A gated community is a semblance of an enclaved residency that ensures the safety and security of residents within the premises of the walled community. Usually, security personnel stand armed at the gates for the inspection and scrutiny of incoming and outgoing traffic.
Large gated communities are tantamount to independent mini-cities where residents do not have to commute outside the community for recreation or grab basic necessities of living.
With the surging human population, uncontrolled immigration from rural areas to urban centers and the desperate need for accommodating people, gated communities are sprawling in cities and real estate investors have entered the competing arena long ago.
- Characteristics of a Gated Community
- Historical Connection
- Types of Gated Communities w.r.t Entrance and Security
- Benefits of Gated Communities
- Disadvantages of Living in a Gated Community
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Characteristics of a Gated Community
- A gated entrance and exit for all forms of transportation vehicles as well as pedestrians address the security concerns of residents or potential investors. There are security personnel who guard the gates, 24-hour patrolling service, and CCTV cameras fixed in different locations so that no mis-happening goes unnoticed.
- Inside the community’s rim, the residents are provided basic necessities at hand and also some amenities depending upon the location and structure of the community. These include parks, shopping malls, cinemas, restaurants, sports centers, schools, hospitals, etc.
If safety concerns top one’s priority list, living in a gated community is an apt choice. However, there are discouraging factors that sometimes weigh more than the ones in favor of such a segregated settlement.
In ancient times, the concept of a nation’s sovereignty was crude and the cities were vulnerable to being attacked by the enemies. Therefore, large walls, often termed bulwarks or ramparts, were constructed on the circumference of a city for defense purposes. The origin of gated communities within a city is derived from the concept of spatially sequestering people by purporting to address their security concerns.
Structural Causes leading to the Development of Gated Communities
When a state faces a hard time in providing its people with basic services including their safety and security, the instances of urban violence experience sporadic spikes. As a consequence, there is a rise in the privatization of security and gated communities are one such example of paid security.
Economic globalization is also a major player that gives an impetus to the expanding gated communities. This is because it has a direct bearing on the real estate market and investors tend to follow global trends to expand their wealth and make money out of money.
These causes refer to the shift in the preference of citizens towards an organized settlement in a gated community, with no necessity compromised at any level. The root cause can be an increased fear of crimes, a search for an upgraded lifestyle, a quest for homogenizing oneself with society or an aspiration for a higher social status.
Types of Gated Communities w.r.t Entrance and Security
These gates help automatize the security process. There is a gate arm that raises and lowers on a bigger metal piece. For visitors or delivery carriers, there exists a system of call boxes that they can use for entering the premises of the community.
These communities have security personnel (armed or unarmed) standing at the gate. Through cautious inspection of the incoming and outgoing vehicles and individuals, they guard the community 24/7.
Guard-Gated with Roving Patrols
In addition to guarded entry and exit, these communities have an added security feature of roving patrols. They patrol the community intermittently to figure out if anything suspicious is in the pipeline. However, hiring such trained men is an added cost that only large gated communities dare to bear.
Benefits of Gated Communities
- In a spatially secure neighborhood, the crime rate drops substantially and the residents find themselves at ease while socializing with other residents, reinforcing the concept of a ‘community’.
- Exclusivity and privacy are essential for families and gated communities ensure it in just the right way. There is no intrusion from the neighborhood and families enjoy their right to privacy. In addition, these communities attract individuals through luxuries and other facilities, all available in one place.
- The rise in the number of such walled communities has improved the aesthetics of the urban landscape and the areas which otherwise were left stranded and unattended are now considered for the development of a gated community.
- Gated communities have also proved to be a catalyst for the local economy. Better facilities and improved services attract potential investors to buy land in the premises of the community and this can help boost the internal economy.
Disadvantages of Living in a Gated Community
It is often touted that gated communities are in actuality, ‘gated disasters.’ Let us dive deep into how impactful such communities are on the national and economic front.
With housing societies spreading like wildfire, real estate investors are in a perpetual state of competition. Owing to this, some gated communities have made their place on the outskirts of a city on reclaimed land off the coast.
You might already feel the cool breeze caressing you in such a spacious outdoors, however, when natural disasters especially floods hit a country, these communities, recklessly constructed in the proximity of water bodies, are most vulnerable to urban inundation. Given such a pesky situation, calling them ‘gated disasters’ will not be even a wee exaggeration.
Life within and outside a gated community seems like fingers pointing towards poles. They have created a class bias in our society and often those who are unable to afford the skyrocketing rates of settling there, are the ones who suffer in silence. Therefore, these communities indirectly promote the concept of urban segregation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are gated communities worth the monetary investment?
If we hinge our focus on just the personal benefits of residing in a gated community, the investment in such a standardized living is a win-win situation. From guarded entrances and exits to a myriad of facilities, these communities not just ensure safety but also a comfortable living. However, the true concept of a ‘community’ is amiss since residents outside a gated society are socially sequestered from the ones residing inside. Consequently, a class bias is created and a communication gap comes flowing with it.
Why do people choose gated communities?
Most people prefer residing in a gated community owing to enhanced security. However, there are other compelling reasons for settling there. These might entail upgraded living standards, provision of amenities and exclusivity.
Gated communities create a spatial and social divide among the people. The inherent thirst of humans to acquire bigger and better is never to be slaked. Given this, we cannot expect gated communities to shrink anytime soon. However, what we can do is ensure safety and security irrespective of a spatial bias.
Are gated communities really safe?
The level of security provided varies from community to community. However, all of the gated communities stand differentiated from outside residences owing to restricted entrances and exits and hence, they are actually ‘gated or walled’.