Public Values

Gated Communities:The Beginning of a Privatized Future?

Security and services for the communities that can afford it.

Gated community in Sacramento, Californiaby Josh Leon, Next American City

April 18, 2008 — When we look back at development in Sacramento, we may remember this as the era when the region shrank from the public sphere. The latest American Housing Survey reports that secured communities now constitute 90,000 households in the region. This figure consists with the nationwide explosion of private communities in recent decades, and may only mark the beginning of privatized modes of living.

Self-reliance for security and services may be attractive for the communities that can afford it, but it risks leaving behind those less affluent.

Sacramento's secured communities are a glaring example. These communities have gates or walls to keep non-residents out, and often employ private security forces. They line the boulevards of Granite Bay and Fair Oaks, or may be tucked away like Rancho Murieta, a quiet upscale enclave along Highway 16.

These communities effectively shrink the public sphere, restricting traffic, pedestrian movement and green space by consuming large swaths of land. Access often requires exorbitant fees to private community associations that perform functions ranging from road maintenance and grounds-keeping to cable television and country clubs. . .

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  Gated Communities:The Beginning of a Privatized Future? by Josh Leon, Next American City, April 18, 2008

Posted: May 15, 2008

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