For the purpose of this dissertation, a Gated Community is a form of a residential community or an estate of housing that is firmly controlled through gates or booms. Apart from residential areas, Gated Communities may also include office parks, commercial areas, etc. In South Africa, Gated Communities are usually classified into two different categories, namely enclosed neighbourhoods and security villages. For the purpose of this study, more focus will be given to enclosed neighbourhoods than security villages because there is more tension that surrounds the establishment of enclosed neighbourhoods which require further exploration.
There are tensions about the negative spatial impacts that Gated Communities have in the city such as spatial fragmentation, social exclusion and hindered long-term sustainability of the city, these tensions are experienced nationally and internationally. The tensions affect municipalities, communities, governments, planners, researchers, etc. As a result of these tensions and reactions from different stakeholders, planners are often in the centre of these tensions as it is expected of them to have the answers to urban problems. However, not much attention has been given towards understanding the pressures faced by planners who are responsible for Gated Community developments in municipalities.
This study was conducted in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan municipality to understand why planners make controversial decisions in relation to Gated Communities; how they arrive at such decisions and the challenges they face in doing so. The study explores the amount of attention given to these developments and the extent to which Gated Communities have been incorporated and addressed within the municipal plans and policies. This research shows that a number of municipal plans, strategies and policies do not address Gated Communities. Planners are aware of the tensions around gated communities but ways of addressing the tensions are limited, which creates a challenging situation for planners as there isn t a firm legislative basis regulating and assessing Gated Communities.
It was also revealed through the study that planning is highly politicised and messy; some of the decisions made by planners are reversed by politicians if they don t agree with them. Planners also deal with emotions and stunts from some members of the community as they use such tactics to receive support and approval for their development applications. The study was also able to show the relationship that exists between the level of income and the desire to live in Gated Communities, this is creating an undesirable spatial pattern which planners will be expected to correct in the near future. Enclosed neighbourhoods threaten the principles of town planning such as, inclusive and integrated neighbourhoods, promotion of pedestrian access, accessible open spaces, mixed-income developments etc. Some Gated Communities exists without the knowledge of the town planners and the municipalities, resulting in more urban problems and more challenges for planners in municipalities. The complex political history of South Africa as well as the socio-economic challenges such as crime and poverty also has a direct impact on the decision-making process of Gated Communities.
Dissertation (MTRP)--University of Pretoria, 2016.