MAUD Exhibition: Studio Live/Work

MA Urban Design students at the University of Sheffield recently held an exhibition of their projects exploring community-led regeneration in Sheffield city centre. Convened by Sheffield CLT members Jon Orlek and Alex Maxwell, the studio looked at CLTs, self-build, co-housing and artist-led development as alternative strategies to the developer-driven, retail-focused ‘Heart of the City’ masterplan currently being implemented in Sheffield. The project culminated in a public exhibition at DINA where academics, professionals and members of the public were invited to comment on the proposals, a few of which can be seen below.


Work in Progress: a community-led (re)inhabitation of Leah’s Yard



Growing up in the cities: exploring family and child-friendly development in the city centre



Balancing ‘We’ & ‘Me’: privacy and community in a co-housing and co-working development

Sheffield CLT in The Star


Sheffield CLT was recently featured in local newspaper The Star, with founding members Cristina and Rupert speaking about the importance of including local citizens in the development process rather than leaving it to profit-seeking companies to shape the city.

“Are we going to be creating real neighbourhoods or just boxes, with little communal space, where most people don’t even know the person living next door? Is it really OK to run to outside developers and for Sheffield’s homes to be held by absentee landlords? We don’t think so. We think we need to find a way to do it ourselves. 

A Community Land Trust would let local people choose the type of homes they think are needed in their city. It would enable them to get involved with the buildings in which they live, making them more likely to engage long-term with the community. It’s healthy, it’s interactive and it’s an economically stable way of doing things.”

Read the full story here.

Based on the data from Sheffield City Council, we produced the following map showing the existing housing stock owned by the council.


Sheffield City Council Housing Stock

The base map uses are the housing market areas identified by the Sheffield City Council, with the city centre area highlighted in green. In the Housing and Land Act (May 2016), Sheffield City Council introduced a Brownfield Register to encourage a “call for sites” if it’s underused. After public consultation, the local authorities created a list of Brownfield sites being registered and granting planning permission (Sheffield City Council, 2017).

Comparing the locations of housing (yellow dots) and tram stops (pink triangles), we can see that most of the council housing is quite accessible. It is also interesting to find that there are only 5 council housing locations in the city centre while most of them are located outside the centre or in North ADF region. This may be as a result of the high property rents and prices in the city centre region.  However, the Brownfield Register data shows that there is actually a large amount of underused land in the centre, for example the West Bar Triangle and St Vincent Church area, with some already having  permission to develop, such as the new retail quarter.


We hope to be able to provide more detail about the current situation of housing in Sheffield shortly, and will  produce an interactive map showing more information.

In the meantime, for more information about CLT  please follow us on Twitter or Facebook.


Sheffield City Council (2017), Housing Land Sites. Available at:
Data available at:

Application for Stage 1 funding from the National CLT Network Approved!


We are very excited to announce that our application for Stage 1 funding from the National CLT Network has been approved. This will give us access to support from a specialist CLT Technical Advisor on how to take the Sheffield CLT forward.

Details on the meeting with the advisor will follow soon. All members of the Sheffield community are welcome, so please get in touch with us if you would like to be involved!

Reach us on email at, Twitter or Facebook.


Blog Series: Naked House CLT, London



Naked House’ is a non-profit London-bred solution to unaffordable housing.  The concept ensures affordability through minimalism; the Naked House is essentially a well designed ‘shell’ structure built from durable, low cost materials without any of the cost-adding finishings that typically come with off -the-shelf ‘affordable’ housing making them unnecessarily expensive. Under this model the home is 100% affordable with 100% ownership affording homeowners the security of long term tenure.  In this way homeowners have the flexibility to furnish, modify and expand their homes to meet their needs as and when they can afford to do so.


The concept is grounded in community-orientated approach; the Naked Houses will be built in community clusters where shared space will be collectively planned and will hopefully allow for skills, knowledge and tool sharing. The idea is also to keep resale costs low to ensure that the Naked Houses always remain affordable.


More information can be found on the Naked House website, Twitter account or Facebook page. You can also listen to their Pecha Kucha talk here.

Blog Series: East London CLT – St Clement’s Hospital

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St Clement’s Hospital is London’s first CLT site. The project will provide 252 new homes, 35% of which will be genuinely affordable homes and will include 58 for ‘social rent’ and 23 community land trust homes priced according to local wages.

The project intends for these homes to be built sustainably, with good access to green space and public transport, allowing for community involvement in the running of the site and adjoining community space.

To find out more about St Clement’s watch the London CLT video or contact them through their website,or on Twitter.

