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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. Outline.

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

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Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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


Outline

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?


Problems of definition enumeration scale perception

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.


A crude enumeration of gated communities in canada grant 2003

Source: Grant 2003 (2003 count)

0

188

17

1

1

0

0

37

6

0

A crude enumeration of gated communities in Canada (Grant 2003)

“where entry to the development is or can be restricted by gates across roadways”


Problems of definition enumeration scale perception1

Problems of definition, enumeration, scale, perception

  • Enumeration is Difficult:

    • Local Planners don’t 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 can’t decide when it’s 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.


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit gating / implicit fortification

Source: J. Grant, Do Canadian planners have the tools to deal with gated communities ?


Security is not the key engine of growth

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…”


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Dysfunctional explicit gating:

Calgary, The Mansions at Prominence Pointe


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Dysfunctional explicit gating:

Lethbridge, Medican development


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Dysfunctional explicit gating:

Lethbridge, Fairmount Park Villas


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Dysfunctional explicit gating:

Lethbridge, Parkridge Estates (mobile homes)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit / symbolic gating:

Calgary, The Lake at Heritage Pointe


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit / symbolic gating:

Calgary, Heritage Pointe (Golf Course)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit / symbolic gating:

Lethbridge, Southmeadow Villas


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit / symbolic gating:

Calgary, Lake Chaparral Village


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Implicit / symbolic gating:

Calgary, Indian Bluffs (Patterson)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

  • 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”.

The explicit / implicit problem is not unique to Canada.


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

  • 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.)


Mature adult third age rvs are the dominant form of private gated communities in canada

“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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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


Calgary is a city of communities

Calgary is a city of communities


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Link to other public domains, other communities with unique identities

Network of “equal” communities amidst “normal” social differentiation?

Implications for the urban socio-spatial fabric:

Public regional infrastructure (roads etc.)

Stage 1 (<1970):

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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

VAL, 1992

  • 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

COR, 1992

LKB, 1968

WIL, 1965

DOU, 1986

SHS, 1986

MCK, 1982

MID, 1977

SUN, 1980


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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.)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Lake Bonavista


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

HOA

HOA

HOA

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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

WIL, 1965

DOU, 1986

  • Golf course communities

    • Originally “private”

    • Now semi-private /

SHS, 1986

  • Lake Communities

    • Private + public rec space

    • Single or multiple HOA

    • Controlled, guarded access to private zones

    • Separate “Club” features

MCK, 1982

MID, 1977

SUN, 1980


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Mckenzie Lake


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

CID / HOA

1980s: Simultaneous Emergence of Niche Sub-Communities(e.g retirement villages)

Explicitly gated

Implicitly gated

Impermeable???

Permeable

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?)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Not quite Sun City!


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

CID / HOA

CID / HOA

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The origins of “nested” private “retirement villages” (GCs?), ca. 1984 to 1994


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

HOA

HOA

HOA

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

HOA

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

CID / HOA

CID / HOA

HOA

“Normal” array of public / recreational infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)

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)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

HOA

HOA

HOA

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


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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 .


Examples lake communities

Examples: Lake Communities.

Lake Chaparall


Examples lake communities1

Examples: Lake Communities.

Lake Chaparall


Examples theme park non gated

Examples: Theme park (non-gated)

Somerset


Examples theme park non gated1

Examples: Theme park (non-gated)

Somerset


Examples new urbanism

Examples: New Urbanism

MacKenzie Towne


Examples environment

Examples: Environment

Crestmont


Examples environment1

Examples: Environment

Cranston


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Hanson’s Ranch

“Communities forever program”


Examples e community

Examples: E-Community

Copperfield


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Martha’s Haven


Examples club realms

Examples: Club Realms…

Tuscany


Examples hidden pods prestige cells

Examples: Hidden pods / “prestige cells”

Rocky Ridge Point


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The evolving and differentiated thematic focus of “Community District” CIDs / HOAs over the last 30 years


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The spatial expansion and infilling of community districts with “nested” private “retirement villages” (GCs?), ca. 1995 to 2004


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

> 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

Link to other public domains

“Normal” array of public / recreational infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)

Boundary identity moderate, club community identity

Increasingly heterogeneous community ( SES, FAM, housing stock etc.)

“private clubhouse”


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

CID / HOA

CID / HOA

> 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

Link to other public domains

“Normal” array of public / recreational infrastructure (parks, tot lots, etc.)

“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)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

HOA

HOA

HOA

HOA

HOA

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


Conclusion hemming in the public city by the private city

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?


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The evolving and differentiated thematic focus of “Community District” CIDs / HOAs over the last 30 years

A new suburban model?

Hemming in by CIDs


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The picture in 2004: Community districts with at least one “retirement villa” (GC?)

Nested RVs parallel the CID trend…multi-tier privatization


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Situating private RVs within the urban social fabric:

POP CHANGE


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Situating private RVs within the urban social fabric:

SES (Household Income)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Situating private RVs within the urban social fabric:

SES (value of housing)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Situating private RVs within the urban social fabric:

FAM / AGE(The Third Age?)


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

Situating private RVs within the urban social fabric:

FAM / AGE(Families with Children at home)


Last word

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”


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

The public place-community realm?

Boundary tangibility and permeability?

The private-public place-community realm (club realm)?

Higher order private CID “club-realm”


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

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”


Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements


Gated and common interest communities in canada retirement villages cids and the evolving ecology of privatization

HOA

HOA

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

voluntary

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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