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Gated and Common Interest Communities in Canada: Retirement Villages, CIDs, and the Evolving Ecology of Privatization

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Title: Gated and Common Interest Communities in Canada: Retirement Villages, CIDs, and the Evolving Ecology of Privatization


1
Gated and Common Interest Communities in Canada
Retirement Villages, CIDs, and the Evolving
Ecology of Privatization
  • Ivan Townshend
  • Dept. of Geography
  • University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
  • The Privatization of Urban Space, New Orleans,
    Feb26-28, 2004

2
Outline
  • Private communities and gated communities in
    Canada
  • Problems of definition, enumeration, scale,
    perception.
  • Private or Not? Gated or Not?
  • Explicit vs. Implicit gating (function and
    intent)
  • Retirement villages the dominant spatial
    expression of private communities.
  • Conceptualizing RVs / GCs as part of an evolving
    urban social ecology of nested and hierarchical
    privatization.
  • Preliminary case study of Calgary
  • 1960s/1970s recreational community developments
    (PUDs) set the stage for privatization (CIDs,
    HOAs etc.)
  • 1980s /1990s Flourishing of CIDs and HOAs
  • RVs as private nesting in public communities
  • RVs as private nesting in private communities
  • Post 1990s innovation, differentiation, club
    realms, intangible privatization, and spatial
    intensification
  • Conclusion Hemming in the public city by the
    private city.
  • Do we need to rethink models of the social
    ecology of the city?

3
Problems of definition, enumeration, scale,
perception
Grant 2003. As soon as we began the work we ran
into difficulty with the term gated. We
discovered quickly that planners do not share
consensus on the meaning of gated. Iterative
attempts at definition Gated communities are
multi-unit housing developments surrounded by
fences, walls or other barriers, and with streets
that are not open to general traffic. Gated
communities are multi-unit housing developments
with private roads that are not open to general
traffic because they have a gate across the
primary access. These developments may be
surrounded by fences, walls or other natural
barriers that further limit public
access. Gated communities are housing
developments on private roads that are closed to
general traffic by a gate across the primary
access. These developments may be surrounded by
fences, walls or other natural barriers that
further limit public access. we still found
that planners often used the term gated
community to include walled projects with open
street access. When the gate is left in open
position most of the time, we still consider the
community gated.
4
A crude enumeration of gated communities in
Canada (Grant 2003)
where entry to the development is or can be
restricted by gates across roadways
5
Problems of definition, enumeration, scale,
perception
  • Enumeration is Difficult
  • Local Planners dont know!.
  • Conceptual fuzziness in definitions.
  • Little / no planning or land use legislation on
    gating.
  • Estimated undercounting by factor of 3
  • The problem may be too dynamic to enumerate
  • Scale
  • Planners cant decide when its a condo
    development or a community.threshold problem.
  • Perception
  • Physically gated and ungated often perceived as
    the same thing
  • Completely walled vs partially walled
  • Vehicular access vs pedestrian access
  • Open vs closed gates? Perceived and enumerated as
    gated by functionally ungated
  • Order out of chaos? Towards a Typology.

6
Implicit gating / implicit fortification
Source J. Grant, Do Canadian planners have the
tools to deal with gated communities ?
7
Security is not the key engine of growth
  • Townshend 1997, 1999, 2002 etc.
  • Commodification of safety, community, well-being,
    social homogeneity, fulfillment etc.
  • Grant 2003
  • Of 257 projects
  • 10 have guards
  • 11 use security video surveillance
  • Our investigations to date DO NOT lead us to
    believe that Canadian gated projects are
    primarily about security

8
  • The crux of the confusion
  • Explicit gating vs. implicit gating vs. private
    space vs. public space
  • Explicit gating apparatus is not the same as
    functional gating apparatus
  • Implicit / symbolic gating may be sufficient in
    Canadian society
  • Effectively achieves the desired gating
    objective of privatization of space through
    territorial markers
  • signage
  • entrance columns (faux gates)
  • privacy warnings, etc.
  • Gating in Canada is generally simplistic,
    implicit, symbolic (pomerium)

9
Dysfunctional explicit gating Calgary, The
Mansions at Prominence Pointe
10
Dysfunctional explicit gating Lethbridge,
Medican development
11
Dysfunctional explicit gating Lethbridge,
Fairmount Park Villas
12
Dysfunctional explicit gating Lethbridge,
Parkridge Estates (mobile homes)
13
Implicit / symbolic gating Calgary, The Lake at
Heritage Pointe
14
Implicit / symbolic gating Calgary, Heritage
Pointe (Golf Course)
15
Implicit / symbolic gating Lethbridge,
Southmeadow Villas
16
Implicit / symbolic gating Calgary, Lake
Chaparral Village
17
Implicit / symbolic gating Calgary, Indian
Bluffs (Patterson)
18
  • The explicit / implicit problem is not unique to
    Canada.

