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What is a Gated Community?

Jessica Ellis
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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A gated community is a residential area with controlled access, used to protect the privacy and safety of residents. They are often used by celebrities and the wealthy, to protect their expensive homes and keep them from the prying eyes of the press and paparazzi. Gated communities are typically quite expensive areas, and may offer exclusive amenities to residents as a means of creating a community feeling.

Some gated communities are meant for a specific demographic; planned retirement communities often are gated and provide additional security and medical services to local residents. The controlled access in a gated community can be as simple as an actual gate to which residents possess a key, or a security kiosk complete with armed guards that require authorization before allowing anyone into the complex. Simple gated apartment buildings are common in large cities in order to maintain security and keep the amenities for the use of those who live there. More serious gate arrangements are often to protect famous or infamous residents, government personnel, or visiting dignitaries.

Commonly, a gated community will offer residents services and accessible features. These may include playgrounds, barbecue areas, pools, hot tubs, and laundry facilities. More upscale areas may also provide gyms, health spas, private security workers, and golf courses. In large-scale gated areas like retirement communities, there may be local stores, restaurants and businesses all within the secured area of the complex. Some gated communities are so elaborate and offer so many services that residents have little reason to leave the area for necessities.

Gated communities are highly controversial, as they are often depicted as an elitist escape from an actual city or community that includes those too poor to afford the finer lifestyle. Critics suggest that residents of a gated community are detached from their locale, and do not see the problems of their town or city because they are gathered together in a homogeneous wealthy area. The actual physical gates keeping people out of the area are seen by some as an insult to personal freedom, and a means of discouraging interaction between economically different people.

Yet the rationale for creating secure housing for the famous or notable is clear: it ensures some privacy and safety for those most in need of it. In the days of entertainment photographers who are not against climbing trees or chasing celebrities, it is important that public figures have a safe place to retreat from exposure. For security purposes, guards and even private police firms may be necessary to protect famous people from violent crime in their homes. High-ranking government personnel in particular are in need of a gated community lifestyle, if only to protect them from threats to their privacy and their person.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By sneakers41 — On Feb 18, 2011

Latte31 - The same thing happens in a 55 and over community. Thses types of communities were set up for elderly residents who do not want to see kids or teenagers loitering around their community.

They want to mingle with likeminded residents and do not want to hear a baby crying or loud children fighting.

It is really their right to have these communities for themselves. Also, many of these retirement communities tend to offer special pricing for these seniors that live there and other accomadations as well that make a 55 gated community attractive to these seniors.

By latte31 — On Feb 15, 2011

I personally like the idea of an exclusive gated community. If you pay a lot of money for a home you also want to ensure that the appropriate level of security will follow.

I think that private gated communities offer privacy and a level of safety that usually comes with more expensive communities.

For example, many luxury gated communities in Miami do not allow access for anyone to enter the premises unless they live there.

The affluent beachfront neighborhood of Golden Beach in Miami is not gated because it is less than a mile long but access to its clubhouse is.

It is only for the town residents and it is gated so only the people that live in that small community can access the clubhouse that directly overlooks the ocean.

While people on the outside might feel that this is unfair to not allow those outside the community to enjoy this beautiful clubhouse, I disagree.

I feel that the people that bought these multimillion dollar homes deserve a little privacy from the general public.

After all these people probably maintain the cost of the clubhouse so they deserve exclusive rights to it.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis


With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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