February 11, 2015
It seems inevitable that those who feel their interests are in some way threatened by land reform, will seek to identify weaknesses in other models, such as community ownership. Community owners often cite the social impacts and other, ‘softer’ benefits that flow from community ownership but thus far have been unable to produce any reliable means of identifying and measuring this. Community Land Scotland recently commissioned some work into this. There’s a strict health warning about reading too much into the results (although they’re very encouraging) but the methodology has real potential.
Community Land Scotland commissioned this small piece of work to be able to explore a potential and practical working methodology through which to test how it may be possible to explore and measure dimensions of social benefits deriving from community ownership. The initial work has revealed within the two areas concerned some striking differences in belief and attitudes of people living in the two community owned estates involved, and social attitudes more widely. Community Land Scotland is not drawing any conclusion or suggesting that these results are in any way or necessarily representative of other community owners, nor is it drawing any conclusion that this shows that community owners are necessarily in any way distinct as a group from any others. The study of residents within these two community owners is however both interesting and revealing, and raises wider questions: among other things, as to whether the results might be as much a function of the characteristics of these two communities in particular, within the group of community owners, or whether they are a function of remote rural living, as distinct from any ownership type? Community Land Scotland would like to see the work explored here taken further to test these and other questions more fully.
To view a summary of the results of this research – click here