Today's Washington Post features a disturbing article on how developers are sorting people into developments by "values." Here's the most dystopic passage:
Before a shovel ever hit the dirt at Ladera, Warrick sent out more than 20,000 surveys to people who had called after reading billboards advertising the community or who had been shopping for a new house in Orange County.
He asked them to rate how important certain things were to them -- "making it big" or "finding your purpose in life." He asked people whether "extremists and radicals should be banned from running for public office" or whether they "like to experience exotic people and places."
To a large extent, some questions were aimed at finding out whether people would pay for eco-friendly features, and others were aimed at what Warrick calls "neighboring." People were asked whether it was important that they know their neighbors, or have organized activities, or privacy, for instance.
When the responses came back, they were sorted, and four psychographic profiles emerged.
As it turns out, there were lots of status-conscious "Winners" in Orange County, people who tended to go for the glitziest, most expensive homes in Covenant Hills. And there were a fair number of "Winners with Heart," a hybrid group of status-conscious people with a spiritual side.
There were the religiously oriented "Traditionalists," who, it was assumed, would prefer the more classic architecture there, and more family-oriented activities, such as the annual Easter egg hunt.
On the other hand, the "Cultural Creatives" tended to be more liberal-minded, environmentally oriented and "less into conspicuous consumption," Warrick said, and Terramor was built for them.
"Their houses might have a courtyard that conceals the front door, and it's kind of cozy and nest-like," he explained. "The materials might be just as expensive as what the Winner would want, but more understated."
The fact that he's asking whether "extremists and radicals should be banned from running for public office" as a "values" question tells you all you need to know about this practice. Here's some sample ad text that I'll offer to Warrick free of charge:
Do you want to place illegal restrictions on the ability of your fellow citizens for public office? Well, so do we! Move to Enclave Developments and we'll make sure you never have to talk to anyone who disagrees with you! And don't worry, there won't be any "extremists" or "radicals" on the board of the neighborhood association!