Space: The Final (Political) Frontier

One of the questions I have wanted to research always seemed to be “un-researchable.” I have been interested in the phenomenon of high-end gated communities, and my question is a fairly obvious one: do people choose to live in these communities in order to separate themselves from “others,” however defined, or if not, how does the experience of residing in such communities affect their political opinions?

There are all kinds of practical problems in researching that question, which is a subset of a larger question that also intrigues me: how does the built environment affect social attitudes? (My husband is an architect, a fact that has undoubtedly piqued my interest in the interaction between environment and attitude.)

There is very little social science research on this question, so I was thrilled to discover this report from CityLab, written by noted urbanist Richard Florida.

We urbanists are obsessed with place. So it may be hard for us to believe that the connection between physical space and urbanization has been neglected by much of social science, outside of urban economics, urban planning, and urban geography. Indeed, place and geography have been notoriously absent from the greater field of political science.

That’s why the research of political scientist Ryan Enos is so interesting. An associate professor at Harvard’s Department of Government, Enos focuses on the geographic or spatial underpinnings of politics. His new book, The Space Between Us, dives deep into how the places we live influence our politics.

Following that lede is a transcription of an interview Florida conducted with Enos, in which Enos points out that geography has historically factored into politics, and not just politics, but other human behaviors. Politics, of course, is ultimately about who gets what–as we’ve seen rather vividly with the GOP’s recent tax bill. That “what” has often been control over land.

On a deeper level, geography is one of the fundamental ways we understand the world: We define locations, good or bad, by who lives there, by asking, “Are they one of us?” We treat places where the people are not like us—cities versus suburbs, red state versus blue—as different than places that are like us. This creates political conflict.

I found the following statement particularly insightful.

The “space between us” is the political space between us, our inability to come together, across groups, in politics to do the things necessary for a successful society, such as cooperating and compromising. The “distance” in political space is a manifestation of the psychological space between groups, how similar or different we think other groups of people are from our own group, and thus how much we think that we should cooperate with them.

This psychological space is influenced by geographic space: When groups are separated on the Earth’s surface—say into different sides of a city—our minds use this geographic separation as a shortcut to believe the groups are different; they become separated in our minds and this then spills over into our behavior, separating us in politics. This separation has consequences. If we cannot cooperate politically, we cannot do the things necessary to have a functioning modern society, such as building infrastructure and caring for the needy.

 As segregation increases, white people in the United States hold more negative attitudes about African Americans and they are also less likely to support black candidates running for office. We can also see that when we create social geography in the lab, in a sense, creating this mosaic we discussed earlier, that the segregation induces non-cooperation between groups.
This may be as close as I get to answering my question about gated communities–not to mention the urban/rural divide.
I need to order the book.

30 thoughts on “Space: The Final (Political) Frontier

  1. I believe Bill Bishop already went down that path with Big Sort. Here’s an excerpt:

    “In 2004, journalist Bill Bishop coined the term “the big sort.” Armed with startling new demographic data, he made national news in a series of articles showing how Americans have been sorting themselves into alarmingly homogeneous communities — not by region or by state, but by city and even neighborhood. Over the past three decades, we have been choosing the neighborhood (and church and news show) compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs.”

    The focus of the Koch’s was to eradicate unions because it was bad for their business. The American worker was bound together – unified – by neighborhood and work. American industry and our government worked to eliminate that. We now have 11-12% union representation.

    What binds us together now?

    This is why Einstein called capitalism, “Evil.” The competitive nature of it is driving us apart. Remember in school when we picked sides to play games?

    We are both individuals and social creatures. Our instincts ensure we fulfill both. This Ayn Rand objectivism is forcing us deeper into the individual. There are consequences for this. We’re seeing much of it play out in national politics. But with smartphones, etc., how do we satisfy our social needs?

    I think Albert was right.

  2. The high-end gated community is nothing more than another way for those in the top end of the economic ladder to flaunt their wealth. It is an extension of the $100,000 car, the jewelry, the one of a kind fashion, and the private club. It screams “I’m so rich I have to be super protected”. It is high-end bs, and the politics that go along with it are those of maintaining the status quo.

    For a primo example of how such a world view seeps down to the everyday lives of those inhabiting such places, take the incident at the gated community where Rand Paul lives. The status quo was to hire a lawn service to keep your property in pristine condition. But feisty Rand Paul liked to cut his own grass. His neighbor, an educated man – a doctor no less, eventually had built up so much resentment about this breach of the rich people code that he physically attacked his lawn mowing neighbor. Physically attacked him! Think about that the next time you go out to work in your yard in your UN-protected community.

