Differences and Similarities Among Cohousing, Gated Communities and Other Kinds of Homeowners Associations: A Reply to Ruiu
GSSI Urban Studies Working Papers, No. 22/2015
15 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 22, 2015
The paper focuses on differences and similarities between two types of private residential communities (or homeowners associations): cohousing and gated communities. The reasoning is structured as a reply to a paper by Maria L. Ruiu in Sociological Inquiry, in which the author maintains that cohousing and gated communities are very different phenomena in terms of aims, goals, nature and characteristics. This paper argues that Ruiu’s reasoning is not entirely convincing since it presents some weaknesses, which are discussed, in regard to the alleged differences between cohousing and gated communities in terms the reasons guiding the choice of the community, openness of communal spaces, and the speculative nature of the projects. It is argued that cohousing and gated communities are more similar in terms of their constitutive characteristics than is usually thought; several differences between them can be recognized, but they are mainly epidermal. Some consequences of this fact in terms of public policy are discussed in the last part of the paper.
Keywords: cohousing, gated communities, homeowners associations, housing, housing policies
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