Gated Communities, Civility and Crime

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Among Florida cities, Sanford has a remarkable amount of green space. As WMFE reporter Matthew Peddie noted for WNYC’s Transportation Nation blog, Sanford has spent more than $20 million in the last two decades creating more than 30 parks and green spaces. However, Sanford is also notable for being home to numerous gated communities — like The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the neighborhood where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked back from 7-Eleven.

One of the questions that Trayvon’s death has raised is the issue of who or what makes a community or a neighborhood seem “safe” or “unsafe.”  Elijah Anderson, professor of sociology at Yale and the author of “The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life” writes about the kind of spaces where civil, harmonious interactions between people can emerge. Galina Tachieva, an expert in sustainable planning and community development, is the author of the “Sprawl Repair Manual.”


Elijah Anderson and Galina Tachieva

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

Comments [4]

SOSO from CA

Farmers in the country have gates to keep cows and horse from roaming away so, what is the big difference? I would like a draw bridge. :) I always thought gated was for mostly privacy . We have a place in a gated community it is super quiet, peaceful, no solicitors, no movement you can really focus on work. We've met all of our neighbors it is wonderful. We also have a house ten minutes from the city. There is so much movement in our neighborhood. We watch people stand and gawk at our house, or stop take pictures of our house, we have solicitors 2-4 x week, we have cut through traffic on our street. We watch people pull off the road to sit and talk on their cell phone under our tree. Since we live close to a dog park we watch people walk their dogs and sometimes the dog will use our lawn. We are selling our house we wish we never built it. I read this "The gated residential community became a socially acceptable solution for neighborhood residents who felt threatened by this breakdown in social control."

Apr. 13 2012 03:41 AM

I think I might like to live in a place where I was surrounded by 300 or so other residents in a secured environment, where no one could gain entry without passing a security point. If my fellow residents didn't like one of the neighbors, we might even be able to exclude them before they moved in, or pressure them to leave if they violated our rules.

In New York City, home to the liberals who make up the staff at The Takeaway, the New York Times, the New Yorker and The Nation ( and where perhaps Katrina van den Heuvel now finally knows who her Congressman is) they know what to call such a community; they call it a "co-op with doorman." "Gated communities" in Manhattan just need a little less land than the ones in central Florida.

{Thank you, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web."}

Apr. 04 2012 09:47 PM

Gated communities are the blame now? Has the media "jumped the shark" with this story yet?
Class, gender and race are the distractions away from this administration's ruinous economy and the Occupy movement's "spring offensive" will take us back to class distractions again.
Rinse, dry, repeat until election day.

Apr. 04 2012 10:05 AM

Gated communities are a LAUGH! Supposedly, you can move out to the middle of nowhere and protect yourself from the worst of human behavior. However, these places are populated by humans. And with them, their worst behavior. How do Floridians respond to the inevitable? They simply move further out and do it all over again.

Apr. 04 2012 09:59 AM

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