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City & Society

Urban Fear: Building the Fortress City

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Abstract

Currently one third of all new homes built in the United States are in gated residential developments, and eight million people already live in such communities. Secured neighborhoods are a logical extension of social and political processes producing the built environment of the late-capitalist city. Although walled and fortified communities are not new, these recent developments are private rather than public, and are exclusively residential. Fortress–like, that is, walled, gated and guarded communities encode fear—materially, not just metaphorically—producing a literal landscape of fear. The study is based upon interviews with residents from gated developments in Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio. [Urban fear, urban studies, suburbs, gated communities, landscapes of fear]

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