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Opposition for Gated Communities in the USA


Opposition for Gated Communities in the USA

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Whilst we have consistently listed all the wonderful advantages of the Gated Estates found within our borders, there is no such sentiment in the United States. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the ‘exclusionary environment’ of these communities do little more than to perpetuate anxiety and fear.  

Trayvon Martin was the unfortunate victim of a shooting in a Florida gated community, where local resident George Zimmerman pulled the trigger. “The Retreat at Twin Lakes, where Martin died, is the kind of place where people choose to live when they want to be safe – from crime, from outsiders, from economic uncertainty”.

Such a notion stems from a belief that access control and high walls serve only to foster suspicion and societal divisions. The argument goes that gated communities can paradoxically compromise safety, rather than increase it. These home owners are also seen to ‘shrink the notion of civic engagement’; essentially becoming hermits within their mini-suburbs.  

It is believed that 6 – 9 million Americans live behind gates, a number that has steadily risen since the 1960s. What this standpoint fails to recognize is that there are many different types of gated communities. Some are relatively affordable and some are filled with mansions. Many of them are indistinguishable from any other suburban neighbourhood. There is also a belief that new economies have been formed with these new communities.  

Take the case of Gurgaon, a booming suburb of New Delhi that has sprung up from nearly nothing in the last 20 years. Now, dozens of multinational companies have located in the city, and more than 1.5 million people live there. For the middle class, gated communities are the clear choice, the only way to live the dream of affluence in the midst of a chaotic, dysfunctional, completely unplanned municipality.

And so we turn to South Africa, where the same dysfunction is apparent, one cannot blame residents for seeking the assurance of the front entrance. The residents of these estates rely on backup power when municipal power fails and their local security when the SAPS are nowhere to be seen. As with so many other societal bones, we have the right to choose where we live. Nobody is imposing gated communities on those who criticise them.  

Author Gated Estates
Published 22 Feb 2017 / Views -
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