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Residential Community Associations are now the norm in new suburban developments, and in this Article, Professor Robert Ellickson suggests that existing neighborhoods, in inner cities and elsewhere, would benefit from similar institutions. Specifically, he proposes the creation of Block Improvement Districts. These Districts would typically be formed by supermajorities of property owners, who would need to have the power to override objectors to avoid the free rider problem inherent in many kinds of group action. Once formed, these Districts would collect fees from member property owners and, in return, would provide block-level public goods. After exploring both the theoretical and practical aspects of Block Improvement Districts, Professor Ellickson concludes by advocating experimentation with these institutions as a way of more conclusively determining their value.
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