By Renaud Le Goix and Chris Webster, 2008


This paper examines the notion of gated communities and more generally, privately governed urban neighborhoods. We do this by reviewing the idea that they are an innovative builtenvironment genre that has spread globally from a diverse set of roots and influences. These include the mass growth of private urban government in the USA over the past 30 years; rising income inequalities and fear in big cities; the French Condominium law of 1804; and 15 many other locally and culturally specific features of urban history. We contrast the popular notion that gated communities are simply an American export with the idea that they have emerged in various forms for different reasons in different places. We contrast supply-side and demand-side explanations, focusing on the idea that much of their appeal comes from the club-economy dynamics that underpin them. We examine the social and systemic costs – 20 territorial outcomes – of cities made up of residential clubs, considering in particular, the issue of segregation. We conclude with a reflection on the importance of local variations in
the conditions that foster or inhibit the growth of a gated community market in particular countries.

By Tony Manzi and Bill Smith-Bowers, 2005


Gated communities are normally presented in highly negative terms, based on the common assumption that they are a major factor in the intensification of social segregation. In contrast to received wisdom, this paper argues that the theory of club goods can be used to understand gating as a response to both real and perceived issues of crime, vandalism and antisocial behaviour. It is suggested that gating can help to foster social cohesion in an area or neighbourhood by involving a wide spectrum of communities and income groups to create management vehicles which can: reduce crime, protect parked vehicles, increase safety and enhance the local environment by preventing unsolicited entry. Through two case studies, the paper explores how communities struggling with neighbourhood problems including crime are using gating as a way of improving their environment rather than abandoning poorer areas of the city to find a safer home in more residentially segregated affluent neighbourhoods. If housing and planning policy makers are to take seriously a commitment to resident democracy and local participation, such concerns should not be dismissed out of hand as examples of ‘isolationism’ or ‘particularistic consumerist interests’.

By Jill Grant and Lindsey Mittelsteadt, 2004


In the last decade the planning literature has reflected growing interest in the topic of gated communities. To date, this relatively new field of research has generated limited theoretical development. Although recent literature has begun to elucidate the social and economic contexts that make gated enclaves a global phenomenon, few works offer an overview of the physical features of gated communities. The key source articulating a framework for understanding gated communities is Blakely and Snyder's, Fortress America. Although Blakely and Snyder provide detailed findings on the form of gated projects in the US context, they say little about gating elsewhere. This paper draws on a range of literature on gated enclaves to examine and augment the typology created by Blakely and Snyder. Building theory to explain the form and character of gated communities requires the consideration of a range of historical experiences and international differences in practice. Although classification alone does not constitute theory, it provides an important foundation for those seeking to generate premises and principles for further theoretical development. It also offers useful tools for case studies of practice.

By Walsh Kieran, O'Shea Eamon and Scharf Thomas, 2012


Ongoing demographic, social, economic and cultural changes point to the dynamic and continually changing contexts of rural areas in Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, the influence of such changes on the lives of older people remains underexplored, particularly the question of how older people perceive, connect to and engage in their communities. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with indigenous and non-indigenous older people in three case-study sites in Ireland, Northern Ireland and a cross-border region, this article presents a comparative analysis of how changing community contexts have shaped the lives of rural-dwelling older people. The analysis focuses on four key areas: economic structure and service access; social relations and social cohesion; meanings and attachments; and community engagement. While the findings demonstrate that some dimensions of participants’ lives were affected by complex economic and social changes, others dimensions were connected in a more significant way to life course and residential history and the desire to maintain community capacity.