Rising cities: Condominium development and the private transformation of the metropolis

Gillad Rosen, Alan Walks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many of North America's cities have begun to shift from a dynamic pattern of development driven by changes at the edge, to one driven by dynamism at the center. One aspect of this that has not received sufficient attention is the role of the condominium, a form of private urban governance that overlaps with, but is distinct from, gated communities. Using quantitative data from Canada and the United States, and qualitative survey data for respondents in key cities in Canada, we demonstrate that condominiums have been key to the growth of new housing in the central cities of large metropolitan areas. "Condo-ism" refers simultaneously to the self-reinforcing processes re-producing intensification, downtown living and gentrification via condominium-tenure, as well as to the financial-construction nexus at the heart of condominium development, and the social, cultural and political transformations that they are begetting.While condo-ism is a force that is countering decades-long trends toward dispersion, it is also associated with changing social attitudes and values of city residents, and cultural meanings of urbanism. Condo-ism resettles the city on behalf of the middle class, and imposes the logic of exchange value into the fabric of urban governance and social life. Condo-ism is thus an important factor in the private production and reproduction of the contemporary city.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)160-172
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Canada
  • Condominium
  • Gated communities
  • Gentrification
  • Private urban governance
  • Privatization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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