ASF-UK facilitates Community Land Trust (CLT) Masterclass with TELCO Citizens February 23, 2017
On Saturday, 11 Feb 2017, Architecture Sans Frontières-UK members joined members of TELCO Citizens (The East London Citizens Organisation), a chapter of the national Citizens UK community organising charity, in facilitating a Community Land Trust (CLT) Masterclass. The goal was that by the end of the workshop, participants would have a good knowledge of the CLT model and feel comfortable fielding questions or making a case for it.
The two organisations have developed a partnership over the last three years, exploring ways city residents can meaningfully participate in urban development processes. In the Autumn 2016 ASF-UK worked with TELCO Citizens to deliver a short course on community-led planning titled ‘Reclaiming Regeneration: Tools and tactics for community-led development’, that explored the process of urban regeneration, the built environment challenges faced by groups in East London, and how these organisations can have a greater voice in the process of change in these areas. The course was structured into four evening sessions with the aim to build capacities of representatives from TELCO member organisations. Each session explored a different phase of the project cycle as defined by ASF-UK’s methodology Change by Design (Diagnosis, Dreaming, Developing and Defining) through active case studies in TELCO boroughs (Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham). The focus of the sessions was on organising to increase the range of available housing options, focusing primarily on the Community Land Trust model.
At the CLT Masterclass ASF-UK had the opportunity to present the course and Change By Design methodology for participatory design & planning, followed by updates from the TELCO borough teams on progress made since the course and current status of their campaigns.
As iterative learning and refinement is a key component of ASF-UK’s organisational ethos and process, the second half of the session created space for feedback on the course. ASF-UK asked: 1) what course participants found relevant from the four sessions, 2) which particular topics were useful, and 3) how ASF-UK could better support TELCO’s efforts going forward.
To the first question, participants shared that the course was a useful overview of urban planning, with practical materials, including a tool-kit, that helped them to focus their vision for CLTs and create action plans. Some felt the course was quite theoretical, with room to further tailor for ‘beginners’, and could be expanded to include focused sessions on key topics. Overall, participants seemed to agree the course recognised how increased knowledge of formal planning processes is essential to enhance community agency and capacity to engage, creating pressure at key moments to influencing policy; the lack of this knowledge being a key barrier to participation in such notably complicated and bureaucratic processes.
Particular topics participants valued were the importance of context and locality, where and how to access information, and unpacking concepts of ‘affordability’ – what does it mean and for whom?
There was broad agreement that future support could mainly consist in technical assistance, through facilitating focused sessions on key topics or working closely with particular groups to prepare at key moments. The second suggestion was to help create a shared language by expanding the ASF-UK Toolkit to include a glossary of the more technical terms that urban planners and architects use.
ASF-UK members will use this feedback to refine the Reclaiming Regeneration course in advance of the next iteration, anticipated for summer 2017, and explore potential to engage the ASF-UK membership base in creating a working advisory group to support TELCO initiatives. ASF-UK members also coordinated to attend the next meeting of the Redbridge team in March.
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