  3. Maybe it is only my money-separation mind set but; to me the town (or is it now classed a city?) Carmel is one huge gated-community and an excellent example of separation by income or inheritance. In California the name is pronounced Car-mel, further separating them from the lower class surrounding communities. Broad Ripple used to serve as our local upper class locale but the soaring crime rate in their much sought after entertainment options changed that, it is now just another Indianapolis neighborhood. My granddaughter married into money, 400 guests at the lavish wedding and reception after weekend bachelor and bachelorette parties in Las Vegas and Austin, Texas, and honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. They lived in Broad Ripple but moved to Carmel, their home is beautiful, of course, and she seems little changed in our conversations – EXCEPT FOR HER SWITCH TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WHICH IS AGAINST EVERYTHING SHE STOOD FOR. The party switch is part of it; her husband seems a very nice young Catholic Republican but she opens her mouth and his words fall out.

    It seems the change in party and willingness to follow standards leads to the move to the gated-communities for some; for those born into wealth and gated-communities it is simply their way of life and few seem to make the change to what they consider to be a lower standard and lower class of living – further separating this country into a caste system which brought us to the Trump era from which we seem unable to escape – FOR NOW.

  4. The wall along the border with Mexico, and other immigration measures, is Trump’s attempt to create a high-end gated community of the United States.

  5. Theresa and John; that is indeed an astute observation. Our once full acceptance and “warm and fuzzy” relationship with Canada and the UK is rapidly cooling. What if they decide to “wall off” the U.S. along the northern border due to Trump’s insults and antics? The question of who Prince Harry invites to his upcoming wedding could be the deciding factor if Trump is not invited but it will be the U.S. he orders to begin building our northern wall to further imprison Americans from traveling north or south. I’m sure our eastern and western borders are safe; for now at least, unless he decides the 12-mile limit to be U.S. borders to protect by using our Navy. It is difficult to try to think ahead as to what Trump will come up with next; that space between his ears appears to be a Pandora’s Box of destruction.

  6. Interesting observation, Sheila! I’m thinking that micro-geopolitics as an academic discipline might become a “thing”. The Trump phenomenon has stimulated quite an interest in the politics of (small) place, like gerrymandered districts.

    I suggest that the subject is not as new or rare as we at first assume. I have a hunch that much research has already examined the importance of place in forming attitudes, but those studies usually are for the purpose of gleaning votes from specific places and focus mainly on identifying the trending attitudes of a region, district, or city, and less on how the place influenced those attitudes. Unfortunately, those studies have titles and keywords that are awkward to find when the purpose for the hunt is something other than grassroots political expediency.

    Current Geopolitics, of global scope (macro-geopolitics), has intrigued political researchers for centuries. Google it and you get over ten million results. The Book Depository carries over 2,500 books on the subject. Amazon.com carries over 1,500 books analyzing the effect of geography on politics, and more books that deal with the effect of place on beliefs as a kind of sidebar.
    A Geopolitical Sidebar: Foreshadowing and perhaps motivating the Russian influence of Trump is a book on geopolitics. “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” is a strategic analysis of Russia’s prospects for power, written by Aleksandr Dugin. Dugin may well be the new Marx. His book recommends to Russian leaders an approach to global politics that from the western viewpoint appears to be playing out (according to Dugin’s script) in current reality, to use a strange word for what is going down in Britain, Germany, Greece and the United States. It is an eye-opener, and should be read as part of Mueller’s investigation.

  7. As a graduate student of Urban Planning at the University of Texas at Arlington in the middle 70’s, I was introduced to a new text entitled Defensible Space by Oscar Newman. The theory has earned some controversy, but for me, it was insightful how residential and commercial developers in both low income and higher end communities design and build perception of a safe place to live and/or work. Isn’t there a rule in the NFL when a player can cause a penalty and loss of yards for taunting the other? Arrogant flaunting of wealth invites a take down regardless of artificial security or the perceived feeling of security provided by the promotion of a ‘gated community’. The largest gated community in the world is Jerusalem. During the past 4,500 years, Jerusalem as been destroyed 38 times and rebuilt upon its own rubble. Do you think this is a result of walls not high enough or gates not thick enough? The safest communities are those that empower neighbors to live in the front and engage each other without fences. Predators cannot survive without anonymity and open sight lines among openly friendly neighbors. Narcissistic gated minds are the most vulnerable, and if they have wealth, the need to build walls with an insatiable diet for the most outrageous interpretation of the Second Amendment renders a few with a false sense of security.

