Facts & Myths About Gated Communities

FACT

Beverly ParkThe phenomenon of gated communities-the fastest growing form of housing in the United States-continues unabated in California and across the nation. There are now more than 1 million homes behind such walls in the Greater Los Angeles area alone. -Setha Low

About 40% of new homes in California are behind walls. –Edward Blakely

In the United States, one in 10 of its population now chooses to live in gated communities. –David Crane

In 1998, it was estimated that more than eight million Americans live in gated communities. –Carol Tucker

This symbolism of wealth and security is so pervasive that there are now even faux gated communities, called 'neighborhood entry identities' in Simi Valley that sport walls and guardhouses but no locked gates or guards. -Setha Low

MYTHS

Laughlin ParkStatistics on whether gates actually do serve as a deterrent to crime are mixed. In security-zone communities, one study found declines in crime right after closure of the gates, but no decline was sustained for more than a short time. –Carol Tucker

The quality of community is no different in gated communities. Even though residents have moved to gated areas believing that they would find their nostalgic idea of community, they have not. In fact, these communities promote privacy within privacy: residents tend to stay in their own backyard and do not visit on porches or front lawns. –Carol Tucker

89 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I beleive that these things are not a disrtaction, but a way of life !

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But then again, so am I.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Even though residents have moved to gated areas believing that they would find their nostalgic idea of community, they have not."

- I don't know if that's true (people expecting nostalgia)... I think the idea of 'gated communities' is more a desire to actually be isolated and left alone... We can argue whether that's good or bad, or whether people ought to have that right, but ultimately, some people just aren't extroverts.

If there's one thing I've found, its that there is no such thing as an ideal neighborhood for every situation or every homeowner. While walling off neighborhoods is probably a bad idea, the concept of disengagement with the community is just as valid a goal as engagement. It all comes down to preference and individual personality, which is something cookie-cutter housing developments almost always fail to address.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend lived in a gated community and her car was broken into. The perpetrators got her stereo and cd's and climbed back over the gate and took off on foot. The security guard wasn't able to catch up with them because the gate wouldn't open fast enough to let his car through. I think the perpetrators probably figured they had an advantage here.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add, though, that I agree that the gate has obviously strayed in many cases from its original purpose and become a status symbol entirely devoid of any real necessity. That is the point when it becomes absurd. Like the point when the SUV went from being a utility vehicle to a giant luxury car/family wagon.

So anyway, that said, I dig the orange guard posts. I'd like to see some down here in orange county - the belly of the beast.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The primary reason people buy into these developments is to attain a deluded sense of superior class distinction. These people are not buying "security" like they insist. It's all a farce in the name of a brand-driven, product identity culture. Actually, if they did their research, or just knew any better, the classiest homes are the ones in older, turn of the century neighborhoods that hold their value consistently and reside on open, broad, established streets. Privacy behind a wall offers no distinction for these new neighborhoods because everyone already knows what to expect- a faceless, average suburban existence with nothing to show except a spec. house built with fakey materials and neighbors who also got ripped off by the developer corporation on the same "dream" and lifestyle promises.

*these are the same people who are also sold on any advertisement that uses the word 'luxury' and 'upscale' to peddle chintzy proletarian goods and services.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

+juan

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmm...who really cares if private property owners choose to disengage from society? I mean, this is America, after all. You know, freedom and whatnot. That includes the freedom to bunker behind a conformist, separatist walled community.

I really could care less if the wealth bags are pretentious or just nervous or what. I say good riddance! I don't really have that much in common with the people inside the walls. Just leave them be!

Look, the disabled, the homeless or even ugly people shouldn't be banned from public places, but private property is just that: private. I don't like that my neighbor leaves motorcycle parts on his porch or a car up on blocks in his front yard for months at a time, but it is his freaking property. At most I ask him when his Duster is going to be fixed...but that's about it. I sure as heck wouldn't think about putting an orange tower outside of his house. He'd shoot me and he'd be right to do it.

Welcome to America!

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Mayor McCheese said...

heh, you said proletarian.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous your neighbor with the Duster on blocks in his yard said...

y'all just try ta put one of them crazy deer stands in front of my castle and see where it gets you.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which brings up an important question: what if the people living behind the gated communities are mutated zombie vampires, and they are the ones who set up the attractive orange towers as bait? I mean, maybe they got sick of sneaking through the shadows and hunting hippies by moonlight. What better way to draw all the pot-smokers with their sweet, sweet utopian ideas and marijuana-flooded bloodstream than to become the target of the latest leftist fad protest?

Hippie, its a trap! Run! Run for your lives before the zombie vampires wrench your emaciated body from the orange watchtower and turn you into one of them!

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere in all of this is a bit of truth.

Here's another bit of truth: gates work both ways. If people want to seal themselves behind walls, I have no problem with that. They look at it as "I'm all safe and secure in my little walled village." I look at it as "that's one idiot I don't have to waste time on."

When the supposed revolution comes, it's gonna be real easy to seal those gates from inside. But it will be just as easy to seal them from the outside, too.

Are asylums to keep the inmates in or the public out?

1:45 PM  
Anonymous jim said...

As a Landscape Architect who practiced in California for years before relocating to the east coast, I have to say that I think the actions here are misguided. I heard of this in an article that cited "Heavy Trash, a coalition of anonymous architects, designers and urban planners" and the message they were trying to get across. I wonder why these non-descript platforms that offered no educational opportunity for the public are the medium they chose to use. I couldn't imagine a design professional in Southern California thinking that this was the best way to communicate their concern about gated communities. Development in LA, San Diego and Orange Counties is driven by homebuilders. If affecting change was really the goal of this project, I imagine they would have made some effort towards challenging a homebuilder to build an exclusive community without gates. Hell, they're all designers, right. Design a Master Plan for a make-believe community and show people how things can work better than the way they're criticizing. That would be the professional, intellectual, effective way of making changes. Shock value statements are for people who have no other reasonable method of communicating.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous boscoblackcat said...

You can run but you cannot hide. Gated communities do not protect people. In the city I used to live in (Albuquerque) an elderly couple from a gated community was murdered while they were outside the community. So then what? Soon, they'll become walled-in cities with full services, schools, stores, etc. like the Medieval Manors. Then we'll have Manor Wars like they did in the Middle Ages.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Krys said...

I'm sorry but..aren't there more important issues to deal with..?

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get a life.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Processor said...

The walls will help entrap them when the processors come to round them up for soilent green production.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the one who brought the question "...Aren't there more important things to worry about?" I say, yes. However, I do believe that gated communities are a tragedy, and that they are simply just a symbol of class and wealth. Unfortunately, little can be done about it, but I do appreciate and give props to those who are educated people about this, epidemic, if you will.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I've found is that the crime rate is just as high in gated communities. It is the children of the people living in the community who perpetrate the crimes. There's always some convenient supposed hooded sweatshirted black guy or hispanic seen leaving the scene of the crime, but if I'm hanging out, it usually is one of my former friends who has turned to taking drugs getting ready to pawn off some of his parent's or neighbors goods for some more weed. And all the good parties go on when the parents are away on whatever. They never can bring themselves to admit their kids raid the liquor cabinet when they're not there.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gated communities as a symbol of class and wealth? Of course. I still fail to see the problem. If one has achieved a certain amount of wealth through legal means, why shouldn't one be allowed to enjoy the fruits of one's staggering pile of money? FYI, this poster is not wealthy, nor even anywhere near it by the standards of the country I live in, but I have dreams, man. I have dreams.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just a thought: Too much focus is being placed on the "security aspect" of a gated community. (whither there is any real security is a different topic) One of my reasons for moving into a gated community is to move AWAY from the general masses. Security, and property crimes were not much of a factor when making my decision. There is enough interaction with humans within the course of the workday, and I enjoy my solitude in the evenings. Can one not righfully purchase privacy (community dues) and be left alone?

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a resident of one of america's first gated communities (dating from 1886 in New York)I must say that you are way off base. This is really a bitch session about access. You can have access...why do you care what i do in my community, if you want to change it, move in, pay taxes and have the gate torn down.

YOur idea of utopia is not mine, do not force it down my throat. I choose to live apart for me, my family and my lifestyle. Respect that, and maybe I will respect you.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny. You should put up more of your orange tower things.

I live in a gated community but I find the gate just gets in the way. I often end up just climbing over the damn thing because it saves me walking all the way around.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very funny...

America is slowly becoming a gaint Venezuela. Give it another 50 years and add in an economic disruptive event that sends 80% of the middle class scrambling for jobs at WALMART.. we will produce the an american Hugo CHAVEZ.

