One of the most notable features of urbanisation in recent years has been the surge in popularity of gated residential communities and commercial parks.
Although often associated primarily with security, there is a lot more to the growing global trend than a peaceful night’s sleep.
These developments truly are a sign of the times for a number of reasons over and above need for heightened security, believes Chris Cilliers, chief executive and principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands.
“This trend has been one of the most widespread global patterns of development over the past three decades and, transcending cultures, the rise of gated communities has not only been prolific in the Western world but also in countries like Egypt, Turkey and Russia.
“People who prefer living in gated communities are seeking certain values, be it a sense of community, prestige, lifestyle, convenience or security.”
Convenience is also a key factor in the appeal of these properties.
“Since the advent of the digital age, we have become increasingly used to having every convenience at our fingertips or the click of a mouse and, in gated residential communities, especially lifestyle estates, this need is very much catered for.
“Many now have facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts swimming pools and gyms and, as the collective memberships to such facilities would costs an exorbitant amount, significant savings is an added benefit,” Cilliers says.
In the commercial sector, developments that are generally faring best are the newer parks or precincts which offer a safe environment and often the convenience of being mixed-use which means that staff need not even leave the property to have lunch or visit the hairdresser.
Shifting demographics have also been a major influencer, especially the fact that life expectancy today is higher than it has ever been. Increased congestion in cities too is driving people to seek peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle. Gated communities, even in the heart of cities, offer them a tranquil haven.
“As entry is restricted, there tends to be a lot less traffic in streets within gated communities which considerably cut down on the noise levels and the lack of traffic also creates a safer environment for children.
“There is also far less chance of them encountering strangers and, with dedicated communal play areas, it’s also easier for parents to monitor their kids,” she says.
Another advantage is the extra privacy.
Cilliers adds that people who enjoy living in clean and orderly environments are also attracted to these communities. “Estates generally have stricter community rules and codes of conduct which require everyone to take care of their homes and surrounds.”