Saturday, September 10, 2011

BlueKennel » Why Non-Suburbanites Distrust Suburbanites

BlueKennel » Why Non-Suburbanites Distrust Suburbanites
However, people move to suburbs not just to get things, like bigger houses and yards, but to get away from things in their old neighborhood: crime, traffic, and bad schools [if they’re not religious, they are likely to assume that the public schools in the suburbs are 'good']. And how to keep the bad things from following them? They have to be able to control the neighborhoods around them. This means, of course, either through the power of the state, or through the power of covenants and deed restrictions that create a quasi-state. One major city, Houston, relies exclusively on private covenants to control land use, other than ‘health and safety’ regulations; they have not even had zoning, much less the Conditional Use Permit system that has replaced zoning in many parts of California. It is popular in conservative circles, especially, to talk about ‘smaller government,’ but ‘smaller government’ is the last thing that suburbanites want if it means that whatever they were trying to leave behind can come into their neighborhood. And we tend to think of suburbanization as a conservatizing force!

Interestingly enough, local governments have started to imitate homeowners’ associations, in that they claim the right to compel neatness and other things that traditionally a civil government did not claim beyond a demonstrable health or safety standard. And also, city residents often regard themselves as having a property right in the ‘General Plan’ of the city in the way that they would in the CC&Rs of an association.

It's nice to see people thinking about things in 2011 that you wrote about in 1985. It would be nice if they didn't think they were intellectual pioneers, but still--it is good to see that people are catching on.

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