Property owning democracies? Home owner corporations in Hong Kong
Condominium, Home ownership, Hong Kong
Home ownership comes in a variety of forms. Owners of single-family dwellings generally enjoy a high degree of control and autonomy. Many home owners, however, are in circumstances which involve greater collective interest, medium and high-rise environments and significant state involvement and regulation. In such situations, tensions and conflicts can arise among residents and others stakeholders in relation to a range of management and maintenance issues and between owners and the wider public interest. This involves constraints on individual freedom and the necessity for co-operation. This paper discusses these and related issues with a particular focus on owners' corporations in Hong Kong. In the Hong Kong context, home owners are most typically in large scale, high rise and often technically complex environments. The particular form of the owner corporation is explored in relation to its history of development, its significance in the home ownership sector and its legal structure. Owner corporations raise a number of issues of participation and democracy. These include the anti-democratic organisational arrangement of owners' corporations which tends to limit rather than enhance participation of ordinary owners, the impact of owners' corporations in reinforcing class and income gaps as well as debates on individualism/collectivism and public/private dimensions. In policy terms there are important questions of regulation and the nature of urban management in high rise and high density environments.
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Yip, N. M., & Forrest, R. (2002). Property owning democracies? Home owner corporations in Hong Kong. Housing Studies, 17(5), 703-720. doi: 10.1080/0267303022000009763