Gated communities – AND SUVs – show the insecurity of the ruling class (I will not mention the racial background or political affiliation of the residents-it doesn't even matter anymore). In france, they have gated communities but in Paris ANYONE can go to the 4th (left bank - st german en pres) and 6th arronidissment without any problems. Place is very TONY. It helps that, They have subways into rich neighborhoods as we as establish alternative media of both the RIGHT and LEFT. plus the poor/lower class have no problems shouting down the rich. Also no legacy addnission in the top universities.
Yes, Chirac had to due his homework. America is fortunate to have a completely indoctrinated/subserviant lower class/ poor. Even in red china the poor are feared by the gov't that supreesses them. Seen it. Been there.

I talk to a Swede after watching "Bowling for COLOMBINE" in Paris and the swede was flabergasted by at the concept of a gated community as a commonality. the reaction was something like "What? I can go to a rich neighborhood any time I want."

Sorry, gated communities are here to stay because it is the American system in the RAW.


thx, oh, don't bring your stuff to houston, they k*ll you.. hehehe

ntm

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very funny...

America is slowly becoming a gaint Venezuela. Give it another 50 years and add in an economic disruptive event that sends 80% of the middle class scrambling for jobs at WALMART.. we will produce the an american Hugo CHAVEZ.

Gated communities – AND SUVs – show the insecurity of the ruling class (I will not mention the racial background or political affiliation of the residents-it doesn't even matter anymore). In france, they have gated communities but in Paris ANYONE can go to the 4th (left bank - st german en pres) and 6th arronidissment without any problems. Place is very TONY. It helps that, They have subways into rich neighborhoods as we as establish alternative media of both the RIGHT and LEFT. plus the poor/lower class have no problems shouting down the rich. Also no legacy addnission in the top universities.
Yes, Chirac had to due his homework. America is fortunate to have a completely indoctrinated/subserviant lower class/ poor. Even in red china the poor are feared by the gov't that supreesses them. Seen it. Been there.

I talk to a Swede after watching "Bowling for COLOMBINE" in Paris and the swede was flabergasted by at the concept of a gated community as a commonality. the reaction was something like "What? I can go to a rich neighborhood any time I want."

Sorry, gated communities are here to stay because it is the American system in the RAW.


thx, oh, don't bring your stuff to houston, they k*ll you.. hehehe

ntm

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to keep the black people out.

They smell bad.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Streets are public property. Do my taxes pay for building and upkeep of the streets? Then I should be able to walk, drive, or bike through. End of story.

You can have privacy in your own home. You can build walls around your house and hire a doorman and a guard. It's your house. But the street you live on, unless you bought the property and own the deed and dug it up and laid the pavement yourself, belongs to the community you live in.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is seriously like the most communist liberial thing ive ever read.

nice "guard towers"

u guys ever see what one looks like?

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think I'm gonna rob poor folks in the ghetto?
Hell no muthafucka!
I'm goin' over the gate where all the goodz is!
Them gates is just sayin' "rob me'
I'm hidin sumpin real nice inside"

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know what the crime rate if LA is? I say gated communities are great if you can afford it! There are drug wars, gang wars, prostitutes, murders, robberies and so on in LA, and in many other cities! People who want to be safe have a right to be safe, even if it means walling themselves from the rest of the city, regardless what others think.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not american, living in any such community or have any money.

IF I could afford it I might want to live in a house with a huge garden and have a wall or something around the property, perhaps even a guard or two. The idea of having whole communities with such walls I find a bit strange, immature, snobbish, and I simply do not like it at all.

Having said that, it is their right to live in any such place if they wish to. Let anyone live as they like it.

MK

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes in Paris you can walk through any of the arrondissements but within the 8th and 9th you will still find a few gated streets. I suggest the difference between Paris and most of the communities in the US are planning related. For whatever reason municipalities in the US have been hesitant, although they are changin their ways, to allow mixed-use development (i.e. Paris apartment complexes sitting over storefronts and bakeries) which requie and promote foot traffic and interaction with ones neighbors (when using the corner grocer and baker one is much more likely to bump into the same people and begin dialogue than when using a large supermarket one has to drive to). The gates and walls around many of today's communities, at least in California where I build them, are often mandated by the city governments who wish to control traffic around the new developments. Planners, developers and municipalities alike are beginning to learn that non-gated, pedestrian-friendly, park-heavy, mixed-use centered housing developments promote better community and equal pride of ownership.

