Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > Feature Articles > Municipality Strategies for Sustainable Community Best Practices

Common interest housing faces oversight problems

Does it seem as though your subdivision is ruled by despots? Is your condo association a kleptocracy?

Find green business solutions

Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population resides in private communities otherwise known as common interest developments, yet a slow collapse of the entire system is underway, according to the author of a new book on homeowner associations.

Common interest housing has become part of the intergovernmental system, says Evan McKenzie, an urban politics scholar and associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"We are all increasingly reliant on it, but there are serious problems with the viability of these residential private governments," he said.

A lack of governmental oversight is one of the reasons that community and homeowner associations don't function as intended, said McKenzie, who wrote "Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government."

"The key to effective privatization is maintaining accountability to government standards," he said. "The current system needs clear operational standards, required training in housing association management for affiliated volunteers and professionals, and efficient low-cost grievance procedures."

The new book, published by Urban Institute Press, explores the latest issues and trends in common interest developments and opposing viewpoints as to how they should be managed.

A development's control of neighborhood services is often a selling point to potential buyers, but McKenzie points out that the law of common interest communities can often impinge on civil liberties.

"Residents often contend with intrusions an elected government would not be able to make, like a ban on pets or yard decorations," he said. "If things go wrong, the contracts residents must sign to purchase within the community give them little legal recourse."

McKenzie said over the past four decades private government has come to dominate new housing because it serves as a "cash cow" for developers and municipalities.

"Developers use it to cram more people onto less land, thus increasing density," he said. "Municipalities get more property tax payers without having to build or maintain services and infrastructure for them."

Municipalities can help the situation by restoring choice to the housing market by ceasing requirements that all new housing be in common interest developments, said McKenzie, who is an attorney. He recommends that state governments follow the lead of Nevada, Florida, and Virginia by establishing an intermediary office to handle residents' complaints.

"Beyond Privatopia" is a follow-up to McKenzie's award-winning 1994 book, "Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government," from Yale University Press.

Homeowner and condominium associations, land use, and urban politics and policy are among McKenzie's areas of research interest. He also works on related matters as an attorney, consultant, and expert witness. In 2006, his testimony was cited in the first ruling by a federal court that said private homeowners associations must follow constitutional protections such as freedom of speech.

McKenzie practiced law for 10 years in California, including four years as a deputy district attorney for San Diego County and six years in civil litigation practice representing homeowner associations. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of Southern California and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| community | sustainable community | housing | cooperatives |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe

Related Articles

LID (Low Impact Development) Coming to Los Angeles

Small Farm Program Shares

California's Green Economy is a Work in Progress, CCI adds a 2010 Update

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here


We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |