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Chinatown Land Trusts in Action: A Path to Community Resilience

Watch as we explore Chinatown community land trusts' vibrant histories and promising futures.

February 28, 2024

For decades Chinatowns all over North America have been at the vanguard of community ownership. These neighborhoods were established during a time when East Asian communities faced discrimination elsewhere, leading families and merchants to band together. They collectively acquired properties to provide homes and spaces for their businesses, fostering a sense of unity and belonging.

However, these CLTs now confront new challenges, from aging buildings to the allure of these properties to external investors. The close proximity of Chinatowns to downtown areas brings both rising property taxes and constant offers from speculative investors. Our event will shed light on these issues and, more importantly, explore how emerging community land trusts are working tirelessly to address them.

Register today and hear solutions hailing from cities such as Los Angeles, Toronto, and Boston.

Host

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Oscar Perry Abello
Senior Economic Justice Correspondent, Next City

Oscar covers policies, programs and businesses that seek to address historical disparities in access to jobs, capital and space for economic use in cities. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, equitable and inclusive economies, affordable housing, fair housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Oscar holds a B.A. in Economics from Villanova University. Follow him on Twitter @oscarthinks.

Guest Speakers

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Chiyi Tam
Toronto Chinatown Land Trust 

Chiyi (she/her) is an urban planner and anti-displacement organizer practicing in Tkaronto's Kensington-Chinatown neighbourhood. She is currently a visiting expert with the School of Cities’ as an Early Career Canadian Urban Leader. Chiyi is the managing director of the recently established Toronto Chinatown Land Trust.  Her goal is to reciprocate knowledge and wealth into community ownership.

She was the first staff and executive director of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust, where she acquired the organization’s first building acquisition, securing 12-units of deeply affordable residential units from further speculation. Chiyi serves on the advisory board of Montreal Chinatown’s JIA Foundation,BC’s Union Cooperative Initiative, and the first elected board of the Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts.

She leads a public course on community land trusts with the Esturary Institute. She co-developed “Planning and Designing for Community Power”, a graduate urban design course at the University of Toronto. She frequently supports groups from all corners of turtle island exploring community ownership and wealth building as an anti-displacement strategy for racial & economic justice.


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Lydia Lowe,
Executive Director, Boston Chinatown Community Land Trust

Lydia Lowe is the Executive Director of the Chinatown Community Land Trust, which works to stabilize Boston Chinatown through community control of land, development without displacement, and collective governance of shared resources. This includes preservation of permanently affordable, resident-controlled housing, planning for a Chinatown historic and cultural district, energy resilience work and open space improvement. She spent three decades doing grassroots organizing and building the Chinese Progressive Association prior to co-founding the Chinatown Community Land Trust with other longtime activists and residents. She also serves on the Greater Boston Community Land Trust Network, UMass/Boston Institute for Asian American Studies' Community Advisory Board, Massachusetts’ Environmental Justice Advisory Commission, and the City of Boston’s Commemoration Commission. She is the mother of two daughters who are sixth generation Chinese Americans.


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Winnie Fong
co-Founder Los Angeles Chinatown Community Land Trust

Winnie co-founded the LA Chinatown Community Land Trust during the COVID-19 pandemic and currently serves as a boardmember. She completed the UCLA Community Collaborative program where she contributed to the study on De-Commodifying Housing during COVID-19, which highlights anti-displacement policies and initiatives, including the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA). 

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