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Thread: Article: Gates and Walls

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Article: Gates and Walls

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I think that Mr Norton is simply being alarmist because that urge to "hide behind a wall" has always been with a certain segment of people in our western culture. It's just that in the last century, our "walls" have been less obvious. IMO, the rise of gated communities really coincides with the end of social and legal means of keeping "the riffraff out" of the places that snobbish/bigoted/paranoid people prefer to live. You don't need a gate if you have a domestic staff to always keep your mansion occupied. You don't need a gate if "respectable" people dress and speak distinctively differently from the unwashed masses. You don't need to have a gate if you have restrictive covenants that don't allow Jews or African Americans or other "undesirables" to move in next door. You don't need to have a gate if your local police force harasses any dark-skinned person walking down a street or any person driving an older, beatup care in the neighborhood.

    As our society has become more tolerant, and the legal, social, and cultural "walls" that were the norm 50 or 60 years ago have crumbled, the people who don't like living in diversity have had to build physical walls to separate themselves.

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    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I read a good book about living in gated communities in graduate school. It is certainly worth checking out if this topic appeals to you.In terms of why people choose to live in gated communities, I don't think the motivation is exclusively "anti-diversity", though I'm sure some residents might feel this way. IMO, frequently people choose to live in a gated environment because of the sense of security it provides. This doesn't mean that gates actually provide improved security, just that it makes people feel safer. This is true of persons from a variety of economic backgrounds, not just the affluent.It is interesting that the increased development of gated communities has positively corresponded to a decreased social acceptance of racism and sexism. More importantly, perhaps, is that fact that we are seeing such a large rise in the development of gated communities again in human history during a time when we once again have a striking gap between economic classes in society. Fear of the serfs revolting?

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