Relationship to the territory: between residential club and metropolis

Eric Charmes, October 2015

This chapter provides elements to help understand and examine the ‘birds of a feather’mindsets thought to characterise peri-urban areas. The author explains how peri-urban municipalities can become closed communities, ‘clubs’ where families with similar interests flock together. The ‘club’ may include one part of the municipality (subdivision, gated community) or its entirety. There is direct impact on the governance and daily management of municipalities, and lines between public and private are blurred–whether between particular interests and the general interest, or the distribution of responsibilities and roles between property owners’ associations and the municipality. According to the author, the real problem is not inward-looking communities, but the new relationship between inhabitants and the territory, which is characterised by a ‘utilitarian relationship with one’s neighbourhood’ and a lack of political commitment at the local level, as the focus has turned to larger areas, particularly cities.

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