The blogosphere has been abuzz with critical commentary on plans to develop a conservative Catholic neighborhood surrounding Ave Maria University's new campus in Florida. (See, e.g., this post, this one over here with lots of comments, and this one with an avalanche of comments.) By and large, bloggers have been incredibly hostile, dubbing the community a "Catholic Jonestown." There's been less reaction so far to an interesting New York Times story (registration required) on "White Settlement, Texas" and the controversy generated by a mayor who wanted the town's name changed to something less polarizing. His constituents overwhelmingly voted to keep the name unchanged, and some are now trying to remove him from office. Finally, I've blogged before about sex offender-free subdivisions and posed the question of why so much energy has been expended on excluding sex offenders, as opposed to say murderers or burglars, from neighborhoods.
In a forthcoming Michigan Law Review article that I've just posted on SSRN (you can download it for free here), I connect all of these issues. In that paper, I present a partial defense of Ave Maria's efforts to promote residential Catholic homogeneity; I argue that community names like "White Settlement" can be just as bad as blatant, overt, racial exclusion from neighborhoods; and I suggest that information asymmetries explain the rush to ban sex offenders, but not other felons, from new neighborhoods.