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Commons Sense

Co-operative place making and the capturing of land value for 21st century Garden Cities

Edited by Pat Conaty, Co-operatives UK and Martin Large, Stroud Common Wealth

‘Men did not make the earth….Every proprietor owes the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.’

This quote is from Thomas Paine’s book Agrarian Justice (1797). Two centuries ago he proposed a Citizen’s Income as an equitable quid pro quo to tackle the inequality and poverty caused by an expanding private sector enclosure of land. Despite the structural nature of unaffordable housing costs, the land question and the scope for sensible and practical reforms of both ownership and governance are not on the policy agenda. Few people are aware of the intensive concentration of landownership in Britain with 36,000 people (0.06% of the population) owning about half the land. There are definite possibilities for positive change as the diverse contributors to this report make abundantly clear