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Living Behind Bars? An Investigation of Gated Communities in New Tampa, Florida by Scott E. Nonnemaker A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Geography College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D. Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D. Mark Hafen, Ph.D. Date Submitted: April 6, 2009 Keywords: restricted-access community, elite community, common interest development, community development distri ct, homeowners association Copyright 2009, Scott Nonnemaker
Acknowledgements I would like to take a moment to th ank all of the individuals who were instrumental in helping me throughout this entire project. I would like to sincerely thank my advisor and friend Dr. M. Martin Bosm an whose unwavering support and dedication was integral during this three and a half year process. You were always someone I could count on for thought provoking conversation, and gentle guidance. To my committee members, Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty and Dr. Mark Hafen, thank you for all your help and encouragement. My thesis is a better product for having had both of you as committee members, and I belie ve I am a better academic and person for having had you both as professors and fr iends during my undergra duate and graduate tenure at USF. I would like to express my deepest thanks to all of the reside nts of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton for welcoming me into their communities and homes, and allowing me talk with them, get to know them, and for letting me share their quite interesting stories in th is thesis. Without your assistance, this thesis could never have been written. Last but certainly not least, my endless appreciation and love goes to my family and friends, for their love, support, and pa tience throughout my en tire graduate school journey, especially my wife, Nicole. Thank yo u for standing by me, as I close this very important chapter of my life, only to start the next exciting one.
i Table of Contents List of Tables iii List of Figures v List of Maps vii Abstract viii Chapter One: Introduction 1 Chapter Two: Research Objectives 3 Study Hypotheses 3 Study Research Questions 4 Chapter Three: Study Area 5 A Brief History of Tampa 6 Spatial Distribution of Gated Communities in Tampa 7 Arbor Green 8 Hunters Green 11 Grand Hampton 13 Chapter Four: Literature Review 16 Definition of Gated Community 17 History 17 Spatial Distribution 19 Different Classifications 21 Demographic Trends 22 Private Governance 23 Homeowners Associations in CIDs 26 Community Development Districts in CIDs 26 Privileging Rules over a Sense of Community in CIDs 27 Socio/Economic Push/Pull Factors 29 Fear of Crime 29 Desire for Privacy/Seclusion 30 The Search for Homogeneity 30 Lack of Trust in Public Government 31
ii Chapter Five: Methodology 33 Quantitative Methodology 35 Structured Surveys 36 Qualitative Methodology 52 Semi-Structured Interviews 52 (Con)textual Sources 55 Analysis of the Qualitative Data 57 Chapter Six: Quantitative Analysis (Analysis of Structured Interview) 60 Demographic Analysis 62 Why This Community? (Quantitative Analysis) 72 Perceptions about Life in Gate d Communities (Quantitative Analysis) 93 Perceptions of Security and the Aest hetics of the Community 97 Perceptions of Private Governance a nd Community Involvement 98 Chapter Seven: Qualitative Analys is (Analysis of the Semi-Struc tured Interviews) 104 Why this Community? (Qualitative Analysis) 106 Security 107 Aesthetic Appeal 111 Maintaining Property Values 113 Community Interaction 115 Privacy and Amenities 117 Private Governance 121 Perceptions about Life in Gate d Communities (Qualitative Analysis) 123 Perceptions about Security 124 Perceptions of Social Interaction vs. Economic Responsibility 129 Chapter Eight: Final Conclusions & Opportun ities for Additional Research 137 List of References 143 Appendix A: Structured Survey Questions 147 Appendix B: Letter of Consent 154 Appendix C: Semi-Structured Interview Guide Ques tions 156 Appendix D: Coding Sheet for Collected Survey Data 160
iii List of Tables Table 3.1 The thirteen separate neighborhoods w ithin Arbor Greene. 9 Table 3.2 The twenty-four separate neighborhoods within Hunters Green 11 Table 3.3 The ten separate proposed neighborhoods within Grand Hampton 14 Table 5.1 Summary Table for Number of Homes which received a Questionnaire by Spa tial Category. 46 Table 6.1 The Cronbachs alpha for 1) gated community pull-factors; 2) perceptions of aesthetic appe al; and 3) Perceptions of the Homeowners Association. 61 Table 6.2 (a) A comparative analysis of the gender makeup between the respondents of this stud y (2007) and the entire New Tampa area (2000). 66 Table 6.2 (b) A comparative analysis of the racial/ethnic makeup between the respondents of this st udy (2007) and the entire New Tampa area (2000). 67 Table 6.2 (c) A comparative analysis of the annual household income levels between the respondent s of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa area (2000). 67 Table 6.2 (d) A comparative analysis of the marital status between the respondents of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa area (2000). 67 Table 6.2 (e) A comparative analysis of the length of residency between the respondents of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa area (2000). 68 Table 6.3 The relationships betw een the informants desire for security within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 75 Table 6.4 The relationships betw een the informants desire for
iv aesthetic appeal within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the samp le. 77 Table 6.5 The relationships betw een the informants desire for property values within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 80 Table 6.6 The relationships be tween the informants desire for community interaction within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 82 Table 6.7 The relationships betw een the informants desire for privacy within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 84 Table 6.8 The relationships betw een the informants desire for amenities within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 87 Table 6.9 A statistical breakdown of how often informants used the different amenities within their respective gated community. 89 Table 6.10 The relationships betw een the informants desire for private governance within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. 91 Table 6.11(a) The relationships betw een those factors which influenced informants to move into a ga ted community, and the perceptions they have regarding the security and aesthetic appeal of their community. 95 Table 6.11(b) The relationships betw een those factors which influenced informants to move into a ga ted community, and the perceptions they have regarding their Homeowners Association, as well as how much they interact with their neighbors 96 Table 7.1 The demographic, geog raphic, and spatial distribution of the seventeen interview informants for this study 105
v List of Figures Figure 3.1 (a) The Sign at the main entrance of Arbor Greene 10 Figure 3.1 (b) The staffed guard house at the Main Entrance of Arbor Greene 10 Figure 3.1 (c) The Clubhouse in Arbor Greene 10 Figure 3.2 (a) The entrance to Osprey Pointe; 1 of 6 privately gated neighborhoods within Hunters Green 12 Figure 3.2 (b) The sign at the main entrance at Hunters Green 12 Figure 3.2 (c) The staffed guard house at the rear entrance of Hunters Green 12 Figure 3.3 (a) The sign at the main entrance of Grand Hampton 14 Figure 3.3 (b) The staffed guard house at the main entrance of Grand Hampton 15 Figure 3.3 (c) The clubhouse in Grand Hampton 15 Figure 6.1 (a) The demographic breakd own by gender of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study 62 Figure 6.1 (b) The demographic breakdown by age of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study 63 Figure 6.1 (c) The demographic breakdow n by ethnicity of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study 63 Figure 6.1 (d) The demographic breakdown by income level of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study 64 Figure 6.1 (e) The demographic breakdown by age of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study 64 Figure 6.1 (f) The demographic breakdown by whether or not those individuals who participated in the surv ey portion of this study have dependents < 18 living at their residence 65
vi Figure 6.1 (g) The demographic breakdown of how long each individual who participated in the survey portion of this study had lived in his/her residence 65
vii List of Maps Map 3.1 A map of the study area 5 Map 3.2 A map of the relative location of the three gated communities 6 Map 5.1 A map of those properties in Grand Hampton randomly selected to receive a questionnaire 48 Map 5.2 A map of those properties in Hunters Green randomly selected to receive a questionnaire 49 Map 5.3 A map of those properties in Arbor Greene randomly selected to receive a questionnaire 50
viii Living Behind Bars? An Investigation of Gated Comm unities in New Tampa, Florida Scott E. Nonnemaker ABSTRACT With protective gates and guard booths restricting access to their entrances, master-planned gated communities have become a dominant form of suburban development throughout much of the country. Many home builders, developers, and real estate companies promote gated communities as a developmental step towards the creation of a real-life utopia. However, many academics, like Karina Landman and Martin Schonteich (2002), argue that their ex istence simply marks a new chapter in the fragmentation and polarization of so cieties all across the world. This study used a mixed methods appro ach to analyze the demographic makeup of individuals living in gated communities in New Tampa, Florida, as well as the different socio-economic motiva tions and perceptions which residents had regarding life within their respective community. The resear ch questions for this study were grounded in the latest academic research and so cial theory surrounding gated communities, particularly the works of Setha Low (2003) and Theresa Caldeira (2000). The three gated communities investigated in this study were Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Using demographic data obtained from structured questionnaires, this study found that these three communities were socio-economically
ix homogenous with a large percentage of reside nts: (1) having a high median income; (2) being Caucasian; and (3) being married. Us ing data obtained from semi-structured interviews, this study found that the desire for security and the desire to maintain property values were the two most important considerations for residents when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Additionally, for most informants, the perceptions of social practices and conditions in the three gated communities within the study area coincided with the desires and needs that these residents originally had when deciding to move into their respective community. As Geography is the study of uneven soci al relations and spatial structures, these findings were used to fill gaps of knowledg e which existed prior to this study with respect to gated communities in the Tampa Bay area, as well as to provide the discipline of geography with a more comprehensive understanding of how these communities in Tampa affect the conceptualization, negotiation, and access to space.
1 Chapter One Introduction For anyone living in the United States today, it has become nearly impossible to drive down the road without passing a gated community. With protective gates and guard booths restricting access to their entrances, these maste r-planned communities have become a dominant form of suburban deve lopment throughout much of the country. Many home builders, developers, and real estate companies promote gated communities as a developmental step towards the creatio n of a real-life utopia. However, many academics, like Karina Landman and Martin Schonteich (2002), argue that their existence simply marks a new chapter in the fragmentation and polarization of societies all across the world. In addition, the restrictive bound aries surrounding these communities represent an ongoing attempt to separate and control the interaction between different races and economic classes. Finally, the constructi on of gated communities represents a fierce battle over the redistribution of increasingly scarce public resources. Will these resources be publicly controlled and disbursed, or privately consumed and managed? Why have gated communities becomes so popular in many regions of the United States? What is so special about life within these communities, or so undesirable about the world outside of these communities, that individuals and families are voluntarily confining themselves inside of gates, fe nces, and walls? These types of questions
2 regarding gated communities have fueled research by academics in various disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and geography. In the beginning of Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America (2003), Dr. Setha Low, a profe ssor of Anthropology at the City University of New York City, asked the follo wing question about her sister who lived in a gated community: What is she doing living behind gates, with a guard who watches her coming and going on a video camera, and regulate d by a thick book of rules dictating everything from the color of her Christmas tree lights to the size of her trash can (Low 2003, p. 6)? Why are individuals and families all across the country attracted to the kind of lifestyle which can be, or at least is perceived to be, found within the enclosed perimeter of gated communities? Finding the answer to this question has spawned a growing literature on gated communities. Likewise, attempting to provide answers to this question and related questions was the primary focus of this study.
3 Chapter Two Research Objectives The goal of this study was to obtain prim ary data through an investigation of residents living in the Arbor Greene, H unters Green, and Grand Hampton gated communities, which are all located in Tampa, Florida. The data were then analyzed to uncover those socio-economic and sociocultural issues which surround gated communities in the New Tampa area. In addition, the data were evaluated for any commonalities or differences between the study area and those areas which were used in other studies about gated communities. To that end, the following hypotheses were formulated regarding the three gated communities within the study area. 1. The three gated communities within the study area will be socio-economically homogenous, with a high median household income; a high percentage of Caucasian residents; and a relatively high percentage of families with children living within the communities. 2. Individuals living in the gated communities of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton will perceive their respective communities to be safe; to be aesthetically pleasing, to maintain stable property values; and to have a strong sense of community feeling. 3. The social push/pull factors most commonl y cited by residents living in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hamp ton as a reason for wanting to live in these gated communities will be: fear of crime, desire for seclusion, and a general sense of distrust of the ability of local governing bodies.
4 To test the validity of the above hypotheses, this research pr oject attempted to answer the following questions within the context of the study area: Are the gated communities of Arbor Gr eene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton demographically homogenous? Do the residents perceptions of so cial practices and conditions in the three gated communities within the study area coincide with the desires and needs that residents originally had when deciding to move into their respective community? What social push/pull factors exist to create a draw for individuals wanting to live in these three gated communities (i.e., fear, crime, desire for seclusion, socio-economic status, etc.)? It is important to note that in no way did this study use the term perception the way it is used in risk perception and hazard s research. Instead, this study only used the term perception in its generic form as it is defined in the Oxford Dictionary namely: Perception noun1) The ability to become aware of something through the senses. 2) The process of perceiving. 3) A way of interpreting or understanding something. 4) Intuitive understanding and insight.
5 Chapter Three Study Area The research site for this study was the New Tampa area, an incorporated part of the City of Tampa, which is located in the northern part of Hillsborough County, Florida (Map 3.1). More specifically, this study researched the elite gated communities (Blakely and Snyder 1997) of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton (Map 3.2). Map 3.1 A map of the study area in relation to the location of the city of Tampa, and other important municipalities and unincorporated communities in the county.
6 Map 3.2 A map of the relative locations of the three gated communities in New Tampa A Brief History of Tampa The city of Tampa was incorporated on January 18, 1849, and at the time had only 185 inhabitants (U.S. Census Office, 1854) During the late nineteenth century, Tampa became a major economic center for phosphate mining and cigar production. As a result, the railroad made its way to Tampa by 1885. During the Spanish-American War, the city was an embarkation point and tr aining center for over 30,000 federal troops. Throughout the early part of the twentieth century, cigar manufacturing was the driving force of Tampas economy, with shipping and tourism becoming more economically important industries to the city after the Great Depression (http://www.tampagov.net 2007). In 1956, the University of South Fl orida was built, which sparked suburban
7 expansion in both the northern part of Tampa, as well as in the nearby municipality of Temple Terrace. The earliest types of gated communities in Tampa were developed in suburban areas in the form of retirement communities. Sun City Center was the first major planned retirement community in the Tampa Bay re gion, and was founded in 1962 by the Dell Webb Corporation (http://www.suncitycenter.com 2007). Retirement communities, similar to Sun City Center, made up a larg e percentage of suburban developments in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk Counties pr ior to 1980. From 1970 to 2000, the population of the central City of Tampa increased by just 9% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Conversely, during the same thirty year pe riod, the population in the suburbs of Tampa increased over 209% (U.S. Census Bureau 2000)! Such spatial discrepancies in population growth indicated that suburban grow th was the dominant development pattern in Tampa after 1970. Spatial Distribution of Gated Communities in Tampa Some suburban areas located on Tampas pe riphery have existed almost as long as the city of Tampa itself. For example, Brandon was actually founded back in 1857. However, the suburban communitys populati on remained quite low until after 1980. By the year 2000, over 77,000 people lived in Bran don, and with an estimated population of 88,657 in 2006, the suburb is currently the la rgest unincorporated community in the state of Florida (American Community Survey. U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). On the other hand, other suburban areas have only been in existence for a couple of decades. In 1988, a 24-square mile area of land in norther n Hillsborough County was annexed by Tampa. This area would become known as New Tampa, and by 2000, grew to over 22,000
8 inhabitants (U.S Census Bureau, 2000). According to the New Tampa Community Council, by 2013, one-third of Hillsborough countys residents will be living in New Tampa (http://www.newtampa.org 2006). A major component of New Tampas gr owth has been the development of prestigious master-planned gated communities. The first suburban elite gated communities of Tampa, such as Hunters Green and Tampa Palms in New Tampa, became the models for the type of restri cted and isolated communities which now dominate the suburban landscape of the region. According to Low (2003), as of 2003, gated communities accounted for over eighty percent of home sales of $300,000 or more in the Tampa suburbs. From 1990 to 2000, New Tampas population increased by 273% (Census Bureau, 2000). Moreover, the census tract which contains Hunters Green increased by an amazing 2,525% over the same ten year period (Census Bureau, 2000)! Arbor Greene Arbor Greene is a 596 acre master-planne d gated community located in the heart of New Tampa (http://www.arborgreene.com 2008). The development originally consisted of thirteen differe nt neighborhoods, four of whic h have their own privatelygated entrances within the restricted-access co mmunity (Table 3.1). According to First in Real Estate Inc., a real estate company that operates specifically within the New Tampa area, as of 2005, the price of homes in Arbor Greene ranged from the $180,000s to over $500,000. Construction of a fourteenth neighbor hood consisting of multi-resident luxury carriage homes was completed within Arbor Gree ne in the summer of 2007. According to Lennar Homes and U.S. Home, as of 2007, th e price of these carriage homes ranged from the $270,000s to over $300,000.
9 A large community sign and lavish landscaping signal the main entrance to Arbor Greene (Fig. 3.1a). Access to the entire community is restricted by a gate and a staffed guard booth at the entrance (Fig. 3.1b). Exclusive amenities within the community include two swimming pools, eight lighted HarTrutennis courts, ten neighborhood parks, a 7,000 square foot community center a 3,400 square foot health center, and 90 acres of lakes (Fig. 3.1c) (http://www.arborgreene.com 2008). Arbor Greene is privately governed by the Arbor Greene Community Development District (CDD). This entity is responsible for maintaining community-wide improvements in the common areas of the ma ster-planned development. These common areas include the roads, street lights, water and sewage lines, community amenities (i.e., clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pools), and the entrance gate, guard house, and community sign (http://www.arborgreene.com 2008). According to the Hillsborough County Property Appraisers website, as of Janua ry 2007, at the time of this study, there were 1011 single family homes privat ely owned within Arbor Greene. Table 3.1 The thirteen separate neighborhoods within Arbor Greene
10 Fig 3.1 (a) The sign at the ma in entrance of Arbor Greene Fig 3.1 (b) The staffed guard house at the main entrance of Arbor Greene Fig 3.1 (c) The clubhouse in Arbor Greene Source : Author
11 Hunters Green: Hunters Green, which was built in 1989, is a master-planned ga ted community of nearly 1,400 acres located in New Tampa off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard (http://www.huntersgreen.com 2008). The development consists of 24 separate neighborhoods (Table 3.2), six of which are pr ivately gated inside the larger community (Fig. 3.2a). According to First in Real Esta te Inc., as of 2005, the price of homes in Hunters Green ranged from the $180s to over $1,000,000. Exclusive amenities within the community include the Tennis and Swim Center, which includes an Olympic size lap pool, te nnis courts, a fitness center, and an 18-hole golf course with an exclusive c ountry club (http://www.huntersgreen.com 2008). The main entrance to Hunters Green is marked by a large wall with the communitys name etched on it (Fig. 3.2b). Both the main and rear entrances to the community are restricted by a staffed guard house (Fig. 3.2c). Hunt ers Green is privately governed by The Hunter's Green Community Association, Inc ., which is responsible for maintaining all common area property, administering controlled access, and enforcing deed restrictions and community rules (http://www.huntersgreen.com 2008). According to the Hillsborough County Appraisers website, as of August 2006, there were 1469 single family homes privately owned within Hunters Green. Table 3.2 The twenty four separate neighborhoods within Hunters Green
12 Fig 3.2 (a) The entrance to Osprey Pointe, 1 of 6 privately gated neighborhoods within Hunters Green Fig 3.2 (b)The sign at the main entrance of Hunters Green Fig 3.2 (c) The staffed guard house at the rear entrance of Hunters Green Source: Author
13 Grand Hampton According to their community website, Grand Hampton is New Tampas latest master-planned gated community. The first home in the development was sold in May 2004, and the community is expected to grow in to ten separate neighborhoods (Table 3.3) consisting of about 1,100 homes upon completion (http://www.grandhampton.com 2009). According to the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, as of January, 2007 (when the data was collected for the study), there were 317 single family homes privately owned within the gated community. Grand Hamp ton is located on the southern side of County Line Road on the outer edge of the New Tampa area. The private road leading up to the main entrance to the community is surrounded by two lakes, each with a water fountain, and two large walls containing the community name (Fig. 3.3a). Access to the community is restricted by a staffed guard boot h (Fig. 3.3b). At the time of the study, the development consisted of fi ve exclusive neighborhoods, but, as stated above, was expected to eventually have as many as te n separate neighborhoods. According to First in Real Estate Inc., as of 2005, the price of homes in Grand Hampton ranged from the high $200s to over $1 million. Exclusive amenities within the community include four lighted tennis courts, resort-style swimming pools including a wa terslide, and an 8,300 square foot clubhouse (Fig. 3.3c). Moreover, Grand Hampton appears to be promoting nature and tranquility, as the community has set aside forested areas, acres of wetland preserves, and in the future plans to build a nature park and ca noe outpost (http://www.grandhampton.com 2009). It is important to note, however, that many of these amenities were still under development at the time of this study.
