Why I Dislike Gated Communities

I recently spent some time in southern Florida and I came to a realization about gated communities. I strongly dislike them due to their effects on the outside world. Driving through much of suburban Florida, I began to realize that almost everyone seemed to live inside a gated community. A main avenue with strip malls would go North-South and East-West through towns, but at nearly every stoplight, a private community emerged. What is it exactly about them that I am not fond of?

They Crush Individuality:

Inside gated communities, almost every house is built to a very specific model. The homes all match one another perfectly and many people live in a house which is truly identical to the homes of their neighbors. Homeowners often cannot make changes to their homes, lawns or even decorations without the approval of a homeowners association.

This is one of the pictures that I took while I was there that shows just how similar everything can look.

They Obstruct Travel:

When most people in a town or city live behind gated walls, it begins to become difficult to move from place to place. Typically, only those who live inside of a gated community can enter by car without special permission. The entryways are often blocked by guards who must manually open gates to allow entry.

Not only is it a nuisance not to be able to move freely through an area, it can also be dangerous. When emergency services such as ambulances and fire trucks need to enter a community, they also must do so through the central gate. The gate can often be clogged with traffic and opening the gates can be a slow process. Because there is often only one entrance, emergency vehicles then must in some cases drive from the main road to the gate, enter, begin driving far into the community and then back out through the gate. These communities are inefficient and can be created with the complexity of a maze.

They Diminish Sense of Community:

When groups of people all living in one municipality are broken into small subgroups that cannot intermingle with one another, the greater community has little meaning. City residents can only interact in truly public places such as strip malls that line main avenues. Additionally, when a city is full of gated communities, it begins to lack a sense of purpose. Neighborhoods sprawl in every which direction and become extremely inefficient. These areas certainly are not attractive for tourists.

Gated communities may seem nice in real estate brochures, but they harm both those inside and outside of them.