Leisureville: Adventures in America's Retirement Utopias

By Gettelman, Elizabeth | Mother Jones, May/June 2008 | Go to article overview

Leisureville: Adventures in America's Retirement Utopias


Gettelman, Elizabeth, Mother Jones


Leisureville: Adventures in America's Retirement Utopias By Andrew Blecbman. Atlantic Monthly Press. $25.

More than 2 million American adults live in age-segregated communities where anyone under 18 is welcome only as a temporary guest. In Leisureville, Andrew Blechman embeds at the largest of these outposts of maturity to learn more about the allure of growing old in from page 81] style. Spanning three Florida counties and more than 20,000 acres, the Villages is home to 75,000 people, with thousands of new homes on the way. Residents, median age 66, prefer golf carts to cars; some drop 25 grand on "leisure chariots" tricked out with supersize aluminum wheels and chrome grilles. A Villages-only newspaper offers just good news. And of course, there's bingo, line dancing, wine tasting, and... lots of partying. As one resident remarks after returning from a cruise, "I'm not even sure why I went. We live on a fucking cruise ship."

The ageism practiced by the approximately 1,500 "gated geritopias" is actually the only form of housing discrimination sanctioned by Congress. Under the logic that special services are needed to support an aging population, they may exclude families with children under 18. …

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