On children raised in gated communities


Introducing the Panel Session: “Gated Communities in America”, Lang and Danielsen state: “[Gary] Pivo …considers the symbolic impact that gated communities have on children who pass through the gate on a daily basis. He is concerned that symbolic distinctions between life within the walls and life outside will produce adults who disengage from civic participation in the larger community. He also raises an interesting sociological question concerning whether children raised in gated communities will develop a sense of very hard lines between their class and others.” (p.874)

Pivo himself said: “Can I say something here about children and symbolism, because I’m concerned about the wall and the gate as a physical symbol? I’ve recently been reading the work of some childhood development people on the problem of porno shops in neighborhoods.
What they were talking about in particular is how kids use images to define the kinds of people that are okay and not okay and how they use their neighborhood territory quite a lot for collecting these images. I’m afraid that children who are raised going through a gate four times a day with their folks in the car will develop a much stronger “in-crowd, outside-group” mentality.” (p.896)

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

This article revisits and reproduces the Friday, November 7, 1997, Panel Session: “Gated Communities in America” “Planning in the Americas” Conference, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, November 6–9, 1997, Fort Lauderdale, FL (moderated by Edward J. Blakely). It is this session that is referenced above.


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