14 Table 3.3 The ten separate proposed neig hborhoods within Grand Hampton (as set forth by the Master Plan of Grand Hampton) Fig 3.3 (a) The sign at th e main entrance of Grand Hampton
15 Fig 3.3 (b) The staffe d guard house at the main entrance of Grand Hampton Fig 3.3 (c) The clubhouse in Grand Hampton; Source: Author
16 Chapter Four Literature Review In order to properly investigate the vari ous perceptions and socio-economic issues which surround the three specific gated communitie s within the study area, it is necessary to first review the relevant literature and develop a working theoretical framework for gated communities in general. This chapter reviewed and explored the relevant literature via several extensive (Sayer 1984, 1992, 2000) questions regarding various aspects of gated communities. Extensive questions attempt to develop a general understanding of the phenomena, while intensive questi ons investigate underlying causes and mechanisms surrounding the phenomena ( ibid ). Some of the extensive questions which will drive the literature review include: When did the concept of gated communities begin, and in what geographic locations are these communities concentrated? What are the general characteristics of gated communities? What is the nature of self-governance in these types of communities? This extensive investigation of these types of questions contributed to the development of a firm theore tical and historical foundation of knowledge with respect to gated communities as a whole. To that end, I incorporated many of the theories and concepts outlined in this chapter into th e empirical research conducted for the gated communities of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton.
17 Gated Communities: A Definition The most noticeable characteristic of a gate d community found in the literature is the gates, fences, and/or walls that restrict access into a development. In Behind the Gates (2003), Setha Low defines a gated community as: a residential development surrounded by walls, fences, or earth banks covered with bushes and shrubs, and a secured en trance. In some cases, protection is provided by inaccessible land such as a na ture reserve and, in a few cases, by a guarded bridge (Low, 2003, 12). Some communities have immense concrete walls surrounding their borders with a large, lavish cast-iron gate that sw ings open and shut with the passing of each automobile. Other developments are surrounded by an unassuming chain-link fence, and have a simple wooden arm for a gate to deter acce ss to the community. In some communities, typically the wealthier ones, a driver must check in with a security guard before being granted access, while in other neighborhoods a ke y code must be entered or a card must be swiped to gain entrance. Gated communities can be maximum security or minimum security, with the former signifying greater exclusivity and social status. The appearance and design of the physical barriers may vary from one community to another, but they all perform the same function of restricting access to public space. Roads, parks, and open spaces located inside the enclosures of ga ted communities are not readily accessible to individuals who do not live in side of the development. Gated Communities: A Brief History Throughout human history, fences, walls and barriers have been erected around public spaces. Fortifications ar ound cities and settlement s were designed as a source of protection for those individuals privileged enough to reside inside of them. As far back as 300 B.C., Romans built walls around their settl ements in Europe. Nobles in England
18 placed fortified barriers around their palatia l homes to protect themselves from the barbaric acts of the poor (Low, 2003). New Yorks Tuxedo Park epitomized the type of gated communities that were first built in the United States. This exclusive development was a hunting and fishing retreat with a barbed -wire fence to restrict access (Low, 2003). For the most part, however, walls and gates were used exclusively to restrict space occupied only by royalty, the military, or the most elite in society. It was not until the creation of master-planned developments in the mid to late twentieth century that, for the first time, middle-class families were able live in homes that were surrounded by restrictive barriers. In the United States, beginning in the 1960s, master-planned developments first took shape in the form of retirement communitie s. The majority of these early restricted access communities were built in the states of Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. Early gated neighborhoods, however, were pr imarily designed and reserved for uppermiddle class and wealthy senior citizens and retirees. It was not until the mid to late 1970s that urban developers started focusing on attracting middle and upper-middle class working individuals and families to these re stricted-access sub-divisions. According to Setha Low (2001), gated communities became subs tantially more desirable by means of a shift in social, political, and economic po licies which took place during the 1970s and 1980s. During these years, the prioritization of free market and capitalistic values, along with the growing popularity of conservatism and populism ideologies, helped facilitate the production of a two-class system in the United States between the elites and the common people (Low, 2001). The creation of gated communities became a way for the
19 financially privileged to contro l and patrol the urban poor fro m within the safe confines of their fences and gates (Davis, 1990). Moreover, the continued reloca tion of capital (Low, 2001) and deindustrialization of urban cente rs, along with the continued development of interstates and beltways, helped increase the demand for the development of gated communities along the suburban periphery. As a result, the number of gated communities in the United States has grown exponentially over the last twenty years. In 1997, it was estimated that there were over 20,000 gated commun ities across the country (Blakely, 1997). Additionally, by 1997, it was believed that nearly eight out of every ten new housing development projects were ga ted (Blakely, 1997). By 1998, there were approximately 16 million Americans (6% of all American househol ds) living within the confines of gated communities (Low, 2003). Clearly, gated communities have become a significant if not yet dominant developmental design on the urban landscape. Gated Communities: Spatial Distribution Edward Blakely argues that since the 1980s, gated communities have become ubiquitous throughout much of the United St ates (Blakely, 1997). Even areas in the northeastern part of the country have beco me common sites for ga ted communities. Gates were considered rare in Long Island, New York, prior to 1990. However, since the early 1990s, older developments in this area, incl uding single family homes, townhouses, and even condominium complexes, have been gent rified to include a surrounding fence and a guardhouse at the entrance (Low, 2003). In a recent study, Tom Sanchez and R obert E. Lang (2002) investigated the regional variation in the percentages of hous eholds who live in gated communities in the
20 United States. Their goal was to use this empirical data to examine the spatial distribution of gated communities throughout the country. They found that, with 11.1% of households residing in gated communities, the western region of the United States had the highest percentage of households living in restri cted access communities in the country. The southern region followed with 6.8% of house holds, the northeastern region came in third with 3.1%, and the Midwest came in last with only 2.1% (Low, 2003). Even though the western region of the United States contains the most gated communities, the empirical data show that neighborhoods with restricted access are found throughout most of the country. Gated communities, however, are not limited to the United States. Countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia are all beginning to construct their own variations of restricted access developments. For instance, in South Africa and Brazil, gated communities are viewed as a source of protection from urban violence (Low, 2003; Caldeira, 2000). In China, prestigious gated developments are being built to provide a luxurious and exclusive environment for th e countrys emerging economic elites (Low 2003). Many countries are incorporating their own culture and architectural designs into these gated communities. However, even though gated communities abroad may visibly look different than gated developments in th e United States, the restrictive nature and functional requirements informing these developments remains the same regardless of the country geographic location, as evidenced in the studies conducted by Caldeira (2000) and Low (2003).
21 Gated Communities: Different Classifications The types of communities that erect walls, fences, or other physical barriers around their borders tend to be as diverse as the gates which block their front entrances. In other words, gated communities are subject to processes of internal spatial fragmentation and hyper-differentiation. For instance, more exclusive residential complexes generally are enclosed by high walls which obstruct any view into these communities. Conversely, more modest gate d communities may only have simple chain link fences surrounding their perimeters. Sin ce the 1990s, restrictive barriers have even become a common sight around the peri phery of townhouse developments. In Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States (1997), Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder distinguish betw een three primary classifications of gated communities based on the needs of their residents. Their first category includes lifestyle communities, which use a gate to separate the outside world from the leisure activities taking place inside (Blakely and Snyder 1997). Generally, these communities provide extensive amenities and services to their residents. Retirement communities, as well as golfing developments, are typical examples of lifestyle communities. Their second category includes elite communities, which emphasize prestige and distinction (Blakely and Snyder, 1997). These exclusive communities usually cater to high income individuals and families. In these developments, amenities and services are designed to fit the needs of business peopl e constantly on the move, and generally include, but are not limited to, racquetball courts, on-site golf courses, a universal gym, a sauna or hot tub, and an on-site masseuse. These communities generally are enclosed by
22 high walls, and are completely isolated from the outside world, including from other gated communities which may share the same residential space. Blakely and Snyder (1997) identify the third type of gated communities as security zones, which use walls and fences as a protective barrier against the outside world (Blakely and Snyder, 1997). These comm unities usually contain modestly priced homes, and are located in areas that are perceived to be threatened by crime. Amenities and services, if they exist at all, are usually minimal in security zone communities. Restrictive barriers are usually built as a way to prevent crime and to protect the property values of the residents of these communities. An example of a security zone is the city perch, which is a fenced-in neighborhood located in the higher crime areas of a center city (Low, 2003). Gated Communities: Demographic Trends Gated developments, whethe r intentionally or not, ha ve been found to foster demographically homogenous communities. Tom Sanchez and Robe rt E. Lang (2002) discovered two distinct demographic types of gated communities: those developments that consist of primarily white, financially secure homeowners; and those communities which are made up of mostly minority renter s with modest to low incomes (Low, 2003). Much of the reason for this dissimilarity between communities lies in the fact that most master-planned developments are designed for individuals and families within particular income brackets. For example, home builder s generally construct various models of homes in a certain community that are relatively similar in price, so that property values remain more consistent and stable. As a result, only individuals and families within a particular income bracket can afford to purchase these homes which are being built
23 throughout the entire community. This leads to the spatial concentration of specific economic classes in particul ar gated communities. On the macro-economic level, Sanchez and Lang (2002) argue that white hous eholds tend to have higher incomes than minorities, and, therefore, are more likely to reside within gated communities. It is important to note, however, some newer gated development projects have been planned to include homes built for di fferent economic classe s inside the same fenced-in area. This type of development is called inclusionary zoning (Calavita, 2004), and is an attempt to deal with the per ception of spatial and social polarization in housing policy. For example, at the time of data collection for this study, there was a development being built in Pasc o County, Florida, called Wiregrass Ranch. The goal of this master-planned community was to include various housing types to cater to different socio-economic groups. Eventually, if the plan would have been carried out, Wiregrass Ranch would have had retirees upper class individuals, a nd working class people all residing within the same fenced-in community albeit in different sections of the development. However, in January, 2008, the ma ster builder for this project backed out, instantly halting any further development for Wire Grass Ranch (Wiatrowski, 2008). Future empirical investigation will be required to see if such attempts at limited spatial integration will significantly reduce the demographic homogeneity that currently is found to characterize most gated communities throughout the United States. Gated Communities: Private Governance Gated communities are a type of common interest development (CID). The State of California Department of Real Estate defines a common interest development as:
24 a community which allows individual owners the use of common property and facilities, and provides for a system of self-governance through an association of the homeowners within the CID. (http://www.dre.ca.gov/cidinfo.htm ) According to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the emergence of CIDs has resulted in a transition from traditional government control to management by privatized governance with regard to land use, design decisions, and the provision of basi c goods and services (Ben-Joseph, 2004). Residents who live in CIDs te nd to be in favor of private governance because it allows them to choose which bundle of goods and services should be included within their community. In addition, the fees that residents pay go towards goods and services which are directly used and enjoyed by the members of the community (Low, 2003). Taxpayers, on the other hand, contribut e funds to public goods and services from which they do not always directly benefit. The coexistence of government and private governance has not always occurred without problems, however. Po wer struggles have emerged between government departments and privatized governance institutions, as a result of gated communities creating a micro-scale level of governance operating increasingly autonomously beneath or beside existing government structures (BenJoseph, 2004). This uneasy coexistence of g overnment and governance has, in turn, created a confusing system of overlapping and competing urban authorities. While in some ways the coexistence of government and governance within a municipality has led to power struggles and tensions between the two entities, in other ways local and state governments have actually played a pivotal catalytic role in the development and expansion of both CIDs a nd privatized governance. The economic and fiscal benefits associated with the constructi on of CIDs tend to make them very attractive to state governments in need of revenue. De velopers of CIDs want to make the most
25 profit possible, so they build communities that contain a higher density of homes than would normally be allowed unde r existing development codes. The ostensible reason behind this government exemption in enfo rcing land-use regulations comes from the added property taxes and other positive economic externalities that these highly dense communities provide a municipality. This increase in property taxes provides much needed revenue to financially-strapped local or county governments. In addition to increased revenue from extra property taxes, CI D projects tend to shift many of the costs associated with development from local and state governments to private corporations and their customers, while still increasing revenue for governments through the collection of property taxes (Low, 2003). As a result, various economic factors make CIDs an attractive development practice for fiscally-s trapped governments and municipalities. It is important to note, however, that even though many CIDs provide private services and amenities to their residents, people who live in these communities still use public infrastructure, services, and utilities on a daily basis. For example, residents of CIDs use local and county roads as they travel in/outside of the developments, as well as public utilities (i.e., water, electricity, sewage). Additionally, if crime does occur within most CIDs, the private security personnel em ployed by that respective community is generally limited in their abilities, and must often call in external law-enforcement officers, employed by the local government, to intervene. As a result, Carol Christensen argues that these communities, while marketed as self-sustaining and reformative, in fact, fail to live up to the claims made by deve lopers and homebuilders, and are merely additional suburban bedroom de velopments, directly consuming and impacting the public
26 infrastructure surrounding these developments on a routine basis (cited in McKenzie, 1994). Homeowners Associations in CIDs Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are th e most popular institutional form of private governance. These associations are made up of the homeowners who live within CIDs. Only property owners can vote in el ections, so renters end up having no say regarding issues pertaining to their community or who holds office in the association. The primary responsibility of HOAs is to ma nage common areas, such as streets and parks, and to protect property values w ithin the community (McKenzie, 1994). HOAs have the power to create rules and regulations which they feel best preserve the desired integrity and appearance of their respectiv e communities. HOAs also have the ability to assess fines, levy liens on homes, and can ac tually file lawsuits against individual homeowners in the community who are delinquent in their HOA fees or who have violated certain rules and regulations (McKenzie, 1994). Community Development Districts in CIDs In addition to Homeowners Associations many CIDs are also governed by Community Development Distri cts (CDDs). According to the Florida Senate Website, CDDs are local special-purpose government entities which were created as part of the Uniform Community Development District Act of 1980, and are currently authorized by Chapter 190 of the Florida statutes. The Arbor Greene Community Development District defines a CDD as: an alternative method for planning financing, acquiring, operating and maintaining community-wide infrastructure in planned communities. (http://www.arborgreene.org )
27 In essence, Community Development Districts were designed as a way to take much of the burden of providing additi onal community infrastructure to high-growth areas away from other local and state government depa rtments. For example, the CDD for Arbor Greene sells bonds to pay for any amenitie s (i.e., clubhouse, swimming pools) or community beautifications (i.e., additiona l ponds) located within the sub-division (www.arborgreen.org). The homeowners who live w ithin the district are then responsible for paying an equal proportion of the debt accrued from selling the bonds. A CDD fee is added to the homeowners annual property tax bill, and once the debt has been paid off the annual fee is removed. A CDD is only responsible for managing the common areas within its district. A Homeowner Association is still necessary to enforce the covenants, guidelines, and restrictions that apply to the privately owned individual lots within a CID(www.arborgreene.org 2008). Privileging Rules over a Se nse of Community in CIDs In many ways, the nature of governance in CIDs is such that more importance is placed on rules than on facilitating a co hesive community environment. In Privatopia (1994), Evan McKenzie discusses three ways in which rules are given priority over creating a sense of community in CIDs. The first way rules are elevated over community is through a persons potential lack of cons ent to rules and regulations enforced upon him/her in CIDs (McKenzie, 1994). People who live in gated communities generally move in with particular rules and regulation already in place. As a result, McKenzie argues that a person cannot really consent to ru les that he/she did not help create, or to an association he/she is required to join. In addition, since the rules governing most CIDs are generally established long before the first i ndividuals ever move into the sub-division,
28 residents are stuck adhering to rules which have no personal importance to them because neither they, nor anyone else in the subdivision, had any role in their creation. Developers argue that a person gives consent to the rules of a CID simply by buying a home in that sub-division. However, in reality alternatives to CIDs are not very plentiful in many parts of the United States (McKenzie, 1994). This lack of choice is, in effect, forcing an increasing number of people to liv e in sub-divisions that have laws and a private governing body which they did not consent to. The second way that private governance privileges rules over community is through the prioritizing of restrictions over rights in CIDs (McKenzie, 1994). Upon purchase, homeowners are bound by the same rest rictions as everyone else in that subdivision. For example, some rules state that everyones lawn must be the same shade of green, and all perimeter fences must be white Personal rights such as freedom of choice and freedom of expression are sacrificed for a more uniform appearance of the residential landscape which, supposedly, protects prope rty values. The economic good of the subdivision as a whole is viewed as more im portant than personal freedoms and individual rights in gated communities. The third way that private governance elevates rules over the community is through the creation of a new concept of responsibility to the community itself (McKenzie, 1994). In CIDs, a persons co mmitment to his/her community can be satisfied simply by following the rule s and keeping up with his/her economic responsibilities (McKenzie, 1994). As a result, it does not matter whether a person is a good neighbor or an active participant in vari ous social groups. As long as a person pays his/her association fees and ma intains his/her property to an acceptable standard, he/she
29 will be fulfilling his/her responsibilities to the CID community. This new conceptualization of communi ty has resulted in relationshi ps between residents of a gated community that are more economically ba sed or transactional than socially based or interactional. Gated Communities: Socio-Economic Push/Pull Factors Why do people choose to live in gated communities that prioritize economic good or exchange-value over community good or social-value? This intensive question has been examined at length over the last decade by numerous researchers who have conducted studies on gated comm unities in various parts of the world. Each study has contributed rich insights into the various so cio-economic factors whic h attract individuals to live in these exclusive developments. Interestingly, fear of crime, the desire for seclusion and prestige, and declining trust in government appear to be the most common factors cited by researchers studying the subject. Whether in the United States, Brazil, South Africa, or another country in the worl d, these three factors have played a major role in making individuals want to seclude themselves behind iron gates and stucco walls. Fear of Crime Karina Landman and Martin Schonteich ( 2002) found fear of crime to be the main reason why gated communities ha ve become so popular in South Africa and Brazil. In City of Walls: Crime, Segregati on, and Citizenship in So Paulo (2000), Teresa P. R. Caldeira argues that gated condominiums are tr eated as a separate wo rld, where residents can escape the dangers found in the city streets. In Setha Lows study (2003), many residents living in New York cited fear of crime as one of the main reasons for living in a gated community. Moreover, Barry Glassner, a sociologist, argues that the media in the
30 United States have helped contribute to the creation of a culture of fear (cited in Low, 2003). Many residents believe the only way to escape crime is to i mprison themselves within the confines of a gated community. Low argues that children who live in these restricted communities are being ingrained with a fear of crime by the presence of walls, cameras, and guards, and in time will become a generation of Americans who only feel safe living behind a gate (Low, 2003). Desire for Privacy/Seclusion In her study, Setha Low (2003) had diffi culty gaining entrance into many gated communities to interview residents. While the physical barriers (i.e., gates, walls, fences) posed a challenge all by themselves, there were other gate keepers whom Low had to receive permission from before she could c onduct her study in their communities. These gate keepers included developers, builders, home-owners association officers, and residents themselves (Low, 2003). As Low qu ickly discovered, individuals in gated communities heavily guard their privacy, a findi ng Caldeira (2000) seems to confirm. Her study of So Paulo shows that privacy and seclusion are believed to promise a better lifestyle. The Search for Homogeneity The desire for socio-economic or cultu ral/racial homogeneity appears to be another common theme in many of these studies particularly in the case of the New York Metro region, San Antonio, a nd So Paulo. Caldei ra (2000) cited homogeneity as one of the five basic elements of So Paulos fortified enclaves. Upper class citizens in the city believe that fortified condominiums offer them the ability to not have to socialize with the admixture of classes (Caldeira, 2000). In her interviews with residents in San Antonio
31 and Long Island, New York, Low (2003) found racist fears to be a major influence on individuals moving to gated communities. Transient laborers, lower class people, individuals of other ethnicities, and anyone else who was perceived as different, were cited by many residents inte rviewed as someone to be f eared (Low, 2003). Throughout the later part of the twentieth century, civil rights movements and the improvement in economic opportunities for some minorities have led to an ov erall increased number of immigrants in many parts of the United Stat es. This fear of others (Low, 2003) caused by an increased diversity of socio-economic cla sses all living in the sa me territory has, as argued by Abdelhamid Hatem Touman (2002), contributed to the desire for the creation of homogeneous tribes, wher e individuals are seeking a renewed sense of community among people who are socially and economically similar. As a result of this self-imposed socio-cultural isolation, Katrina Landman and Martin Schonteich (2002) argue that gated communities are contributing to spatial fragmentation which will only continue to promote segregation and exclusion, and reinforce existing social and economic inequalities. Lack of Trust in Public Government Desire for seclusion could actually be th e result of another common finding in many of the case studies: a general lack of tr ust in government. One problem that is often cited by residents in gated communities regarding local governments has to do with the inefficient creation and distribution of services to citizens. In Behind the Gates (2003), Low claims that: The current growth in private communities gated and non-gated is one response to municipal governments failu re to provide adequate neighborhood services because of free riding (use of services by those who do not pay for
32 them), and local governments inability to supply services in rapidly growing areas (Low, 2003, 187). As a result, more and more people are choosing to live in CIDs, more of which are becoming gated, in order to have more of a say in how their community is going to be provisioned and governed. As discussed ear lier, HOAs and CDDs help insure that important decisions about a community will be made by people who actually live in the community. In 1962, there were only 500 HOAs in the United States. However, by 2003, there were over 230,000 HOAs in the country (Low, 2003). The political legitimacy of HOAs is based on their ability to maintain the aesthetic appeal of a community as well as protect individual property values. Such be nefits were cited by many residents Low (2003) interviewed as an incentive for moving to a gated community. A related problem that many studies cited with regards to local governments has to do with their inability to maintain law and order. Karina Landman a nd Martin Schonteich (2002) found that high crime rates in South Africa have resulted in the erosion of the myth that the sovereign state is capable of providing security, law a nd order, and crime control (n.pag.). As a result, gated communities with rapid-response pr ivate security have emerged as a reaction to this reduction in faith in traditional governments ability to protect their citizens. Caldeira (2000) cites City Boacava, in S o Paulo, Brazil, which has its own private armed security service, as an example of an elite community which is taking the task of law and order into its own hands.
