Histories of homeowner associations for the non-HOA-adjacent?
November 11, 2021 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Where I've lived over the course of my life in Canada, HOAs haven't been a thing. I'm interested in recommendations for articles, essays, and books exploring the history of the development of HOAs in the U.S. in general. I'm also interested in their relationship, where it exists, to the broader historical backdrop of racist and exclusionary practices like redlining and blockbusting.

Documentaries, podcast series, or podcasts episodes are also great, assuming they're well-researched and/or include interviews/discussions with solid experts on the topic, or with people who've lived through changes to their neighbourhoods wrought by these developments.

Both academic and non-academic sources are good.
posted by mandolin conspiracy to Society & Culture (5 answers total)
Best answer: Highly, highly, recommend Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law. It is short-ish, but damned exhaustive on this stuff.
posted by General Malaise at 1:55 PM on November 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Evan McKenzie's 1994 book Privatopia is highly regarded, though it is distinctly anti-HOA in its analysis.
posted by brianogilvie at 2:05 PM on November 11, 2021

Seconding the Rothstein book!
posted by Kitteh at 2:28 PM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

For some of the context around US suburbanization, Crabgrass Frontier is thoroughly worthwhile, if dated.
posted by zamboni at 3:12 PM on November 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Another enthusiastic endorsement of Rothstein's The Color of Law, though it doesn’t really talk about HOAs so much. It does delve into racially restrictive housing covenants, however, which can be thought of as a forerunner of HOAs.

McKenzie's Privatopia, also mentioned above, does an excellent job describing HOAs as successors to restrictive covenants. HOAs were fairly rare in the US before the 1960s, which was when racially restrictive covenants were finally outlawed by the Fair Housing Act -- 20 years after they were declared unenforceable by the Supreme Court in Shelley v. Kraemer.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of academic work on HOAs and racial segregation. This paper by a couple of economists talks about the rise and effects of HOAs, but it doesn't really get very far into racist exclusionary practices. There was a good analysis of how HOAs affect citywide segregation done by Rachel Meltzer in 2013.
posted by theory at 3:31 AM on November 12, 2021

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