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Research on gated communities

JNL

Cyburbian
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2,449
Points
25
While reading up on gated communities for a possible research project, I came across this Canadian website (hosted by Dalhousie University) which may be of interest:

http://www.dal.ca/~gated/welcome.htm

It's a program to investigate "the way in which local planning is responding to requests from developers to build enclosed or enclave communities", and includes an inventory of gated communities in Canada and 'Tools for planners' (note: tools = tools to discourage gating).

I haven't narrowed the topic area down yet so if anyone has any links to other research on gated communities, I'd love to hear about it!
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
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5,270
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30
JNL said:
I haven't narrowed the topic area down yet so if anyone has any links to other research on gated communities, I'd love to hear about it!

How about an imperical examination of crime rates in gated versus ungated communities? You could examine gated communities, TND and suburban development forms. Read up on your CPTED and "eyes on the street".
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
Points
25
Re: Re: Research on gated communities

Budgie said:
How about an imperical examination of crime rates in gated versus ungated communities? You could examine gated communities, TND and suburban development forms. Read up on your CPTED and "eyes on the street".

That's already been done.

Check out Fortress America. It provides a good overview of the issues and, IIRC, has a huge bibliography.

I do like examining tools used to prevent gated communities though. I've not seen too much about that. It could be very interesting.Fortress America didn't get into it at all.
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
I would suggest you look at statistics concerning closed military bases and the effect that has on the surrounding community. As I said earlier today in another thread, military bases (particularly thos closed to the public) are the original 'gated communities' and the military can enforce codes about your lawn and the color of your house, etc, that would land most gated communities in court.

Military bases have a ridiculously low crime rate. In short, you do not want to speed on most military bases because the MP's have little to do other than catch speeders and lecture you about how you are endangering your own life (the only speeding ticket of my life). They occasionally have a domestic violence incident, but, that, too, is becoming rather rare because of changes in states and federal laws: more women are simply not reporting it because if your husband is put on parole and told he cannot carry a gun as part of his punishment, well, that's pretty much the end of his career and you can start looking for another place to live and another way to eat.

Anyway, my point is that the artificially extremely low crime rate on military bases is (anecdotally, having lived on or near quite a few) offset by an increased crime rate in the surrounding area. Prostitution and pawn shops are notorious for thriving in the vicinity of a military base, as well as bars, bar brawls, and related (like vandalism -- I have known single soldiers who got drunk and went around breaking mirrors off of cars, etc).

So, I would think you could extrapolate that a gated civilian community could have a similar effect and then look for supporting evidence. I am unfamiliar with research on this specific topic. I am not for gated communities. I live in a gated apartment complex, but it is not upscale enough to have a person manning the gate. So the gate is a joke. I doesn't really keep anyone out. And it is open during week days. I feel like I live in prison and I don't know what the damn point is.
 

Suburb Repairman

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You might try looking at the effect of gated communities on youth. You could do surveying to see how they feel about the community compared to how their parents feel. Also, you might look at teen crime and recreational drug use in gated communities compared to open neighborhoods. I'm not sure if that was covered in "Fortress America" that jordanb mentioned, but it's a thought.

My money says that teens living in gated communities are more apt to recreational drug use and more expensive drugs. My guess is that teens feel more bored and desperate for something to do while parents like it because they "feel" more safe and like their escaping from the real world. Just a thought...
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
Suburb Repairman said:
You might try looking at the effect of gated communities on youth.
My money says that teens living in gated communities are more apt to recreational drug use and more expensive drugs. My guess is that teens feel more bored and desperate for something to do while parents like it because they "feel" more safe and like their escaping from the real world. Just a thought...

I cannot cite a source for the research, but I read somewhere that drug use in teens due to serious neglect of the kids is as rampant in wealthy neighborhoods as it is in Ghettos. Two-career families often make the mistake of subsituting 'money' for 'time' with their kids -- much to the detriment of the children. Children are statistically better off in 'middle class' families and neighborhoods, where parents routinely choose trading off the potential to 'get ahead' financially/ career-wise for the opportunity to spend more time with the family/kids.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
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1,046
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24
I suggest that all that quantatative stuff is BS, crimerate, assessments, etc...

I believe the best think to do would be to go to several in North America and talk to the developers-ask them why they build them...

And more importantly interview homeowners who made the conscious decision to buy in these communities.

I think it is critical to understand the why first.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
gkmo62u said:
I suggest that all that quantatative stuff is BS, crimerate, assessments, etc...

I believe the best think to do would be to go to several in North America and talk to the developers-ask them why they build them...

And more importantly interview homeowners who made the conscious decision to buy in these communities.

I think it is critical to understand the why first.

They actually do all that in Fortress America.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
You are not going to see a rise in crime surrounding a gated community because 1. They don't have MPs enforcing the law in the community pushing the crime out, and 2. the residents are 18 year old drunk cowboys out raising hell after spending the past 6 months afloat on an aircraft carrier in the Med.

Why do developers build them?

Because we can make the roads, utilities, sidewalks, etc do anything we want. If they aren't being dedicated in most places they don't have to follow any ordinances. And for the residents, they think they are going to be soooo much safer from the bad people. What bad people? You're in the freakin suburbs!
 

JNL

Cyburbian
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2,449
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25
Thanks for the ideas everyone (isn't the Throbbing Brain of Cyburbia TM great? :) ).

I recall having seen some research that looked at crime rates and found that gated communities were no safer than other types of development, but people felt safer living in them.

However, like gkmo62u I am sceptical about the interpretive value of crime stats, and believe some qualitative research is needed.

Suburb Repairman - I am liking your suggestion about the effect on youth. Combine that with gkm062u's suggestion to investigate why people want to live in such developments, and I'm off to a good start!

Off to check out Fortress America...
 

JNL

Cyburbian
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2,449
Points
25
Fortress America gets very mixed reviews on Amazon, in fact some scathing criticisms.

Has anyone read Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America by Setha Low?
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
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25
JNL said:
Fortress America gets very mixed reviews on Amazon, in fact some scathing criticisms.

I read those. I suspect many of them are from people living in gated communities who don't like its conclusions though. I found it to be a very informative and well-researched book.
 
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