As for the comment on the French not having legacy in admissions to top Universities I think you should your facts. Although the situation has improved since the student/worker revolution in 1968 you will find that many of the business and political leaders have been attending the same schools (as their fathers before them) since their classmates had pigtails (I'm not sexest but the french are).

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

living in the suburbs of Atlanta; i have seen my fair share of gated "communities". it was believed by some to be a cheap ploy at lowering insurance rates -- but ultimately is just a pain in the ass for visitors and residents alike.

when apartment-hunting, i and my fiancee will refuse a gated neighborhood.

furthermore, only recently have i see my first gated subidivision, Ridenour "Estates" of Kennesaw. considering the massive urban sprawl of Atlanta (fueled in part by inadequate public transit infrastructure), i find it surprising given that most subdivisions are non-gated. they seem to be somewhat rare around here.

however, i think the viewing platforms are funny; keep it up!

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gated communities – AND SUVs – show the insecurity of the ruling class (I will not mention the racial background or political affiliation of the residents-it doesn't even matter anymore)

yeah. right on. the SUV (a.k.a., Urban Assault Vehicles) trend really gets under my skin. people will say things such as: "well, i can afford it, so what do you care?". the american middle class seems to have this delusional obssession with acquiring "stuff" -- McStatus Symbols that show "i got mine" (complete with "W" sticker).

the raging, overcomsuming, SUV-driving, bourgeois morons are ruining this country.

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Klaire said...

This separation of the classes in the United States is a big problem, and the ignorance that tags along only fuels bigotry and segregation. I think there is great irony in our democratic nation when we have a persistent, ruling bourgeoisie. I’ve never even been to a gated community, but I understand the snooty segregation that some of these ignorant people love to support. (I like that other people are bringing up SUVs and other examples.)It’s really shameful to see some of these hateful posts though, and I’m embarrassed to be from the same county as some of those people. (“I’m really rich and I can do whatever I want… and because you’re poor I don’t have to care.”) I’m just wondering if there is any compassion left.

10:27 AM  
Blogger PTP said...

My parents lived in a walled community in Arizona for 15 years after they moved there from Minnesota. They loved the promise of security. The only traffic was from those that lived there or were visitors.

That being said, I never liked the feel of the area with all the walls. The walls forced all the traffic out to the main arterials which carried a lot of traffic. The streets seem extraordinarily wide and threatening. It was also like there were all these huge square mile tribes of people trying to defend themselves from the other tribes.

I'm clad my community here in Minneapolis does not have walled off sections. It just feels more "American" to me that way.

www.planningtalk.blogspot.com

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not live in a gated community. Having said that, I have observed the development of a gated community nearby. To those who say their taxes have gone to pay for the streets and roads and therefore are entitled access to them, I can attest that there used to be barren land prior the the development. I do not know for sure, but I would imagine that the developers have taken on the expense of paving the roads, and the residents would be paying the upkeep of the roads in the form of community dues. Since this paid for by the resident's I do not see why a non-resident would feel entitled access. This would be simliar to my paying to pave my driveway, and then the public demands free access to my driveway.

As for the whole class debate, I am not fully attuned to the the various aspects, but in my naivety, I do not see why the rich should not do as they please with the money...without concern for the poor.

Getting back to the topic of erecting viewing towers... is this not equally repugnant as my putting binoculars in front of your house with bright orange signs inviting all to take a look inside?

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a community where residents are the ones who pay Mello-Roos, the streets and sidewalks are NOT public property because they're not paid for by public funds. So yeah, if I'm the one paying for the streets that lead up to my house, I want to control who gets to walk on them.

You want access? Fine. Pay for the priviledge just like the people who live there.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the orange gun towers should be retrofitted with gun turrets so that we (on the outside of the gates) can protect ourselves from all of those SUV-driving so-called elites who live behind the gates. I hear they're prone to violent acts upon the rifraf on the outside. (Hey...How do their housekeepers and nannies get in anyway?)

12:16 PM  
Blogger Rico said...

Much of the commentary on this page seems to overlook the significance of one simple fact. Developers build gated subdivisions, not the people that wind up inhabiting them.

