In its modern form, a gated community is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly-controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of walls and fences. Gated communities usually consist of small residential streets and include various shared amenities. For smaller communities this may be only a park or other common area. For larger communities, it may be possible for residents to stay within the community for most day-to-day activities. Gated communities are a type of common interest development, but are distinct from intentional communities.
Given that gated communities are spatially a type of enclave, Setha M. Low, among other anthropologists, has argued that they have a negative effect on the overall social capital of the broader community outside the gated community. Some gated communities, usually called guard-gated communities, are staffed by private security guards and are often home to high-value properties, and/or are set up as retirement villages. Some gated communities are secure enough to resemble fortresses and are intended as such.
Amenities available in a gated community depend on a number of factors including geographical location, demographic composition, community structure, and community fees collected. When there are sub-associations that belong to master associations, the master association may provide many of the amenities. In general, the larger the association the more amenities that can be provided. Amenities also depend on the type of housing. For example, single-family-home communities may not have a common-area swimming pool, since individual homeowners have the ability to construct their own private pools. A condominium, on the other hand, may offer a community pool, since the individual units do not have the option of a private pool installation.
Typical amenities offered can include one or more
- Swimming pools
- Tennis courts
- Community centres or clubhouses
- Golf courses
- On-site dining
- Exercise rooms including workout machines
High security restricted access
To enter some gated communities, the person must be a registered resident with photo ID or the person must have a friend in the gated community who gives specific permission (via phone or internet) to the security guards at the gate to this effect "my friend Joe Smith will visit me in the next hour or so, his drivers licence number is XXXXXX, let him in".
Around the world
In Brazil, the most widespread form of gated community is called "condomínio fechado" (closed housing estate) and is the object of desire of the upper classes. Such a place is a small town with its own infrastructure (backup power supply, sanitation, and security guards). The purpose of such a community is to protect its residents from outside violence. The same philosophy is seen on closed buildings and most shopping centers (many of them can only be accessed from inside the parking lot or the garage).
In Argentina, they are called "barrios privados" (literal translation "private neighborhoods") or just "countries" and are often seen as a symbol of wealth. However, gated communities enjoy dubious social prestige (many members of the middle and middle upper class regard gated community dwellers as nouveaux riches or snobs). While most gated communities have only houses, some bigger ones, such as Nordelta, have their own hospital, school, shopping mall, and more.
In post-apartheid South Africa, gated communities have mushroomed in response to high levels of violent crime. South African gated communities are broadly classified as "security villages" (large-scale privately developed areas) or "enclosed neighborhoods . Some of the newest neighborhoods being developed are almost entirely composed of security villages, with a few isolated malls and other essential services (such as hospitals). In part, property developers have adopted this response to counter squatting, which local residents fear due to associated crime, and which often results in a protracted eviction process.
They are popular in southern China, namely the Pearl River Delta Region, the most famous of which is Clifford Estates.
In Saudi Arabia, gated communities have existed since the discovery of oil, mainly to accommodate Westerners and their families. After threat levels raised since the late 1990s against Westerners in general and Americans in particular, gates have become armed, sometimes heavily, and all vehicles have been inspected. Marksmen and SANG armored vehicles appeared in certain times, markedly after recent terrorist attacks in areas nearby, targeting Westerners.
Proponents of gated communities (and to a lesser degree, of culs-de-sac) maintain that the reduction or exclusion of people that would just be passing through, or more generally, of all non-locals, makes any "stranger" much more recognisable in the closed local environment, and thus reduces crime danger. This view has been attacked as unrealistic - since only a very small proportion of all non-locals passing through the area are potential criminals, increased traffic should increase rather than decrease safety by having more people around whose presence could deter criminal behaviour or who could provide assistance during an incident.
Another criticism is that gated communities offer a false sense of security. Some studies indicate that safety in gated communities may be more illusion than reality, showing that gated communities in suburban areas of the United States have no less crime than similar non-gated neighborhoods. (article strategically avoids %age of crime between gated and non-gated communities and focuses on % change from one year to next, could find no support for the statement made here)
Common economic model types
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
A limited number of gated communities have long been established for foreigners in various regions of the world:
- The worker compounds in the Middle East, built largely for the oil industry.
- The closed cities of Russia are also an example of purpose-designed gated communities.
- The Arbor Oaks subdivision located in El Monte, California, which appears in the film Back to the Future Part II as "Hilldale", is now gated because of the fans coming to see it in person. Residents are sometimes angry at fans who come by the development.
Even though Tortugas Country Club was the first gated community developed in Argentina-dating from the 1930s/1940's-most of them date form the 1990s, when liberal reforms were consolidated.
Since Buenos Aires has been traditionally regarded as a socially integrated city, gated communities have been the object of research by sociologists. Gated communities are an important way through which people - particularly middle and upper classes - cope with the high levels of violent criminal activity in Greater Buenos Aires.
Although gated communities have been relatively rare in Australia, since the 1980s a few have been built. The most well-known are those at Hope Island, in particular Sanctuary Cove, on the Gold Coast of Queensland. Other similar projects are being built in the area. In Victoria, the first such development is Sanctuary Lakes, in the local government area of Wyndham, about 16 km south west of Melbourne. In New South Wales there is Macquarie Links gated community. Many Australian gated communities are built within private golf courses.
Brazil also has many gated communities, particularly in the metropolitan regions Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. For example, one of São Paulo's suburbs, Tamboré, has at least 6 such compounds known as Tamboré 1, 2, 3, and so on. Each consists of generously spaced detached houses with very little to separate front gardens.
One of the first big-scale gated community projects in São Paulo city region was Barueri's Alphaville, planned and constructed during the 1970s military dictatorship when the big cities of Brazil faced steep increases of car ownership by the middle and higher-classes, rural exodus, poverty, crime, urban sprawl and downtown decay.
Neighborhoods with "physical" or explicit gating with security checkpoints and patrols are extremely rare, being absent in some of Canada's richest neighborhoods such as Bridle Path, Toronto. This is generally attributed to the lower crime rate in Canadian cities, compared to their U.S. neighbors. Furthermore, municipal planning laws in many Canadian provinces ban locked gates on public roads as a public health issue since they deny emergency vehicles quick access.
More common in most Canadian neighborhoods, especially the largest cities, is an implicit or symbolic gating which effectively partitions the private infrastructure and amenities of these communities from their surrounding neighborhoods. A classic example of this is the affluent Montreal suburb of Mount Royal, which has a long fence running along its side of L'Acadie Boulevard that for all intents and purposes separates the community from the more working-class neighbourhood of Park Extension. Also, many newer suburban subdivisions employ decorative gates to give the impression of exclusivity and seclusion.
In China some of these compounds, like most other gated communities around the world, target the rich. Also many foreigners live in gated communities in Beijing. Often foreign companies choose the locations where their foreign employees will live, and in most cases they pay the rent and associated costs (e.g. management fees and garden work etc.).
Other gated communities in China such as those in the Daxing District of Beijing enclose the homes of rural migrants. These are intended to, and succeed, in reducing crime and increasing public order and safety. The system is controversial as it segregates migrants and the poor but is scheduled for implementation in Changping District also.
Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador have many gated communities. In the coastal city of Guayaquil they are mostly located in Samborondón and in Quito in the Valleys surrounding the city. They are home mostly for the wealthiest people, but there's a trend, specially in Guayaquil, of houses in gated communities with moderate prices as well.
In Indonesia, some gated communities are luxurious (with lots of up to 740 square metres (8000 sq ft)), and some are very affordable (with lots ranging from 65 to 120 square metres). Some examples are houses in Pondok Indah and Kemang.
Mexico has both the largest population of gated community dwellers in the world and the largest number of gated community dwellers as a percentage of national population. It is estimated that there are 56.8 million Mexicans living in gated communities as of 2010. Gated communities in Mexico are a result of the huge income gap existing in the country. A 2008 study found that the average income in an urban area of Mexico was $26,654, a rate higher than advanced nations like South Korea or Taiwan while the average income in rural areas (sometimes just miles away) was only $8,403. This close a proximity of wealth and poverty has created a large security risk for Mexico's middle class. Gated communities can be found in virtually every medium and large sized city in Mexico with the largest found in major cities, such as Monterrey, Mexico City or Guadalajara.
Luxury or "status" gated communities are very popular with middle to high income residents in Mexico. Gated luxury communities in Mexico are considerably cheaper than in countries such as the United States while retaining houses of similar size and quality due to the commonness of the communities and the lower cost to build them and are priced lower to attract middle class residents.
Many gated communities in Mexico have fully independent and self-contained infrastructure, such as schools, water and power facilities, security and fire forces, and medical facilities. Some of the larger gated communities even retain their own school districts and police departments. The Interlomas area of Mexico City contains hundreds of gated communities and is the largest concentration of gated communities in the world, stretching over 54 square miles (140 km2). The surrounding areas of Santa Fe, Bosques-Lomas, Interlomas-Bosque Real, are also made up predominantly of gated communities and span over 30 %of Greater Mexico City.
Many smaller gated communities in Mexico are not officially classified as separate gated communities as many municipal rules prohibit closed off roads. Most of these small neighborhoods cater to lower middle income residents and offer a close perimeter and check points similar to an "authentic" gated community. This situation is tolerated and sometimes even promoted by some city governments due to the lack of capacity to provide reliable and trusted security forces.
- Lima, Peru has several gated communities, especially in the wealthy districts of La Molina and Santiago de Surco. They are home to many prominent Peruvians.
The Philippines has a sizable number of gated communities or "subdivisions" as they are locally called.
- Forbes Park in Makati City - An upper-class subdivision in close-proximity to the Makati Central Business District. It is where the richest personalities in the Philippines live.
- Dasmariñas Village, Legazpi Village, and Salcedo Village in Makati City.
- Valle Verde in Pasig City - A series of six separate complexes of homes, all surrounded by walls and guarded by private security guards.
- Wack Wack
- Greenhills West, Greenhills North
- Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City is the biggest upper-class subdivision in the Philippines.
- Beverly Hills in Cebu City is a small upper-class subdivision adjacent to the Taoist Temple and guarded by private security guards.
In Saudi Arabia, many expatriate workers are required to live in company-provided housing. After the 2003 attack on Al Hambra, Jadawel, Siyanco and Vinell by militant Saudi dissidents, the government established tight military security for those compounds with large western populations. Many western individuals also reside in the many other gated compounds or non-gated villas and apartments in the cities that they work. Saudi Aramco provides a compound in Dhahran which is one of the largest of its kind within the kingdom. Gated communities are also popular with many Saudis, which accounts for the limited availability of open villas in these communities and the premium rent paid for that housing. These compounds can be found in many of Saudi Arabia's cities, including but not limited to Abha, Dahran, Riyadh, and Taif.
Many housing estates in Thailand take the form of gated communities, targeted to the upper and middle classes. They may be managed by the development company or by resident committees. Land and Houses, the country's largest real estate company, operates forty-three such developments alone. Nichada Thani in Pak Kret is a large gated community mostly serving expatriates.
Turkey has several gated communities, especially in Istanbul and Ankara. They are mostly located around the edge of the city.
United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates, gated communities have exploded in popularity, particularly in Dubai, where the 2002 decision to allow foreigners to own freehold properties has resulted in the construction of numerous such communities built along various themes. Examples include The Lakes, Springs, Meadows, and Arabian Ranches.
In the United Kingdom, gated communities can usually be found in London, especially in the Docklands (such as New Caledonian Wharf, Kings and Queen Wharf and Pan Peninsula), and East London (for example Bow Quarter in Bow, London), although there are an increasing number across the whole of the country. There are an estimated 1,000 gated communities across the country.
