Faced with an existential threat from the forces of gentrification, residents of Buffalo’s historic African American Fruit Belt neighborhood organized, joined together, and took control of their destiny.
“Power, as it does for many disenfranchised communities, came through organizing. The Fruit Belt decided to beat the developers at their own game and buy up the neighborhood’s vacant lots themselves—not to resell them for a profit, but to hold them in a land trust that would lease them out one by one at predetermined rates existing residents could afford. The lessee would own the house that was built on the structure, but the trust would own the land, allowing the neighborhood a degree of control over what got developed and how much it cost…”
By Will Doig of Open Society Foundations