33 Chapter Five Methodology Over the years, there has been much debate in academia over the validity of qualitative methods. It has been argued that qua litative methods lack the scientific rigor of quantitative methods and, therefore, ar e an inferior methodological approach (Winchester, 2005). However, many geogra phers, who have taken a more humanistic approach, have adopted the view: that human behavior is, in fact, subj ective, complex, messy, irrational and contradictory. As such, humanistic geogr aphers (should) draw on methods that would allow them to explore the meanings emotions, intentions and values that make up our taken-for-grant ed lifeworlds (Clifford and Valentine, 2003, 4). Moreover, qualitative and quan titative methods have often been discussed within academic literature as a dichotomy or polar -opposites (Winchester, 2005). Winchester (2005) views this dualism as probl ematic in that it forces academics to constantly place one methodological approach over the other in scientific validity and explanatory capability. Instead, it may be more beneficial to view these methods as complimentary of one another in that quantitative methodology allows for an extensive (Sayer 1984, 1992, 2000) investigation of phenomena, while qualitative methodology can help produce knowledge on a more intensive (Sayer, ibid ) level. Moreover, according to Hilary Winchester (2005), a mixed methods approach allows a researcher to triangulate and cross-check his/her findings by approaching a study of inquiry from various points of view and by using different methodological techniques. To that end, a mixed methods
34 approach was used in this study to effectiv ely investigate the research questions stated above. In recent years, mixed methods have increasingly become an effective and powerful approach to studying geographic phe nomena (Winchester, 2005). This approach allows a researcher to gain multiple perspectives on an issue that would otherwise be missed using only quantitative or qualitative methodology. Traditionally, quantitative methods, such as questionnaires, allow for a more macro-level investigation of a phenomenon, while qualitative methods, like semi-structure d interviews, allow for examination of the same phenomenon on a more specific and micro-level (Winchester, 2005). Moreover, combining different methodol ogical approaches through the art of triangulation is often viewed by researchers as an effective way to improve the scientific rigor of a study. It is important to note, however, th at no scientific me thodology, whether quantitative or qualitative in nature, is completely objective and free of biases. Intentionally or not, a researchers values and beliefs can influence how a phenomenon is studied, or even determine which phenomena are studied in the first place (Winchester, 2005). When designing statistical surveys, th e researcher chooses which questions to include or omit. When conducting intervie ws, the researcher chooses not only the questions which will be asked, but also the manner in which the questions will be delivered to the informants. Furthermore, when analyzing transcripts from interviews, the researcher must infer meaning from what was said by the informant, and be careful not to give meaning to an informants words that he/she did not intend. As a result, issues of power, subjectivity, positionality, and ethi cs must be considered when conducting
35 research. This study, as with any research project, does contain subjectivities and valuebased judgments. However, through critical reflexivity (Winchester, 2005) and strong ethical commitment, the goal of this study was to minimize any subjectivities which might alienate or violate the informants of this study in any way, or which might undermine the scientific validity of the studys conclusions. For this study, the mixed methods approa ch combined the use of semi-structured interviews, ethnographic study, statistical surv eys, analysis of historical documents and marketing material, mapping, an examination of both government and private governance documents (i.e., public zoning codes, hom eowners association restrictions and covenants), and demogr aphic information (i.e., statistical information from the U.S. Census regarding race, income level, and population within the study area). When combined, these different methodological a pproaches produced a rich blend of both quantitative and qualitative know ledge regarding gated communities within the New Tampa area. Like the Low (2003) study, the primary method for data collection involved the semi-structured interviewing of gated community residents within the given study area. The semi-structured interviews allowed for an intensive investigation of the research questions on a more i ndividualistic level. Ho wever, structured surveys were also used as a source of initial contact with the informants. In addition, statistical analysis of the structured surveys also produced a more extensive understanding with regard to the research questions on an aggregated level. Quantitative Methodology The objective of this study was to incorporate a quantitative approach into its methodology so as to produce a more ri ch and well-rounded unde rstanding of the
36 questions of inquiry regarding gated commun ities in the New Tampa area. To that end, quantitative surveys were relied upon to inves tigate at both an extensive and intensive level the social push/pull factors which may co mpel individuals to want to live in gated communities, as well as the perceptions that residents have of various aspects of life within their respective sub-division. Stat istical analyses were conducted on these quantitative surveys which were used to develop and substantiate conclusions with regards to this study. Structured Surveys In this study, structured surveys were used to obtain information about the types of individuals who reside within the three gated communities of the given study area. This study utilized the self-administered ques tionnaire method to collect the survey data. Under this method, the questionnaires were sent to pre-selected informants via the United States Postal Service, and it was up to the respondents to decide whether or not they wanted to participate, and, if so, to fill out the questionnaires unassisted and to mail them back to the University of South Florida Geography Department. H. Russell Bernard (2000) cites several be nefits of using the self-adminis tered questionnair e method. These benefits include: (1) mailed que stionnaires make the Post O ffice work for the researcher in finding respondents; (2) questions are the same for each respondent (no interview bias); (3) respondents may feel more comf ortable answering sensitive questions without the presence of a researcher; and (4) the resu lts of self-administere d questionnaires can be programmed into a computer program for anal ysis. However, Bernard (2000) also cites several disadvantages of sel f-administered questionnaires as well. These disadvantages include: (1) the researcher has no control over the way the respondent interprets the
37 questions in the survey; (2) the response rate may be quite low us ing this particular survey method; (3) mailed questionnaires are pr one to serious flaws in sampling; and (4) illiterate individuals and non-English readers are unable to complete the questionnaires, and thus are left out of the sample. The a dvantages and disadvantages of this survey method were taken into account with regard to how the data obtained with the surveys were analyzed, as well as how much va lidity would be given to information and conclusions produced by the survey data alone To that end, the structured surveys for this study were mailed to the pre-selected informants on January 26, 2007, and were expected to be returned to the University of South Florida Geography Department on or before February 15, 2007. Each questionnaire distributed in the st udy was identical in both format and content, and consisted of a set number of both closed-ende d and open-ended questions. (A copy of the structured questionnaire whic h was used in this study is attached as Appendix A). Closed-ended questi ons refer to questions in which the possible answers to each question are listed on the survey. The re spondent is forced to choose between a finite number of answers for each question (McLafferty, 2003). Conversely, open-ended questions refer to questions which do not have any predetermined answers. The respondent has the ability to freely answer ope n-ended questions without having to stay within the confines of prearranged pa rameters. According to Bernard (2000), questionnaires composed of cl osed-ended questions produce si gnificantly more responses than surveys consisting only of open-ended que stions. Sara L. McLafferty (2003) argues that the reason for this particular questionnair e design receiving a higher response rate is due to the fact that fixed-response questi ons have a limited number of answers, and
38 thus are easier for respondents to analyze, interpret, and inevitably answer. However, McLafferty (2003) also argues that closed-ende d questions often lack the depth, richness, and individual perspective which can be obt ained through an open-ended questionnaire design. The reason is that open-ended questions can invite a respondent to answer in a more unstructured manner than with a clos ed-ended questionnaire design. Respondents can insert their own understandings, opinions, and experiences into open-ended questions instead of simply filling in the bubble of a pr e-determined answer (McGuirk and ONeill, 2005). As a result, Bernard (2000) also reco mmends using some open-ended questions in a survey to break up the monotony for the res pondent, and to produce even richer data for the researcher. The closed-ended questions within the ques tionnaire for this study consisted of both fact-based and opinion-based questions, whereas the open-ended questions within the survey consisted exclusively of opini on-based questions. Additionally, the closedended questions were compri sed of binomial-base d questions (yes/no), Likert Scalebased questions (on a scale of 1-10), and categorical-bas ed questions (demographic questions). The first section of the questionnaire c onsisted of closed-ended questions which focused on obtaining information about the various push/pull factors that individual respondents cited as a reason for moving in to a gated community. This first section consisted of a series of ten-point Likert Scales, each asking the informant to rate how important different aspects of community life (i.e., security, privacy) were to him/her when deciding as to which sub-division he/she wanted to become a resident. It should be pointed out that five-point or seven-point Likert Scales are more commonly used by
39 Social Science researchers. However, si nce this study utilized a mixed-methods approach, as discussed earlier, this methodological approach sought to maximize the potential for variability between responses, so as to contribute a richer foundation of data for the qualitative components of this study. It was determined that a ten-point Likert Scale would provide the desired variability in responses, with a response of one through three denoting a negative viewpoint; an answer of four through six representing a more neutral response; and a respons e of seven through ten indicating a positive viewpoint on the topic. Moreover, it was believed that a Likert Scale greater than ten-points would produce too many possible answers, thus co nfusing or frustrating the respondent. The next section of the structured surv ey consisted of closed-ended questions which investigated the different attitudes, opinions, and perceptions that residents had concerning various social, cultural, and econom ic aspects of life within their respective sub-division. The final section of the que stionnaire consisted of closed-ended demographic-based questions which focused on obtaining an extensive understanding of the socio-economic status for informants living within the three gated communities of this study. These questions included an invest igation of a respondents income level, age, gender, race, length of time living in the community, and whether or not they have children. In addition to the three sections of closed-ended questions, there were also several open-ended questions included in the structured survey. The open-ended questions provided the informants an opportun ity to give their own personal insight on such issues as: (1) the reasons they chose to live in a gated community; (2) whether or not they feel there are any specific advantages living in a gated community rather than a community that does not restrict access, and if so, then what; and (3) whether or not there
40 are any improvements (i.e., social, political, aesthetic) they would like made to their respective sub-division, and if so, then what The primary use for the data collected from these open-ended questions was to assist in the development of rele vant semi-structured interview questions, as well as to identify unique opinions and perceptions of potential interviewees with regards to their respective gated community. This information was then used to facilitate deeper probing and intensiv e questioning of these individuals during the semi-structured interview portion of this study. The primary purpose of sending out structur ed questionnaires to residents of the three gated communities was to develop a stratified random sa mple from which to select the interview informants for the qualitative component of this study. This stratified random sample was produced by dividing th e population into subpopulations on the basis of certain socio-economic variables. These variables came from the final section of the questionnaire, and included race, age, gender, income level, and with/without children. This study then selected individuals who diffe red in the above variables so as to produce a socio-economically well rounded interview sample. In addition to providing data for a stra tified random sample, information obtained from the structured surveys was also subjected to statistical analysis. This study used the socio-economic variables in the final section of the structured surveys for comparative analysis to determine any underlying relati onships between the answers given in the surveys and the demographic makeup of th e respondents. The purpose of constructing these descriptive statistical charts was to ascertain if individuals with different socioeconomic backgrounds had the same motivations for moving into a gated community, as well as the same perceptions of life with in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand
41 Hampton, respectively. For example, this stud y sought to develop an understanding as to whether or not, at an extensive level, there was a difference in the importance of community interaction between male residents and female residents, or individuals with children and individuals without children. Additionally, a nonparametric Spearmans coefficient test was used to determine the relationships between the desires that respondents originally had for moving into their gated community, and the different perceptions they had of their respective ne ighborhood having lived in their respective community for a given period of time. For example, did individuals who originally desired security when moving into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton perceive their respective community to be safe at the time of completing the survey? These types of comparisons and relationships were investigated and uncovered through various statistical analyses, and will be discussed in more detail in the quantitative results chapter of this study. The structured questionnaire was the initial point of contact with any of the informants in this study. Both a snowball sampling technique, as well as a spatially stratified sampling technique, were used in this study to determine which homes received a questionnaire. Gill Valentine defines snowball sampling as: using one contact to help you recruit another contact, who in turn can put you in touch with someone else (Valen tine, cited in Longhurst, 2003 p. 124). Charles Kadushin (1968) found the snowball sampling technique to be exceptionally useful for the study of elite groups. While elites are generally easy to find, they are usually highly guarded in their desire for pr ivacy and, therefore, are often difficult for a researcher to interview. However, the snow ball sampling can help alleviate this problem
42 for a researcher in that doors open when one member of an elite group passes you on to another (Bernard, page, 2000, 179). During the data collection period of th is study, personal contacts were made within both Arbor Greene and Hunters Green who, in addition to acting as informants for the study themselves, also helped refer and recruit additional individuals who live in these communities to be informants as well. Many of these additional individuals lived inside the most exclusive and highly-restr icted neighborhoods within the three gated communities. As a result, snowball sampling provided access to informants and data which might otherwise not have been ava ilable through other sampling techniques. However, it was recognized that the use of snowball sampling alone would have deprived the study of a rich, well-rounded informant base and would have inherently fortified any biases which, in turn, would have skewed the overall results and conclusions of this study. As a result, in addition to be cognizant of the potential limitations and prejudices of any data obtained through this sampli ng technique, additiona l sampling techniques were also used, so as to increase the validity of any findings or claims made by this study. In addition to snowball sampling, a spatially stratified sampling technique was also used in this study to determine which homes within the three gated communities should receive a questionnaire. This samp ling technique divided the population into subpopulations on the basis of the following spat ial characteristics: (1) whether or not a residents home was located on a regular, prem ium, or a golf course-front lot. For the purposes of this study, a premium lot was considered to be any lot that was either waterfront or conservation-fr ont. In addition, since those lots which overlook a private golf course tend to be the most expensive, and have the most luxurious homes built on
43 them, it was decided to isolate individuals who live on these lots into their own category, so as to determine how their viewpoints of gated community life differ from individuals living on the less expensive regular or premium lots. It is important to note that of the three gated communities within the study area only Hunters Green has a private golf course. As a result, all informants randomly selected from this category resided within Hunters Green; (2) whether or not a resident s home was located within a privately gated neighborhood within their respective gate d community. While it is generally hypothesized that individuals living in a gated community are demographically homogenous, it could be argued that individuals living on a premium lot, or in a privately gated neighborhood, have different opinions and perceptions a bout gated communities than individuals living on a regular lot or in an ungated neighborhood. As a result, this sampling technique ensured that individua ls whose homes have different spatial characteristics are proportionately represented in the sample. This minimized the homogeneity of the informants in the sample, and, in turn, reduced the biases of any conclusions made from this study. The study population was subdivided on the basis of the following six categories: (1) regular lot / ungated neighborhood; (2) premium lot / ungated neighborhood; (3) golffront lot / ungated neighborhood; (4) regula r lot / gated neighborhood; (5) premium lot / gated neighborhood; and (6) golf course-front lot / gated ne ighborhood. First, a raw count was made to determine how many homes there were in each category. This was achieved through the use of satellite imagery of the three gated community, as well as a physical inspection of the study area, to verify the accuracy of the categories. Next, each count number was divided by the overall number of homes in the population. As of January,
44 2007, there were a population of 2701 privately owned, owner occupied, single family homes within Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Hence, the raw count for each category was divided by 2701 to determine what proportion of homes in the population fell under each spatial category. The next step in this sampling technique was to multiply the population proportion for each category by the desired sample size. However, determining the appropriate sample size was a difficult task. Statistical literature widely accepts a sample size of thirty as the minimum number necessary to ensure a normal distribution. However, the same literature also varies widely when it comes to determining how large a sample size needs to be in order to be statistically significant. Bernard (2000) argues that an adequate sample size depends on the following factors: (1) the heteroge neity of the population; (2) the number of subgroups in the analysis; (3) the size of th e subgroup; and (4) how precise the researcher wants the sample statistics to be. Stephe n Rice (2003) argues that precision improves with sample size in a curvilinear fashion. As a result, the optimal sample size is one in which the gain in precision warrants the additional sampling effort. A sample size is too large when the increase in precision is outweighed by the increase in sampling effort necessary. Conversely, a sample size which is too small is one in which reasonable estimates of the population cannot be confid ently inferred from the sample, and more precision is necessary (Rice, 2003). However, su ch distinctions are often vaguely defined and arbitrarily created. Moreover, most statistical studies argue that the optimal sample size is dependent upon what type of statistical analysis the researcher plans to carry out on the data. According to some, descriptive statistical analysis does not require as large a sample size as does inferential analysis.
