Tuesday, March 02, 2004


Perhaps the most auspicious migration within the U.S. today is the one into private communities. More than 50 million Americans are now living in various such arrangements, where most of the rules of property come from private associations. The rules (CC&Rs) are typically drafted by developers and are subject to a market test. A small number of commentators have been tracking this trend (some included in The Voluntary City). Robert Nelson's soon-to-be released Private Neighborhoods: A Revolution in Local Government promises to be the latest word.

There are all sorts of parallel privatizations spontaneously emerging; many denote novel public-private arrangements. In a setting of flexible institutions, these will also be subject to market tests and the best will spread. One example, noted in this morning's LA Times, is Pasadena's revived business district where the parking meter revenues go back to the district, not the city, to be used to upgrade local facilities. Common sense parking arrangements, like this one, have been written about by Don Shoup for some years.

Given a chance, good ideas will drive out the bad ones.