Morning in Privatopia

Morning in Privatopia

From Plato’s Republic to Sir Thomas More’s Utopia to B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two and beyond, many social theorists have tried to design, even to build, an ideal human community. It is a prospect that many view with ambivalence. As Louis Mumford wrote, “The word UTOPIA stands in common usage for the ultimate in human folly or human hope. . . .”

Recently, a new form of urban and suburban housing known as the “common interest development” (CID) has risen to prominence in most rapidly growing areas of America. CIDs include condominiums, community apartments, co-ops, and planned unit developments (PUDs) of detached, single-family housing. These types of housing have one thing in common: Residents own or exclusively occupy their own units, but they share ownership of the “common areas” used by all.

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