Two or three of the comments imply that homebuyers that purchase housing in these gated common interest developments have exercised their freedom of choice.

For example, Anonymous wrote, "who really cares if private property owners choose to disengage from society? I mean, this is America, after all. You know, freedom and whatnot. That includes the freedom to bunker behind a conformist, separatist walled community."

MK wrote, "it is their right to live in any such place if they wish to. Let anyone live as they like it."

I wonder if these posters read (on this page) and considered the ramifications of the number of common interest developments (which include gated subdivisions) developers are building.

In areas where developers are only building CIDs (and forming homeowner associations to govern them), housing consumer choice is severely curtailed.

Moreover, in order for it to be said that one has made a choice, one must understand what one is choosing. Yet studies have shown that homebuyers are woefully ignorant about what they are buying into (something that is not disclosed to potential homebuyers). Studies also confirm that these buyers do not buy because the development is a common-interest one.

Rico

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's none of your damn business, you self-proclaimed "activists". This is all about making others live the way you think they should. I know it drives you crazy to see such a symbol of rejection of your liberal values.

You don't have the right to insist that people don't say what they mean. If so, that gives me the right to claim your hatred of gates is a hatred of private property, individualism, and success. It's only thinly hidden between the lines of most of the impassioned diatribes I've read here.

Let's talk about the myths of the wonders of urban living (which I do). Homeless people steal your stuff. Gunshots at night. Nobody walks the streets after dark. I would love to have any extra layer of defense against my wonderful neighbors you love so much.

My neighbors don't love me. I've committed the horrible sin of being white, and am excluded from any "community" to be found on my street. This is particularly unfair, as I was never a bigot, and am unfailingly polite to everyone I meet.

Go on now... twist or ignore everything I've said, in a frantic attempt to deny there might be large holes in your ideology.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about you go protest the projects... They have gates. Oh wait, this is a class issue not a gate issue and you may have to drive into a "scary" neighborhood... How passive agressive can you be. If you have an issue with the social class system in america, just say it. It exists, it sucks and orange towers do nothing to solve it. Quit trying to be clever and just be direct

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, crime does occur behind gated communities.

Yes, roads and such within gated communities

Yes, most homebuyers are unaware of the community bylaws prior to purchase

Yes, rich humans can afford to live in gated communities

Yes, rich humans tend to migrate away from the stank poorer humans

I agree with all this, but I still fail to see why it is evil? What makes rich humans so interesting to look at, that one would go out of their way to make watch towers just to look inside?

Assuming I had money... If I bought a mansion and bunkered down inside to get away from the poorer humans... have I done some great harm? Now, assume I do not have enough money to buy a mansion with a wall... but me any a dozen others pool the money to buy adjacent homes, and use the leftover money to build a wall around. Is this any different?

What is wrong with trying to distance oneself from something that one does not find pleasing?

Are the rich, who distance themselves from the poor, any more morally reprehensible than the woman who does not sit next to the homeless bum in the subway?

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Mountain_Biker said...

Couldn't a better example be made outside of los angeles?
I read the posts complaining about the private streets being better maintained, in LA the only way not to drive over potholes the size of the grand canyon is to drive on private roads. Give the people in the gated communities credit for paying higher property taxes (post prop 13) to help the city keep the streets, oops, bad example. But the fault is with the city government, not the homeowners.
I also saw mention of simi valley. Is it true that simi ranks high in the list of safest cities? Do gates dissuade criminals where there are so many easier targets?
At what point do we stop? No gates around your yard, no locks on your door. If the people paid (via HIGH taxes) in the government did their job maybe the taxpaying citizens wouldn't need to protect themselves. Why should I, or anyone else sacrifice our safety and peace of mind to coddle the self-esteem of others. If someone doesn't like gated communities, move somewhere else. That's what makes America great.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in the country, in a big house far away from the road. if i had the money to, i would put up a wall with a gate at the end of my driveway, so that the people who unlawfully ( and knowingly) come on to my properity to hunt have less of a chance of killing my family and i, thinking we were deer. does this make me any differrent than a gated community?

7:53 AM  
Blogger Rico said...

