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Gated Communities and Residential Segregation in the Metropolitan United States

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

According to a research paper by Elena Vesselinov, titled “Members Only: Gated Communities and Residential Segregation in the Metropolitan United States”.


The author examines the link between gated communities and residential segregation using the American Housing Survey for 2001 and Census 2000. The author hypothesizes that gating and segregation are defined by similar mechanisms, thus reinforcing urban inequality in U.S. cities. The results, however, indicate a more complex relationship.


On the one hand, there are common mechanisms behind the two processes: the pursuit of higher property values, fear of crime, and fear of increased social heterogeneity. An increase in percent recent immigrants leads to higher levels of both segregation and gating. On the other hand, factors such as region, percent black, percent Hispanic, percent college graduates, and functional specialization affect the two processes differentially. Although segregation is less pronounced and declining in the U.S. urban Southwest, gated communities are much more prominent there. Source


On the one hand, there are common mechanisms behind the two processes: the pursuit of higher property values, fear of crime, and fear of increased social heterogeneity. An increase in percent recent immigrants leads to higher levels of both segregation and gating. On the other hand, factors such as region, percent black, per cent Hispanic, percent college graduates, and functional specialization affect the two processes differentially. Although segregation is less pronounced and declining in the U.S. urban Southwest, gated communities are much more prominent there. Source

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