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Commodification of “Community” for Developer’s Profit

There are many different types of homes and home communities available to us in the real estate market today. A homebuyer seeking to live in a community development has many different choices. Homebuyers can choose from loft condominiums, gated communities, golf course communities, retirement communities or new urbanism communities, for example. The home communities seen today have their starting roots as far back as the modern city movement of the late-Nineteenth and early-Twentieth centuries. This was a period of urban development that incorporated networked infrastructures, rational geographic design, and centralized and standardized systems. (Code) Graham and Marvin gave us four pillars for understanding the modern industrial city and the second of these pillars, “That urban planning developed in support of and supported by the same environment of progress and modernization,” along with the third pillar, “That modernization as an ideal became integrated into our way of life through home-based consumption,” is one that can best help to understand the home communities present today. (Code)

The notions expressed in Graham and Marvin’s pillars have taken the idea of centralization and integrated it directly into home communities that can stand alone as self-supported villages, or mini-cities. These self-supported home communities are examples of the commodification of the notion of “community” for the developer’s profit. Instead of reaping just the profits from selling a home, developers also receive a cut of profits from businesses and services located within the home community. One great example of this is seen in many retirement communities available today. A Google search turns up the retirement community, “Living Life on The Avenue”, located at 1066 Avenue Road in Toronto. The details of the retirement community, provided at http://www.retirementhomes.com/homes/Detailed/

Living_Life_On_The_Avenue_L40343.html, state that in addition to individual apartments, the community houses a beauty shop, a library, a spa, wellness center, café, indoor pool, theatre, computer center, and boutique. Housekeeping, chaplain, dining and fitness services are provided as well. It’s location provides easy access to community churches, shopping, a second theatre, and public transit. Though the retirement community’s neighborhood location provides its residents with easily accessible recreation, the availability of so many onsite services allow the developers to charge residents a higher rent rate and to earn profits off of the companies located within the building. This is a centralized community developed with profits in mind. More retirement community examples can be found at http://www.retirementhomes.com/homes/ Detailed/Retirement_Suites_By_The_Lake_L41187.html for Retirement Suites By The Lake, and at http://www.retirementhomes.com/homes/Detailed/The_Grenadier_Retirement_

Residence_L29877.html for The Grenadier Retirement Residence.

Another example of the commodification of community by developers is the existence of golf course communities. Golf course communities focus in on a particular societal niche and favorite sport, that of golf and the people who love it. Golf course communities combine high end residences onto a scenic golf course. A clubhouse will provide community activities such as dinners and luncheons, and often house additional sports outlets such as a pool, sauna, or tennis courts. These developments cater to high end buyers and the homes are luxury properties, often with custom details. This link, http://www.newhomesdirectory.com/toronto, has a clickable search option that allows one to search directly for golf course homes. The following link is for an article that gives a look inside eight golf course homes, one which is located in Canada, http://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2012/07/06/8-gorgeous-golf-course-homes/. At http://www.gngcd.com/news_item.php?news=168&course_id=92 the design for a planned golf course community can be examined. The community, a development called The Estates of Wyndance, is located near Toronto in the Township of Uxbridge. It will hold 125 estate homes and an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman, a world champion golfer and one of the world’s leading golf course designers. In this case, the developers are capitalizing not only on combining golf and residence, but also playing on their high-end clients’ desire for quality and fame.

References

Code, Lewis. “Wired Cities: Community, Technology and Changing Urban Places Lecture Module 4.” 2012/2013.

Greg Norman Golf Course Design. Wyndance Golf Club. 2013. 19 January 2013 <http://www.gngcd.com/news_item.php?news=168&course_id=92>.

RetirementHomes.com. Retirement Homes.com: Living Life on The Avenue. 2013. 19 January 2013 <http://www.retirementhomes.com/homes/Detailed/Living_Life_On_The_Avenue_L40343.html>.

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