Aalbers (2003) Of American cities .though
the image of the gated communities is one in
which a high solid wall is interrupted by a
single gate that is heavily guarded, most walls
are not that solid, are interrupted by various
gates, or are not even completely walled. Of
the Netherlands On a more abstract level of
analysis we could say many communities are gated
but not in a physical way.
19
  • Explicitly and implicitly gated communities are
    functionally similar.
  • Effectively create desired separation /
    exclusion
  • Same type of sod-off architecture
  • Create seams of partition (Atkinson and Flint
    2003)
  • Limit / control vehicular access (private road
    network, infrastructure)
  • Aim to create a sense of security, community,
    etc.
  • Are commodified by developers
  • Provide similar club realm (CID features,
    restrictive covenants etc.)

20
Mature Adult , Third Age, RVs, are the
dominant form of private / gated communities in
Canada
  • Townshend 1994, 1999, 2002 etc.
  • Grant 2003
  • The vast majority of GCs are oriented towards
    the active elderly (Third Age)
  • RVs (GCs) need to be considered within the
    broader evolution of the privatization of space
    in Canadian cities

21
Conceptualizing RVs / GCs as part of an evolving
urban social ecology of nested and hierarchical
privatization.
  • Preliminary case study of Calgary
  • Calgary is a city of communities
  • The 1960s / 70s public community
  • Late 1960s/1970s recreational community
    developments (PUDs) set the stage for
    privatization (CIDs, HOAs etc.)
  • 1980s /1990s Flourishing of CIDs and HOAs
  • RVs as private nesting in public communities
  • RVs as private nesting in private communities
  • Post 1990s innovation, differentiation, club
    realms, intangible privatization, and spatial
    intensification

22
Calgary is a city of communities
23
Typical 1960s / 1970s PUD The public
community.
Public domain community. Potentially unique club
realm by virtue of SES, location etc.
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Link to other public domains and communities
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Socially homogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
Boundary identity moderate, permeable
24
Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric
Link to other public domains, other communities
with unique identities Network of equal
communities amidst normal social
differentiation?
Public regional infrastructure (roads etc.)
Stage 1 (lt1970)
growth trajectories
growth trajectories
  • The individual community
  • Unique identity (bounding, name etc.)
  • Limited target market niche (SES, FAM)
  • Relative social homogeneity
  • (SES, FAM etc.)
  • Token housing diversity
  • Public space
  • Public infrastructure
  • Public parks, etc.
  • Link to public regional recreational systems,
    regional and urban public infrastructure etc.

growth trajectories
growth trajectories Eg. High SES sector
Public regional recreation / amenities
The urban realm
25
HAM, 1992
COU, 1991
HAR, 1991
Late 1960s / 1970s recreational community
developments (PUDs) set the stage for
privatization (CIDs, HOAs etc.)
ARB, 1992
VAR, 1972
Golf course communities Originally private Now
semi-private /
VAL, 1992
Lake Communities Private public rec
space Single or multiple HOA Controlled, guarded
access to private zones Separate Club features
COR, 1992
LKB, 1968
DOU, 1986
WIL, 1965
SHS, 1986
MCK, 1982
MID, 1977
SUN, 1980
26
1970s Experimentation Recreational Communities
(Explicitly Bundled EQPs) Single tier
privatization
Golf course communities
Artificial lake communities
Gated / secure recreational compound. Strict
partitioning of community space into public /
private domains
Non-gated, non secure partitioning of community
space. optional / semipublic amenity. Boundary
permeability.
Bonus recreational infrastructure, EQPs
etc. The commodification factor.
Extra-local public
voluntary
Link to private domain
HOA
Link to other public domains
Link to other public domains
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Boundary identity strengthened thru link to
private space
Boundary identity not strengthened thru explicit
link to private space
Moderately homogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
27
Lake Bonavista
28
Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric
Emerging complexity and fractionation
Latent
Stage 2 (1970s/80s)
  • The individual community
  • Unique identity (bounding, name etc.)
  • Limited target market niche (SES, FAM)
  • Relative social homogeneity
  • (SES, FAM etc.)
  • Token housing diversity
  • Public space
  • Public infrastructure
  • Public parks, etc.
  • Link to public regional recreational systems,
    regional and urban public infrastructure etc.
  • Emerging recreational communities, private and
    quasi-private space