45 As a result of this lack of academic agreement on optimal sample size, this study developed a goal of producing a sample size of approximately sixty. This sample size is double the minimum number required to be defi ned as a normal distribution, but is not large enough to raise time, funding, or other sampling effort concerns beyond the point of equitable returns. Statistical literature is also quite varied on its view of average questionnaire response rates. D on Dillman (1978) devised a series of steps which, when followed, have led to average survey return rates as high as 75%. Other academics, however, are much more conservative in their estimates claiming that the average response rate for questionnaires is between 10 -25%. Moreover, most statistical literature agrees that different methods for distributing the survey can also have different average response rates. This study also maintained conservative expectations regarding responses to the distributed questionnaires, and anticipat ed a response rate of only 10%. Therefore, a sampling frame of six hundred was determined for the study area (all three communities combined), and this number of questionnair es was distributed in order to obtain the desired sample size of sixty. As a result, the population proportion for each spatial category was multiplied by the sampling frame of six hundred. This dete rmined what proportion of homes in the desired sample fell under each sp atial category. Finally, the sample proportion for each category was rounded to its nearest integer. This amount represented the number of homes from each spatial category which receive d a questionnaire. Table 5.1 illustrates the number of homes from each spatial category within the study area which received a questionnaire.
46 Table 5.1 Summary Table for Number of Homes which received a Questionnaire by Spatial Category Spatial Category Raw Numbers Proportions* % of Sampling Frame # of Houses Surveyed (Breakdown of Sampling Frame) Regular/Ungated 900 0.33 199.93 200 Regular/Gated 321 0.12 71.31 71 Premium/Ungated 826 0.31 183.49 183 Premium/Gated 527 0.20 117.07 117 Golf/Ungated 52 0.02 11.55 12 Golf/Gated 75 0.03 16.66 17 Totals 2701 1 600 600 Total Population = 2701 To minimize biases, this study randomly se lected informants from each spatial category on the basis of a random selection tool for ESRIs ArcGIS. A parcel map shapefile was obtained from Hillsborough County Property Ap praisers website on January, 2007. This shapefile contained polygons demarcating the individual legal lot boundaries for all the single family homes in Arbor Greene, Hunte rs Green, and Grand Hampton. In addition, the attribute table associated with this shapefile provided this study with the mailing address for each parcel, the name of the indi vidual(s) who owned the property, as well as the mailing address for those owners who actual residence was elsewhere. Using this information, investment pr operties and propertie s owned by banks, builders, or other corporations were eliminated from the study area. The purpose of this was to maximize the potential that questi onnaires would only be distributed to those homes that were privately owned. Moreover, since selecting a home for ownership and selecting a home for rentership are often not driven by the same motivations and necessities, it was feared that the inclusi on of renters would convolute any conclusions made from this study. As a result, any parcels that were identified as an investment property (i.e., homes whose owner had a different residential address than that property; homes two years or older that were not homestead exempted) were also eliminated from
47 the pool of potential questionnaire recipients These parcel eliminations provided the study with a population size of 2701 privatel y owned, owner occupied, single family homes subdivided into the six spatial categor ies discussed earlier in this chapter. It is important to note that seven individua ls were selected as part of the snowball sampling technique. These individuals were a ll residents of Arbor Greene, albeit from different spatial categories within the community, and participated in a pilot focus group which was used to test the credibility and effectiveness of the semi-structured interview questions and format. In addition, these i ndividuals each filled out a questionnaire. The data obtained in these questionna ires were handled and tabulat ed with the same level of anonymity and objectivity as those collected fro m individuals which were selected as part of the random sampling method. However, ad dresses for these seven individuals who were already selected through the snowba ll sampling technique were removed from the parcel shapefile prior to the start of the selection process to a void any duplication of information, and were not included in th e population size of 2701 used to derive informants by means of the random sampling method. The Hawth's Analysis Tools for ArcGIS was used to randomly select the proportional number of informants from the six spatial categories. Included in the Hawth's Analysis Tools for ArcGIS is a random selecti on tool, which used an unweighted random selection process to ascertain those propertie s which would receive a questionnaire. Maps 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 show the sampling frame of six hundred parcels in the three communities which we re randomly selected by Hawths random selection tool to receive a questionnaire.
48 Map 5.1 A map of those properties in Grand Hampton randomly selected to receive a questionnaire.
49 Map 5.2 A map of those properties in Hunters Green randomly selected to receive a questionnaire.
50 Map 5.3 A map of those properties in Arbor Greene randomly selected to receive a questionnaire.
51 At the time of data collection for this study, all three communities had a strict No Solicitation policy in place, and the community HOAs kindly requested that no one associated with the study go to residents doors to administer the questionnaires in person. To overcome this rather challenging obstacle, this study used the mailing addresses provided in th e attribute table of the parcel shapefile to mail the questionnaires to the randomly-selected homes, and allow th e residents to make the decision as to whether or not they wish to participate in the study. Those selected individuals who received a questionnaire were then responsible fo r self selecting themselves to be a part of the study. Residents chose to either disr egard the questionnaire, and not participate in the study, or to fill out the survey, return it to the primary investigator, and decide to be an informant in the study. Information obtained through the survey s was used for both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, as well as a way to develop a stratified sample with which to conduct semi-structured in terviews. As a result, on th e bottom of each questionnaire was a check box acknowledging whether or not the resident was willin g to participate in a semi-structured interview. If a respondent decided to participate in a semi-structured interview, he/she filled out additional contact information on the bottom of the questionnaire. If a respondent decided not to pa rticipate in a semi-structure interview, but filled out and returned the questionnaire, no further contact with the respondent was made, and his/her survey info rmation was only anonymously aggregated for statistical analysis. Postage for the return of the questionnaires to the primary investigator was prepaid so that individuals who wished to take part in the study did not incur any financial burdens which may have caused them to not participate.
52 Qualitative Methods This study utilized qualitative methods as the primary source for obtaining data about the three gated communities within th e New Tampa area. To that end, semistructured interviews were relied upon to inve stigate at an intensive level those cultural perceptions which surrounded gated communities by the residents who reside within their gates, as well as the various push/pull fact ors which individual re spondents cited as a reason for moving into Arbor Greene, Hunte rs Green, or Grand Hampton, respectively. These interviews were transcribed, anal yzed, and presented using an ethnographic approach, which is discussed in more detail in section 5.2.4. Finally, this study examined legal documents (i.e., Declarati on of Covenants, Conditions, a nd Restrictions), historical documents (i.e., date of inco rporation), and cultu ral texts (i.e., community websites, clubhouse calendar of events). In addition to th ese textual sources serving primarily as a way to obtain contextual and background info rmation with regard to the three gated communities within the study area, cultural texts were also analyzed to determine if social practices in a specific gated community coincided with the perceptions that residents had of their community For example, if a resident perceives his/her community as being prestigious or elite in status, does the community provide certain amenities or facilitate social events wh ich support this perception? Semi-Structured Interviews An interview can be defined as: a face-to-face verbal interchange in which one person, the interviewer, attempts to elicit information or expressions of opinion or belief from another person or persons (Maccoby and Maccoby, 1954, 499 as cited by Dunn, 2005, 79).
53 According to H. Russell Bernard (2000), a semi -structured interview is the best style of interview when an interviewer wont get more than one chance to interview someone. This interview style utilizes an interview guide, which is a written list of questions and topics that must be covered in a particular order. The interview guide assures that similar information is obtained from each informant. However, it is important to note that while the questions in an interview guide are prewritten and ordered, the interviewer has flexibility in how to ask each question, as well as the ability to ask additional questions which may not be on the interview guide (D unn, 2005). Responses to the same questions can differ greatly between informants, so the use of self reflexivity and triangulation are essential when employing semi-structured interviews. This study employed the use of semi-structured interviews to develop an understanding of socio-cultural issues su rrounding gated communities within the New Tampa area. Key interviewees were limited to current residents of one of the gated communities within the given study area. These individuals were required to be at least eighteen years old and be the current owner of the home in which they reside. For reasons of simplicity and clarity, renters were not included as interview candidates for this study. However, it is important to note that the inclusion of renters will be considered for similar studies in the future. As discussed in section 5.1.1, with the aid of the structured questionnaires, the interview informants were selected from a stratified random sample Only residents who indicated on their structured que stionnaire that they wanted to participate in an interview were included in the stratified random samp le. Moreover, all indi viduals who displayed interest in participating in the study were issued a letter of consent stating their personal
54 rights with respect to the study. (A copy of this letter is attached as Appendix B) This letter was read by all informants and all questions by the informants were adequately addressed prior to any interv iews being conducted. Since the number of interviews necessary for a study is directly related to several factors including: (1) the level of complexity regarding the topic being investigated; (2) how knowledgeable the informants being interviewed are about the topic being re searched; and (3), the types of analysis being carried out on the interview data, social science research literature does not provide one definitive number of interviews that should be incorporated into each study. To that end, this study produced an objective of c onducting at least fifteen semi-structured interviews. This benchmark number of interviews was chosen in that it allowed for a well rounded sample of individuals from all thre e communities and of different demographic backgrounds, but was not so large that the cost s (i.e., time, money, etc.) outweighed the benefits of a dditional data. Questions for the semi-structured interv iew component of this study were prewritten and ordered on an interview guide prior to starting the interview process. (A copy of the semi-structured interview guide is attached as Appendix C) The interview questions were asked of each informant in the sa me order. However, as is consistent with the semi-structured interview process, flexibility was maintained in the way that each question was asked, as well as the right to ask additional questions that were not on the interview guide. These types of decisions we re made on a per individual interview basis. With the permission of each informant, the interviews were audio-recorded to prevent loss of data, and to maintain the highest level of accuracy, during transcription. Once
55 transcribed, the interview data were analyzed and presented within the framework of ethnographic fieldwork. This framework is disc ussed in more detail in section 5.2.3. (Con)textual Sources Textual sources can produce important data for a qualitative study. Historical documents can provide information and analyses of geographies of past periods (Ogborn, 2003). These documents, therefore, add a tempor al dimension to a study. Cultural texts can help shape and provide insight into dive rse social practices, beliefs, and perceptions that surround different cultural groups (Doel, 2003). These documents, therefore, contribute a concept of place to a study. Legal documents can provide a researcher with an understanding of the various rules, po licies, legal boundaries, and administrative hierarchy of a given location. These documents, therefore, contribute a concept of space to a study. When combined together, textual sources can provide rich depth and insight to a study. Setha Low (2003) used textual sources in her study of gated communities in New York, Texas, and Mexico City to uncover su ch information, including: when the gated communities were constructed, who built them, what type of private governance structure controlled each community, and the social practices which exist within each community. Similar to Lows study (2003), this study also relied upon the analysis of textual sources to provide important historical, cultural, and legal information regarding the communities of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. It is important to note, however, that texts were written by people each of w hom may have their own agenda. Therefore, Marcus A. Doel (2003) argues that when inve stigating a text for data, a researcher must be consciously aware of who produced the text, why they produced it, how they
56 produced it, and for whom they produced it. As with the semi-structured in terviews, this study relied upon self-reflexivity and triangula tion to strengthen the validity of any data obtained with textual sources. This study employed the use of textua l sources to develop an understanding of socio-cultural issues surrounding the three gated communities within the study area. Legal texts, such as homeowners association governance documents and community bylaws, were obtained and analyzed. Access to these texts was not difficult, as many of these documents were available to the public on the community websites. This study also viewed historical documents su ch as past records of the minutes of HOA board meetings for the three communities, as well as documents which discuss the date of incorporation for the different master-planned developments. Access to many of these historical texts was also not a problem, as the minutes for the board meetings are also available for public viewing on two of the three communi ty websites. As of January 2007, Grand Hampton had not yet participated in a fo rmal HOA board meeting. Other historical documents, such as the date of incorporation, were on public file with the Hillsborough County government, and were readily accessible. Finally, this study looked on the community websites and within the various common areas (i.e., the clubhouse) of the three gated sub-divisions for cultural texts. These texts included a calendar of social events, club activities, resident parties, or other types of social functions. Since much of the data obtained through the examination of historical, cultural, and legal documents was only be used on more of an extensive le vel, in depth coding and analysis was not necessary for such documents.
57 Analysis of the Qualitative Data According to Kevin Dunn (2005), qualitativ e data are only useful if meaning can be derived from the data. Qualitative data, therefore, must be analyzed for common themes, language, and imagery. The best way to ascertain these underlying patterns is through content analysis of the qualitative data (Dunn, 2005). According to E. Babbie (1992), content analysis can mean searching the da ta for either manifest or latent content. Manifest content analysis requires an extensive examination of interview transcripts, documents or other texts, and websites fo r common language, wh ile latent content analysis involves a more intensive investiga tion of interview transcripts, texts, and websites for common themes (Dunn, 2005). Ethnography, on the other hand, is the stud y of peoples lived experiences, and about understanding how things work, as we ll as the motivations behind peoples words and actions (Bernard, 2000). Pa rticipant observation ethnography is more concerned with obtaining a deeper understanding about a topi c through the prolonged interaction with a few knowledgeable informants in their everyday lives, than about producing an unbiased sample of people (Bernard, 2000). Additionally, it has been argued that ethnographers: can better understand the beliefs, motiva tions, and behaviors of their subjects than they can by using any other approach. (Tedlock, 2007, 166) To that end, ethnographic fieldwork was an important methodological approach in both Lows (2003) study of restricted-access neig hborhoods in New York, Texas, and Mexico City, and Caldeiras (2000) investigation of gated communities in So Paulo, Brazil. These studies utilized field observations, face-t o-face interviews with residents and other key informants, as well as personal reflecti ons to produce historically, politically, and personally situated accounts, descriptions, in terpretations, and representations of human
58 lives (Tedlock, 2007) both inside and outside the gated communities of their respective study areas. An ethnographic approach was used for th e semi-structured in terview component of this study. It was decided that, rather than dissect informants interviews for the purpose of coding and statistical analysis, the voices of the key informants in this study would be better heard if their interviews we re presented in more of a story format revolving around central themes (i.e., security, pr estige, aesthetics, etc.). After all, this study is merely a vehicle from which to disse minate the stories of these key informants with regard to their perceptions, motivations, and lives within the gates of their respective communities. To that end, the qualitative results regarding informant desires when moving in their community for this study were organized into seven sections: (1) Security; (2) Aesthetic Appeal; (3) Privacy; (4) Maintaining Property Values; (5) Community Interaction; (6) Amenities; and (7) Private Governance. Additionally, the qualitative results regarding informant perceptions of different aspects of life within his/her gated community for this study were organized into two additional sections: (1) Security; and (2) Social Interaction vs. Econom ic Responsibility. For each section, actual excerpts from informant interviews were included, in conjunction with direct, first-hand observations by the primary investigator, to formulate and substantiate any claims, findings, or arguments made by the study. Throughout the qualitative results chapter of this study, these findings were then triangulated with the results of the other me thodological approaches used in this study (see section 5.0) to maintain the highest level of validity regarding any claims made with
59 regard to the perceptions, motivations, and da ily behaviors of peopl e residing in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton.
