In 2021, the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EB PREC) purchased Esther's Orbit Room—the last remaining venue of Oakland's West Coast blues scene—to build a haven for Black culture and livelihood. As a novel system of land ownership inspired by land trusts, cooperatives, and social movements, EB PREC orchestrates local, collective governance to harness the staying power of ownership and resist its commodification. EB PREC's complex institutional structure is mirrored in the manifold enclosures of the Orbit Room property, which expands, contracts, and subdivides an ever-contested form of parcelization. As an architectural designer and member of EB PREC, the author combines an analysis of the Orbit Room's as-built conditions with an institutional portrait of EB PREC. This article asks how alignment and misalignment between ownership and property lines can enable—and preclude—the decommodification of property and transform it into an enduring source of power for those so long excluded from it.

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