PARTNERSHIP POTENTIAL: Land Banks & Community Land Trusts

On October 6, 2011, one of the founding members of Take Back Vacant Land, the Women’s Community Revitalization Project, sponsored a symposium at Philadelphia’s City Hall. This event was co-sponsored by the National Housing Institute and funded by the Oak Foundation. The symposium featured some of the most innovative leaders of the municipal land bank and community land trust movements in the United States. The speakers were asked to describe the strengths of each strategy in redeveloping vacant land, as well as the opportunity for land bank-land trust collaboration.

This page presents video recordings of the full remarks of the main speakers, along with a 15-minute summary video of highlights from the entire symposium.


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NORA LICHTASH, Women's Community Revitalization Project

Nora Lichtash is Executive Director of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP), a community development corporation in Eastern North Philadelphia recognized for the quality and effectiveness of its housing developments and for its successful involvement of low-income women in the process of building and revitalizing communities. She has managed the organization’s growth from an operating budget of $50,000 to its current annual operating budget in excess of $2.5 million. In 2011, WCRP organized the Community Justice Land Trust to hold land under housing, community gardens, and commercial projects to be developed by WCRP or its partners.

DAN KILDEE, Center for Community Progress

Dan Kildee is Co-founder and President of the Center for Community Progress (CCP), which helps cities and localities combat vacancy and abandonment. Previously, he founded the Genesee Land Bank in Flint Michigan, that state’s first land bank, and a model for others around the nation. Prior to founding CCP, Kildee served as Genesee County Treasurer from 1997-2009. Before his election as Treasurer, Dan served for 12 years as a Genesee County Commissioner.

CHRIS NORMAN, Atlanta Land Bank Authority

Chris Norman is Executive Director of the Fulton County/ City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority, one of the oldest land banks in the country. He has over 16 years of experience in the financial sector, including managing, funding, and underwriting more than $1 billion in debt and equity transactions.

JOHN BARROS, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative

John Barros is Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) whose community land trust has transformed a large section of the Roxberry-Dorchester neighborhoods in Boston. A lifelong resident of the area, he was the first youth to be be elected to DSNI’s  Board of Directors and has been Executive Director since 2000.

TONY PICKETT, Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative

Tony Pickett is Executive Director of the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative, where he leads efforts to preserve housing affordability by seeding and supporting community land trusts along the Atlanta BeltLine, currently the largest transit-oriented redevelopment project in the United States. He has lived in Atlanta and worked in the real estate community since 1985, including previously serving as the Director of Real Estate Strategy and Development for the Atlanta Housing Authority.




A community land trust is a nonprofit corporation which acquires and manages land on behalf of the residents of a place-based community, while protecting the use, condition and affordability of housing and other buildings located upon its land.

The modern community land trust movement was born in Georgia in 1969, when leaders of the civil rights movement sought to achieve secure access to land for African American farmers. Today there are more than 240 community land trusts across the country. These land trusts have helped to create over 10,000 permanently affordable homes and also hold land for community centers, gardens and local businesses.

For more information, go to


A municipal land bank is a public authority created to efficiently hold, manage and develop vacant and abandoned properties. Utilizing the legal tools a land bank provides, cities and towns can ensure that properties are redeveloped with the long-term interests of the community in mind. Across the country, more than 75 municipalities have created land banks to help revitalize neighborhoods. addurl For more information, go to