Land: The Claim of the Community: October 2003 conference

An international conference to explore initiatives in affordable housing, infrastructure provision and local government finance.

9th and 10th October 2003

This event was extremely timely: all levels of Irish government and society are beginning to address the core issues of land ownership, review initiatives abroad and suggest workable mechanisms to deliver social cohesion and sustainable development in Ireland.

About the Organisers
Transcripts of lectures


The problem in Ireland
Symptoms and causes. The unsustainable costs of home ownership. Homelessness and the pressures on tenants in the private rented sector. Difficulties of acquiring land for social housing. The rural – urban divide in housing quality and costs. The link between land, mortgages, money and the boom- bust property cycle. Paying for needed transport and services infrastructure.

Addressing the problem
Basic principles and overseas experience. The claim of the community on land. The land value tax model. The concept of ‘tax shift’. The experience of the Alaskan Oil and Niger Delta Funds. The ‘Dual Rate’ local tax in Philadelphia US. Using land value levies to pay for infrastructure in London. The logistics of assessing collecting land value taxes and levies.

Land tenure systems and land value taxes
Land Tenure under the Gaelic Brehon Laws. The Irish struggle for tenants rights land and redistribution in Ireland. The Scottish Land Campaign and Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry into LVT. The land value taxation Liverpool study. Community Land Companies and Trusts in the US and Britain.

Land-based solutions for Ireland
The potential of land value taxes to offer solutions to Irish problems. Financing Local Government with locally raised land taxes. Rates reform, Bonds and Levies to fund infrastructure development. Community land trusts and companies. Revenue projections with logistics. Registration of title and interest in land.

Working Groups will provide plenty opportunity for discussion and feedback.


Joshua Vincent, Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Economics, Philadelphia, from the USA, Dave Wetzel, Vice Chair of Transport for London UK, Fred Harrison, Director of the Centre for Land Policy Studies U.K., Rob Gibson, Member of the Scottish Parliament from Scotland are only some of the stimulating and experienced overseas speakers.

Michael Punch, economist and social housing researcher and Richard Douthwaite, author and noted sustainability economist were among the speakers from Ireland.

About the Organisers

Feasta: the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability

Feasta is a member-run, public limited company and charity founded in 1998 by people who are not satisfied with the prevailing view that economic growth is an end in itself and must be fostered regardless of the social and environmental consequences.

The word feasta, means ‘going forward’ and is taken from the Irish poem ‘Kilcash’ that lamented the twin destruction of the Gaelic culture and oak forests of 17thC Ireland. Feasta believes that human society faces an even greater challenge as the end game of the current system approaches and the harsh consequences of profligate resource use and deep inequality are felt.

Feasta’s Mission is to identify the characteristics (economic, cultural and environmental) of a truly sustainable society, articulate how the necessary transition can be effected and promote the implementation of the measures required for this purpose.

It aims to spark the necessary transition to this vision by publishing the results of its research, by engaging in discussion with mainstream society, and by educating public and private sector decision-makers, professionals and academics, producers and consumers alike.

The Henry George Foundation

The Henry George Foundation is an independent economic and social justice think tank and public education group. It is dedicated to exploring and promoting the principles and approaches necessary to create a just and prosperous society and a healthy environment.

The Foundation’s primary concern is the development of sound relationships between the individual in society, our communities at large (from local to global) and our natural resources. Its focus is the root of those relationships as they manifest themselves in social science and economics.

The Foundation injects fresh and intelligent thinking into a broad range of social policy agendas. It puts forward practical and innovative solutions to seemingly intractable social problems. The Foundation aims to put people at the heart of economics.

Transcripts of lectures from the conference:

On Recovering the Sacred Income – Fred Harrison
Business problems, land solutions: the case for land and tax reform – Albert Catterall
Congestion Charges – Dave Wetzel

Briefing paper on the conference
Pamphlet on land value taxation

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members.