the UK. 

CLT’s are set up and run by the community with the (UK) legal definition1

…. to further the social, economic and environmental interests of their communities, and be democratically accountable to their communities’  

These objectives are very similar to those of many levels local authorities and are often seen as a community vehicle to deliver affordable homes.  One of the strengths of the CLTs is that they are able to deliver affordable homes in perpetuity by linking the sale price to the local wage level and selling them at a much lower level than the local market price.  A condition of the sale is that any future sale price remains pegged to local earnings, forgoing the potential windfalls of the property lottery.  This is very different to the ‘right to buy’ of local authority housing which removes the bought property from the affordable and social housing markets.

How they can sell homes at a “wage related affordable cost” is related to the acquisition of the land at low to zero cost.   The land that CLTs use for development is surplus Local Authority or  government land  which is often sold to help ‘ balance the books’.  But the authorities are not obliged to sell to the highest bidder rather   to dispose of their land on the basis of the “best consideration” reasonably obtainable, which should take into account long-term value. Social and economic benefits can justify the sale of land below market price –  by working with CLT’s the benefits for the area in the long-term often outweigh cash raised upfront.

Catherine Harrington is the director of the UK’s  National Community Land Trust Network and says

“People are demanding more of a say about what regeneration looks like, instead of sitting back and being told what the future of their area is going to be,” she adds.

“It’s about changing the narrative of housing: building homes rather than investment units; having security and stability in a particular place, rather than being forced to move every six months; and mobilising popular support for development.”

The nature and purpose of CLTs can be hard to generalise because they are each responding to the specific local housing need in their respective areas, they are community led and operated so address particular community needs and aspirations.   A few examples include some set up with the following objectives

 

Special Housing Areas - Success or Failure?

Ree Anderson guest speaker at the UDF AGM

  • 10 October 2016
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 694
  • 0 Comments
Special Housing Areas - Success or Failure?
Ree Anderson at the UDF AGM (29Sept2016)
When Did the Auckland Housing Crisis Start?
..... was the opening questions from Ree Anderson, the previous head of Auckland Council’s, Housing Project Office (HPO) when she addressed the Urban Design Forum. Over an all too brief, 40 minutes Ree explored the SHA, its successes and the lessons learned, leading to many questions and opinions from the floor at its conclusion.
  

Ree gave insight into how the Council took the initiative in developing the approach to deal with the planning system’s poor decision process through the setting up of the HPO. This was in response to the Housing Accord and Special Housing Areas Act (HASHAA) which intended to speed the delivery of new housing through an integrated planning response. The HPO was led by Planners, coordinating the inputs from all the stakeholders involved in the Plan Variations and resource consent applications under the HASHA. These stakeholders include those Council Controlled Organisations (CCO's) such as Auckland Transport, Parks and Stormwater (now known as Happy Water, sorry, Healthy Water).  The intention of the HPO was that the process was led by Planners with an outcomes focus, not a rigid approach to meet rules. The Planner was empowered to use judgement in achieving a positive outcome to address the housing crisis that Auckland is facing. Bringing in the CCOs who are responsible for the 'hard' infrastructure to enable development meant that everyone had a say, but the final decision was a balanced view of the Planner.

This was considered to be one of the key successes of the HPO although it wasn't tested robustly at the evening. Another key success was the integration of infrastructure and for this to be planned as a response to the emerging SHAs.
Lessons learned ranged from the need to manage expectations, especially with the Press, through to the fixed end-date of the HASHA legislation. The HPO could assist in delivering the land and boost opportunity but there is a construction industry that has to deliver on the ground and this needs further planning and capacity building from the private sector. This in turn lead to discussion on the need for central government to have social housing programmes that would give certainty to the construction industry and its supply chain outside the ‘boom' years . The intent to cease the HASHAA at the time that the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan was adopted was thrown a curve ball by the appeals against the Plan, with the result that the legislation has been extended until late December 2016, but no further.

Further questions remained around how the up-lift of land value can be captured through zoning changes for the benefit of further investment in infrastructure, and the role of the structure plan. Who leads the structure plan when landowners are focused on house numbers (the economic driver) and not the social, open space and transport infrastructure which add real value? Social infrastructure appears to be a major gap in much planning: who will provide health, education and community facilities seems to be an issue few are willing to tackle.

In all it was an enlightening evening; Ree has an abundance of experience which was eloquently shared and raised further questions for the Forum to discuss

Entertained, enlightened, educated and invigorated

Fresh from his success at the UDF sponsored Christchurch event, Gil Penalosa presented 8, 80 Cities at Auckland Conversations on Tuesday 5th July

  • 13 July 2016
  • Author: Duncan Ecob
  • Number of views: 1264
  • 0 Comments
Entertained, enlightened, educated and invigorated

Dealing with a wide range of topics from equity (not equality) through the dignity of walking and cycling, to designing cities for people not cars Gil covered a variety of issues that are facing Auckland now and challenged us to not be complacent.

Having been a commissioner in Bogota he warned of the peril of the CAVE people (citizens against virtually everything) and of ‘keeping on doing the same thing’.

He had 8 messages for Auckland
1. Change is hard. (Doing what you are doing now, is easy)
2. Don’t be complacent. You may think you are great but you are probably just good! Copenhagen is recognised as a world leader in cycle infrastructure with 41% of trips by bicycle. But they are striving for 50% (and then what)
3. Design for all ages and all abilities. Would you send your 8 year old out to this world or your 80 year old?
4. Equity not equality – some need more than others, don’t give everyone the same. Some disadvantaged need more help. How you treat the most vulnerable is a reflection of the city.  One neighbourhood may have more than it needs, deficient neighbourhoods need attention and respect!
5. Play everywhere. It is for all ages and is a learning and communal experience for all
6. Walk.  Plan for it and make it a priority. Birds fly, fish swim, people walk. Even if it is only at the start or end of the journey (or between L1 and L2)
7. Sustainable mobility. Public transport integrated with walking and cycling. A great city is where the rich use PT
8. Community is the expert. Consultation and engagement is key before the experts get involved. The community knows what works for them. Experts can deliver and design it for them
9. Benefits.  Always tell people about the good aspects of walking, cycling and pt. and make this about outputs, outcomes and impacts.  (quality open space = more people encouraged to use it = improved health and longer lives)
And a final message
STOP TALKING, START DOING!

For those that missed it it is now on the  AKLconversations website as audio 
http://conversations.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/events/8-80-city-creating-vibrant-and-healthy-communities

Link to the RadioNZ interview:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201807646

Christchurch articles following Gil's visit:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/81725401/Christchurch-officials-should-experiment-more-expert

http://ccc.govt.nz/the-council/newsline/show/774


 

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