60 Chapter Six Quantitative Analysis (Analysis of the Structured Surveys) On January 26, 2007, a sampling frame consisting of six hundred surveys were mailed out to the homes of those informants who were randomly selected for the study. The requested return date for these surveys was Friday, February 16, 2007. This gave informants two and one half weeks to decide if they wished to participate in the study, and to complete the enclosed survey. Upon comp letion of this phase of the study, a total sample size of 171 individuals self-selected themselves to be a part of the study, and returned their completed surveys to the University of South Florida Department of Geography office. This was a 28.5% return on the six hundred mailed surveys, an additional 18.5% over the anticipated number. The first statistical test that was run was on the reliability of the questions in the survey. To accomplish this, the Cronbachs al pha test was run on the ten-point Likert Scale questions which were all measuring pa rts of the same underlying concept. The purpose of the Cronbachs alpha test is to determine how well different questions all measure the same unidimensional construc t (Bernard, 2000). By design, a Cronbachs alpha of 0.80 or higher is desired for a short list of items, all of which hang together and measure the same thing (Bernard, 2000). To that end, three separate Cronbachs alpha tests were run on three different groups of ten-point Likert Scale questions each measuring a different underlying
61 concept, to determine their level of reliability and consistency; (1) the seven questions used to ascertain an informants motivations for moving into a gated community; (2) the four questions used to determine the perceptions that informants had about the aesthetic appeal of different aspects of their respective communities; and (3) the four questions testing the perceptions that residents had regarding the overall administration of the homeowners association in their respective communities. Table 6.1 shows the output for the Cronbachs alpha test for each of these three groups. Table 6.1 The Cronbachs alpha for 1) gated community pull-factors; 2) perceptions of aesthetic appeal; and 3) Percepti ons of the Homeowners Association Gated Community Pull-Factors Cronbach's Alpha N of Items .826 7 Perceptions of Aesthetic Appeal Cronbach's Alpha N of Items .824 4 Perceptions of the HOA Cronbach's Alpha N of Items .934 4 With a Cronbachs alpha of .826, .824, a nd .934, respectively, all three groups of questions displayed good reliability and consistency in their ability to hang together and measure the same concept. Thus, it coul d be assumed that the three groups of tenpoint Likert Scale questions were correlate d with one another (within their respective
62 groups) at a level where statistical relevanc e from the data produced from the questions could be ascertained. Demographic Analysis Demographic characteristics which were collected and examined as a part of the survey component of this study included: ge nder, age, ethnicity, income level, marital status, those with dependents under the age of 18, and length of residency. Figures 6.1 (a g) reflect the demographic makeup of the 171 individuals who participated in this study. Fig. 6.1 (a) The demographic breakdown by gender of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study
63 Fig. 6.1 (b) The demographic breakdown by age of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study Fig. 6.1 (c) The demographic breakdown by ethnicity of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study
64 Fig. 6.1 (d) The demographic breakdown by income level of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study Fig. 6.1 (e) The demographic breakdown by Marital Status of those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study
65 Fig. 6.1 (f) The demographic breakdown by whether or not those individuals who participated in the survey portion of this study have dependents < 18 living at their residence Fig. 6.1 (g) The demographic breakdown of how long each individual who participated in the survey portion of this study had lived in his/her residence Informants Length of Residency 4 9 24 1 5 2 4 15 78 2 Less than 6 months (2.40%) 6 months to 1 year (5.30%) 1 year to 2 years (14.00%) 2 years to 3 years (8.80%) 3 years to 4 years (14.00%) 4 years to 5 years (8.80%) More than 5 years (45.60%) Did not Specify (1.10%) n = 171 Length of Residency Informants with Dependents < 18 82 87 2 Yes (48.00%) No (50.90%) Did not Specify (1.10%) n = 171 Dependents Status
66 Much of the demographic information co llected by this study was found to be consistent with the data collected by the Census in 2000 for the entire New Tampa area. Tables 6.2 (a e) compare the demographic data for informants of this study with that data collected for New Tampa area as a whole as a part of the 2000 Census. It is important to note that, according to the Census, New Tampa includes all areas that reside within the 33647 zip code. This zip code al so includes the three gated communities investigated in this study. It is also important to be transparent in the fact that the data for the New Tampa area as a whole come from the 2000 census, and may have changed significantly over the last nine years. However, due to the fact that the American Community Survey of 2006 only collected da ta for geographic areas with a population greater than 65,000, at the time of this stud y 2006 data for this area were not collected and not available for subsequent compara tive analysis with the demographic data collected from this study (U.S. Census). It is also important to note that for Table 6.2 (b) the total percentage for New Tampa (2000) is 107%. This is because the census asked individuals of any race to indicate if they were of Hispanic ethnicity. As a result, many of the individuals who indicated that they were Hispanic may also have checked their race as white, black, or something else, thus lead ing to these individuals being double counted in Table 6.2 (b). Table 6.2 (a) A comparative analysis of the gender makeup between the respondents of this study (2007) and th e entire New Tampa (2000) Gender Gender Study Area (2007) New Tampa (2000)* Male 46.80% 49.40% Female 51.50% 50.60% Did not Specify 1.70% n/a Total 100% 100% Source : U.S. Census, 2000
67 Table 6.2 (b) A comparative analysis of the racial/ethnic makeup between the respondents of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa (2000) Racial / Ethnic Status Race / Ethnicity Study Area (2007) New Tampa (2000)* White 86% 82.70% Black 1.20% 5.90% Hispanic 3.50% 9.30% Asian 5.80% 6.90% Native American / Pacific Islander 0% 0.10% American Indian / Alaskan Native 0% 0.20% Other 0.58% 1.90% Did not Specify 2.90% n/a Total 100% 107% Source : U.S. Census, 2000 Table 6.2 (c) A comparative analysis of th e annual household income levels between the respondents of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa (2000) Income Level Income Level Study Area (2007) New Tampa (2000)* Under $25,000 0% 14% $25,000 $49,999 1.70% 21% $50,000 $74,999 9.90% 22.80% $75,000 $99,999 11.10% 15.10% $100,000 $149,999 29.20% 15.30% More than $150,000 35.10% 11.80% Did not Specify 13% n/a Total 100% 100% Source : U.S. Census, 2000 Table 6.2 (d) A comparative analysis of the marital status between the respondents of this study (2007) and th e entire New Tampa (2000) Marital Status Marital Status Study Area (2007) New Tampa (2000)* Single/Widowed/Divorced 13.50% 38.60% Married/Separated 85.40% 61.40% Did not Specify 1.10% n/a Total 100% 100% Source : U.S. Census, 2000
68 Table 6.2 (e) A comparative analysis of the length of residency between the respondents of this study (2007) and the entire New Tampa (2000) Length of Residency (in current home) Length of Residency Study Area (2007) New Tampa (2000)* Less than 1 year 7.70% 42.20% 1 year to 5 years 45.60% 38.20% More than 5 years 45.60% 19.60% Did not Specify 1.10% n/a Total 100% 100% Source : U.S. Census, 2000 Again, much of the demographic da ta collected from the respondents are indicative of the types of demographic tre nds and patterns that can be found throughout the entire New Tampa area. The gender, racial, and ethnic composition of the informants for this study is comparable to that of residents in New Tampa in general. This is a positive outcome in that it demonstrates that the sample for this study was, in fact, representative of the overall demographic makeup of the area being investigated. There were also some noticeable differences, however, between some of the demographic variables as well. For example, when compared to the entire New Tampa area, the income levels of those who particip ated in the survey component of the study, and who reside within the gates of Hunte rs Green, Arbor Greene, or Grand Hampton, appeared to be skewed towards a higher level of affluence than was the average for New Tampa as a whole. According the U.S. Cens us, 35% of individuals living within New Tampa had an annual household income of less than $50,000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). According to the results obtained from the demographic portion of the surveys in this study, only 1.7% of people sampled ha d an annual household income of less than $50,000. Conversely, over 64% of the inform ants had annual income levels of $100,000 or greater, whereas only slightly over 27% of individuals for the entire New Tampa area were included in that upper income bracket. Therefore, this comparative analysis also
69 lends itself to the continued perception that gated communities are exclusive spatial structures where the affluent and wealthy concentrate. This argument was sighted several times by informants during the semi-structured interview component of this study, and will be discussed in more detail in section qualitative analysis section. Another significant demographic differe nce between the data obtained from the informants, who, at the time of this study, resided in one of the three gated communities in the study area, and the information obtained by the Census in 2000 for all of New Tampa, was that of marital status. Accordin g the U.S. Census, as of 2000, 61.4% of individuals living in New Tampa were eith er married or separated, but still bound by wedlock, and the remaining 38.6% were e ither widowed, divorced, or had never been married (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). According to the responses given by the informants of this study, 85.4% of those individuals sa mpled were either marr ied or separated, and only 13.5% were either widowed, divorced, or single. Interestingly, with a difference of nearly 25%, the data would indicate that there is a significantly higher concentration of married couples living within Hunters Gree n, Arbor Greene, and Grand Hampton than what the averages indicate for the entire New Tampa area. Is this strictly a coincidence, or are the perceptions of community intera ction and the presence of family-style amenities acting as pull factors attracting high concentrations of families to move into communities fortified with walls, fences, and gates? Once again, these aspects of gated community life were sighted by several info rmants in both the open-ended portion of the surveys and semi-structured interviews as motivations for families to move into one of the three gated communities within the study area, and will be discussed in more detail in the qualitative analysis section.
70 The final and perhaps most unexpected difference obtained through comparative analysis of the demographic data was the av erage length of time that individuals were residents within the current home. As of 2000, the U.S. Census had found that 42.2% of people had resided in their current home for only one year or less (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Moreover, as of 2000, 38.2% of peopl e in New Tampa had lived in their home between one year and five years, and 19.6% of individuals had lived in their current home for five years or longer (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Conversely, only 7.7% of the sampled individuals from the three gated communities had lived in their current home for one year or less. Furthermore, 45.6% of th e respondents had lived in their current home between one year and five years, and an add itional 45.6% had lived in their home for five years or longer. Once again, significant differences are noticed for this demographic variable between the three gated communities and the New Tampa area as a whole. In 2000, individuals throughout the entir e New Tampa area were much more transient than the results indicate to be the case for sampled individuals residing within the three gated communities in 2007. Of course, one could argue that the differences captured in this comparative analysis are merely the result of using data collected six years apart, and are simply the reflection of an ever-changing housing market. However, a closer investigation of the local housing mark et over the last ten years, in many ways, refutes that argument. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Pr ice Indices, in 1998, homes in several metropolitan areas across the United States, including Tampa, began a six to eight year period of rapid appreciation. (http://www.standardandpoors.com 2008) The presence of this intensive home-value appreciation, as well as a thriving ne w home construction
71 industry, supports the rationale for the high percentage of people in New Tampa, in 2000, who had only been living in their current home for one year of less, as well as the small percentage of individuals who had lived in their home for longer than five years. However, from 2001-2006, homes in Tampa continued rapid appreciation; some appreciated as much as 80% of their or iginal value. (http://www.standardandpoors.com 2008) According to local real estate data, (I n the Tampa area, the housing market peaked in the spring of 2005, began declining in 2006, and has continued to fall into a state of instability ever since (First in Real Estate, 2008). However, at the time of data collection for this study, the real estate market had only just begun its downward slide, and informants had been experiencing several years of significant appreciation on their homes. Yet, nearly 46% of the sampled individuals in this study responded that they had resided in their current home for five years or longer, compared to 19.6% of people for all of New Tampa in 2000, even in the face of in many cases, having made unprecedented appreciation on their property. These findings raise several important questions. What are the reasons surrounding these individuals decisions not to sell their home and relocate to another community? While some of these reasons are no doubt personal in nature, and subsequently beyond the scope of this study, other possible motivations start to come to light, which need to be closely analyzed qualitatively. For example, did the need for personal safety, or the unwavering desire for private governance keep these people from moving out of Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, or Grand Hampton? Was it the undeniable aesthetic appeal of the community, and the peaceful feelings that driving through the front gate invoke on a daily basis that motivat ed informants to not relocate? Or, was it
72 simply the privacy that the walls and gates provide, or the deed restrictions which continue to maintain property values thus protecting their evermore lucrative investment? These were the many topics which were investigated in the semi-structured interview component of the study as reasons for moving in to as well as not moving out of Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, and Grand Hampton, and which were discussed in more length in the qualitative analysis chapter. Why This Community? (Quantitative Analysis) Which factors were the most important to informants of this study when selecting which neighborhood they would move into? This was the first question asked in Section One of the survey that was distributed to the sampling frame of six hundred randomly selected individuals from Arbor Greene, Hunt ers Green, and Grand Hampton. Seven tenpoint Likert Scales were used to rate how important the following factors were to the informants when deciding to move into one of the three gated communities, with one being the least important and ten being the most important: (1) Security; (2) Aesthetic Appeal; (3) Maintaining Property Values; (4) Community Interaction; (5) Privacy; (6) Amenities; and (7) Private Governance. Since much of the census data obtained from Section Three of the survey were collected and subsequently coded in a qualit ative/categorical nature (race/ethnicity, gender, etc.), and the data for the seven pull -factors from Section One of the survey were measured with ordinal scales, a linear rela tionship between the variables could not be assumed. To that end, neither the Pears ons Product-Moment Co rrelation Test, nor the Spearmans Coefficient Test were appropriate to be used to determine a statistical relationship between these variables. Instead, the results from the seven ten-point Likert
73 Scales in Section One of the 171 surveys that were completed and returned were compiled and tabulated into se ven tables showing the distribution of responses given by the informants. However, prior to creating these seven ta bles, the data were taken from their raw form on the individual surveys, coded (a copy of the coding sheet is attached as Appendix D), and tabulated into a master spreadsheet to prepare for statistical analysis. Next, the seven ten-point Likert Scales ha d to be recoded into seven ni ne-point scales, respectively. Since the ten-point Likert Scales had a median of five and a ha lf, responses of five or six were averaged together to create one neutra l response of five when tabulating the data obtained from each of the scales. Consequently, responses with an original value of one, two, three, or four retained the same codi ng, and responses with an original value of seven, eight, nine, or ten were recoded downward by one digit to six through nine respectively, thus maintaining the original meaning of the respondents viewpoints. While one obvious limitation was that not all in formants who chose a response of five or six for a particular ten-point Likert Scale would be counted when using this averaging strategy, this recoding method allowed for th e creation of three equally-sized groups: (1) (labeled: %1-3 on the tables below) those w ith a negative viewpoint or a viewpoint of disagreement or unimportance (a response of on e through three); (2) (labeled %4-6 on the tables below) those with a neutral viewpoint (a response of four through six); and (3) (labeled %7-9 on the tables below) those with a positive viewpoint or a viewpoint of agreement or importance (a response of seven th rough nine). In this case, the benefits of being able to carry out comparative statis tical analysis on three equally-sized groups outweighed the limitation associated with averaging responses five and six.
74 The goal of this procedure was to determine, at an extensive level, the relationship between the demographic makeup of an indi vidual, and those pull-factors which were influential when deciding to move into Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, or Grand Hampton. For example, are women more likel y to be looking for community interaction than men? Are individuals with children more likely to be concerned with living within a gated entrance to enable a sense of security? Seven tables were created (one for each pull-factor), and comparative analysis was conducted to determine how different demographic variables influenced motivations for moving into a gated community, as well as the perceptions of life that individuals have within their respective community. This comparative analysis was focused on an alyzing the three equally-sized groups which were created by transforming the seven tenpoint Likert Scale into seven nine-point Likert Scale, respectively. The data for these three equal groups (viewpoint of unimportance, neutral viewpoint, and a viewpoint of importance) were obtained by finding the sum of the three percentages denoting each type of viewpoint for every demographic variable. For example, the category %1-3 was created by adding up all three percentages which coincided with responses of one, two, and th ree for each demographic variable. It is important to note that percentages for all of the responses were found after finding the median of individuals who originally responde d with a five or a six, thus using an adjusted count total as a denominator for each of the demographic variables. In each of the seven tables below, the group with the highest percentage for each demographic variable was flagged to allow for more concise comparative analysis. Table 6.3 shows the
75 distribution of responses given by the inform ants with regards to desire for security when deciding to move into their respective gated community. Table 6.3 The relationships between the informants desire for security within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 5 3 3 2 7 10 16 7 20 73 Percentage (%) 6.8 4.1 4.1 2.7 9.6 13.7 21.9 9.6 27.4 100.0 15.1 26.0 58.9 Female Count 5 3 5 0 6 8 17 8 31 83 Percentage (%) 6.0 3.6 6.0 0.0 7.2 9.6 20.5 9.6 37.3 100.0 15.7 16.8 67.5 Age Young Count 1 2 3 0 5 4 4 5 13 37 Percentage (%) 2.7 5.4 8.1 0.0 13.5 10.8 10.8 13.5 35.1 100.0 16.2 24.3 59.5 MiddleAged Count 7 2 5 2 7 12 28 8 33 104 Percentage (%) 6.7 1.9 4.8 1.9 6.7 11.5 26.9 7.7 31.7 100.0 13.5 20.2 66.3 ElderlyAged Count 1 2 0 0 1 2 2 2 5 15 Percentage (%) 6.7 13.3 0.0 0.0 6.7 13.3 13.3 13.3 33.3 100.0 20.0 20.0 60.0 Race White Count 9 6 7 2 12 15 32 12 40 135 Percentage (%) 6.7 4.4 5.2 1.5 8.9 11.1 23.7 8.9 29.6 100.0 16.3 21.5 62.2 Non-White Count 1 0 1 0 1 2 2 3 9 19 Percentage (%) 5.3 0.0 5.3 0.0 5.3 10.5 10.5 15.8 47.4 100.0 10.5 15.8 73.7 Income Level Low Income Count 1 0 0 0 2 0 5 2 8 18 Percentage (%) 5.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 11.1 0.0 27.8 11.1 44.4 100.0 5.6 11.1 83.3 Medium Income Count 5 3 3 0 6 10 17 5 15 64 Percentage (%) 7.8 4.7 4.7 0.0 9.4 15.6 26.6 7.8 23.4 100.0 17.2 25.0 57.8 High Income Count 3 3 5 1 4 7 9 5 19 56 Percentage (%) 5.4 5.4 8.9 1.8 7.1 12.5 16.1 8.9 33.9 100.0 19.6 21.4 58.9 Marital Status Single Count 2 0 1 0 2 1 6 3 6 21 Percentage (%) 9.5 0.0 4.8 0.0 9.5 4.8 28.6 14.3 28.6 100.0 14.3 14.3 71.4 Married Count 8 6 7 2 11 17 29 12 44 136 Percentage (%) 5.9 4.4 5.1 1.5 7.7 12.5 21.3 8.8 32.4 99.6 15.4 21.7 62.5 Children No Children Count 6 4 3 0 7 5 22 9 25 81 Percentage (%) 7.4 4.9 3.7 0.0 8.6 6.2 27.2 11.1 30.9 100.0 16.0 14.8 69.1 Children Count 4 2 5 2 6 13 13 6 25 76 Percentage (%) 5.3 2.6 6.6 2.6 7.9 17.1 17.1 7.9 32.9 100.0 14.5 27.6 57.9 Length of Residency Short Count 1 1 1 1 2 6 6 4 14 36 Percentage (%) 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 5.6 16.7 16.7 11.1 38.9 100.0 8.3 25.0 66.7 Medium Count 2 2 4 0 5 4 11 5 16 49 Percentage (%) 4.1 4.1 8.2 0.0 10.2 8.2 22.4 10.2 32.7 100.0 16.3 18.4 65.3 Long Count 7 3 3 1 6 8 18 6 20 72 Percentage (%) 9.7 4.2 4.2 1.4 8.3 11.1 25.0 8.3 27.8 100.0 18.1 20.8 61.1
76 Upon investigation of the above relationship between desire for security and various socio-economic variables a clear pa ttern quickly emerges. With the largest percentages falling in the category denoted as % 7-9 for every demographic variable, it appears that the vast majority of individuals who participated in the survey component of this study felt that living in a secure community was very important to them when deciding which community to take up residence. Nevertheless, several interesting observations were made from Table 6.3. For example, while important to both genders, the data indicated that the women (67.5%) surv eyed had a greater desire for security than did the men (58.9%) who completed the surv ey portion of this study. The highest percentages which were recorded in the %7-9 category belonged to low income individuals (83.3%), Non-White individuals (73.7%), and i ndividuals who were single, widowed, or divorced at the time of the stud y (71.4%). Perhaps the most surprising finding was that the data indicated that, for the informants who were surveyed, security seemed to be of greater importance to indi viduals without children (69.1%) than it was for people who have children (57.9%). This finding directly contradicts the mark eting techniques employed by many real estate companies investigated in this study, who use imagery and advertisements depicting the need for parents to seek a gated community for the protection of their family. There are many inferences that one could make with regard to these findings. However, rather than produce several specu lative hypotheses based solely on descriptive data, this information was used as a launching point for more in depth investigation and triangulation by means of semi-structured inte rviews. To that end, many of these findings were discussed in further detail in the qualitative results chapter of this study.