  8. This comment thread calls to mind Jane Jacobs’s great book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” in which she eloquently describes her own New York City neighborhood and why it is vital, livable and so very worth protecting. No walls, needless to say, and a mix of people who not only know each other’s names but who also interact over time and patronize each other’s businesses and watch out for whoever needs it. Not only are most of our cities residentially sorted so we can’t talk over the fence or on our own sidewalk with anyone any different from ourself (if we have that urban luxury, a simple sidewalk) but they are built so a car is required to get anywhere, absolutely anywhere, including into the parking lot of the next building over, which keeps us each as isolated as possible. This sorting goes back, as I have seen it operating, into the post-WWII suburban boom when federal mortgage insurance rules enforced racial segregation. By the late 60s-70s, developers were skilled at fine-toothed combing their subdivisions by income levels, too, and such practices have continued supported by zoning laws that let us build layer cakes of the biggest nicest houses padded by successively smaller houses (sorting people carefully by income), padded by condos or two-family homes with multi-family, if we are stooping that low, by the busiest highway. Read Jacobs and share my distress, and then read “Reinventing Development Regulations” by Jonathan Barnett and Brian W. Blaesser and get involved with the next update to your community’s zoning ordinance. Or ask for one! Our towns and cities can be healthier.

  9. P.S. I beg everyone’s indulgence for the overly long post above. Sheila’s topic is near and dear to my heart, too. And I just ordered the book she recommended. Fair warning.

  10. I recall hearing an urban geographer years ago lecturing that he wasn’t sure cities would work; that they were experimental. I think he was wrong; that they are working, some better than others. I also note that social and economic distinctions have been around for centuries – witness castles with their moats and drawbridges to separate the regal caste from the serfs who tilled the soil for grain to make bread and beer for the royals and their courts.

    I think the separation Sheila cites from her sources is largely a state of mind and that geography is an excuse to exercise already pre-formed prejudices or those learned through one’s social environment (as JoAnn suggested in re her granddaughter’s marriage today). I hope and claim that geography would be immaterial in my own thinking because I would detest Trump if I lived in Trump Tower or in the Hamptons.

  11. Our recently sold condo in Florida was in a gated community. During the time we were there the people who manned the gates and patrolled the neighborhood changed their name from “security” to “privacy” which was probably more like the service they actually provided.

    Not too far from there was the original village of Bonita Springs which was now a Latino community of those who provided services like landscape maintenance for several gated communities around. They had neither security or privacy but had in my estimation more community.

    My wife and I didn’t really think too much about this other than that the place we were living was a marvelous bit of suburban planning and beautifully landscaped.

    My impression though was that almost everybody there was a transplant and living there by choice because it was an improvement from where they came from. That alone gave it a different social setting than other up and downscale ghettos.

    Could it have been less segregated? I don’t know. I don’t think that the communities would ever mix very well. As was true when we lived in Mexico though the wealthy felt paternal or maternal to the “others” so there was a flow of services and goods that were helpful to the Latino community.

    I wish that I knew if there was resentment in the mix. In Mexico we found Latinos to be very fatalistic in believing that whatever hand one was dealt was not reason to be unhappy. That served them well although also a little more reliant on God for saving them from risky behavior than I tend to be.

    I really think that the most problematic force in whatever resentment there was would be TV advertising. It’s an insidious social as well as political tool.

  12. I’ve always been interested in the mindset of those who change homes with the seasons, those folks who maintain a ‘summer’ home in the North and then move to Miami or Naples or Palm Beach for the winter. For sure, it’s expensive to maintain two residences, both financially and emotionally. Moreover, there would seem to be a lack of real engagement with either community when being a part-time resident.

  13. Sorting by economic class has a long history. If you visit Europe or the Middle East you can see for your self the sorting into palaces, castles, and large manors. The other major construction was so called houses of worship.

    People do make choices based upon what they can afford. There are many old neighborhoods here in Indianapolis, that have seen a decline. If you have to make a choice to fix the porch or eat, fixing the porch may not happen. Sadly, I have watched some of the neighborhoods decline not only physically, but also in attitude. Cars parked up on the lawn on blocks, old appliances rusting away in the yard, etc.

