Chinatown and community land trusts

Boston’s Chinatown is small but mighty, with all the energy that you’d find in larger Chinatowns, like those in New York and San Francisco. It also has old housing stock and is close to downtown, which makes it ripe for development. Unfortunately, development threatens to encroach on the character and citizens of the neighborhood. Here’s how the Boston Globe put it, two years ago:

Boston’s last immigrant enclave in the heart of the city is fighting for its life amid a construction boom, and the shift is setting off a mad scramble to preserve one of the largest Chinatowns in the United States.

The Boston Chinatown Land Trust formed two year ago to try to buy old and renovate rowhouses and set them aside for working families. I’m not sure how far that particular land trust got – they don’t have a website of their own – but I support the idea. Here’s a link to the rationale behind land trusts. And land trusts in the area have gotten together to form their own network: The Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network.

Today, I signed a petition distributed by the Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network, stating:

When disposing of public land, we urge that the City give highest priority to proposals that 1) conform to the community master plan or community-defined priorities, 2) include affordable housing goals that match the community’s needs and provide for the longest term of affordability, and 3) offer the highest level of community resident ownership and control.


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