Realities Behind The Gates
Enclosed Communities A Potent Symbol, But May Be Losing Favor

May 1, 2005
By CARLY BERWICK

. . . .
"Setha M.Low, author of the 2003 book 'Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America,' argues that the primary things people say they move to gated communities for - enhanced security and community - never materialize anyway. Crime rates within gated communities tend to be similar to the areas around them, ..."

Full article at Hartford Courant

10:06 AM  
Blogger Rico said...

Anonymous wrote, "People who want to be safe have a right to be safe, even if it means walling themselves from the rest of the city."

Mountain_Biker asks, "Why should I, or anyone else sacrifice our safety and peace of mind to coddle the self-esteem of others"?

Tell me again why gated communities are safe?

>>
Locked Out
NBC 6 Special Report

POSTED: 4:31 pm EDT May 10, 2005
UPDATED: 8:49 am EDT May 11, 2005

MIAMI -- In an emergency, seconds count for rescue teams. But what NBC 6's Willard Shepard saw when he rode with fire rescue crews was amazing.

Many of the emergency teams were locked out of gated South Florida housing developments, condos and apartment complexes.

"We tried the clicker that's provided by the apartment complex here. It's not working," Lt. Brian Newsholme said.

The day NBC 6 tagged along, Newsholme's team was slowed several minutes when it went to help a young child who may have overdosed on medication at Monticello Apartments.

The girl's apartment was behind a security gate. The electrical switch that only emergency crews have access to didn't work, and it took a while for their remote to open the gate.

"This could be my family. This could be your family. Seconds count," said Lt. Eric Baum, of the Miami-Dade Fire Department.

Once the child was at the hospital, the crew returned to see what caused the problem. However, that time they couldn't get in at all.

"We can't gain entrance through this entrance here," Newsholme said. "(This happens) every shift."

The management team didn't return NBC 6's calls ...

(snip)

Copyright 2005 by NBC6.net. All rights reserved.
<<

Full story at NBC

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what people in California worry about? Somewhere there are some priorities that are just not tied on straight. I'm glad I live in rural Idaho. We use barbed wire and dogs to keep other people out. It's easier to work on manifestos that way.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to read electric meters for hydro in Toronto. I was in a gated community of about 200 townhouses. I had passed 3 boys that looked about 9 or 10, that were coming home from school. A moment later, I hear the crash of breaking glass, and I see the 3 boys running away through an opening in between the buildings. I can only imagine what thoughts were going through the heads of the people when they came home, past the security guard who opened the gate to let their car in, and found that someone had broken one of their windows. Boys will be boys, and if there is only one parent or both parents work, and they are locked up in your gated community, look out!

5:25 PM  
Anonymous dave said...

As a landscape designer in Phoenix, I see nothing but gated communities all day long. They're a pain in the ass, and I don't really get it. It's a cinch to get in, and because I drive a newer pickup truck I've never been questioned- even when I've sat in the truck for an hour checking voicemails or working on my laptop. It comes back to the community issues, which I think transcend class. I grew up in a middle class (ungated) neighborhood in RI, and crime rates were low because the majority of the neighbors could recognize one another. Had someone parked in my neighborhood for an hour, they would have been challenged by a resident or the local PD.

Aesthetics are a whole other issue. The drive up Scottsdale Road to Carefree is painful- nothing but blank CMU walls on either side of the road for twenty miles. No gates for me, thanks.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Rick said...

As long as the gated community is all on private property and privately maintained, I don't see a problem with that. That's the way it should stay. Maybe it is only a sales gimmick; I say let the buyer beware, if only because law enforcement has bigger fish to fry than to ban or heavily regulate this.

We must make certain, however, that gated community developers are not permitted to benefit from ordinance changes that force taxpayers to pay for improvement or maintenance of private streets and other private property and services. That's where the non-gated public should draw the battle lines. Even gated residents should oppose that type of change because it's the start down a slippery slope of more government intrusion into their neighborhoods.

In other words, let's leave truly private gated communities alone, but let's not allow a developer to successfully lobby for taxpayers to pick up the tab for services behind the gate while the public is napping.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Rico said...

Rick wrote, "Maybe it is only a sales gimmick".

Rick, the following quote -- from the Amazon.com Editorial Review of Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America -- bolsters your suggestion:
"Ironically, [Professor Setha Low] shows, gated neighborhoods are in fact no safer than other suburbs, and many who move there are disheartened by the insularity and restrictive rules of the community." [emphasis added]

Rick also wrote, "I say let the buyer beware, if only because law enforcement has bigger fish to fry than to ban or heavily regulate this."

Rick, "let the buyer beware" is no longer a sufficient legal standard.

The law.com dictionary includes the following in the definition of caveat emptor ("let the buyer beware"):
"Since implied warranties (assumed quality of goods) and consumer protections have come upon the legal landscape, the seller is held to a higher standard of disclosure than 'buyer beware' and has responsibility for defects which could not be noted by casual inspection".

There are defects that are not disclosed to buyers of homes in common interest developments, a category which includes gated subdivisions. Developers and academics are well aware of them. However, research has shown that CID homebuyers do not notice these deficiencies by casual inspection. Therefore, taking into consideration the people that have been profoundly affected when these defects manifest themselves -- as they often do -- it becomes clear that these defects are part of a pretty big (housing) consumer protection issue.

Finally, don't assume that 'our' government officials have "bigger fish to fry than to ban or heavily regulate this."

'Our' elected government officials have made all of the laws that pertain to gated subdivisions, with the direct involvement of industry partisans -- who have often, over the last several decades, actually written the laws and used campaign contributions to bribe and coerce 'our' elected government officials into passing these laws -- without any consideration of their effect on the public interest!

Through these laws, government is already "regulat[ing] this."

------------
Footnote. "Where CID housing is concerned, the gap between theory and practice, and between rhetoric and reality, is enormous. This gap, I believe, is the result of inadequate participation by the public in what has been almost entirely a calculus of private values. My emphasis is on the fact that particular forms of CID housing with obvious deficiencies have been replicated endlessly with so little public oversight." -- Evan McKenzie, Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government, Yale University Press, 28.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do think that the orange platforms were a successful act! Activism, IMHO, means taking necessary means to make people think about a fact. Such events tickle people's mind and make some of them read further and seek answers. Since it can't be related to something they experienced before or they were taught, they have to think by themselves! Curiosity made people look, at least briefly, at both sides of the coin. What Heavy Trash has done is social education, no matter what the viewers of this site will choose, they will be more informed than if they only read traditional sources. Some people might choose to live in gated neighborhoods not to see the poverty outside. The middle-class want to ignore the misery they cause everyday with their buying choices.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the best blog I have read in a long time. So high on the unintentional comedy scale, I think I am going to pee my pants. There are actually people out there outraged at gated communities? Come on folks... let's choose our battles a little more wisely. After listening to all the left wing nut-jobs, I think my new goal is to live in a gated community, just to piss them off, and yes I do have a "W" sticker on my car!!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alot of you people have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. I think it's horrible how some of you judge people you don't know based on.... whatever your "sources" of information are. I live in a gated community of over 1000 families and I'm sure each family has their own reason for being here. I live here because I love this neighborhood, the people, and the services they offer here; I am pretty liberal, I have no problem with minorities nor do I live here for "the name" or high status of the community. I think we should be alittle more concerned about making this country a better place by encouraging equality and ensuring our personal freedoms. For instance: Marrying who you want to marry or the right to an abortion if needed/wanted regardless of what I or anyone else believes. You have the freedom to live where ever you want whether it be in a gated community or up/downtown and it's not at all fair to judge people and tell them or imply that they are bad people for living where they do.

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Waaahhh! Waaahhh! Don't you people have something better to whine about. I wish I could have the last five minutes I just wasted of my life back, reading all the Boo-Hoo'ing.

The most intelligent thing said on this post so far:

Alot of you people have absolutely no clue what you're talking about. I think it's horrible how some of you judge people you don't know based on.... whatever your "sources" of information are. I live in a gated community of over 1000 families and I'm sure each family has their own reason for being here. I live here because I love this neighborhood, the people, and the services they offer here; I am pretty liberal, I have no problem with minorities nor do I live here for "the name" or high status of the community. I think we should be alittle more concerned about making this country a better place by encouraging equality and ensuring our personal freedoms. For instance: Marrying who you want to marry or the right to an abortion if needed/wanted regardless of what I or anyone else believes. You have the freedom to live where ever you want whether it be in a gated community or up/downtown and it's not at all fair to judge people and tell them or imply that they are bad people for living where they do.

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Gated Communities have well-kept yards, 24 hr security and well designed homes and color coordination. Stop trying to turn into a world-wide conspiracy.

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