221A is developing a plan for an independent Vancouver Cultural Land Trust (VCLT).  The VCLT is conceptualized as an independent charitable non-profit organization that creates a collective response to escalating real estate prices that have placed severe pressure on security of tenure for artists and arts organizations.


The “land trust” model is well established in a number of countries, mainly for protecting community residential access and for nature conservation purposes. 221A is supporting the research and planning of a Vancouver Cultural Land Trust for the particular challenge facing arts and culture organizations in Vancouver.

In November 2019, 221A completed an Idea Validation Report that reviewed the core concept of a Cultural Land Trust in Vancouver. The Idea Validation Report gathered key data on comparable municipalities, input from local artists and art organizations and demonstrated preliminary viability for the VCLT, with a particular focus on relief for non-profit cultural organizations located in Vancouver.

Benefits of a VCLT

Below is a list of benefits identified within the Idea Validation Report:

  • Stabilization – Land Trust freehold ownership and community governance ensures mitigation of speculative real estate market.
  • Investment – Large scale of Land Trust acts as accountable “clearing house”, attracts impact investing, philanthropic and government investment.
  • Regulation & Capacity – Land Trust advances regulatory updates; taxation policy; nurtures capacity and literacy in the sector.
  • Long-Term Security – Land Trust to support Non-Profit equity.
  • Sectoral Change – Land Trust Early Model supports efforts towards Reconciliation & Equity.

221A is currently (as of April 2020) preparing for the Business Planning phase of the VCLT to commence in the fall of 2020. The Business Planning will further refine the Early Model developed within the Idea Validation Study towards the establishment of an independent Vancouver Cultural Land Trust in 2023.


To launch a VCLT that will:

  • Achieve Long Term Security of Tenure
  • Empower Cultural Equity in Neighbourhoods
  • Advance Sustained Cultural Employment

Early Model

Using collected research and input gathered from a variety of stakeholders, the Idea Validation Report an Early Model was defined with the following elements:

  • 2050 Vision: 30 properties secured by the Cultural Land Trust
  • Core Purposes:
    • Secure Cultural Space
    • Advance Reconciliation, Equity & Access in the Built Environment
    • Improve Economic Conditions for Low-income Artists and Non-profit Art & Cultural Organizations
  • Governance: Independent Charitable Org; 11-person governance with representation from Cultural Organization Tenants
  • Seed Funding: $10M funds + $10M assets
  • 10-Year Projection: $80–$120M CAD Investments

Inspiration from Other Cities

Idea Validation Report

Copies of the Cultural Land Trust Idea Validation Report are being made available to artists, non-profit art organizations and funding bodies. Please contact 221A directly to obtain a PDF copy at hello@221a.ca.


  • November 2018 – Community-led Research trip to City of San Francisco and Oakland (with BC Artscape, VIVO Media Arts and City of Vancouver Cultural Spaces staff).
  • February 2019 – Literature Review
  • March 2019 – First Advisory Group Meeting
  • April 2019 – Presentation to City of Vancouver on Progress to date
  • May–June 2019 – Stakeholder Dialogue (Discovery)
  • June 2019 – Second Advisory Group Meeting, Case Studies, “Early Model”
  • June–July 2019 – Stakeholder Dialogue (Testing)
  • November 2019 – VCLT Idea Validation Report Completion
  • January 2020 – Presentation on the VCLT Early Model
  • September 2020 – October 2022 – VCLT Business Planning


For more information regarding the Vancouver Cultural Land Trust research or planning please contact us at hello@221a.ca.