What are gated Communities first of all?
Gated communities are housing properties established in a setting in which public or non-residential access is restricted usually by; a gate, fence, wall and or security guard (s). And sometimes may require special entry by; access card, code, or security guard approval.
What are the advantages?
Gated communities have their own pros and cons which can depend on how one looks at it, the general community setting, surroundings and the policies established to run it. But let’s look at the advantages it brings to both the dwellers and surrounding areas;-
Sense of belonging– when people of similar status stay together, they tend to feel more comfortable living there, say for example Kensington Luxury Heights- it brought people of the same class; this can also mean bringing people of the same age bracket together like the elderly ( homes for elderly).
Security– the estates are well organized, the routes are well defined and points of entry or exit are in most times monitored and well defined such that whoever comes in or out is easily recognized. The general setup will create minimal insecurity from within and outside. Although this point is heavily debatable, the same reason for which you lock your car and move with the keys doesn’t mean that someone can’t break into it.
External development– we have all seen the importance Kensington has played in giving Kyanja an image, Kyanja previously was very remote place and many people never imagine going there but now it’s one of the recognized places to live in Kampala, of course not solely because of Kensington but Kensington played a big role in the minds of people who bought plots there because of the status it brought in the surrounding neighborhood. After all, property acquirement as we have seen a couple of times in and around Kampala depends on location; people want to buy plots near establishments like; hotels, schools, hospitals, near celebrities, political figures, etc for as long as it doesn’t affect one’s peace, security and health, people will always move to such places.
Better service delivery– it’s easier to deliver services to such places whether it being; public transport services, water and electricity by the government, and also it creates more amenities and other small businesses begin to take a route around such dwellings since the internal business services may not satisfy all the people inside.
The downside of such Gated Communities
Exclusion – Although this is a positive for the people living within the gated community to enjoy some privacy, it may also come as a cost to them- setting up a gated community within a community which is already established may send wrong signals; this can create tension, hate and even insecurity.
Loss of identity– a community already established can lose its identity when a gated community is established; people from different walks of life may infiltrate this place because of their ability to afford such expansive homes, this may completely alter the good culture and values already established in the neighbourhood, and thus the larger community losing its original identity.
So what does this mean?
Uganda more so in Kampala and its surrounding areas of Wakiso, Entebbe, and Mukono are having an establishment of gated communities growing like the Kakungulu Satellite city, Kensington Luxury Heights as earlier on mentioned, Royale Palm Estate, Green Top Apartments and many more. These definitely face challenges both internal and external. It’s imperative that the already established community needs to be studied on how it will embrace the new niche community and not only that, even the kind of people going to live in this new community set up should be able to welcome and accept the good culture in the neighbourhood, and carefully vetting the house applicants for either renting or buying in order to weed out people of bad elements.
Issues to do with; isolation, visitor access frustrations, close monitoring, restriction rules, all these are seen as disadvantages but if not overly applied they can become insignificant because, at the end of it all, it’s to the benefit of the gated community members.
This is a good idea for as long as planning and correct integration is done, then Uganda should embrace this.
Below is more literature about the Gated communities;