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Gated Communities and Spatial Inequality
Unformatted Document Text:  First, privatized communities plan a system of legal constraints called “restrictive covenants” that are included in the deed to the residential properties before they are sold. Restrictive covenants may regulate the type of materials which homes can be built from, forbid the housing of animals, or obligate homeowners to receive permission from the community to make any improvements or additions to their home. McKenzie points out that these restrictions often emphasize “property values over considerations of individual privacy and freedom” (1994: 15) and are often applied rigidly without consideration for individual circumstances. Secondly, privatized communities employ a bureaucratic structure of regulation where individual members of the community are elected to serve as an administrative board to ensure the enforcement of the community’s restrictive covenants. This administrative board called a “homeowner’s association” or HOA responds to community concerns, initiates contact with community members who violate restrictive covenants, and can even levy fines, penalties and legal action against those who do not comply to community standards. Thirdly, the privatization of space is the function of how the privatizing community sanctions those individuals who violate the standards of the community’s private goods. Non-members who violate the physical exclusivity of a private community are likely to be subject to civil or criminal charges. Community members who violate the conditions of the community are often subject to financial penalties, directed by the administration of the community. In extreme cases, the administration overseeing the operation of the community may press for legal action to have the violating member expelled from the community (McKenzie 1994). Through these methods of the privatization of space once “public” goods are converted into private commodities. These commodities are then available for sale to those willing to pay for exclusive access to these specialized amenities and services. In doing so, the privatization of space depletes the amount of public space available to the community, which in turn contributes to differentiation and stratification of places. III. Gated communities Over the history of the U.S. GCs have evolved significantly. In this section we start by defining the concept of a gated community and briefly follow the early and 7

Authors: Vesselinov, Elena. and Cazessus, Matthew.
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First, privatized communities plan a system of legal constraints called “restrictive
covenants” that are included in the deed to the residential properties before they are sold.
Restrictive covenants may regulate the type of materials which homes can be built from,
forbid the housing of animals, or obligate homeowners to receive permission from the
community to make any improvements or additions to their home. McKenzie points out
that these restrictions often emphasize “property values over considerations of individual
privacy and freedom” (1994: 15) and are often applied rigidly without consideration for
individual circumstances.
Secondly, privatized communities employ a bureaucratic structure of regulation
where individual members of the community are elected to serve as an administrative
board to ensure the enforcement of the community’s restrictive covenants. This
administrative board called a “homeowner’s association” or HOA responds to community
concerns, initiates contact with community members who violate restrictive covenants,
and can even levy fines, penalties and legal action against those who do not comply to
community standards.
Thirdly, the privatization of space is the function of how the privatizing
community sanctions those individuals who violate the standards of the community’s
private goods. Non-members who violate the physical exclusivity of a private community
are likely to be subject to civil or criminal charges. Community members who violate the
conditions of the community are often subject to financial penalties, directed by the
administration of the community. In extreme cases, the administration overseeing the
operation of the community may press for legal action to have the violating member
expelled from the community (McKenzie 1994).
Through these methods of the privatization of space once “public” goods are
converted into private commodities. These commodities are then available for sale to
those willing to pay for exclusive access to these specialized amenities and services. In
doing so, the privatization of space depletes the amount of public space available to the
community, which in turn contributes to differentiation and stratification of places.
III. Gated communities
Over the history of the U.S. GCs have evolved significantly. In this section we
start by defining the concept of a gated community and briefly follow the early and
7


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