Arts-Oriented Land Trusts Preserve Affordable Cultural Spaces

A community land trust in San Francisco is buying up properties with the goal of preserving affordable spaces for arts and culture.

2 minute read

December 14, 2020, 10:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

San Francisco Density

rutlo / flickr

Founded in 2013 with a $5 million grant from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST) acquires Bay Area properties to run in collaboration with local cultural organizations. Much like a traditional real estate operation, CAST monitors available properties and potential buyers, but also keeps an eye on cultural institutions that face displacement and works to preserve arts spaces before they’re lost.

The trust currently owns four properties, two of which will be purchased at cost by their resident organizations in 2022. The others will be leased to arts and culture groups at low cost. "Plenty of organizations can’t afford to own their own or have made the decision not to own property but really benefit and want a long-term, stable, below market-rate lease that is affordable for them," CAST executive director Moy Eng told Next City. Having a guarantee of low-cost rent can help nonprofit institutions stay afloat and maintain their roots in the community. To help counter the astronomical rents that have increasingly pushed artists out of San Francisco, the trust is also planning its first affordable residential project.

Other cities have taken notice of CAST's innovative model, which brings together philanthropists, property owners, and municipal agencies to preserve legacy properties and acquire new homes for arts and artists. In Seattle, a newly formed public development authority called the Cultural Space Agency will focus on "preserving [the] city’s cultural spaces, building community wealth, and investing in cultural communities of color," signaling an increased awareness of the contributions of arts and culture to a thriving city.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 in NextCity

View down New York City alleyway at nighttime

Red Cities, Blue Cities, and Crime

Homicides rose across the nation in 2020 and 2021. But did they rise equally in all cities, or was the situation worse in some than in others?

March 12, 2023 - Michael Lewyn

babyt Boomer Homeowners

The Shifting Boomer Bulge: More Bad News for America’s Housing Crisis?

In the first of a two-part series, PlaceMakers’ Ben Brown interviews housing guru Arthur C. Nelson on the sweeping demographic changes complicating the housing market.

March 12, 2023 - PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

Yellow on black "Expect Delays" traffic sign

A Serious Critique of Congestion Costs and Induced Vehicle Travel Impacts

Some highway advocates continue to claim that roadway expansions are justified to reduce traffic congestion. That's not what the research shows. It's time to stop obsessing over congestion and instead strive for efficient accessibility.

March 14, 2023 - Todd Litman

A toll payment facility in Florida.

Tolling All Lanes

Bay Area transportation planners are studying a radical idea to reduce traffic congestion and fund driving alternatives: tolling all lanes on a freeway. Even more radical, the plan considers tolling parallel roads.

6 hours ago - San Francisco Chronicle

Close-up of person holding up smartphone next to contactless fare reading device on bus

Federal SMART Grants Awarded for Transportation Safety, Equity Projects

The grant program focuses on the use of technology to improve safety, accessibility, and efficiency in transportation.

7 hours ago - U.S. Department Of Transportation

Seattle Transit

Fare Enforcement Upheld by Washington Supreme Court

But using armed police to enforce fare payment is less than ideal in the eyes of the top court in the state of Washington.

March 21 - Crosscut

Planner II

City of Greenville

Planner I

City of Greenville

Rural Projects Coordinator (RARE AmeriCorps Member)

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) AmeriCorps Program

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.