Estab. 1 tier
Estab. 1 tier
Latent
The urban realm
29
HAM, 1992
COU, 1991
HAR, 1991
1980s /1990s Flourishing of CIDs and HOAs in
suburban periphery . Also a) 1980s RVs as
private nesting in public communities b)
1990s RVs as private nesting in private
communities
ARB, 1992
VAR, 1972
VAL, 1992
COR, 1992
LKB, 1968
DOU, 1986
WIL, 1965
Golf course communities Originally private Now
semi-private /
Lake Communities Private public rec
space Single or multiple HOA Controlled, guarded
access to private zones Separate Club features
SHS, 1986
MCK, 1982
MID, 1977
SUN, 1980
30
Mckenzie Lake
31
1980s Simultaneous Emergence of Niche
Sub-Communities (e.g retirement villages)
Explicitly gated
Implicitly gated
Permeable
Impermeable???
Private domain community. Unique club realm by
virtue of covenants, HOA etc.
Private domain community. Unique club realm by
virtue of covenants, HOA etc.
CID / HOA
Private road network / infrastructure
Private amenities
Private space
Functionally similar (identical?)
32
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33
Not quite Sun City!
34
1980s Niche Sub-Communities (e.g retirement
villages) Type 1 Nesting within older public
communities. Incipient privatization of space.
Public domain community. Potentially unique club
realm by virtue of SES, location etc.
Sub-community private domain (explicitly gated)
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Link to other public domains and communities
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Moderately homogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
Sub-community private domain (implicitly gated)
Boundary identity moderate, permeable
35
The origins of nested private retirement
villages (GCs?), ca. 1984 to 1994
36
Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric
Emerging complexity and fractionation
Latent
Stage 3 (early 1980s)
Incipient
Incipient
  • The individual community
  • Unique identity (bounding, name etc.)
  • Limited target market niche (SES, FAM)
  • Relative social homogeneity
  • (SES, FAM etc.)
  • Token housing diversity
  • Public space
  • Public infrastructure
  • Public parks, etc.
  • Link to public regional recreational systems,
    regional and urban public infrastructure etc.
  • Emerging niche communities (retirement villages,
    explicitly gated, implicitly gated)

Estab. 1 tier
Estab. 1 tier
HOA
Incipient
Incipient
Latent
The urban realm
The urban realm
37
1980s Niche Sub-Communities (e.g retirement
villages) Type 2 Nesting within newer
recreation communities. Two-tier / nested
privatization of space.
Gated / secure recreational compound. Strict
partitioning of community space into public /
private domains
Bonus recreational infrastructure, EQPs
etc. The commodification factor.
Sub-community private domain (explicitly gated)
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Resident link to private domain
Link to other public domains
Boundary identity strengthened thru link to
private space
Increasingly heterogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
Sub-community private domain (implicitly gated)
38
Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric
Emerging complexity and fractionation
Stage 4 (late 1980s)
  • The individual community
  • Unique identity (bounding, name etc.)
  • More diverse target market niches (SES, FAM)
  • Increasing social variety
  • (SES, FAM etc.)
  • Token housing diversity
  • Public space
  • Public infrastructure
  • Public parks, etc.
  • Link to public regional recreational systems,
    regional and urban public infrastructure etc.
  • Private RVs / GCs communities nesting in newer
    private CID community districts
  • 2 tier privatization of space.

