Emergence of gated communities and their Socio-spatial impacts on urban areas: the case of Kileleshwa neighbourhood in Nairobi, Kenya.
Gated communities are relatively new phenomena that have become very popular globally and in Kenya. Gated communities have been observed not only in the USA but also in other parts of the world such as Lebanon, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Latin America (Webster, Glasze, & Frantze, 2002). They are security developments with designated perimeters, usually walls or fences, and controlled entrances that are intended to prevent entry by non-residents. They include new developments and older areas retrofitted with gates and fences, and they are found from the inner cities to the exurbs and from the richest neighbourhoods to the poorest (Blakely & Snyder, 1997a). These new residential areas occur in both new suburban developments and older inner city areas for the purposes of security and segregation. This thesis considers the emergence of gated communities in urban areas and discusses the reasons for their increasing numbers and popularity. Focusing on Nairobi city and in particular Kileleshwa neighborhood, the study was undertaken to determine the reasons for residents moving into gated communities and to examine the impact of spatial and social fragmentation of the same on future of urban planning and development. The study objectives were: to establish the main reasons for people moving into gated communities: to establish the extent to which gated communities contribute to a sense of community: to establish the extent to which gated communities contribute to spatial fragmentation of urban areas and implication of gated community development on planning of urban areas in future: and finally to establish interventions which can be adopted to reduce spatial and social fragmentation of the urban areas. Qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods were employed. Sources of primary data included personal observation, household surveys for the residents of gated communities and key informant interviews. Secondary data sources included journals, research materials, text books, previous studies on gated communities as well as internet sources. A sample of 60 households was selected using simple random sampling method and the data from the questionnaires was analyzed using statistical data analysis software, SPSS and consequently conclusions and recommendations were derived based on the findings. It has been found that the reasons why people moved into gated communities are for safety and security, proximity to facilities and services, proximity to their place of work as well as the availability of facilities and services within the gated communities. The study findings will help in understanding the diverse experiences of residents and their motivations for moving to gated communities and how the same would impact the urban areas. The study recommends that the Nairobi County Government should come up with planning policies that cater for and include gated communities so as to regulate their development in order to minimize their negative impacts on our urban areas.
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