77 Table 6.4 shows the distribution of res ponses given by the informants with regards to desire for aesthetic appeal when deciding to move into their respective gated community. Table 6.4 The relationships between the informants desire for aesthetic appeal within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 1 1 2 4 4 13 17 18 16 76 Percentage (%) 1.3 1.3 2.6 5.3 5.3 17.1 22.4 23.7 21.1 100.0 5.3 27.6 67.1 Female Count 2 0 1 2 4 8 15 17 36 85 Percentage (%) 2.4 0.0 1.2 2.4 4.7 9.4 17.6 20.0 42.4 100.0 3.5 16.5 80.0 Age Young Count 0 0 0 2 2 7 6 10 14 41 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.9 4.9 17.1 14.6 24.4 34.1 100.0 0.0 26.9 73.2 MiddleAged Count 3 1 2 3 5 12 24 20 37 107 Percentage (%) 2.8 0.9 1.9 2.8 4.7 11.2 22.4 18.7 34.6 100.0 5.6 18.7 75.7 ElderlyAged Count 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 4 2 14 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 7.1 7.1 14.3 14.3 14.3 28.6 14.3 100.0 7.1 35.7 57.1 Race White Count 2 1 3 6 6 17 31 34 42 142 Percentage (%) 1.4 0.7 2.1 4.2 4.2 12.0 21.8 23.9 29.6 100.0 4.2 20.4 75.4 Non-White Count 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 1 11 17 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 11.8 11.8 5.9 5.9 64.7 100.0 0.0 23.5 76.5 Income Level Low Income Count 1 0 0 1 1 1 3 4 9 20 Percentage (%) 5.0 0.0 0.0 5.0 5.0 5.0 15.0 20.0 45.0 100.0 5.0 15.0 80.0 Medium Income Count 2 1 2 1 4 8 14 12 21 65 Percentage (%) 3.1 1.5 3.1 1.5 6.2 12.3 21.5 18.5 32.3 100.0 7.7 20.0 72.3 High Income Count 0 0 1 4 2 8 12 14 17 58 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 1.7 6.9 3.4 13.8 20.7 24.1 29.3 100.0 1.7 24.1 74.1 Marital Status Single Count 0 0 0 1 1 2 7 4 7 22 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.5 4.5 9.1 31.8 18.2 31.8 100.0 0.0 18.2 81.8 Married Count 3 1 3 5 7 19 25 31 46 140 Percentage (%) 2.1 0.7 2.1 3.6 5.0 13.6 17.9 22.1 32.9 100.0 5.0 22.1 72.9 Children No Children Count 1 0 3 2 5 10 21 18 23 83 Percentage (%) 1.2 0.0 3.6 2.4 6.0 12.0 25.3 21.7 27.7 100.0 4.8 20.5 74.7 Children Count 2 1 0 4 3 11 11 17 30 79 Percentage (%) 2.5 1.3 0.0 5.1 3.8 13.9 13.9 21.5 38.0 100.0 3.8 22.8 73.4 Length of Residency Short Count 0 0 0 0 2 7 5 12 9 35 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 5.7 20.0 14.3 34.3 25.7 100.0 0.0 25.7 74.3 Medium Count 1 0 1 1 3 3 15 8 20 52 Percentage (%) 1.9 0.0 1.9 1.9 5.8 5.8 28.8 15.4 38.5 100.0 3.8 13.5 82.7 Long Count 2 1 2 5 3 11 12 15 24 75 Percentage (%) 2.7 1.3 2.7 6.7 4.0 14.7 16.0 20.0 32.0 100.0 6.7 25.3 68.0
78 As with the informants desire for s ecurity, once again most respondents, regardless of demographic sub-group (i.e., ma le and female), felt that living in an aesthetically pleasing community was very important when making their decision to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. Once more, a larger percentage of those women (80%) surveyed a greater importance on aesthetic appeal than did the men informants (67.1%) in the st udy. With all flagged percentages falling between 55% and 85%, there were no unexpec ted findings or significant differences between most demographic categories. At 57.1%, elderly individuals had the lowest percentage recorded in the %7-9 category, and with 82.7%, individuals who had been living in their respective community for between two and five years made up the greatest percentage. Of course, while wanting to live in a nicely-kept, picturesque community seems logical, this pull-factor has become one of the cornerstone selling points for many gated communities in the Tampa Bay area. Over the past few years, many homebuilders and planners have themed comm unities after a specific recreational concept, place, or timeperiod (Ross, 1999). For example, in Land O La kes, Florida, there is a gated community called Wilderness Lakes whose building style, landscaping, and even street signs are themed after the concept of being on a camping trip. Regrettably, with this prioritization of aesthetic appeal by builders comes unfort unate consequences to the environment, as well as inequitable distribution of resources. With more and more gated communities being themed after exotic locations and c oncepts, a greater number of non-indigenous plants are being used for landscaping. This in turn can lead to greater dependency on
79 water, as well as the occasional introduction of an invasive species which can disrupt balance in local ecosystems (Davis, 1998). While the data captured in Table 6.4 clearly show that a great deal of importance is placed on living in a community that is aesthetically pleasing, it is unclear as to whether it is the producer or the consumer which is the driving force behind this phenomenon. Are homebuyers desires to live in a utopian paradise fueling this recent paradigm shift in homebuilding, as builders are simply giving the people what they want? Or, is this need for natural perfection felt by consumers an imagineered creation of builders, real estate agents, and planners to manufacture an increase in property values and home sale prices (Ross, 1999)? These in tensive (Sayer 1984, 1992, 2000) questions were investigated in detail during the semi-structured interview portion of the study and will be discussed in further detail in the qualitative analysis chapter. Table 6.5 shows the distribution of res ponses given by the informants with regards to desire to maintain property values when deciding to move into their respective gated community.
80 Table 6.5 The relationships between the informants desire to maintain their property value within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variables Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 1 2 0 2 3 6 19 12 33 78 Percentage (%) 1.3 2.6 0.0 2.6 3.8 7.7 24.4 15.4 42.3 100.0 3.8 14.1 82.1 Female Count 1 0 2 2 3 9 9 18 41 85 Percentage (%) 1.2 0.0 2.4 2.4 3.5 10.6 10.6 21.2 48.2 100.0 3.5 16.5 80.0 Age Young Count 0 0 1 0 2 7 8 7 15 40 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 2.5 0.0 5.0 17.5 20.0 17.5 37.5 100.0 2.5 22.5 75.0 MiddleAged Count 2 1 1 4 3 6 19 22 50 108 Percentage (%) 1.9 0.9 0.9 3.7 2.8 5.6 17.6 20.4 46.3 100.0 3.7 12.0 84.3 ElderlyAged Count 0 1 0 0 1 2 1 1 9 15 Percentage (%) 0.0 6.7 0.0 0.0 6.7 13.3 6.7 6.7 60.0 100.0 6.7 20.0 73.3 Race White Count 2 2 1 3 6 14 27 22 65 142 Percentage (%) 1.4 1.4 0.7 2.1 4.2 9.9 19.0 15.5 45.8 100.0 3.5 16.2 80.3 Non-White Count 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 8 8 19 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 5.3 0.0 0.0 5.3 5.3 42.1 42.1 100.0 5.3 5.3 89.5 Income Level Low Income Count 0 1 0 1 0 2 1 7 8 20 Percentage (%) 0.0 5.0 0.0 5.0 0.0 10.0 5.0 35.0 40.0 100.0 5.0 15.0 80.0 Medium Income Count 2 0 1 1 2 6 12 11 33 68 Percentage (%) 2.9 0.0 1.5 1.5 2.9 8.8 17.6 16.2 48.5 100.0 4.4 13.2 82.4 High Income Count 0 1 1 2 4 7 10 9 23 57 Percentage (%) 0.0 1.8 1.8 3.5 7.0 12.3 17.5 15.8 40.4 100.0 3.5 22.8 73.7 Marital Status Single Count 0 1 0 0 1 4 5 4 8 23 Percentage (%) 0.0 4.3 0.0 0.0 4.3 17.4 21.7 17.4 34.8 100.0 4.3 21.7 73.9 Married Count 2 1 2 4 5 11 23 26 67 141 Percentage (%) 1.4 0.7 1.4 2.8 3.5 7.8 16.3 18.4 47.5 100.0 3.5 14.2 82.3 Children No Children Count 1 2 1 2 3 8 14 16 38 85 Percentage (%) 1.2 2.4 1.2 2.4 3.5 9.4 16.5 18.8 44.7 100.0 4.7 15.3 80.0 Children Count 1 0 1 2 3 7 14 14 37 79 Percentage (%) 1.3 0.0 1.3 2.5 3.8 8.9 17.7 17.7 46.8 100.0 2.5 15.2 82.3 Length of Residency Short Count 0 0 0 0 2 3 8 11 11 35 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 5.7 8.6 22.9 31.4 31.4 100.0 0.0 14.3 85.7 Medium Count 1 1 1 1 2 6 9 6 25 52 Percentage (%) 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 3.8 11.5 17.3 11.5 48.1 100.0 5.8 17.3 76.9 Long Count 1 1 1 3 2 6 11 13 39 77 Percentage (%) 1.3 1.3 1.3 3.9 2.6 7.8 14.3 16.9 50.6 100.0 3.9 14.3 81.8 In their investigations of residents motivations for moving into gated communities, both Theresa Caldeira (2000) a nd Setha Lowe (2003) found the desire for maintaining property values to be one of the most influentia l pull-factors for homebuyers.
81 To that end, it is not surprising to find that the largest percentage for each of the demographic variables investigated fell under the %7-9 category. With percentages in this category ranging from 70%-90%, it is eviden t that respondents in this study felt that maintaining property values was a very importa nt consideration when deciding to move into the three gated communities investigated in this study. Additionally, there was little variation in percentages between different demographic sub-groups. Interestingly, with 73.3%, elderly-aged respondents (age over 70) had the lowest percentage recorded in the %7-9 category. Is this because these aged individuals did not purchase their house as a long-term investme nt, but rather as a home in which to live out their final years? However, it is importa nt to note that this demographic sub-group was only comprised of fifteen informants. To that end, one must te mper any conclusions made from this finding alone. Nevertheless, this very qu estion was discussed with a seventy-eight-year-old respondent during a se mi-structured interview. Discussions with this individual on this topic produced a more in depth understanding as to the perceptions he/she had, as well as those of other re sidents living in his/her gated community regarding how owning a home in a restricted-access neighborhood can maintain property values. Excerpts from this interview, as well as other interviews investigating the desire to move into gated communities as a way of maintaining property values, will be covered in more detail in the qualitative results chapter. Table 6.6 shows the distribution of res ponses given by the informants with regards to desire for community interaction when deciding to move into their respective gated community.
82 Table 6.6 The relationships between the informants desire for community interaction within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 6 3 10 7 13 8 11 3 7 68 Percentage (%) 8.8 4.4 14.7 10.3 19.1 11.8 16.2 4.4 10.3 100.0 27.9 41.2 30.9 Female Count 5 7 5 2 10 13 18 9 10 79 Percentage (%) 6.3 8.9 6.3 2.5 12.7 16.5 22.8 11.4 12.7 100.0 21.5 31.7 46.8 Age Young Count 1 3 3 3 5 5 8 4 5 37 Percentage (%) 2.7 8.1 8.1 8.1 13.5 13.5 21.6 10.8 13.5 100.0 18.9 35.1 45.9 MiddleAged Count 8 5 8 6 16 14 19 8 11 95 Percentage (%) 8.4 5.3 8.4 6.3 16.8 14.7 20.0 8.4 11.6 100.0 22.1 37.9 40.0 ElderlyAged Count 2 2 4 0 2 1 2 0 1 14 Percentage (%) 14.3 14.3 28.6 0.0 14.3 7.1 14.3 0.0 7.1 100.0 57.1 21.4 21.4 Race White Count 9 10 14 7 20 18 23 10 15 126 Percentage (%) 7.1 7.9 11.1 5.6 15.9 14.3 18.3 7.9 11.9 100.0 26.2 35.7 38.1 Non-White Count 2 0 1 2 2 1 6 2 2 18 Percentage (%) 11.1 0.0 5.6 11.1 11.1 5.6 33.3 11.1 11.1 100.0 16.7 27.8 55.6 Income Level Low Income Count 1 0 1 2 4 2 3 1 2 16 Percentage (%) 6.3 0.0 6.3 12.5 25.0 12.5 18.8 6.3 12.5 100.0 12.5 50.0 37.5 Medium Income Count 8 3 6 4 9 8 11 4 6 59 Percentage (%) 13.6 5.1 10.2 6.8 15.3 13.6 18.6 6.8 10.2 100.0 28.8 35.6 35.6 High Income Count 2 7 6 2 7 4 11 7 8 54 Percentage (%) 3.7 13.0 11.1 3.7 13.0 7.4 20.4 13.0 14.8 100.0 27.8 24.1 48.1 Marital Status Single Count 2 1 1 2 4 3 4 1 2 20 Percentage (%) 10.0 5.0 5.0 10.0 20.0 15.0 20.0 5.0 10.0 100.0 20.0 45.0 35.0 Married Count 9 9 14 7 19 18 25 11 15 127 Percentage (%) 7.1 7.1 11.0 5.5 15.0 14.2 19.7 8.7 11.8 100.0 25.2 34.7 40.2 Children No Children Count 7 5 9 5 14 10 12 5 6 73 Percentage (%) 9.6 6.8 12.3 6.8 19.2 13.7 16.4 6.8 8.2 100.0 28.8 39.7 31.5 Children Count 4 5 6 4 8 11 17 7 11 73 Percentage (%) 5.5 6.8 8.2 5.5 11.0 15.1 23.3 9.6 15.1 100.0 20.5 31.5 47.9 Length of Residency Short Count 2 2 0 3 6 3 6 6 3 31 Percentage (%) 6.5 6.5 0.0 9.7 19.4 9.7 19.4 19.4 9.7 100.0 12.9 38.7 48.4 Medium Count 6 3 4 4 8 6 6 2 7 46 Percentage (%) 13.0 6.5 8.7 8.7 17.4 13.0 13.0 4.3 15.2 100.0 28.3 39.1 32.6 Long Count 3 5 11 2 8 12 17 4 7 69 Percentage (%) 4.3 7.2 15.9 2.9 11.6 17.4 24.6 5.8 10.1 100.0 27.5 31.9 40.6 Analysis of Table 6.6 produced some interesting results with regard to the level of importance that different demographic sub-groups place on community interaction when deciding which community to take up residence. Unlike the universal importance placed,
83 regardless of demographic sub-group, on the need for security, aesthetic appeal, or the maintenance of property values, there were several disparities found between demographic sub-groups in Table 6.6. For example, women appeared to place a lot of importance on community interaction, while the men respondents maintained a more neutral desire to interact socially. Moreover the majority of elderly-aged (age over 70) respondents expressed a rather apathetic viewpoint regarding the desire for community interaction within their re spective neighborhoods when compared to that of younger individuals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majori ty of individuals with children placed a greater deal of importance to be socially active than did informants without children. For the most part these findings are logical in that younger individuals are more likely to have families, and, therefore, a desire, as well as an avenue (i.e. play dates, youth sports), to seek out other young families like themselves in a community environment. Furthermore, one could infer that in an elite gated community (Blakely and Snyder, 1997), such as Arbor Greene, Hunt ers Green, or Grand Hampton, there may be a greater proportion of stay-at-home wives, thus generating the need to live in a community which fosters social interaction. As individuals become older, their children become more independent and eventually move out, thus redefining the need for, or at least the types of, social interaction that are needed. However, to substantiate any conclusions made by these re lationships, in-depth ethnographic research was conducted, and will be discussed in the qualitative analysis chapter. Table 6.7 shows the distribution of res ponses given by the informants with regards to desire for privacy when deciding to move into their respective gated community.