    I remember a tour my wife and I went on into a neighborhood that was undergoing gentrification. We were looking to buy our first home. The old houses were being refurbished. The homeowners were pouring some serious money into these homes. What struck me was the number of houses that literally had iron bars on their windows, plus warnings that the houses had alarms. The iron bars were not for decoration, but for security.

    Once we left the tour, I asked my wife, Why the hell would you want to live here?? Your house is like a prison. We passed on buying in the gentrifying neighborhood.

  14. For some reason; over recent months I have frequently had old downtown Indianapolis in my thoughts. It was what a city is meant to be; Circle Centre Mall seemed to result in the destruction of the business and shopping center of this city as well as entertainment. The Mall did not replace all that Indianapolis had to offer in the way of shopping, office buildings housing businesses as well as medical, optical, dental sites, a vast variety of dining and the many theaters. Today; Circle Centre Mall’s main anchor seems to be a factory, the location of the Indianapolis Star. Stores leave with few replacements. Downtown is becoming a primarily residential area of historical neighborhoods (gated-communities with no actual gates) and the many super expensive condos, surrounded by office buildings. And probably the best maintained infrastructure in Marion County. I miss downtown Indianapolis when it was what a city is meant to be.

    Melvin Simon Associates loaned the City of Indianapolis the seed money to work in tandem with their expanding, nation-wide mall conglomerate to lure everyone downtown. Little known fact even inside city government was the hope/plan to destroy outlying malls and shopping centers along with the Mom & Pop neighborhood businesses. Nothing appears to have worked out regarding those misguided plans; outlying areas with the thousands of abandoned homes and businesses with crumbling infrastructure are crime-ridden, giving us historic numbers of murders two years in a row. The majority of Marion County/Indianapolis residents are poor, low to middle-income neighborhoods NEED gated-communities to protect themselves from other lower-income neighborhood residents. I pointed out before; drive to downtown Indy on any major street from the east side and notice the tacky areas and poorly maintained streets where those of us who pay the taxes to maintain the infrastructure are forced to live.

    To answer Sheila’s question; “…and my question is a fairly obvious one: do people choose to live in these communities in order to separate themselves from “others,” however defined, or if not, how does the experience of residing in such communities affect their political opinions?” It is of course to separate themselves from “others” and those separating themselves are the ones with the money to relocate and Republicans appear to be the majority of those with money. How long has Brainard been Mayor of Carmel; “like seeks like” where money and politics are concerned. The rest of us are allocated to the “water seeks it’s own level”; the growing lower level of the caste system.

  15. @Monotonous Languor, I hear what you’re saying.

    In 2004 I was recently widowed, moved to Indianapolis to accept a job that offered $20k more than my then current position. Naturally, I needed a place to live, preferably buying, not renting, a place, and I likely went against everything I’d learned from my late husband, an Urban Planner graduate like Norris Lineweaver (above).

    I purchased a spacious condo in a gated community on Indy’s Northside. After 3 years of gated community condo living, I’d had enough of asking permission to plant an ornamental tree, to enclose my screened in porch with Pella windows, to allow visitors to park in front of my home for the weekend. For sure, I was safe and secure, not one crime occurred in Clearwater Cove during my 3 years of living there, but when the Condo Association fee topped $500 per month, I realized I was paying for more than I was receiving. Fortunately, I sold my unit for a nice profit and learned a lesson — I’m not cut out for living in a gated community where most of my neighbors were like paper dolls cut from the same template — few independent thinkers among the group.

  16. In the development of an embryo, different cells derived from different regions of the fertilized egg interact with one another in a series of cascades to differentiate the various organ and cellular phenotypes that make up the body. Demarcation of organ regions is driven by the acquisition of cell surface recognition properties. If you remove these very diverse developing regions and disassociate their cells, then recombine them, they have the ability to sort out from one another using their surface recognition properties. Today, we can build mini-organs called organoids this way to study development. This developmental principle operates at the population level as well. Thus we sort into families, neighborhoods, political factions, countries, etc. But another principle is that the individual body would die if its component organs did not develop as part of a higher level organization of systems: neural, cardiovascular, digestive, etc, all of which must be in communication with one another–i.e., function together–for the individual organism to survive. Arthur Koestler wrote an excellent treatise titled “Janus” on the part-whole relationship that exists at every level of organization. My point here is that although sorting is normal, if it goes awry so as to disrupt the fabric and function of the system, it will eventually kill the system. I think that as a society, we are getting close to that point.

