Posts Tagged ‘Lenin’

Garden cities are coming home

21/11/2012, 07:00:18 AM

by Philip Ross

Although most of the big society thinking seems to have been put to the back of the cupboard, one idea seems to have survived -the idea of community ownership of assets. Boris had a section in his manifesto about community land trusts and the first London one was set in Mile End in July. To be fair, he seemed to get it, but elsewhere the Tories have tried to implement a bastardised form of it, basically withdrawing council funding from assets and asking the communities to pay for things themselves. Not quite the same thing.

Community land trusts (CLT), like that setup in Mile End, are a good thing and derive from two great 20th century British land movements which are the co-operative and garden city movements. You may think of garden cities as being very conservative places with high house prices that David Cameron has praised and wants to see more of.

But when the garden city movement was founded it was anything but conservative. For instance Krupskaya reported that while Lenin was in exile in London he attended garden city meetings and even stayed for a while in Letchworth the first garden city.

He said “Ilyich would listen attentively, and afterwards say joyfully: ‘They are just bursting with socialism!”’. This is in part because the first garden city – Letchworth – had as its social foundation stone the concept that the whole town would be community owned e.g. a community land trust.


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