Most gated communities in the U.S. are unincorporated—some, like Indiana's Briar Ridge, may even span more than one incorporated municipality—but uniquely, there are several incorporated gated cities in Southern California, namely Bradbury, Canyon Lake, Hidden Hills, Laguna Woods and Rolling Hills. To meet legal requirements, the city halls and municipal facilities are public, and private corporations own parks and other facilities within the gates. By 1997, an estimated 20,000 gated communities had been built across the country. Approximately 40% of new homes in California are behind walls. In 1997, estimates of the number of people in gated communities ranged from 4 million in 30,000 communities up to around 8 million, with a ½ million in California alone. One reason why it is difficult to determine how many gated communities there are in the United States is that most are privately developed.
The village of Rosemont, Illinois, just outside Chicago, maintains a security checkpoint at the entrance of its main residential section. Harbor Springs, Michigan is the largest gated community in the Midwestern United states.
In Downtown Miami, Florida, the neighborhood of Brickell Key is a gated island community of high-rise residential towers. Although anyone can walk onto the island or come via the public bus, only authorized automobiles may enter. Brickell Key has some of the most expensive apartments in Miami.
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas is the largest gated community in the United States with over 26,000 heavily-wooded acres. HSV is governed by the HSV Property Owners' Association (POA), a private, tax-exempt home owners association.
In popular media
- Early in The Walking Dead comics series, Rick Grimes attempts to settle in a gated condominium neighborhood, but this move proves disastrous, as one of the group members (Allen's wife, Donna) is killed after the survivors realize the neighborhood is infested with zombies.
- Mexican film La Zona, directed by Rodrigo Plá, talks about a gated community invaded by a group of very young and poor children.
- In the ABC Family movie Picture This, starring Ashley Tisdale, Drew lives in a gated community called Camelot.
- In the Spanish movie Secuestrados, kidnappers take the daughter of a family living in an allegedly secure gated community.
- Grand Theft Auto IV has a gated community called Beachgate, a fictional rendition of Sea Gate, Brooklyn. It includes the home of early antagonist Mikhail Faustin.
(Alphabetical by author's last name)
- In Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake, the characters Snowman and Crake live and work in corporate-owned gated communities known as compounds.
- J.G. Ballard has examined the phenomenon in his novella Running Wild (1988) and in his novel Super-Cannes (2000).
- T. C. Boyle's novel The Tortilla Curtain (1995) is set in and near a gated community in California.
- The novel Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler, takes place in a world where much of civilization lives within gated communities.
- In the novel I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, the wealthiest citizens shelter from urban poverty inside fortress-like guarded gated communities.
- Ira Levin's novel The Stepford Wives (1972) takes place inside an idyllic gated community that secretly enslaves its female members to conform to the standards of the men.
- In Argentina, Claudia Piñeiro's Las viudas de los jueves (Thursday Widows) became a local bestseller after winning the 2005 edition of El Clarín newspaper book award. The novel depicts life of dwellers of a gated community, among them, families who enjoyed high incomes now facing economic hardships.
- Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash depicts a future in which gated communities are mass-produced by franchising systems and operate as sovereign city-states known as "burbclaves".
(Alphabetical by series title)
- In the cartoon As Told By Ginger, the Griplings reside in Protective Pines.
- On the television show Desperate Housewives, the suburb of Fairview, where Wisteria Lane and the residents of Desperate Housewives can be found, is a gated community.
- In The Neighbors, a 2012 TV series in the United States, a family has relocated to a gated townhouse community called "Hidden Hills" in New Jersey only they discover that the entire community is populated by residents from another planet who identify themselves by the names of sport celebrities, patrol the community in golf carts, receive nourishment through their eyes and mind by reading books rather than eating, and cry green goo from their ears.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Squidville", Squidward temporarily moves to a gated community of squids.
- Season one of the Bravo network reality television series The Real Housewives of Orange County was initially set primarily in the gated community of Coto de Caza, California ("Coto") and followed the lavish livestyles of five "housewives" and their families who resided within Coto McMansions, (with the exception of one housewife (Lauri Waring), who lived in a Ladera Ranch townhouse). This housewife exception-to-the-rule was used in Season 1 as a foil to the (then) extravagant lifestyle of the other four housewives, who lived "behind the Coto gates". The construction-real estate crash, the beginning of which coincided almost exactly with the first season's broadcast, has since trimmed the housewives' lifestyles with job losses, evictions, mortgage defaults, foreclosures, and marital stress—all recorded in progressive seasons of the show, and increasingly, the show has included cast members who lived or moved outside of Coto's gated community.
