‘Common Good’ land use: reconceiving land as a shared asset

Wed, 12/14/2016
Shared assets 'common good' animation

Kindling co-founder Helen was invited to participate in a mini-conference last week called ‘Creating Common Good Land Use’, to talk about growing peoples' skills to facilitate ‘common good’ land use. It was the last in a series of events that Shared Assets have been delivering to identify key barriers to ‘common good’ land use and some solutions to them. 

Their two-year project is an attempt to shift the way land is conceived and discussed, for as they put it, “we need to recognise land as a shared asset - and one that should be managed in the public interest, for the common good”.

What is ‘common good’ land use?

Shared Assets lists six core elements to define common good land use. It is about using the land in a way that:

  • Provides sustainable livelihoods
  • Enriches the environment
  • Produces things people need
  • Provides shared benefits
  • Is controlled by communities
  • Is at the centre of wider system change

There is growing evidence that many of the problems we face today - from soil degradation to the housing crisis - are driven at least in part by the ways in which we exploit land and see it primarily as a commodity to be used and traded for private profit.

Shared Assets therefore believe it’s important to recognise the ways in which land can be managed for shared public benefit and to understand how we can best support the wide range of individuals and organisations who are committed to managing land for the common good.

Kindling have been one of three organisations taking part in a Shared Assets project looking at working with local authorities to increase access to land - along with Organic Lea and Ecological Land Co-operative. Over the year we have been meeting up every couple of months to talk about any progress we have made and challenges we face in our attempt to access land. As part of this process we have identified various tools that Shared Assets are going to develop to help make it easier for other 'common good' land users to do so in the future. 

Helen explained “It was good to go to an event that brought together a wider mix of people, not just from the food movement but also planners, techy/mapping experts, people from parks and green spaces departments and so on. I was involved in a really interesting discussion group with folk from the Heritage Lottery, Natural England, Forty Hall Farm and Shared Assets - on the opportunities that devolution might bring about for common good land users. This was particularly relevant given Greater Manchester’s new status as ‘pioneer city region’ in DEFRA’s 25 year plan”.

Shared Assets have just made a short animation on 'common good' land use, watch it here.

The Kindling Trust is a not for profit social enterprise with charitable aims (Company number: 6136029).
Kindling Trust Ltd - Bridge 5 Mill, 22a Beswick Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 7HR