Gated Guangzhou: a research on the influence of fear of crime on the development of gated communities in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
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Gated communities seem to be appearing all over Guangzhou. According to Western literature, gated communities are mainly caused by fear of crime and are seen as a negative phenomenon, dangerous to the social aspects of city life. However, researchers have called for attention to the Chinese context. This research has tried to find out to what extent fear of crime has influenced the development of gated communities in Guangzhou. The main idea is that fear of crime leads to a wish for security and separation amongst citizens and urban planners, which, influenced by the Chinese context, leads to the development of gated communities. After interviewing Chinese urban planners and inhabitants of gated communities, it is found that fear of crime can be seen as the main reason for the development of gated communities in Guangzhou. However, walls have been present in Chinese urban planning for centuries and are not seen as negatively in China as in the West, influencing the decision to create gated communities. Also, Chinese gated communities differ from their Western counterparts and can be seen as a collection of clusters (zutuans) within one outer wall, while the area inside the outer wall is still semi-public area and accessible to non-residents. Although fear of crime was found to be the main reason for the development of gated communities in Guangzhou, the Chinese context should definitely be taken into account when researching gated communities in China.