“In the late 20th century, an ancient urban form began to reappear in modern settlements. Fortified and enclave developments have become an increasingly common feature of contemporary suburban building patterns,” write Jill Grant and Lindsey Mittelsteadt, two Canadian urban planning scholars.
This ancient urban form they are referring to is what we know as gated communities. They attract people because of heightened security concerns, a desire for quiet and order, or sometimes the prestige and luxury of a private, upscale residence. At Buzz, we love gated communities because we’re all about fences and gates.
You can categorize gated communities in many different ways, but this week we’re choosing five types to examine. Note, there may be overlap. If you’re considering a life behind glorious expanses of fences and gates, read on.
What makes a planned community different than an ordinary one that springs up willy-nilly? A plan, of course! Developers start with undeveloped land and consider how people could most conveniently and enjoyably call it home. Roads, houses, stores and other amenities are plotted accordingly. Depending on the target demographic, planners will add bike trails, community-wide WiFi or figure out how to best situate the development to access public transportation.
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed America’s first planned community, Riverside, in 1869. This development outside Chicago is still a desirable address today and is on the registry of National Historic Landmarks.
Master planned communities
This is a planned community on a grand scale. Usually, a master planned community has more than 2,500 acres of land. Sort of like living on a college campus, residents expect the community to meet most of their entertainment, recreational and social needs. Think tennis, swimming pools, golf, clubhouses, yoga classes, etcetera.
Golf course and lakefront properties
Many planned communities appeal to people with common interests. And one of the most popular of these common interests is golf. Developers often build golf communities on lakefront properties. Then when they’re not on the green, residents can sail their boats and paddle their kayaks. In certain circles, living in a lakefront golf community boosts your status and prestige.
Senior living and assisted living communities
Gated senior communities are often both attractive and practical. Retired people make new friends with their neighbors and have many social opportunities in their new communities. They also benefit from the security of the gates and guards. These communities designed for people 55 and older usually offer a good mix of recreation and access to medical and personal care as people age and need more help. Some include memory care for residents who develop dementia. Many senior gated communities have opened in California, Florida, and Texas, because what old person wants to slip on ice?
Luxury gated communities
According to The Mortgage Reports website, at least 10 million Americans live in our country’s more than 30,000 gated communities. On average, homes in gated communities command $30,000 more than ungated comps. But some homes in gated communities cost waaaaay more than America’s median home price of $221,500 (as reported by Zillow).
If you want to seriously up your prestige, buy into the Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club in Boca Raton, where you can stow your yacht in a full-service marina and play on a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Or, if you’re the woodsy type, you’ll enjoy the private forest at Conyers Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut. Los Angeles’ Hidden Hills lets you ride your horse to your elaborate ranch home, right in Los Angeles County. Britney Spears spent $20 million on her Hidden Hills home.
Here to help
Whether you’re a developer planning a big new gated community or an individual with your own private one-family community, Buzz is here to help. We’re ready to design and construct fences big and small. Give us a call today.