- Most of the The Starter Wife miniseries is set within the gated community where the main character's friend lives. She even becomes friends with the security guard at the front gate.
- The pilot episode of the The Twilight Zone's, 2002 revival series, titled "Evergreen", deals with a gated community which has a sinister way of dealing with nonconformity.
- In one episode of Veggietales, Larry sings a song about gated communities in Silly Songs with Larry.
- In seasons 1-3 of Weeds, Nancy Botwin and her family inhabit the gated community of Agrestic.
- In the Season Six episode of The X-Files entitled "Arcadia", Mulder and Scully investigate disappearances within a gated community that seems to be harboring a terrible secret.
- "Low, S (2001) The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear, American Anthropologist, March, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 45-58 Posted online on December 10, 2004." www.anthrosource.net
- Can Streets Be Made Safe? - Hillier, Bill; Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London
- Blakely, E.J., and M.G. Snyder (1998), "Separate places: Crime and security in gated communities." in: M. Felson and R.B. Peiser (eds.), Reducing crime through real estate development and management, pp. 53-70. Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute.
- La Nacion | Seguridad, un factor decisivo
- "Behind the urban curtains". The Sydney Morning Herald. March 4, 2005.
- Middle-Class Wheels, TIME Magazine, December 6, 1968
- A Decade of Ditadura, TIME Magazine, March 25, 1974
- "Migrant ‘Villages’ Within a City Ignite Debate" article by Helen Gao in The New York Times October 3, 2010. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
- "Gated communities in Mexico City" article by Angela Giglia Ciotta in Home Culture March 1, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
- Gates and ghettoes: A tale of two Britains?
- Prevention of Crime: An Overview of Gated Communities and Neighborhood Watch
- Gated communities more popular, and not just for the rich
- Boaz, David, Libertarianism: A Primer, Free Press, p. 267
- John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY (May 15, 1997), Gated Enclaves Are Not Just for the Well-Heeled, Law Enforcement News
- "Second Homes in Private Communities Sometimes Hidden Gems". PrivateCommunities.com. October 15, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
- The Walking Dead #9 at the Comic Book DB Retrieved Dec 23, 2011.
- "Las viudas de los jueves", un retrato feroz y preciso de la Argentina
- Arizaga, Maria Cecilia: El Mito de comunidad en la Ciudad Mundializada. ISBN 987-9035-28-3
- [Arizaga, Maria Cecilia: Murallas y barrios cerrados, La morfología espacial del ajuste en Buenos Aires. Nueva Sociedad, 166, 2000 http://www.nuso.org/upload/articulos/2836_1.pdf]
- Blakely, Edward J. and Mary Gail Snyder; Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States; Brookings Institution Press, New Ed edition (June 15, 1999); ISBN 978-0-8157-1003-5
- Glasze, Georg, Chris Webster and Klaus Frantz (2006): Introduction: global and local perspectives on the rise of private neighbourhoods. In: Georg Glasze, Chris Webster and Klaus Frantz (Eds.): Private Cities. Global and local perspectives. Routledge. London und New York: 1-8. 
- Glasze, Georg (2003): Private Neighbourhoods as Club Economies and Shareholder Democracies. – In: BelGeo 1/2003 Theme Issue "Privatization of Urban Spaces in Contemporary European Cities": 87-98 
- Low, Setha M: Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America. Routledge: New York and London: 2003.
- Webster, Chris, Georg Glasze und Klaus Frantz (2002): The global spread of gated communities. In: Environment and Planning B 29 (2002) 3: 315-320
- Built Metaphors: Gated Communities and Fiction, by Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon
- Gated communities as an urban pathology?, by Renaud Le Goix
- The Privatization of Urban Space: Gated Communities - A New Trend in Global Urban Development?
- Land Use and Design Innovations in Private Communities
- China's Transition at a Turning Point
- Forbes: Most Expensive Gated Communities In America 2004
- Fortress Bulgaria: gated communities