Production and social sustainability of private enclaves in suburban landscapes. - HAL-SHS - Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Accéder directement au contenu
Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2010

Production and social sustainability of private enclaves in suburban landscapes.


This paper aims at demonstrating that gated communities, though often presented as a recent unsustainable trend of security-oriented urbanism, which have spread all over the world in the last two decades, are indeed a classical and generic form in urban sprawl and suburban landscape. In attempting this, we apply a theoretical approach that views the private residential community as a club economy to analyze the planning, managing practices an social interactions at the local level.
We balance how private communities might be pro social sustainability tools or in contrast put urban equilibrium (political fragmentation, social interactions) at risk on the suburban edge of sprawling cities. We think that social sustainability issues connect to the genesis of urban edges' morphologies and requires analyzing the underlying forces that structure them. A first section analyses the long term trends in the local emergence of private residential governance, in order to get a better understanding of the diffusion of gated communities and how offer, demand and the local nexus of actors interact. Next, we consider how the local adoption of private urban governance models is structured by the nexus of laws, planning and residential strategies. More specifically, we analyze appropriation strategies of public space by private enclaves residents, and argue that local policies and discourses of intervening actors are often guided by locally driven interests and rent-seeking strategies that might contradict social equity principles. At last, we argue that local path dependency truly explains the success stories of gated communities according to local social and political patterns and local institutional milieus.
Considering the nexus of law, but also the practices of development industries and layout of neighborhoods, the findings balance on one hand the strategies of local actors targeting the building of sustainable communities from the owners and entrepreneurs point of view, and on the other hands the equity principles at a more general level. This demonstrates that common goals of private communities is about getting control over nearby environment (control over public space, amenities, etc.) and guarantee property values. Nevertheless, field studies and residents interviews, empirical data describing political behaviors of GCs and social relations of the residents reveal path dependencies in the local manifestations of private communities. Whatever the legal context, local actors, residents strategies, public bodies of governments and entrepreneurs find ways to meet a continuous demand of local control. This can be met either by the means of private urban governance, or by a local body of public government, depending on how local institutional milieus have structured decision making, fiscal regulation and social exclusion patterns. This concurs to demonstrate that private residential areas political behaviors and social interactions are eventually familiar and consistent with more casual patterns in a suburban world.


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halshs-00422977 , version 1 (09-10-2010)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00422977 , version 1


Renaud Le Goix, Delphine Callen. Production and social sustainability of private enclaves in suburban landscapes.: Local contexts and path dependency in French and US long-term emergence of gated communities and private streets. BAGAEEN, Samer ; UDUKU, Ola (Eds). Gated Communities: Social sustainability in contemporary and historical gated developments, Earthscan publications, 25p., 2010. ⟨halshs-00422977⟩
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