By Charity A. Hicks
Neil Smith talks about the influx of new
neighborhoods being built in previously disinvested areas.
Gentrification is a “dirty word” that defines much of what
has been taking place in Phoenix for the last several years;
and gentrification is an even larger part of the future of
Phoenix. Areas of Phoenix that have previously experienced
an exodus of middle-class inhabitants are now popular
sections of town to have a house built. Large subdivisions
are being built within walls that are referred to as “gated
communities” like a city within a city.
These communities which I would like to refer to as
fortresses are springing up here and there and everywhere.
The new neighborhoods could also be described as uniform and
lacking in versatility; and the goal of HOA within these
communities is to regulate and stifle any deviation from
their established “norm.”
The Hispanic culture views the front yard space of a
property as a gathering place for friends, family, and
neighbors. Looking at the neighborhoods where homes were
built prior to 1988, I saw larger yards and shorter fences;
however, if the fences were as tall as 6 feet, then it would
have been made of chain link. Homes built after this time
frame have smaller yards (or gathering space in the Latino
neighborhoods) and taller (stucco, fort-like) fences. As
Americans see the greater influx of “cultural invasion,” we
tend to become more and more isolated in a world of our own
kind. With attempts at protecting ourselves, we are
basically becoming more and more isolated.