84 Table 6.7 The relationships between the informants desire for privacy within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 3 1 3 3 8 14 12 8 20 72 Percentage (%) 4.2 1.4 4.2 4.2 11.1 19.4 16.7 11.1 27.8 100.0 9.7 34.7 55.6 Female Count 4 5 4 3 10 9 12 6 26 79 Percentage (%) 5.1 6.3 5.1 3.8 12.7 11.4 15.2 7.6 32.9 100.0 16.5 27.9 55.7 Age Young Count 2 3 1 3 6 4 3 4 10 36 Percentage (%) 5.6 8.3 2.8 8.3 16.7 11.1 8.3 11.1 27.8 100.0 16.7 36.1 47.2 MiddleAged Count 4 3 6 3 9 18 20 9 31 103 Percentage (%) 3.9 2.9 5.8 2.9 8.7 17.5 19.4 8.7 30.1 100.0 12.6 29.1 58.3 ElderlyAged Count 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 1 6 12 Percentage (%) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 25.0 8.3 8.3 8.3 50.0 100.0 0.0 33.3 66.7 Race White Count 6 6 7 5 16 21 20 12 38 131 Percentage (%) 4.6 4.6 5.3 3.8 12.2 16.0 15.3 9.2 29.0 100.0 14.5 32.1 53.4 Non-White Count 1 0 0 1 1 1 4 2 8 18 Percentage (%) 5.6 0.0 0.0 5.6 5.6 5.6 22.2 11.1 44.4 100.0 5.6 16.7 77.8 Income Level Low Income Count 0 1 1 0 2 4 2 2 6 18 Percentage (%) 0.0 5.6 5.6 0.0 11.1 22.2 11.1 11.1 33.3 100.0 11.1 33.3 55.6 Medium Income Count 4 0 2 3 9 8 11 6 17 60 Percentage (%) 6.7 0.0 3.3 5.0 15.0 13.3 18.3 10.0 28.3 100.0 10.0 33.3 56.7 High Income Count 2 4 4 2 6 8 9 5 15 55 Percentage (%) 3.6 7.3 7.3 3.6 10.9 14.5 16.4 9.1 27.3 100.0 18.2 29.1 52.7 Marital Status Single Count 1 0 1 0 3 3 4 1 8 21 Percentage (%) 4.8 0.0 4.8 0.0 14.3 14.3 19.0 4.8 38.1 100.0 9.5 28.6 61.9 Married Count 6 6 6 6 15 20 20 13 39 131 Percentage (%) 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 11.5 15.3 15.3 9.9 29.8 100.0 13.7 31.3 55.0 Children No Children Count 3 1 4 2 9 11 15 8 26 79 Percentage (%) 3.8 1.3 5.1 2.5 11.4 13.9 19.0 10.1 32.9 100.0 10.1 27.9 62.0 Children Count 4 5 3 4 9 12 9 6 21 73 Percentage (%) 5.5 6.8 4.1 5.5 12.3 16.4 12.3 8.2 28.8 100.0 16.4 34.2 49.3 Length of Residency Short Count 2 0 0 2 4 5 9 2 10 34 Percentage (%) 5.9 0.0 0.0 5.9 11.8 14.7 26.5 5.9 29.4 100.0 5.9 32.4 61.8 Medium Count 1 2 1 2 6 6 7 8 15 48 Percentage (%) 2.1 4.2 2.1 4.2 12.5 12.5 14.6 16.7 31.3 100.0 8.3 29.2 62.5 Long Count 4 4 6 2 8 12 8 4 22 70 Percentage (%) 5.7 5.7 8.6 2.9 11.4 17.1 11.4 5.7 31.4 100.0 20.0 31.4 48.6 The desire for privacy, seclusion, and limited access to outsiders is one of the fundamental forces which has been driving the creation of gated communities throughout much of the Unite States over the last seve ral decades (Low, 2003). To that end, it was
85 expected to discover that most informants, regardless of demographic sub-group, felt that the need for privacy was important when deciding to move into a restricted-access community. Initially, there was little difference in percentages between many of the various demographic sub-groups noticed. Howeve r, upon closer investigation, a couple of interesting variations between certai n demographic sub-groups emerged. For example, the desire for privacy appears to increase with age. Only 47.2% of young respondents (age less than 40) responded that the need for privacy was an important consideration when buying a hous e in their community. Conversely, with a percentage of 58.3%, a greater number of in formants between the ages of 41 and 70 (middle aged) felt that privacy was an important component of their neighborhood. Likewise, with a percentage of 66.7%, the va st majority of those respondents over the age of 70 (elderly aged) placed a lot of importance on the desire for privacy when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. Another interesting observation made from Table 6.7 was that a gr eater percentage of individuals without children (62%) defined the desire for privacy as an important pull-factor than did those informants in this study with children (49.3%). One of the repercussions of this desire for privacy has been the fortification of individual neighborhoods within gated communiti es. Even individuals who reside within the gated community as a whole cannot ente r certain neighborhoods unless they are a resident of that specific neighborhood. To th at end, issues of economic segregation and classism have been raised by many academics, such as Edward J. Blakely and Mary Gail Snyder (1997), regarding how gated commun ities are completely isolated from the outside world, including from other gate d neighborhoods which may share the same
86 residential space. As is the case in Arbor Gr eene and Hunters Green, only the financially elite can afford the costly homes located in side these secluded neighborhoods, and other residents who bought a less expensive home within the community are restricted access to these neighborhoods. Interestingly, when looking at Table 6.7 it is observed that the majority of individuals from all three levels of income (low, medium, and high) place a great deal of importance on living in a community that prioritizes privacy. However, how do residents feel when thei r income level influences the level of privacy offered to them within a gated community? Are they even aware of any distinction between the levels of privacy within their community, or are residents too preoccupied enjoying the privacy afforded to them by having access to the gates of the main community, that they arent even awar e that they too are outsiders looking in? During the semi-structured inte rview component of this study, these types of questions were asked to individuals living both outside and inside of the gates within the gates to determine the perceptions that residents had regarding the micro-partitioning of their respective gated community. The information de rived from those interviews was used to substantiate any findings made from Table 6.7, and will be discussed in the qualitative analysis chapter. Table 6.8 shows the distribution of respons es given by the informants regarding desire for amenities when deciding to move into their respective gated community.
87 Table 6.8 The relationships between the informants desire for amenities within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 4 3 3 6 8 13 16 10 9 72 Percentage (%) 5.6 4.2 4.2 8.3 11.1 18.1 22.2 13.9 12.5 100.0 13.9 37.5 48.6 Female Count 5 4 5 4 9 8 18 11 15 79 Percentage (%) 6.3 5.1 6.3 5.1 11.4 10.1 22.8 13.9 19.0 100.0 17.7 26.6 55.7 Age Young Count 1 2 5 3 3 3 10 7 6 40 Percentage (%) 2.5 5.0 12.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 25.0 17.5 15.0 100.0 20.0 22.5 57.5 MiddleAged Count 7 5 3 5 11 15 22 14 18 100 Percentage (%) 7.0 5.0 3.0 5.0 11.0 15.0 22.0 14.0 18.0 100.0 15.0 31.0 54.0 ElderlyAged Count 1 0 0 2 4 2 2 0 1 12 Percentage (%) 8.3 0.0 0.0 16.7 33.3 16.7 16.7 0.0 8.3 100.0 8.3 66.6 25.0 Race White Count 7 7 7 9 16 19 30 18 19 132 Percentage (%) 5.3 5.3 5.3 6.8 11.7 14.4 22.7 13.6 14.4 99.6 15.9 33.0 50.8 Non-White Count 2 0 1 1 1 0 4 3 6 18 Percentage (%) 11.1 0.0 5.6 5.6 5.6 0.0 22.2 16.7 33.3 100.0 16.7 11.1 72.2 Income Level Low Income Count 1 0 3 0 3 0 4 4 2 17 Percentage (%) 5.9 0.0 17.6 0.0 17.6 0.0 23.5 23.5 11.8 100.0 23.5 17.6 58.8 Medium Income Count 6 3 2 4 6 9 16 6 11 63 Percentage (%) 9.5 4.8 3.2 6.3 9.5 14.3 25.4 9.5 17.5 100.0 17.5 30.2 52.4 High Income Count 2 3 3 6 4 10 11 8 9 56 Percentage (%) 3.6 5.4 5.4 10.7 7.1 17.9 19.6 14.3 16.1 100.0 14.3 35.7 50.0 Marital Status Single Count 1 1 1 1 2 4 6 4 2 22 Percentage (%) 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 9.1 18.2 27.3 18.2 9.1 100.0 13.6 31.8 54.5 Married Count 8 6 7 9 16 17 28 17 23 131 Percentage (%) 6.1 4.6 5.3 6.9 11.8 13.0 21.4 13.0 17.6 99.6 16.0 31.7 51.9 Children No Children Count 7 2 3 6 10 11 15 11 12 77 Percentage (%) 9.1 2.6 3.9 7.8 13.0 14.3 19.5 14.3 15.6 100.0 15.6 35.1 49.4 Children Count 2 5 5 4 7 10 19 10 13 75 Percentage (%) 2.7 6.7 6.7 5.3 9.3 13.3 25.3 13.3 17.3 100.0 16.0 28.0 56.0 Length of Residency Short Count 0 1 4 3 3 3 4 9 7 34 Percentage (%) 0.0 2.9 11.8 8.8 8.8 8.8 11.8 26.5 20.6 100.0 14.7 26.5 58.8 Medium Count 3 4 2 3 6 4 13 8 6 49 Percentage (%) 6.1 8.2 4.1 6.1 12.2 8.2 26.5 16.3 12.2 100.0 18.4 26.5 55.1 Long Count 6 2 2 4 9 14 17 4 12 70 Percentage (%) 8.6 2.9 2.9 5.7 12.9 20.0 24.3 5.7 17.1 100.0 14.3 38.6 47.1 Many of the real estate marketing materials investigated regarding Grand Hampton showed individuals walking nature trails, swimming in an Olympic-size pool, or playing tennis on professiona l courts. This type of imagery has become ubiquitous
88 with the promotion of elite gated comm unities (Blakely and Snyder, 1997). These communities want to invoke feelings of serenity and relaxa tion which often are associated with being on a vacation. To that end, many gated comm unity planners design amenities in a way that creates the percep tion of being on a lifelong vacation for its residents. As evidenced by Table 6.8, the va st majority of individuals, regardless of demographic sub-group, moved into Arbor Gr eene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton to enjoy the state-of-the-art amenities offered by their respective community. The only exception to this finding was with elderly-aged (age over 70) informants, in which the majority (66.6%) were neutral towards the need of amenities within their community. Perhaps this is due to the fact that senior citizens generally have less mobility, as well as no children living at home, when compared to younger individuals, and would therefore derive less pleasure from amenities such as tennis courts or parks. However, to understand such indi vidualistic reasons for this general lack of need of amenities by respondents over seventy years of age requires more comprehensive ethnographic research. Indeed, the need for amenities appeared to be quite important to most informants in this study. However, how often do these individuals actually use the amenities that they prioritized as an important factor in their decision to move into their respective community in the first place? Table 6.9 shows the descriptive statistics for how often the 171 informants actually used the amenities wi thin their respective communities at the time of data collection for this study.
89 Table 6.9 A statistical breakdown of how often informants used the different amenities within their respective gated community Use of Amenities N Minimum Maximum Mean Swimming Pool / Hot Tub 127 1 5 1.50 Health Club (Gym) 128 1 5 2.20 Tennis / Racquetball / Basketball Courts 147 1 5 1.39 Clubhouse 142 1 5 1.42 Parks / Green Spaces 149 1 5 1.99 Golf Course 72 1 5 1.81 Prior to tabulation, the raw data presented in Table 6.9 were coded as follows: (1) If the informant used the particular amenity less than once a month; (2) If the informant used the particular amenity at least once a mont h; (3) If the informant used the particular amenity at least once a week; (4) If the info rmant used the particular amenity at least three times a week; and (5) If the informant used the amenity at least once a day. To prevent the descriptive statistics from being unintentionally skewed, all missing data or data which indicated that a particular amenity was not available in an informants community were omitted from the statistical tests displayed in Table 6.9. The minimum and maximum coded value for each amenity was found to determine the range of use for each recreational facility. Most importantly, the mean was found for each amenity to determine the average amount of time that informants in this study were using the different amenities within Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Finally the N column in Table 6.9 represented th e total number of individual respondents for each amenity (not including those informants who indicated that a particular amenity was
90 not available in their respective community). It should be noted that, at the time of this study, Hunters Green was the only community of the three to have a golf course. As a result, the N value for golf course is significantly less than that of the other amenities. Upon investigation of Table 6.9, it was observed that the frequency of use for each amenity ranged from the amenity being used less than once a month (1) to the informant using the amenity on a daily basis (5). However, the mean was less than two for five of the six amenities indicating that the average informant who answered this portion of the survey used each of these amenities once a month or less. Only the health club had a mean that was greater than two (2.20), which indicates that the average respondent worked out at their respective co mmunitys health club between once a week and once a month at the time surveys for this study were collected. Considering the expense (CDD and HOA fees ) associated with living in a gated community that provides its residents with first-class amenities, one might wonder whether or not individuals living in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton are getting their moneys worth out of these amenities. Why doesnt the desire for amenities which appeared to be universally shared by most informants in this study, as indicated in Table 6.8, lead to more regular use of these facilities and equipment once individuals move into the community? Th is apparent dichotomy was explored exhaustively through the use of semi-structured interviews, and will be discussed in more detail in the qualitative analysis chapter. Table 6.10 shows the distribution of res ponses given by the informants with regards to desire for private governance when deciding to move into their respective gated community.
91 Table 6.10 The relationships between the informants desire for private governance within their respective gated community, and the demographic makeup of the sample. Demographic Variable Categories Descriptive Statistics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total % 1-3 % 4-6 % 7-9 Gender Male Count 7 8 6 5 12 9 11 4 7 69 Percentage (%) 10.1 11.6 8.7 7.2 17.4 13.0 15.9 5.8 10.1 100.0 30.4 37.7 31.9 Female Count 13 10 3 3 13 8 9 4 12 75 Percentage (%) 17.3 13.3 4.0 4.0 17.3 10.7 12.0 5.3 16.0 100.0 34.7 32.0 33.3 Age Young Count 6 6 3 4 6 3 3 1 4 36 Percentage (%) 16.7 16.7 8.3 11.1 16.7 8.3 8.3 2.8 11.1 100.0 41.7 36.1 22.2 MiddleAged Count 13 11 5 4 16 14 15 6 11 95 Percentage (%) 13.7 11.6 5.3 4.2 16.8 14.7 15.8 6.3 11.6 100.0 30.5 35.8 33.7 ElderlyAged Count 1 1 1 0 3 0 3 1 3 13 Percentage (%) 7.7 7.7 7.7 0.0 23.1 0.0 23.1 7.7 23.1 100.0 23.1 23.1 53.8 Race White Count 17 16 8 7 23 13 18 8 15 125 Percentage (%) 13.6 12.8 6.4 5.6 18.0 10.4 14.4 6.4 12.0 99.6 32.8 34.0 32.8 Non-White Count 2 2 1 1 2 3 3 0 4 18 Percentage (%) 11.1 11.1 5.6 5.6 11.1 16.7 16.7 0.0 22.2 100.0 27.8 33.3 38.9 Income Level Low Income Count 4 0 1 0 4 2 2 1 2 16 Percentage (%) 25.0 0.0 6.3 0.0 25.0 12.5 12.5 6.3 12.5 100.0 31.3 37.5 31.3 Medium Income Count 8 5 3 3 11 5 12 5 6 58 Percentage (%) 13.8 8.6 5.2 5.2 19.0 8.6 20.7 8.6 10.3 100.0 27.6 32.8 39.7 High Income Count 7 11 5 3 7 8 5 2 5 53 Percentage (%) 13.2 20.8 9.4 5.7 13.2 15.1 9.4 3.8 9.4 100.0 43.4 34.0 22.6 Marital Status Single Count 4 1 0 0 5 2 4 1 2 19 Percentage (%) 21.1 5.3 0.0 0.0 26.3 10.5 21.1 5.3 10.5 100.0 26.3 36.8 36.8 Married Count 16 17 9 8 21 15 17 7 16 126 Percentage (%) 12.7 13.5 7.1 6.3 16.3 11.9 13.5 5.6 12.7 99.6 33.3 34.5 31.7 Children No Children Count 10 7 5 3 13 7 14 4 11 74 Percentage (%) 13.5 9.5 6.8 4.1 17.6 9.5 18.9 5.4 14.9 100.0 29.7 31.1 39.2 Children Count 10 11 4 5 12 10 7 4 7 70 Percentage (%) 14.3 15.7 5.7 7.1 17.1 14.3 10.0 5.7 10.0 100.0 35.7 38.6 25.7 Length of Residency Short Count 3 1 3 4 6 6 4 0 4 31 Percentage (%) 9.7 3.2 9.7 12.9 19.4 19.4 12.9 0.0 12.9 100.0 22.6 51.6 25.8 Medium Count 7 9 1 3 7 3 11 3 4 48 Percentage (%) 14.6 18.8 2.1 6.3 14.6 6.3 22.9 6.3 8.3 100.0 35.4 27.1 37.5 Long Count 10 8 5 1 13 8 6 5 10 66 Percentage (%) 15.2 12.1 7.6 1.5 19.7 12.1 9.1 7.6 15.2 100.0 34.8 33.3 31.8 While the phenomenon of private governan ce is not isolated only to gated communities, it has become one of the tr ademark administrative structures found throughout these types of communities in the United States. Prior to data collection for
92 this study it was unclear whether the average individual was actively seeking to live in gated communities that were privately gove rned, or if, like Evan McKenzie (1994) pointed out, that most individuals who desired to live in gated communities simply were not provided with alternative options. Upon anal ysis of the data compiled in Table 6.10, a complete understanding of this issue was still unclear. The data in Table 6.10 indicated that there were several differences, th roughout various demographic sub-groups, regarding the perceived importance of private governance within their respective community. First and foremost, with the highest flagged percentage being only 53.8% (elderly-aged informants), it appeared that many of the demographic sub-groups were quite split in their prioritization of private g overnance. In fact, within several of the subgroups, majority opinions were only separated by a few percentage points. For example, while the slight majority of women (34.7%) placed minimal importance on private governance, the percentages of women who viewed private governance as neutral or important were 32% and 33.3%, respectively. To that end, with such a small margin of difference between the three viewpoints, it is difficult on these findings alone to deduce that the majority of women in gated communities view private governance as minimally important. While only six sub-groups had a majority who felt that private governance was an important consideration when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton, twelve sub-gr oups had either a neutral or negative viewpoint regarding the importance of private governance in their respective community. To that end, it appeared that, in general, the majority of individuals, throughout many of the demographic sub-groups, were only minimally concerned with moving into a privately
93 governed community, if not apathetic towards the concept altogether. These findings appear to only strengthen Evan McKenzies (1994) arguments, and give credence to the belief that private governance is merely a bi-product that individuals seeking to live in a gated community must tolerate. Interestingly, during the semi-structured interview component of this study, several informants discussed their overall displeasure with the unfair treatment that they and their neighbors routinely faced by those within private governance power structure who, by all ot her measures, were their social equals. Excerpts from these interviews were included in the qualitative results chapter to further investigate Evan McKenzies (1994) claims, as well as to substantiate any findings derived from the inconclusive re sults produced in Table 6.10. Perceptions about Life in Gated Co mmunities (Quantitative Analysis) Overall, did informants think that their gated community was safe? How aesthetically pleasing were different aspects of Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, and Grand Hampton to the informants of this study? Were the homeowners associations in informants respective communities up to their standards? These were the types of questions that informants were asked in the second section of the structured survey. Once again, ten-point Likert Scales were used to ascertain the pe rceptions and impressions that individuals had regarding different aspects of their respective communities. However, for statistical analysis in this section the divisi on of responses into three equally-sized groups was not necessary. As a result, the Likert Scales were preserved in their original ten-point format and none of the data was recoded. A Bivariate Correlations test was used to determine the relationships between the motivations respondents originally had for m oving into their gated community, and the
94 different perceptions they have of their respective neighborhood having lived in their respective community for a given period of tim e. Since all of the data used in this analysis were ordinal in nature (on a scal e of 1-10), a linear relationship between the variables cannot be assumed. Therefore, a nonparametric Spearmans correlation coefficient test was used to measure the rela tionship between the different variables. This test was developed by Charle s Spearman specifically to ha ndle ordinal data (Bernard, 2000). As a result, using this statistical test, Tables 6.11 (a) and (b) show the relationships between informants original desires upon moving into their community, and their perceptions of their respective community as a resident. Those relationships which were found to be statistically significant were flagged in Tables 6.11 (a) and (b).
