needed to understand gated trend
23/08/2004 The Star
LET me comment on Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting's statement on gated
communities, Concern over gated housing projects "The Star, Aug 20).
I am glad the Housing and Local Government Minister is very
concerned about the latest development in the real estate and
However, it is imperative that gated communities should not be
viewed as purely a social or housing concern; it is a “disturbing”
feature in the urban landscape from the point of view of social and
Evidently, these gated and guarded residential developments are now
becoming an increasingly common feature in the landscape of Kuala
Lumpur Metropolitan Region (KLMR). Why is this so?
There are three main types of gated development: the
recreation-oriented “lifestyle community,” the upper-income “elite
community” and the barricaded “security zone community.”
Despite their differences, gated communities share common roots in
fear of the “other.”
Theoretically, gated development provides an image of security,
safety and privacy and developers and estate agents are keen to
emphasise these benefits as part of their marketing strategy and
there is a perception within the profession that buyers and tenants
are prepared to pay premium prices for such facilities,
However, there is little in the way of conclusive evidence that
gating does reduce crime. If real estate developers are allowed to
continue to develop gated communities, the result would be marked
spatial segregation and social exclusion in our cities.
Arguably, even without gated communities our cities have already
been characterised by socio-spatial segregation and division. These
developments will make social and physical planning in cities all
the more difficult.
What are the policies of the local planning authorities with regard
to gated developments in the context of the issues I have raised?
One could argue that gated developments in the KLMR is contrary to
the government's commitment to socially balanced and sustainable
Ong is right. A comprehensive study must be undertaken to understand
this “disturbing” feature in the urban (social and physical)
landscape of Malaysia.
Once we comprehend the situation, intervention strategies should
then be put in place.
PROFESSOR MORSHIDI SIRAT,
National Geography Association, Malaysia, Penang.