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Snob Zones

Fear, Prejudice, and Real Estate

Lisa Prevost

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

An exploration of the corrosive effects of overpriced housing, exclusionary zoning, and the flight of the younger population in the Northeast

Winner of the 2014 Bruss Silver Award and First-Time Author Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors

Towns with strict zoning are the best towns, aren't they? They're all about preserving local "character," protecting the natural environment, an dmaintaining attractive neighborhoods. Right? 

In this bold challenge to conventional wisdom, Lisa Prevost strips away the quaint façades of these desirable towns to reveal the uglier impulses behind their proud allegiance to local control. These eye-opening stories illustrate the outrageous lengths to which town leaders and affluent residents will go to prohibit housing that might attract the “wrong” sort of people. Prevost takes readers to a rural second-home community that is so restrictive that its celebrity residents may soon outnumber its children, to a struggling fishing village as it rises up against farmworker housing open to Latino immigrants, and to a northern lake community that brazenly deems itself out of bounds to apartment dwellers. From the blueberry barrens of Down East to the Gold Coast of Connecticut, these stories show how communities have seemingly cast aside the all-American credo of “opportunity for all” in favor of “I was here first.”
 
Prevost links this “every town for itself” mentality to a host of regional afflictions, including a shrinking population of young adults, ugly sprawl, unbearable highway congestion, and widening disparities in income and educational achievement. Snob Zones warns that this pattern of exclusion is unsustainable and raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to be a community in post-recession America.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Jan 07, 2013 – This collection of comprehensively reported accounts of ugly local politics spawned by the absence of affordable housing in New England towns is an earnest but slow-moving examination of distasteful and often illegal behavior that takes the “not in my back yard” credo to its tawdry low point. Journalist Prevost tackles the abuses of restrictive zoning in communities from affluent Darien, Conn., to hardscrabble Milbridge, Maine, examining the “point at which controls on growth and development cross the line to unnecessary, purely self-interested exclusion.” She traces the effects of a century-old legal prejudice against high-density housing in New England, a densely settled region with little room for suburban sprawl. Some of the corrective measure included Massachusetts’s “anti-snob zoning law” supporting the construction of affordable housing, even in quaint villages that boast historic roots. From the exploits of savvy gadfly developers upending ritzy Connecticut suburbs with plans for high-density housing scattered amid posh colonial houses to an aging New Hampshire town struggling with deep-rooted prejudices, Prevost charts a national problem on a local level. While housing policy analysts and populists will nod in assent to her well-drawn critiques of the “fortress mentality” that makes local restrictions understandable from within and unconscionable from without, the focus is often so tight that even a sympathetic reader can lose interest.
Snob Zones
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  • $24.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Events
  • Published: May 07, 2013
  • Publisher: Beacon Press
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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