And now, a guest post (actually an email that I thought would be a great blog entry) from Paul Belserene:
"A fellow alumnus of the University of Chicago, Lior Strahilevitz, has done a study in the Virginia Law Review about how amenities in communities can be used to exclude people to create a homogeneous living environment, and also how they can be used to include, creating a more heterogeneous and lively community.
He began by noting, as we have, that during the 1990s, the United States experienced a boom in the construction of residential developments built around golf courses. he says "This occurred at a time when golf participation functioned as a noticeably better proxy for race than income, wealth, or virtually any other characteristic." As we know, substantial numbers of Americans who purchased homes in golf communities play no golf. We have often said that this was because the natural benefits of the golf landscape attracted people. But it is equally arguable that the costs associated with this amenity served rather effectively to guarantee a mostly-white, homogeneous population inside the gates.
How, in the Post-Tiger era, the demographic of golf will change is an interesting question and Strahilevitz is studying whether there is a correlation between the use of golf will rise or fall as an amenity in new planned communities.
Strahilevitz then notes the possibility of "inclusionary amenities", and shows how a few developers, common interest communities, and municipalities have used these amenities to achieve greater residential heterogeneity than would otherwise have been possible.
It seems that the market is beginning to realize that diverse communities are more interesting to live in. Ive noticed that inclusionary amenities are something we are already exploring in envisionings - water, gathering places, markets, etc. It warrants some conscious attention, I think."
This is something we should begin thinking about - what, exactly, are incusionary amenities? Paul mentions most nature-based activities (pathways, hiking trails).
The article is definitely worth a read - towards the end, the author discusses how to cultivate diversity within communities, using a variety of amenities. Very cool.