Gated communities in Latin American megacities: case studies in Brazil and Argentina
Within recent years, the expansion of gated communities has become an increasingly important element in the changing Latin American megacities and their suburban areas. In this paper, the internal structure and differentiation as well as sociospatial consequences of gated communities will be discussed, based on case studies from Rio de Janeiro, Saìo Paulo, and Buenos Aires. The increasing fortification of the privileged is a visible consequence of the continuing intensification of social disparities and spatial fragmentation. Gated communities in Latin American cities which are generally planned as a whole by project developers and designed with sophisticated security measures, can be classified according to their location into innercity and suburban types. They represent an especially dynamic real estate product with a high return of capital. Public control has, by far, less relevance than private interests. Therefore, gated communities can be seen as 'new extraterritorial spaces'. Within recent years, particularly, large edge-city -like projects have emerged in suburban areas. The success of gated communities can mainly be accounted for by the fear of crime. In this sense, they respond to social conflict and violence in the everyday life of the cities. At the same time, they are an expression of the increasingly diverging lifestyles of urban society under the influence of globalisation. With gated communities, new islands of wealth emerge in the ocean of poverty, which characterise the increasingly fragmented structure of the Latin American city.
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