Blog Series: UK’s Urban CLT’s – Rural Urban Synthesis Society (Lewisham)


The Rural Urban Synthesis Society, a CLT based in Lewisham, was founded in 2009 and now has over 500 members. Its mission is to reduce its communities’ dependence on fossil fuels, increase food security, encourage biodiversity and provide affordable housing for Londoners through creating charming, low-energy, genuinely affordable homes in sustainable neighborhoods managed by residents.

Their first project, planned to start in January 2018,  is a  self-build scheme for 33 new sustainable, high quality homes and shared open space at Church Grove in Ladywell, Lewisham.

To find out more watch their video or contact them through their website, Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Blog Series: UK’s Urban Community Land Trusts.

An Introduction: 

Urban CLTs

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are non-profit organisations established by communities to provide genuinely and permanently affordable, community-controlled housing and other assets such as social enterprises, bakeries and gardens; work or meeting spaces; and green spaces.

CLTs provide an important social good in the context of and soaring property and private rental prices which are making accommodation and tenancy unaffordable to many living in the United Kingdom while empty properties, disinvestment, failed regeneration initiatives blight cities and towns.

Originally, around the early 2000s, CLT’s in England operated in predominantly middle class rural areas where they provided a means of preserving community stability against influxes of second-home buyers. CLTs have played an important role in English towns which have increasingly seen the closing of community services such as post-offices and pubs and the loss of younger people who leave in search of work and affordable housing.

More recently, however, the CLT model has moved into the UK’s urban areas not only providing a viable alternative to increasingly expensive city accommodation, but also serving as a tool in the battle against gentrification and empty streets. This blog series will feature stories on some of the UK’s most successful urban CLT’s including: St Clement’s Hospital CLT (East London); Naked House CLT (London); Thrift CLT for Soham, (Cambridgeshire); Granby Four Streets CLT (Liverpool); Bristol CLT; Homebaked CLT, (Liverpool) and the Rural Urban Synthesis Society CLT (South London).

In the meantime watch this video for an overview of CLTs in the UK and a discussion on how the flexible nature of the CLT model allows for it to be adapted from the rural to the urban context.

Sheffield CLT Working Group – Join Us!


The Sheffield CLT is a project aimed at working with local residents to turn vacant buildings and plots in the city into genuinely affordable housing for the Sheffield community.

If being part of this project interests you or if you would like to learn more about social-enterprise housing models for Sheffield bring your lunch and join us at the Union St. co-working space for a chat at lunchtime on Friday 24 March 2017.

We would look forward to meeting you!

For more information follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Call for involvement: join Sheffield CLT!

As we are moving forward, we will be soon applying for the support offered by the CLT Network and to other grants available for projects aiming to deliver affordable houses to the community. In order to start this journey we will need to have a strong steering committee to start taking decisions, negotiate with the council and the community.
The many vacant buildings and plots in the city offer great potential for a CLT in Sheffield: their regeneration would benefit the community as a whole, in a bottom-up project where the community takes the lead and has its voice heard.
If you are passionate about your city and think that Sheffield deserves an exciting project like this, we would be happy to have you on board.
More news is coming soon: feel free to get in touch by email at, Twitter at @SheffieldCLT, Facebook at SheffieldCLT or to pop up for a visit at Studio Polpo‘s offices in the Union Street Co-Working space.

Sheffield CLT joined the National CLT Network

A further step in the realization of the Sheffield CLT: we have recently joined the National CLT Network as a Stat Up affiliate. By joining the Network, we are supporting its lobbying and campaigning to have the needs of CLTs heard by our Government, we will be able to share knowledge and experience, so crucial at the developing stage. The Network was established in 2010 and since then it helped the development of over 170 CLTs across England and Wales.
We are happy to have joined the Network and looking forward to starting this new chapter!

Group #5 – 5 steps towards women-led urban development

With this projects students’ look at Wicker multicultural environment and look at the communities’ women to reinterpret their role and use of public spaces. They propose workshops, collective cooking, and playground activities to gather women to public spaces. The second step would be to gather funding towards more permanent structures and long-term projects like growing food at the railway bridge, the construction of permanent structure for the families, in order to also create jobs and foster the local economy.   

Group #4 – Community led Housing in Wicker

a- The group first analysed the local situation, highlighting the issues and potentials and then designed a tailored project that in the short term would see the development of a community center, a riverside coffee and a communal kitchen. The plan would later include affordable school, a community park and a housing area.

b- With this project the student focused on the waterfront zone, putting forward a project of reactivation. Her plan included a commercial and leisure area, a community park and gym and cultural spaces.

Group #3 – “Live & work” in the heart of city

The group’s idea developed around the question: “would you like to ‘live and work’ in the city centre?” This simple question draws the attention to the issues of rent affordability that often make inaccessible the city centre, forcing people and companies to move away. They also underlined the existence of empty unused buildings in the city centre, raising awareness regarding the gradual decency and abandonment of central areas. The group proposes a working and living environment – the Fargate ‘Co-studio’ – as an alternative of community re-appropriation of the city centre.

