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Gated-ness, income segregation, and neighbourhood cohesion in Western Canadian metropolises.
This research investigated the relation between the degree of gated-ness of a neighbourhood and the level of neighbourhood cohesion among its residents. Such an investigation was prompted by the current practice of municipal planners for promoting a grid pattern of streets for neighbourhoods and linking such a pattern with principles of resilience and connectedness while at the same time condemning altogether the enclave pattern of curvilinear streets, loops and cul-de-sacs as being non-resilient and non-sustainable. Municipal planners seem to overlook the reasons behind the morphological development of postwar suburbs as well as overlook, in particular, socio-psychological effects of their physical structure and access configuration. This research introduces new typologies in order to differentiate neighbourhoods along those two structural aspects. By undertaking a comparative analysis of four case studies in two Western Canadian metropolises, this research argues that semi-gated neighbourhoods raise cohesion among residents. The major findings of the research are that residents’ sense of neighbourhood cohesion, for both its affective and interactive dimensions, increased in the case of neighbourhoods that had a sense of enveloping space, a sense of entry into a domain that is signalled by the degree of exclusion and seclusion of the development. This research does not claim that all neighbourhoods need to be single access ones. Rather, it suggests that in as much as a neighbourhood is successful in conveying a cohesive image for such a domain, in as much do residents identify with the neighbourhood and with each other. The aesthetic quality of such a domain plays a role of informing residents who gradually develop an embodied space such that residents of the neighbourhood could be identifiable from outsiders. Such a process of in-forming and embodiment sets a common ground for social acceptance, sense of familiarity, and facilitates social interaction among residents who have developed common norms and values over time.
CohesionGated communitiesCalgary, AlbertaSurry, B.C.Urban and regional planning
University of Calgary
Teaching and Learning