  17. When we moved to a Houston suburb 6 years ago, we found a gated community was the only place we could live “on a lake” and have a good commute. (The developer dug out the canals 10 years ago when they built the neighborhood and used the soil to make the lots higher. It turned out ingenious with the recent hurricane/floods) We had lived in 6 different cities over the years and couldn’t imagine living in a gated community for all the reasons mentioned above. But we bought the place when we were reminded that Texas has no zoning laws. (Also a contributor to the recent floods.) So we relented and bought the house.

    Fort Bend county is the third most diverse in the country. Of the 20 houses on our street, 10 are owned by Chinese. Just three households were born in the U.S. In our cul de sac, the countries of origin of our neighbors are: Brazil, Scotland, India and China. The kids all speak English; only the Chinese adults don’t learn English.

    The neighborhood is billed as a “premier community,” whatever that means. As a board member for two years, I learned what that meant. The white people are on the board and expect all newcomers to understand what “premier” means. (full disclosure: we are white, native-born Hoosiers) Here, it means maintaining the home and landscaping and insuring that any modifications to the home fit the design of the neighborhood. My job on the board was to send notices to residents who were out of compliance with the rules. (garbage cans in front of the house, bushes too tall, driveways that needed power washed, dogs barking incessantly, etc.)

    What I discovered was that about 90% of the notices went to the Chinese. So I had the rules translated into Chinese to give them to new residents. (The people from India all know English.)

    This community would be a feast for someone to do a sociological study of the new America and people getting along (or not). Here, it’s about cultural backgrounds, not about politics.

    On one afternoon recently, 3 men from Jordan were putting in new flooring, while 2 Latinos were trimming our bushes, while my Indian neighbor came over to talk about the Chinese guy’s dog who had just bit her son. The sheriff’s deputy (an African American woman) came to deal with the dog bite.

    That’s normal and feels ok to me. I would be running away if my neighbors were all white Trump supporters. THEY are near by, but I will be active in the next Congressional election.

    This county is also well educated and 57% voted for Hillary, but our Congressional leaders fit the Texas stereotype. I believe in the “man-to-man defense.” I believe if each of us “gets our guy” we can make a difference. I have learned that there is so much stereotyping of Texas within Texas (people here brag about being dumb) that others don’t think their votes count. I am going to be active to get our people to show up at the polls.

  18. David,

    Maybe I’m alone in saying this, and maybe I’m not alone. But, I have no idea how what you wrote relates to today’s topic. From embryos to organoids, to families, neighborhoods, political factions, countries — it all sounds good, but it means little to me, the average reader who happens to hold two university degrees, obviously not degrees in a hard science. You apparently possess prior knowledge that many do not possess. Help us out here.

  19. BSH, there are many ghettos at all economic levels and all of their residents experience forces that tend to trap them there.

    That in my life experience is neither or both good and bad.

    The real problematic situations are due to poverty not like minded communities.

    That being said silo living does also have its downsides.

  20. In re gated communities, I’ve always viewed the main attraction as basic security, versus anything else. I know several people who live in such places, some of which are condos that really aren’t that fancy, and that’s the reason: they are older, feel vulnerable to the risk of home invasion, some are widowed and live alone, but they all want the security of controlled access to their turf and the assurance of knowing their neighbors, which doesn’t always happen in places where homes are more spread out and there is no security. None of these people would ever be Trump voters, either.

  21. Natacha,

    When you wrote “In re gated communities…None of these people would ever be Trump voters, either”, how do you know for whom these folks voted? I surely never knew the political persuasions of any of my gated condo community neighbors, primarily because political signs were not allowed per the Condo Association guidelines. If my neighbors had strong political leanings, they never spoke about them in the public arena of the neighborhood.

  22. In the interest of full disclosure, we live in a gated community near a beach in South Carolina, although it’s doubtful if any of our neighbors think of us as rich (and they are right). We moved here to be close to friends from Annapolis who preceded us, and because I was too ill at the time (2002) to look at other alternatives. In our community there are a handful of liberals- some of whom are among the most accomplished and thoughtful people we’ve ever known – who share our views, which are excoriated by the majority of our neighbors. Some of the excoriators are native Carolinians, but most are northerners (and even a handful of people who grew up in other countries) who must have a “Beauregard” somewhere in their lineage. Racist and Trump-worshiping emails fly around the community, but mostly in a stealthy fashion.

