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BEYOND PRIVATOPIA Paperback – April 28, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0877667698 ISBN-10: 0877667691 Edition: first

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BEYOND PRIVATOPIA + Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government + The Homeowners Association Manual (Homeowners Association Manual)(5th Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Urban Institute Press; first edition (April 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877667691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877667698
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #850,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


For those looking for a second-generation analysis of community associations, Beyond Privatopia is essential. In his 1994 classic, Privatopia, Evan McKenzie documented the rise of a major new American governing institution, the private community association. Local government was being privatized on a massive scale--not always to the best effects, McKenzie concluded. In this new book he explores developments since then; as always, he is skeptical of conventional wisdom and proposes significant reforms. --Robert H. Nelson, Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, and author of Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government

For international scholars of private urban governance, Evan McKenzie's writings are among the richest and most trusted sources. His unique position as an open-minded and thoughtful political scientist and a practicing lawyer who advises homeowner associations means that Beyond Privatopia, like his earlier Privatopia, will become required reading. McKenzie's insights increase the probability that legal protections for public governments, private governments, and homeowners will emerge. --Chris Webster, Professor of Urban Planning and Development, Cardiff University

Once again Evan McKenzie joins great scholarship with practical experience to explain the legal and social nuances of common interest developments. In Beyond Privatopia, he shows us why private government has come to dominate new housing and provides insight into why community associations often do not work as intended. McKenzie's assessment will interest anyone looking to understand the history, challenges, and survival of America's thousands of community associations. --Tyler P. Berding, author of The Uncertain Future of Community Associations

About the Author

Evan McKenzie is associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also an adjunct instructor in the real estate program at the John Marshall Law School. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Southern California and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He is the author of many published works on homeowner and condominium associations, including Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government (Yale, 1994).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mercedes Grass on January 16, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Anyone who buys into your community, regardless of criminal or educational background, can get on the board of your HOA. Even if their performance is exceedingly poor and your building is decaying from neglect they're difficult to remove from office. Board members become entrenched.

HOA management companies aren't regulated by the state like real estate companies. There are no required background checks, training or licensing. Anyone can hang up a shingle, call themselves management and, like magic, everyone follows their tune even if they don't know how to play.

Would you trust your neighbor with your bank account? In an HOA, you place what is, for most of us, our largest investment, our homes, into the hands of neighbors who are strangers. Do you know who your board members are? Most people I know can't even name one board member.

Apathy is the driving force behind HOAs and the main reason for their continuing to thrive.

HOAs are unAmerican and one of the most flawed, corrupt systems.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George K. Staropoli on June 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First scan . . . .

Once again a short book, 168 pages, by McKenzie is packed with very important information for those seriously interested in understanding the HOA phenomenon. A must reading for the public interest nonprofits, the legal-academic aristocrats, and all state legislators who have failed over the years to face the realities of the social and political impact of HOAs on our democratic system of government.

In his Preface, McKenzie proclaims that "this book is written in my own unusual hybrid perspective", having one foot in the legal-academic club and the other foot amongst the homeowner rights advocates. He names names of leading advocates (p. 121, n. 4): Shu Bartholomew, Jan Bergemann, Pat Haruff, George Starapoli [sic], Fred Pilot and Monica Sadler. Yet, my impression so far is that the book is addressed to the legal-academic aristocrats to remind them that America was not founded on the state being an neoclassic economic force, a business, concerned with efficiency, productivity, wealth redistribution, or rational choice But, that America was founded on principles of democratic government as set forth in the Preamble to the US Constitution (my interpretation):

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . . ."

In Chapter 3 McKenzie discusses the libertarian views of Robert H. Nelson and Nozick, among others. He references Nelson with, "They contend that CIDs [McKenzie's generic term for HOAs] are more efficient and more democratic than municipalities and should replace them." (p. xi).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ward on December 30, 2011
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Professor Evan McKenzie, thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this long awaited book. Homeowners just don't know what they're getting into when they give away all their Constitutional rights to enter a Homeowners Association. Your first book was important. This update is critically important.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frederick L. Pilot on March 9, 2012
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The effective privatization of local government by mandatory membership homeowner associations represents a major transformation of local government with implications that are only now being appreciated outside the circle of developers, land planners and real estate attorneys behind their explosive growth over the past four decades.

McKenzie rightly questions the sustainability of this form of governance by private nonprofit corporation that's heavily reliant on often reluctant volunteer homeowners to provide its leadership and funding. A subject matter expert who first wrote on the topic in his 1994 book, Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government, McKenzie details the larger policy issues behind the growing number of media accounts of embezzlement, frivolous litigation and mismanagement involving these associations.
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