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April 09, 2006

Comments

Andy

It's going to be a bigger problem as the wealthy continue to split off into neighborhoods/towns/what have you.

There are already hundreds if not thousands of gated communities, of all but a tiny percentage are for the upper middle class and up.

It's Neal Stephenson's book, "The Diamond Age" slowly coming to fruition. You'll see more immigrants take these jobs in the wealthy communities, which will create social strain in some cases.

mark safranski

Back in the early 1990's I saw this process firsthand while sitting on a Planning Commission where a growing town had figured out that they were going broke because dense low-end housing, particularly apartment complexes, ate up more in city services than they contributed in property taxes.

The reason frankly was the disproportially dysfunctional behavior of the residents. Something like 70 % of the police and emergency services calls went to only two apartment complexes and a few older neighborhoods. Also a fair portion of public works calls ( due to vandalism).

Their solution was to annex available open land and zone it only for business or housing developments or upscale housing development. And also to crack down on landlords for code violations until they rented to quieter tenants, evicted troublemakers or sold their property.

I no longer live there but I heard the other day that this once solidly blue-collar community now has new housing starting at -get this - $ 600,000 (!). A town of elderly residents who are original owners, transient middle-class who buy old, low end housing for a few years and move on and segregated wealthy enclaves.

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