Exploring Neighbourliness and Social Cohesion in Two Residential Gated Developments in Johannesburg, South Africa

Letsoko, Vuyiswa and Naidoo, Kammila and Gumbo, Trynos (2022) Exploring Neighbourliness and Social Cohesion in Two Residential Gated Developments in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mobility, Knowledge and Innovation Hubs in Urban and Regional Development. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2022, 27th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 311-321. ISSN 2521-3938

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The growth of privatised residential territories through the concept of ‘gating’ has become a global phenomenon and a distinct feature of the urban landscape of cities. There has been much debate around their existence. Justifications for these developments have been largely associated to the fear of crime, the expressed need for a defensible space, ineffective security provisions by government institutions, a search for an enhanced residential lifestyle and inadequate municipal service provision and governance. In the South African context, it has been argued that they have generated a “neo-apartheid” and serve as a façade, concealing the elitism and privilege that they offer residents. Similarly, questions have been raised around the benefits of living in a gated community, including whether or not they nurture or limit social cohesion among their residents. Current literature and studies on gated communities tends to focus on their physical form and function with little emphasis on the internal dynamics that take place within such developments. Given the growth and popularity of such developments in South African cities, the paper employs a qualitative approach using in-depth interviews with residents of two gated communities in Greenstone Hill to examine how living in a gated community influences daily social interactions among neighbours. The findings of the study identified four key themes that influenced social cohesion in the gated developments. Furthermore, contrary to expectations, interview data revealed that gated communities are socially diverse living spaces allowing for interactions of individuals from various cultural, religious, racial and class backgrounds which is unique given South Africa’s legacy of apartheid that has resulted in the persistence of residential segregation and mono-racial communities. The implications of the study are that these developments provide platforms for different races, classes, and cultures to unlearn past prejudices which has key implications in the process of re-building and uniting the country and its communities. The paper makes recommendation for gated communities to be viewed from a different perspective that focuses on their potential to contribute to social change and cohesion in the era of democracy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: neighbourhood cohesion, neighbourliness, social cohesion, residential gated communities, South Africa
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Depositing User: The CORP Team
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2022 18:14
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022 14:05
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/920

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