Town Planning Review

Gated cities of tomorrow

Town Planning Review (2001), 72, (2), 149–170.

Abstract

This paper is about the re-engineering of the public realm. Its purpose is to encourage balanced debate about the rising numbers of residential schemes in British and other European cities that supply collectively consumed neighbourhood goods and services exclusively to households within the ‘gates’. It reviews the wider global trend towards gated developments and comments on the academic debates arising. It sets out reasons—offered as testable hypotheses—why we should expect to see many more gated developments in the future. Drawing on theories of collective consumption, the efficiency of gated communities is discussed. The polarisation of the private and public realms is re-interpreted and a third category defined—the ‘club realm’. The stance of the paper is neither strongly protagonist nor antagonist. It makes the assumption that the club realm is here to stay and that private developers and town planners alike need to design and plan with it just as they have traditionally designed and planned with public and private realms. The conclusion sets out an empirical research agenda.

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Webster, Chris