Can Gated Neighborhood Planning Contribute To A More Effective Society In China?

Submitted By Yuan-Si
Words: 1036
Pages: 5

Can gated neighborhood planning contribute to a more inclusive society in China?

Reflecting human behaviors and social pattern, neighborhood planning has become a focus of society. A proper designed neighborhood could contribute to community development. The majority housing model in China is gated apartment’s community. Performing restricted, though security can be ensured in some degree, this pattern still has negative impacts not only on strangers but also the householders. Although Blakely and Synder (1999) claimed that fences could enhance inhabitants’ sense of security, Aldrin, Mohd and Siti (2012) proved that there is not direct connection between walled neighborhood and low fear rate. Additionally, that gated neighborhood can bring a higher sense of identity is disproved (Siti, Noraini and Mohd, 2012). Gated quarters cannot contribute inclusive society since its exclusive features. The purpose of this essay is to introduce gated neighborhood circumstances in China and other countries and discuss its negative impacts, especially on gated householders.

Gated neighborhoods’ popular is a result from both international and traditional exclusive habit. Chinese urban residents used to live in independent houses with family in unit cells. Residents were free to enter other neighborhood when there were fewer fences to separate zones at that period. A contrast type of neighborhood, gated community design is a globally trend currently. Chinese residential design is also influenced by the force, for example, encircled legation quarter in Nanjing preventing petty citizens from entering is identified as an upper class residential area (Wu, 2005). Moreover, it is a reappearing of ancient city form. Despite openness and flourishing commerce, enclosed houses and warded city to defense from war were clannish and cliquish. According to Pow (2009, cited in Qian, 2013), it was a traditional custom for Chinese building tall walls to protect their houses. Living in apartments, residents are no longer able to build high walls to separate their home. Whereas, fenced community is a new available choice providing a feeling of security and privacy. However, a significant difference is that residents have less time communicating with their neighbors. The activity area was limited before the travel tools were invited, thus the ancient residents were more familiar with their neighbors than modern citizens since the former had more time to be with persons living close instead of workplace far from home. The familiarity brought social trust, security and harmonious relationships. Space function was highly mixed because citizens preferred to combine the working and retail activities with residential. For instance, in Tang and Song Dynasty, cities were well utilized and consequently, open and rich of street life (Friedmann, 2005). Modern citizens usually travel a far distance to work; therefore, trusts among dwellers are impaired. In socialist period, combining workplace and dwelling, work-unit compound which was described as a recollection of ancient form by Davis (1995) was main housing pattern for industrial employees. Enterprises served apartments, dormitories, medical care, retail facilities and guard (ibid). Residents worked and lived inside the walls, sharing spaces and infrastructures. Hence, they felt a sense of belonging. However, citizens were divided into various groups by clear boundaries of employment. Naturally emotional insecurity which is an exclusive psychology of inhabitants explains segregating behaviors that cannot improve inclusivity of the whole society in long term.

In addition to the natural exclusionism due to historical reasons, political forces encourages gated neighborhood. Cséfalvay (2011) reported that people live in weak social support regions favored walled communities to obtain better welfare condition, for instance, less developed countries in East Europe. This phenomenon is similar to Chinese context. Middle