The urban realm
39
Post 1990s innovation, differentiation, club
realms, intangible privatization, and spatial
intensification
  • Emergence of new thematic forms of CID.
  • Environment
  • E-Communities
  • Minor recreation amenity (ponds etc.)
  • New Urbanism themes etc.
  • Growing importance of Resident Club as the
    (organizing basis for new thematic CID focus).
  • Intangible privatization?
  • Almost universal CID / HOA in all new
    subdivisions
  • Continuation of private RVs as nested 2nd tier .

40
Examples Lake Communities.
Lake Chaparall
41
Examples Lake Communities.
Lake Chaparall
42
Examples Theme park (non-gated)
Somerset
43
Examples Theme park (non-gated)
Somerset
44
Examples New Urbanism
MacKenzie Towne
45
Examples Environment
Crestmont
46
Examples Environment
Cranston
47
Hansons Ranch
Communities forever program
48
Examples E-Community
Copperfield
49
Marthas Haven
50
Examples Club Realms
Tuscany
51
Examples Hidden pods / prestige cells
Rocky Ridge Point
52
The evolving and differentiated thematic focus of
Community District CIDs / HOAs over the last 30
years
53
The spatial expansion and infilling of community
districts with nested private retirement
villages (GCs?), ca. 1995 to 2004
54
gt 1990s New Trend / Theme Communities
Bonus natural environment features. Theme /
water park, E-Communities, New Urbanism
etc. Little physical manifestation of
privatization
Intangible / transparent boundary, Ideas,
Technology
Resident link to idea domain and clubhouse
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
HOA
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Link to other public domains
Boundary identity moderate, club community
identity
Increasingly heterogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
private clubhouse
55
gt 1990s New Trend / Theme Communities
Bonus natural environment features. Wetlands,
Theme / water park, E-Communities, New Urbanism
etc. Little physical manifestation of
privatization
Intangible / transparent boundary, Ideas,
Technology
Sub-community private domain (explicitly gated)
private clubhouse
Resident link to idea domain and clubhouse
HOA
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Link to other public domains
Normal array of public / recreational
infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)
Boundary identity moderate
Increasingly heterogeneous community ( SES, FAM,
housing stock etc.)
Sub-community private domain (implicitly gated)
56
Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric
Emerging complexity and fractionation
Stage 5 (early 2000s)
  • The individual community
  • Unique identity (bounding, name etc.)
  • More diverse target market niches (SES, FAM)
  • Relative social heterogeneity
  • (SES, FAM etc.)
  • Token housing diversity
  • Some Public space
  • Some Public infrastructure
  • Some Public parks, etc.
  • Continued Link to public regional
    recreational systems, regional and urban public
    infrastructure etc.
  • Private RVs / GCs communities nesting in newer
    private CID community districts. More complex
    variety in types, club realms, etc.
  • Continued 2 tier privatization of space.

More complex types
The urban realm
57
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58
Conclusion Hemming in the public city by the
private city?.
  • Do we need to rethink models of the social
    ecology of the city to include the new
    privatization of space?
  • An inverse pomerium?

59
The evolving and differentiated thematic focus of
Community District CIDs / HOAs over the last 30
years A new suburban model? Hemming in by CIDs
60
The picture in 2004 Community districts with at
least one retirement villa (GC?) Nested RVs
parallel the CID trendmulti-tier privatization
61
Situating private RVs within the urban social
fabric POP CHANGE
62
Situating private RVs within the urban social
fabric SES (Household Income)
63
Situating private RVs within the urban social
fabric SES (value of housing)
64
Situating private RVs within the urban social
fabric FAM / AGE (The Third Age?)
65
Situating private RVs within the urban social
fabric FAM / AGE (Families with Children at home)
66
Last word
  • McKenzie (2003)
  • the pomoerium was not necessarily a real wall,
    although it had physical markers. It was a
    symbolic, sanctified boundary that separated
    civilization from barbarism, order from chaos,
    and civil peace from anarchy

67
The public place-community realm?
Boundary tangibility and permeability?
The private-public place-community realm (club
realm)?
Higher order private CID club-realm
68
The public place-community realm?
Boundary tangibility and permeability?
The private-public place-community realm (club
realm)?
RVs as Nested private space and club realm
within higher order private club-realm
69
Acknowledgements
70
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71
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72
Latent
Incipient
Incipient
Est. 2 tier
Est. 1 tier
Est. 1 tier
Est. 2 tier
Incipient
Latent
Est. 1 tier
The urban realm
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