A New Politics In America

April 23, 2002

Community Associations Explode Onto The Scene


Inman News Features

Author Tom Wolfe once said, "Politics in America isn?t found at the White House, the State House or even City Hall. It can be found at the co-op board."

Much as co-ops took off in New York City after World War II, common interest living has become the way most new communities are being formed, as condos and planned-unit developments emerge as the most popular form of new development.

Nearly one out of every six Americans now lives in an association-managed community, according to the Community Associations Institute.

In the largest metropolitan areas, more than 50 percent of new home sales are in communities managed by residential condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. With an estimated 8,000 to 11,000 additional community associations formed each year, association-managed communities are representing a new challenges.

They have become the vehicle for how new local infrastructure such as streets and utilities are funded and new political power, sometimes disjointed, is built at the local level.

Largely un-regulated, condos and PUDs are left to their own tools for managing community life. Disputes have erupted over how to fund repairs and what people can do to their exterior of their homes, causing consternations between homeowners and their local volunteer boards.

Copyright: Inman News Service