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Keywords:

  • community;
  • private governance;
  • community associations;
  • gated residential estates

Abstract

Gated residential estates have become common features of the landscapes of cities around the world. The proliferation of these estates has attracted significant critical attention from urban scholars who have focused in particular on their contribution to urban segregation. Many commentators also question the possibility and existence of the neighbourhood-based community that is promised to potential residents by estates developers. They argue that it cannot be delivered primarily because meaningful community does not form in circumstances of privatism. In this paper, we examine what community means to the residents of Macquarie Links, a gated residential estate in the Australian city of Sydney. To this end, the paper traces the interplay of contradictions that define the expectation and experience of community and argues that rather than being in conflict, the experience of community for many in this gated estate is actually underpinned by the structures of private governance that define the estate. In other words, not only is community said to exist in this neighbourhood, but also it is not homogeneity and everyday neighbouring that are pivotal but the governance structure of the estate.