The Rise of Private Neighborhood Associations: A Constitutional Revolution in Local Government

Robert Nelson (2002)

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A revival of the neighborhood is seen by many commentators as a key element in a wider effort to reenergize the intermediate institutions of American society. The weakening of these institutions is blamed for a decline in trust, public spirit, and generally an erosion of civic values in the United States in recent decades. The rise of the private neighborhood follows in the wake of the rise of the corporate form of business ownership of property in the late nineteenth century, both representing fundamental turns away from individual ownership of private property and towards new collective forms of private ownership. Indeed, the rise of private neighborhood associations represents the most important property right development in the United States since the rise of the modern business corporation.