Gated community. Secluded, intimate neighborhood. Celebration, USA. Whatever you want to call them, they continue to rise in popularity, with a 53 percent growth rate between 2001 and 2009.
Critics argue that gated communities promote “bunker” mentalities, or us-versus-them thinking, with “them” equaling “new immigrants, blacks, young people, renters, non-property owners and people perceived to be poor.”
Worse, gated communities are said to create a nation-within-a-nation phenomenon, as they tend to have their own set of security and police forces. Some have even pointed to George Zimmerman’s decision to shoot Trayvon Martin as exacerbated by the phenomenon.
Proponents of such communities claim that they ease residents’ states of mind and cause no real harm.
Do you believe in the idea of a “gated community mentality’?
Robert Lang, director, Brookings Mountain West, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Professor of Urban Affairs; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution