Disconnected from Society? Gated Communities: Their Lifestyle versus Urban Governance

Peer Smets (VU University Amsterdam) investigates the socio-cultural impacts of specific patterns of urban segregation (gated communities) on local urban politics and urban governance.
December 28, 2009, 7am PST | Alessandro Busà
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Smets writes, "Today there is a widespread fear of crime on a global scale. This can be seen as a response to social inequalities, social polarisation and the fragmentation of cities, which has to a large extent been caused by neo-liberalism. Worldwide, an increasing number of middle and high-income groups have looked to security measures, such as cameras, fences, walls and gates, to separate themselves from other people in the city. These physical measures, in combination with hired guards, replace the 'older' social control mechanisms, which are based on social cohesion within the community concerned. One may question whether those living in gated 'communities' indeed feel responsible for other urbanites. In other words, will such a hard closure (physically-marked segregation) lead to soft closure, reflected in social-cultural and political segregation? What is the impact of the lifestyle(s) of those living in gated communities on the dynamics of the city, urban identity and urban governance? [...]"

Thanks to Alessandro Busà - UR Chief Editor

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Published on Saturday, December 26, 2009 in The Urban Reinventors Online Urban Journal
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