The People's Land Trust
project reimagines future
sustainability /
urban      land use /
in Cork city's northside.

PLoT logo over image of girl pointing into distance

The Peoples Land Trust [PLoT] is a social art project that brings together participants, collaborators and co-creators in Cork City's Northside to engage in collective strategies and artistic methodologies to reimagine the future city.

The project explores issues of urban land use & custodianship for the next 200 years that transcend individual needs and considers wider ethical questions, through the model of a Community Land Trust (CLT).

PLoT Community Land Trust
Future Urban Land Use

The project uses an experimental approach bringing together a radical school and the Community Land Trust model in a co-creative social art project. The People's Land Trust art project (PLoT), established in November 2019, brings together a radical school (PLoT School) and the Community Land Trust (CLT) model. We are invested in the ideological roots of CLT’s, which enables people to work collaboratively and to participate in democratic processes of planning their futures together.

What is a Community
Land Trust?

A Community Land Trust (CLT) is a community-led mechanism for holding land in perpetuity for use by communities.

Community Land Trust's developed from ideas of common ownership and the stewardship of land or natural resources for future wider community benefit.

CLT’s first developed in rural locations in the US in the late 60’s and later in the 80’s in urban city spaces. The mechanism or model grew out of community activism, working from the civil rights movement and the idea of a ‘liveable city’. The model puts an emphasis on stewardship not speculation.

Over time, local communities have developed ways to ethically own and manage land that benefits people both in the present and for the future. Under this model, land is owned by the CLT forever. Land is leased by the Trust for activities, homes, buildings and structures that the community agrees are of benefit to the community.

Three people looking into an abstract shape filled with flowers

While CLT’s are a legal structure, the CLT model has been adapted by communities around the world according to the needs of the communities it serves. Through participatory decision- making, CLT 'Trustees', co-create agreements that are appropriate for their locality.

There are many questions to consider when deciding what's appropriate, for instance, if an agreement reflects how the land is held for future beneficiaries - our children and their children's children - what does the CLT need to provide or to preserve for the future?

The People's Land Trust art project is interested in the potential of adapting these ideas for Cork City.

PLoT Summer School Programme
Future Urban Land Use

PLoT Radical School

The People’s Land Trust School operates as a  ‘radical school’  to bring interested people together to grow a new community with shared know-how. ‘Radical schools’ are an alternative space for learning that has its roots in 1960’s South America. The thinking behind them is that learning can happen in an equal participatory way with everyone’s experience being valued and shared.

Arms reaching towards books displayed on a big map in a field of grass
PLoT Summer School Programme
Future Urban Land Use
Two people standing around a wooden cart

While we’re familiar
with ‘roving’ as
to rove is to bring
fibres together to
              create a single
              strong strand.

Wooden cart

The Rovers are three purpose built carts that offer multiple interactive possibilities for wandering and coming together for civic hospitality, exchange and creativity. Beginning in July 2021, the Rovers support the nomadic, social and situated nature of the radical school. Across various locations in the north-side of Cork City, PLoT School will run a summer school programme of community situated meetings, workshops, talks, screenings, readings and creative actions in relation to future urban land use.

Picture of three people holding abstract shapes towards the sky

The People's Land Trust is a social art project initiated by visual artists Marilyn Lennon, Colette Lewis and Elinor Rivers. As three artists we have been working together in partnership since 2018. Dr. Noelle English is collaborating as a witness writer throughout the duration of the project. Dr. Sabine Horlitz, Berlin based architect, is working with us as our mentor on the formation of Community Land Trusts. The project is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Cork City Council Arts Office. It is a Cork City Partnership and Cork City Libraries supported project with additional production support from Sirius Arts Centre.

The People's Land Trust project is a recipient of the Arts Participation Project Award, Arts Council of Ireland (2021), Artist in the Community Award, Research and Development Strand with Mentoring, Arts Council of Ireland managed by CREATE (2020) and Art in Context, Research and Development Award, Cork City Council (2020) and the Artist in the Community Award, Research and Development Strand, Arts Council of Ireland managed by CREATE (2018).