Suburbia is a collective effort to lead a private life


“Blakely and Snyder raise the question, “Can there be a social contract without social contact?” We respond by noting that gated communities operate by an implicit social contract—they serve to minimize unsolicited social contact. Gated communities represent the continued evolution of an Anglo-American movement toward private environments that originated in mid-19th century Britain (Fishman 1987; Lang 1995). The paradox of how [-p.875] suburbanites form a social consensus around so anticommunitarian a belief as privacy is captured in Lewis Mumford’s observation that “suburbia is a collective effort to lead a private life” (Mumford 1938, 412).” (pp.874-875)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold) Robert E. Lang & Karen A. Danielsen (1997): Gated communities in America: Walling out the world?, Housing Policy Debate, 8:4, 867-899

Reference is to: Fishman, Robert. 1990. Megalopolis Unbound. Wilson Quarterly 14(1):25–45.

Lang, Robert. 1995. Hallowed Homes: The Religious Origin of Suburban
Domesticity in 19th-Century Britain. Paper presented at the annual meeting
of the American Sociological Association, Washington, DC, August 17–20.

Mumford, Lewis. 1938. The Culture of Cities. New York: Harcourt, Brace.


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