Fortress America : Gated Communities in the United States
Gated communities are a new "hot button" in many North American cities. From Boston to Los Angeles and from Miami to Toronto citizens are taking sides in the debate over whether any neighborhood should be walled and gated, preventing intrusion or inspection by outsiders. This debate has intensified since the hard cover edition of this book was published in 1997. Since then the number of gated communities has risen dramatically. In fact, new homes in over 40 percent of planned developments are gated n the West, the South, and southeastern parts of the United States. Opposition to this phenomenon is growing too. In the small and relatively homogenous town of Worcester, Massachusetts, a band of college students from Brown University and the University of Chicago picketed the Wexford Village in November of 1998 waving placards that read "Gates Divide." These students are symbolic of a much larger wave of citizens asking questions about the need for and the social values of gates that divide one portion of a community from another.
- Paperback | 208 pages
- 152.4 x 226.06 x 15.24mm | 340.19g
- 01 Aug 1999
- BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
- Washington DC, United States
Back cover copy
All across the nation, Americans are forting up - retreating from their neighbors by locking themselves behind security-controlled walls, gates, and barriers. An estimated 8 million Americans live in gated communities today. These communities are most popular in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Miami. This trend has become popular in both new suburban developments and older inner-city areas as residents seek refuge from the problems of urbanization. But what does it mean for the nation? Fortress America is the first sweeping study of the development and social impact of this rapidly growing phenomenon. While early gated communities were restricted to retirement villages and the compounds of the super-rich, today the majority are for the middle to upper-middle class. But even existing modest-income neighborhoods are using barricades and gates to seal themselves off. The book looks at the three main categories of gated communities and the reasons for their popularity: lifestyle communities, including retirement communities, golf and country club leisure developments, and suburban new towns; prestige communities, including enclaves of the rich and famous, developments for high-level professionals, and executive home developments for the middle class, where the gates symbolize distinction and stature; and security zones, where fear of crime and outsiders is the main motivation for fortifications. They argue that gating does nothing to address the problems it is a response to. They propose alternatives, such as emphasizing crime prevention, controlling traffic in neighborhoods, designing new developments to encourage sustainable communities, and creating metropolitan regional planning governance.
"This book is the first major study of the development and social impact of this phenomenon that has major implications for urban design. It is... important reading for all involved with and concerned about cities." --Steven Tiesdell, University of Aberdeen, UK, Journal of Urban Design, 12/13/2000 "Well-grounded in the social science literature on community, FORTRESS AMERICA is a frightening book, a mustread for all those interested in our nation's cities, suburbs, neighborhoods, and communities. Blakely and Snyder take the reader on a well-crafted and lively tour of gated communities in the United States." -- Society "A thoughtful, low-key book that mirrors the quiet but important trend toward fenced neighborhoods...The authors have a clear and consistent viewpoint...and end with rational, realistic suggestions for building better communities without erecting fortresses... The book offers a calm and reasoned tone for a revolutionary tendency and deserves a wide audience." -- Publishers Weekly "Fortress America illustrates some powerful contemporary social impulses by collecting a wealth of evidence about gated communities and testimony from their residents." -- The New York Times Book Review "This is the first comprehensive survey of gated communities and their impacts, and immediately becomes the starting point for research on this important subject...This is a major contribution to the study of contemporary landscapes, communities, and settlement patterns, especially urban geography, urban sociology, and environmental psychology. Very highly recommended." -- Choice "[A] thorough, well-argued book... Its moral tone, sense of justice, and relative lack of political jargon allow it to be recommended for general readers." -- Library Journal "FORTRESS AMERICA has much to recommend it. It is the first book devoted entirely to the study of the gated community phenomenon, the social and political ramifications of which should not be taken lightly... Blakely and Snyder raise some fascinating questions that deserve attention." -- American Political Science Review "In short, this book is the first major study of the development and social impact of this phenomenon that has major implications for urban design. It is therefore important reading for all involved with and concerned about cities and urban design." --Steven Tiesdell, University of Aberdeen, UK, Journal of Urban Design, 9/1/2000 "required reading for the anti-gate set." --Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, 5/28/2002 "This is a well written book about a topic of growing importance in both the professional press and public debate." --Roderick J. Lawrence, Switzerland University of Geneva, Open House International, 6/1/2002 "This is a major contribution to the study of contemporary landscapes, communities, and settlement patterns, especially urban geography, urban sociology, and environmental psychology." --P.O. Muller, University of Miami, CHOICE, 6/1/2005
About Mary Gail Snyder
Edward J. Blakely is Dean of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Southern California, USA. His previous books include Planning Local Economic Development (Sage, 1994) and Separate Societies (Temple, 1993), winner of the 1994 Paul Davidoff award for the best book in planning. Mary Gail Snyder is at the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.