When choosing a home, it’s very important to consider the surrounding neighborhood as well as the home itself. Each neighborhood has its own characteristics including degree of safety, crime and physical appearance. While some neighborhoods can cause a home’s value to fall, others, such as gated communities, help homes resist market trends and retain value over time.
In its modern form, a gated community (or walled community) is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of walls and fences. Similar walls and gates have separated quarters of some cities for centuries. Gated communities usually consist of small residential streets and include various shared amenities. For smaller communities, these amenities may include only a park or other common area. For larger communities, it may be possible for residents to stay within the community for most daily activities. Gated communities are a type of common interest development, but are distinct from intentional communities.
A gated community offers increased security and safety but also comes with a cost.
Living Behind a Gate
The term “gated community” simply refers to any type of neighborhood that has controlled access using one or more gates that residents or visitors must pass through. Some have a guard booth with a security staff to ensure that only residents or guests pass the gate, while others use an automatic gate that residents must open with a key card or remote control. Most gated communities have a name and a clear geographic definition as marked by the barriers and gates that control access to the area. Gated communities may exist in any location including cities, towns and rural areas. They also range in size from a few homes to several dozen.
Increased Safety for Residents
One of the primary purposes of a gated community is to offer its residents safety that they wouldn’t experience in nearby non-gated communities. One way a gated community increases safety is by eliminating through traffic. Without drivers passing through the gated community, traffic is restricted to residents and guests. This makes it safer for children to walk or play near streets, and also reduces traffic accidents. Gated communities with security staff also restrict access to pedestrians, which may be able to reduce the chance of vandalism, theft and other crimes.
Besides safety, gated communities offer other advantages to residents. Only the residents have access to public areas, which may include parks and sports facilities like tennis courts and a community pool. Gated communities in cities may encourage residents who would otherwise live in the suburbs to become urban dwellers, which can help with urban redevelopment. Many gated communities consist of luxury homes and high-income residents, which can make living in a gated community a status symbol.
Gated communities can impact the local economy in several ways. The homes inside gated communities tend to retain their value better during market downturns. Along with the high-income residents who populate many gated communities, this can offer a tax boost to the municipalities that include gated communities. However, gated communities can also encourage economic inequality by creating a physical barrier between high- and low-income neighborhoods. The presence of a nearby gated community can actually cause home values outside the community to suffer by comparison.
Consider the Drawbacks
Given that gated communities are spatially a type of enclave, Setha M. Low, an anthropologist, has argued that they have a negative effect on the net social capital of the broader community outside the gated community. Some gated communities, usually called guard-gated communities, are staffed by private security guards and are often home to high-value properties, and/or are set up as retirement villages. Some gated communities are secure enough to resemble fortresses and are intended as such.
Not all gated communities offer the level of safety residents may expect. Unauthorized access is available to anyone who disables a gate or poses as a visitor, and communities with lax security may be no safer than surrounding neighborhoods. They can even become targets of criminals who expect the homes inside to include more valuable possessions. A gated community can also promote a general feeling of social paranoia, implying that other parts of the area are unsafe and the gated community is necessary to protect residents. Finally, gated communities may cost residents more than comparable homes in the region that aren’t gated, regardless of any real benefits.
Too Much Politics
A society is often constituted to run the day to day affairs of the community, This society behaves as mini parliament in most of the cases. The office bearers of the society consider them Bosses and are often indulged in corruption and insulting other home owners.