    In “Dark Ages America,” Morris Berman devotes a lot of ink to incisive comments on this very issue of separation. He attributes a lot of our desire to be apart from others as an outgrowth of America’s sacrosanct rugged individualism. He see this characteristic as the fundamental reason many American cities don’t work (as opposed to their European counterparts) and why we obsessively build suburbs that succeed only in creating separateness and traffic problems. Only communitarian life has any chance of really working, he concludes, for the happiness of individuals and families, for politics, and for livable cities.

    Many of my most conservative neighbors, even those with grand inheritances or businesses built by their parents, insist that they are entirely self-made men (or women) and “nobody never helped them with nothin'” That explains, they aver, their identification with Donald Trump who claims to be a business genius but who would be worth about what he currently is if he had invested his daddy’s $100 million in conservative securities.

    Berman asserts that “…one sees quite clearly the results of American individualism: an isolation and pervasive melancholy that lurks underneath the surface bombast. Americans, I remember thinking, must be the loneliest people on earth; they just don’t know it.”

    The subtitle of Berman’s book is “The Final Phase of Empire.” He sees no way out of the hole we have dug for ourselves (how do you save people who are turning against science?), even though he was writing in pre-Trumpian era (his harshest criticisms are reserved for Baby Bush, and it’s often hard to remember that he’s not writing about Trump). You may disagree with his fatalism, but you’ll need to do some heavy research to prove him wrong. You might want to start by making a list of all the positive things that have happened to or in our country in the past year.
    Append a list of those you anticipate in the near future. My lists follow: Blank. Blank.

  23. I’m not really trying to be flippant about this but when I read this piece it made me think of the TV show “The Walking Dead” where the affluent living in the gated communities would be like the non-zombie people while the rest of us would resemble the itinerant wandering zombie class in the show. If this is our future and the ultimate result of the growing divisions and disparities in this country where everything essentially goes down the drain we have got to be, collectively, the stupidest people on the planet.

  24. If you want to see how this story ends (unless dramatic changes in laws as well as development policies are enacted soon) I’d suggest taking a trip to Rio de Janiero or
    some other large city in So. America. Sadly there seems to be little slowdown in the big sort – as they are still building new stick-houses on quarter-acre lots all the way out to the county borders in my IN hometown. And the town of Noblesville is practically growing into Anderson – extending the concrete-crescent across three
    counties North of Indy. A key driver is still schools, of far greater impact in numbers than the desire to live in a truly gated-community.

  25. Indianapolis Star journalist Brian Eason wrote a series of articles, “Abandon Indy”, about the escalating abandoned houses in Marion County the the law which allows this problem to escalate. When you attempt to buy an abandoned building for back taxes; you do NOT buy the building, you only buy the tax lien for one year during which time the previous owner can come forward with the back tax amount. I believe it has to be three years in arrears before being sold for taxes, during which time it is abandoned, deteriorating and a magnet for criminal activities or arson. Once you buy the tax lien, you have no rights over forcing people out of it or using it for criminal purposes; the county is no longer responsible for maintenance, care or protection. Thus; it deteriorates further during that additional year, people rarely take a chance and invest money, time and work in a property they do not own. Entire neighborhoods are deteriorating due to this ridiculous law; often causing neighbors to move to “better neighborhoods”…or gated-communities if they can afford them. This tax law was a problem when Mayor Hudnut requested a study of abandoned houses in 1991; at that time there were 4,500 – 5,000 listed abandoned houses, today there are approximately 10,000. But the Republicans refuse to change the law, preventing maintenance and protection of properties which they are no longer responsible for, allowing further deterioration and infrastructure is ignored in these areas.

    And so it goes!

  26. Loved KH reflections on Houston. Lived there twice on the southwest side and worked for a non profit that had centers throughout the metropolitan area with outreach engaging newcomers (the ‘Boat People’). Houston had an insatiable diet of resilience to accommodate diversity. Houston would not thrive if it were not for ‘packaged air’, the only escape from insidious humidity from what essentially was the worst swamp lands seen of coastal and even forest areas of Texas. Yes, there is deed restriction without municipal codes seen in other large cities. What is interesting is that urbanologists did aerial surveys of urban development over Dallas and Houston. Dallas is a zoning law code enforcement haven in contrast. The aerial study could not perceive any difference. Not to worry. Politics assured as many jobs in city government anyway. :>)

  27. People choose to live in gated communities for the same reasons people support Republicans. These “attitudes” are not exclusive to Republicans. However,these attitudes are prevalent among Caucasians.

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