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.


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