Group #2 – Wellington Street: Dynamic, Energetic, Collective

The motto of the group was: “proposing a phased community-led development for Wellington street, to achieve its potentials as a thriving city centre with identity, vitality and diversity”

The group underlined the central position of Wellington Street as its main potential: they looked at the existing network and outlined future possible partnerships to gather funding for the renovation of the area. They proposed a more attracting green park and the car park to be turned into a complex of affordable houses.

Sheffield CLT is getting in motion

The Sheffield CLT project is now moving towards an ‘active’ phase in which it will engage with local community and stakeholders to discuss models, scenarios and potential routes to establish Sheffield CLT. We will be working with Studio Polpo and the MA in Urban Design at the School of Architecture at University of Sheffield to explore and propose avenues for community led development in Sheffield City Centre within the wider framework of the Sheffield CLT project.

We are now engaging possible partnerships, identifying potential locations within Sheffield urban area and drafting prospective projects. The next month will be filled with news and events to help the promotion and development of the project. Update will be published on the Sheffield CLT website, Facebook and Twitter!

The beginning: 2015 Sheffield Housing Festival

The idea of Sheffield CLT was first presented on 18th April 2015 in at the Sheffield Housing Festival organised by South Yorkshire Housing Association in the context of the Homes for Britain national campaign (led by National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing, Crisis, Home Builders Federation, National House Building Council, Royal Institute of British Architects, Residential Landlords Association, Royal Town Planning Institute).

Homes for Britain campaign is committed to ending the housing crisis in a generation, calling all political parties for urgent solutions. The housing crisis we are living implies that a whole generation is unable to start a family, cannot leave the parents’ home or is at risk of becoming homeless. This is due to a lack of construction of new homes that has led to an increase in house prices which has fostered intense speculation. Availability and affordability are the main issues that are preventing people in Britain from owning a house, creating an unacceptable situation of uncertainty and instability.

After last year presentation at the Sheffield Housing Festival at Endcliffe Park, we are now moving forward and making the first steps towards the creation of the first CLT in Sheffield.

MAUD Exhibition: Possibilities for a CLT in Sheffield

In May 2017, the MAUD students from Sheffield University successfully held a public exhibition showing the possibilities of Community Land Trusts in Sheffield. The students formed as 12 groups, together with Sheffield CLT, have studied several under-used central sites throughout Sheffield, including Park Hill, Castlegate, and Kelham Island. The research was conducted for 6 weeks to explore the residents’ needs and to design a potential future for their chosen neighbourhood. At the mean time, the idea of a community-led housing scheme was utilised for achieving their goals at different phases.

Here are some examples of posters produced by the students.


Group 1 – Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is an old mansion in the Sharrow area, which has more people suffering from chronic disease than other regions in Sheffield. Therefore, different with the other two examples drawn below, Mount Pleasant to some extend requires a different focus as it has residents with special needs. In this case, group 1 deigned this community-led housing plan to meet different needs at the same time as improving the living environment and the public space.


Group 2 – Lansdowne

The Lansdowne Estate is located at southwest of city centre, which is the 10% most deprived area in Sheffield.  The residents are multi-cultural and mostly low-income. The public space is also underused, suffering from a lack of facilities. Therefore, after preliminary research interviewing and carrying out site visits, Group 2 decided to enhance community cohesion by improving public space and holding activities for local people to exchange their skills.

Group 8 – Castlegate

Castlegate lies in the city centre near the old Town Hall. This site has an importance in heritage and history as it’s the oldest part of Sheffield, and where the remains of Sheffield Castle are located. Sheffield City Council has just decided to invest almost £800,000 to redevelop this area (BBC, 2017). After detailed research, Group 8 categorised local residents by age, and focused on developing community-based housing to fulfil their needs. For instance, matching the single elder household with students to benefit each other. The right page of the poster shows that they also designed various types of housing plans for different groups.

These projects have explicitly explained how the local residents and wider society might benefit from forming a Community Land Trusts in Sheffield. Not only from the point of view of providing more affordable housing, but also by providing a more self-sustaining community structure.

We hope to be able to provide links to these projects shortly, but in the meantime, for more information about CLT and MUAD exhibition please follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

BBC (2017) Sheffield Castlegate £786,000 revamp fund announced, available at:

Exploring Community-Led Housing in Liverpool, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona


In this blog two Urban Studies and Planning Masters’s Students from the University of Sheffield explore Community Land Trusts and Co-housing Schemes in Liverpool, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona.

The blog features a write-up on each project visited by Karen and Cara and reflects on how these schemes have come about; how they are designed and managed; and what makes them work.