95 Table 6.11 (a) The relationships between those factors which influenced informants to move into a gated community, and th e perceptions they have regarding the security and aesthetic appeal of their community Factors in Moving to a Gated Community Perception of Security Perception of Aesthetic Appeal (Front Entrance) Perception of Aesthetic Appeal (Architectural Style) Perception of Aesthetic Appeal (Landscaping) Perception of Aesthetic Appeal (Common Areas) Correlation Coefficient .194(*) .415(**) .417(**) .412(**) .397(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.011 0 0 0 0 Desire for Aesthetic Appeal N 170 170 170 170 169 Correlation Coefficient .221(**) .276(**) .409(**) .333(**) .315(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.004 0 0 0 0 Desire for Property Values N 170 170 170 170 169 Correlation Coefficient 0.076 0.144 .278(**) .182(*) .262(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.328 0.062 0 0.018 0.001 Desire for Community Interaction N 169 169 169 169 168 Correlation Coefficient .281(**) .185(*) .344(**) .282(**) .284(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0 0.016 0 0 0 Desire for Privacy N 170 170 170 170 169 Correlation Coefficient 0.038 .152(*) .341(**) .245(**) .271(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.623 0.048 0 0.001 0 Desire for Amenities N 170 170 170 170 169 Correlation Coefficient .228(**) .256(**) .401(**) .314(**) .309(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.003 0.001 0 0 0 Desire for Private Governance N 170 170 170 170 169 Correlation Coefficient .283(**) .175(*) .302(**) 0.15 .213(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0 0.022 0 0.05 0.006 Desire for Security N 170 170 170 170 169 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
96 Table 6.11 (b) The relationships between those factors which influenced informants to move into a gated community, and the perceptions they have regarding their Homeowners Association, as well as how much they interact with their neighbors Factors in Moving to a Gated Community Opinion of Homeowners Association (Organization) Opinion of Homeowners Association (Leadership) Opinion of Homeowners Association (Fairness) Opinion of Homeowners Association (Effectiveness) Level of Community Interaction Correlation Coefficient 0.124 0.149 .171(*) .188(*) 0.125 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.146 0.078 0.039 0.023 0.107 Desire for Aesthetic Appeal N 139 141 146 146 169 Correlation Coefficient .254(**) .268(**) .336(**) .380(**) .165(*) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.003 0.001 0 0 0.032 Desire for Property Values N 139 141 146 146 169 Correlation Coefficient 0.099 0.056 .169(*) .175(*) .510(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.247 0.513 0.043 0.035 0 Desire for Community Interaction N 138 140 145 145 168 Correlation Coefficient 0.068 0.116 0.084 0.146 -0.102 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.428 0.17 0.315 0.078 0.185 Desire for Privacy N 139 141 146 146 169 Correlation Coefficient 0.043 0.067 0.136 0.106 .264(**) Sig. (2-tailed) 0.618 0.429 0.102 0.205 0.001 Desire for Amenities N 139 141 146 146 169 Correlation Coefficient .215(*) .300(**) .372(**) .310(**) 0.101 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.011 0 0 0 0.191 Desire for Private Governance N 139 141 146 146 169 Correlation Coefficient 0.096 0.041 0.11 0.079 0.002 Sig. (2-tailed) 0.261 0.627 0.185 0.342 0.977 Desire for Security N 139 141 146 146 169 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). Upon investigation of the above tables, several importa nt relationships emerged. While all statistically significant relationships are important in developing an understanding of the relationships between indi viduals reasons for moving into a gated community and the perceptions they have of th eir community, for the sake of clarity, only relationships found to be statistically significan t at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) were flagged, and will be discussed in the following sections.
97 Perceptions of Security and the Aesthetic Appeal of the Community Several statistically significant relati onships regarding individuals reasons for moving into their community and their perceptions of security and aesthetic appeal within their community were discovered. First, it s hould be noted that all of the relationships flagged as statistically significant were positive in nature. This means that the more important a particular factor was to an individual prior to moving into a gated community, the more positive his/her perceptions were of various aspects of their respective community. For exampl e, those individuals who responded in the survey that their primary reason for moving into a gate d community was due to their desire for aesthetic appeal, maintaining property values, and private governance, were most likely to have a positive perception of the aesthetics in all areas of their respective community. Likewise, those individuals who were mo st concerned about living in a secure community prior to purchasing their home appeared to have the most favorable perceptions of living in a safe community. It seems as though respondents in this survey had positive perceptions in those aspects of their respective community which were most aligned with the desires they had of a community prior to purchasing their homes. In many ways this is a positive outcome in that it shows that people are getting what they hoped for out a community. However, might the outcomes captured by Spearmans co rrelation coefficient, in fact, be nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy for individuals in these communities? For example, isnt it logical for people who move into a co mmunity for private governance to perceive that their community is aesthetically pleasing due to their private homeowners association and community development district, and that their community is safe due to
98 their private neighborhood watch program and privately-hired security guards? Moreover, doesnt it make sense for an indivi dual who moved in to a community to enjoy its state-of-the-art amenities to have a positive perception of the aesthetic appearance of the common areas of their community, where he/she undoubtedly spends much of his/her time? During the semi-structured interview co mponent of this study, several questions were asked regarding whether or not the in formants current perceptions of different aspects of their community lived up to the expectations/desires that they had prior to moving into the community. The information derived from those conversations was used to substantiate any findings made from Table 6.11 (a), and will be discussed in the qualitative analysis chapter. Perceptions of Private Governan ce and Community Involvement Once again, several important relationshi ps were captured regarding individuals reasons for moving into their community, and their perceptions of private governance and community involvement. Again, each relationshi p that was flagged as being statistically significant was positive in nature. Interestingly, those individuals who moved to one of the three gated communities to maintain their property values or for private governance had a very positive perception of different aspects of their respective communitys homeowners association. Moreover, a very positive relationship was captured between those informants who had a strong desire fo r community interaction and their perception of how involved they are in their respec tive neighborhood. The greater the informants desire for community interaction, the more they perceived their own involvement in social activities within the community. Finally, the correlation test also found that those
99 individuals who moved to a gated community to enjoy the amenities were more likely to consider themselves to be more socially interactive with neighbors in their community. Once more, the perceptions of the responde nts seem to align quite closely with their desires for moving into the community in the first place. It appears that those informants who desired community interaction prior to moving into the community were more actively engaged in the social events that their respective community had to offer. Those individuals who moved into Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, or Grand Hampton for the presence of private governance did, in fact, have a more positive perception of how their private homeowners associations and co mmunity development districts were being managed. Interestingly, those people who aspired to move into a community for its amenities did not have a significantly more positive perception of the administration of their private HOA and CDD, but were more likely to have a positive perception regarding how socially involved they were in their re spective community. Perhaps these individuals were not pleased with the management of the amenities via their private HOA or CDD, but did become socially involved in their community as a byproduct of using their respective communitys amenities. These types of questions were created based on analyzing the statistically significant relationships produced by the Bivariate Correlations test using the Spearmans correlation coefficient. Such questions were subsequently investigated in the semistructured interview component of this study to produce conclusions of depth, rather than only breadth. The following chapter discusses the results from these interviews in an attempt to substantiate any fi ndings made from the quantitative component of this study,
100 and to develop a more well -rounded understanding of how gated communities in Tampa affect the conceptualization, negotiation, and access to space among different communities. It is important not to overreach with any conclusions derived solely from the comparative analysis of these demographic variables, and to be transparent of any limitations which may surround the data being co mpared and analyzed. First, it must be reiterated that the demographic data for the New Tampa area as a whole came from the 2000 census, and may have changed significantl y over the last seven years. However, due to the fact that the New Tampa area does not have a population of 65,000 or more, the U.S. Census did not include this geographic area in their 2006 American Community Survey (census.gov. 28 Sept, 2008). Therefore, the most current demographic data that could be obtained for the entire New Ta mpa area were from the 2000 Census. The second limitation was with the potential for double counting informants across different demographic variables. Individuals who filled out Section Three of the survey completed a series of socio-economic questions. The data from these different questions were subsequently c oded and tabulated into differe nt demographic variables for statistical analysis. As a result, one informant could have been coded as white, high income, elderly-aged, and married. When the informants desires for moving into their respective gated community were compared with different demographic variables, it was entirely possible that one informants opinion wo uld count more than once in the analysis when looking across different demographic variables. To minimize this potential limitation, much of the analysis and discu ssion in Section 6.2 was limited to analyzing differences between different demographic subgroups (i.e., male and female), rather than
101 across different demographic variables (i.e., white and single). Moreover, any conclusions based on analysis across different demographic variables were tempered, and the semi-structured interview component of this study was used to triangulate any findings to further minimize any potential biases or inaccuracies. The third limitation was the unavoidable subjectivity that goes along with the process of coding quantitative data. Prior to statistical analysis, all raw data from the 171 collected surveys were coded. This coding was done following the guidelines of current quantitative coding research (Cope, 2005). However, certain subjectivities were inescapable. For example, on the survey there were five age categories that could have been selected by the informant. During the coding process, however, these five categories were coded into three categories: (1) Youn g-aged individuals (age 40 and under); (2) Middle-aged individuals (age 41 to 70); and (3) Elderly-aged individuals (older than 70). It is important to note that the age groups for individuals labeled as middle-aged (age 41 to 70) and elderly-aged (older than 70) may be different than that of traditional groupings. The United States Government, fo r example, labels any individual over the age of sixty-five to sixty-seven (depending on when you were born) as an old-age individual, and qualifies them to receive full Social Security benefits (U.S. Social Security Administration). However, AARP pr ovides benefits to individuals over the age of fifty to enhance the quality of life for all as we age" (http://www.aarp.org ). As a result, there is no universally accepted age transitioning from middle-aged to elderlyaged. In fact, being elderly does not mean the same thing in every society, nor is the age when the transition to elderly-aged begins th e same across different geographic scales. To that end, due to the original age breakdowns us ed in the structured surveys, this study had
102 to choose between demarcating middle-aged and elderly-aged at fifty-six years or seventy-one years old. This decision was not taken lightly, and wa s based on the data obtained from both the structured questionnaire informants as well as the semi-structured informants for the study. Upon analysis of th ese data, three distinct stages of life were discovered which, in many ways, coincided with the breakdown of three age groups as follows: (1) Young-aged individuals (age 40 and under); (2) Middle-aged individuals (age 41 to 70); and (3) Elderly-aged individuals (older than 70). These divisions were created to differen tiate between three different periods of life: (1) Individuals who are actively getting married, buying their first home, and increasing their size of their families (Young-aged individuals); (2) Individuals who are buying a subsequent home to account for a growing or shrinking family-size, but who, on average, did not buy their current home with th e intention that this would be their final home purchase (Middle-aged indi viduals); and (3) Individuals who, for the most part, no longer have any dependents living within their home, and who, on average, did purchase their current home with the intention that this would be their final home purchase (Elderly-aged individuals). Since many of the motivations and perc eptions analyzed in this study were economic in nature, it was im perative to differentiate be tween those individuals who bought their home anticipating it would not be their last home purchase (potentially more investment-minded regarding their home), and those residents who purchased their residence anticipating that this may be their final home purchase (potentially less investment-minded regarding their home). Howeve r, one must be self reflexive enough to note that changes in the coding of data for informant age, as well as other variables, could
103 have produced different statistical results. Please see Appendix D for a detailed summary of the coding values for all raw data collected from the structured surveys, as well as brief explanations regarding the reasons behind the coding choices of some of the data. The final limitation with deriving conclusions solely from this type of comparative analysis is its inability to answer why there are differences in the data. For example, the above paragraphs discussed the differences in the income levels between those living in the three gated communities and those living in the entire New Tampa area. Are these differences in income level due to a concentration of affluence in gated communities as discussed earlier, or are the discrepancies in income levels between the two areas as much about temporal differences as it is spatial differences? Over the last nine years continued inflation and the devaluation of the dolla r have led to the need for increased salaries just to support the same stan dard of life. To that end, if Census data were to be collected for the greater New Tampa area today, would it be more closely aligned to the data collected from the informants of this study? There are no easy answers to these intensive (Sayer 1984, 1992, 2000) que stions, nor were the data collected from this study sufficient for answering these questions. Nevertheless, descriptive statistics, such as that of the above comparative analysis were simply used as a point of departure, uncovering those areas of inquiry where add itional methodological approaches, such as ethnographic research, were needed to investig ate the issues in more depth. The next chapter will focus on the results ascertain ed from different qualitative methodological approaches.
104 Chapter Seven Qualitative Analysis (Analysis of the Semi-Structured Interviews) Of the one hundred seventy-one surveys th at were completed and returned to the Department of Geography at the University of South Florida by February, 16, 2007, forty-seven individuals agreed to participat e in the semi-structured interview component of the study. During the two week period th at followed, the demographic information for each of these forty seven informants was analyzed, categorized, and subsequently tabulated. In addition, it was noted whether each of the forty-seven individuals was a resident of Hunters Green, Arbor Greene, or Grand Hampt on, as well as on which type of lot their home was situated (regular, premium, or golf course-front), and in which type of neighborhood their home was located (gat ed, ungated). Finally, the informants responses to each of the open-ended ques tions in the survey were evaluated. The purpose of collecting and analyzing all of these data was to determine which of the forty seven individuals would be select ed to participate in the brief face-to-face interviews. The goal was to select a sample of interview informants that was representative of the demographic makeup of the three communities as a whole (based on the demographic data collected from the 171 re turned surveys). To that end, seventeen semi-structured interview informants we re selected from different demographic backgrounds, as well as from different geogra phic (resident of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton), and sp atial (i.e., regular, premium, or golf course-front lot)
105 locations. Table 7.1 shows the demographic, geographic, and spatial breakdown of the seventeen individuals chosen for this qualitativ e component of the study. It is important to note that the demographic distribution is based on the categories for each variable as they were originally partitioned in the survey. Table 7.1 The demographic, geographic, and spatial distribution of the seventeen interview informants for this study Gender Age Ethnicity Income Marital Status Children Length of Residency SubDivision Neighborhood Lot Male 25 or younger White Less than $25,000 Married / Partnered Yes Less than 6 months Hunters Green Gated Regular 7 0 13 0 16 7 1 9 6 7 Female 26 to 40 Black $25,000 to $49,999 Single / Widowed / Divorced No 6 months to 1 year Arbor Greene Un-gated Premium 10 4 1 0 1 10 1 5 11 8 41 to 55 Hispanic $50,000 to $74,999 1 year to 2 years Grand Hampton Golf Course 10 2 4 3 3 2 56 to 70 Asian $75,000 to $99,999 2 years to 3 years 2 1 0 3 Older than 70 Other $100,000 to $124,999 3 years to 4 years 1 0 2 2 $125,000 to $149,999 4 years to 5 years 3 0 $150,000 to $174,999 Longer than 5 years 4 7 More than $175,000 4 Prior to starting the one-on-one interviews with the seventeen informants, a trial focus group was conducted in the community of Arbor Greene on February 7, 2007. Seven individuals were selected for th is focus group through a snowball sampling technique. Rather than being viewed as an additional qualitative methodological approach in this study, the main purpose of conducting this focus group was to test the credibility and effectiveness of the semi-structured interview questions and format. Nevertheless, while all of the participants in the focu s group were residents of Arbor Greene, they were comprised of different demographic backgrounds, as well as different spatial locations within the community, so as to test the interview guide under the truest
106 of circumstances. However, since conductin g a focus group was never designed to be a primary methodological approach in this stud y, nor was the sample for the focus group very rigorous in design, the data obtained from the focus group were used only to facilitate improvement in the semi-structured interview guide for the one-on-one interviews, and were not used in results for this study. The seventeen one-on-one semi-structure d interviews were conducted March 5, 2007, through May 18, 2007. Meeting locations for these interviews varied from the informants home to local eating establishments. With the consent of the informants, all interviews were tape recorded and subseque ntly transcribed for analysis. The goal of conducting these interviews wa s to develop a more compre hensive understanding about individual desires, perceptions, and concer ns regarding the three gated communities investigated in this study. To that end, the interviews were used as an instrument for exploring why residents have the partic ular desires, perceptions, and concerns about life within their respective gated community. Whereas the quantitative data produced a breadth of understanding, the qualitative data produced a dept h of understanding with reference to the complex individualistic t houghts, beliefs, and be haviors surrounding life within a gated community. Why this Community? (Q ualitative Analysis) One of the primary research questions for this study was to determine those social and economic push/pull factors which have be en facilitating the growth in popularity of gated communities. It was hypothesized that a fear of crime, desire for seclusion, and a general sense of distrust in the effectiveness of local governing entities (desire for private governance) were the active mechanisms fueling this surge of demand. The quantitative
107 results supported much of this hypothesis by showing that the majority of individuals surveyed did place great importance on a desire for security and privacy. However, the quantitative results also provided a more mixed opinion regarding the importance of living in a community that is privately governed. The following sections take a more intensive look at each of the seven pull factor s using qualitative data to determine, at a more individual level, which fa ctors were most important to residents when choosing to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Security A key question that was asked to the interview informants focused on their primary motivation behind choosing to beco me a resident of a gated community. A content analysis of their re sponses indicated th at security was the most important consideration to the majority of the info rmants. Subsequent questions on the subject revealed that most informants desired the presence of a gate, specifically. When asked about his/her reasons for moving into Gra nd Hampton, one informant simply replied: It was gated, and I want my family safe. Most of the informants interviewed lived in an ungated neighborhood within their respective gated community. However, several of the informants lived inside of a gated neighborhood within their gated community. When asked about their reasons for moving into a neighborhood that has a gate within a gate the informants were unanimous in their stance that it was a deliberate decision they made to make them feel safer. As one informant stated: Security was a key reason (for moving into the community) that is why we moved into Osprey Pointe within Hunter s Green. It is kind of like having double security if you will. (Osprey Pointe is a gated-neighborhood)
108 In the quantitative section, the data for desire for security had indicated that individuals with children appeared to place less importance on security than those individuals without children. Interestingly, of the seven individuals who were interviewed who have children, every one of them menti oned that their responsibility to protect their children made security an even greater concern to them. Several informants mentioned how much safer they feel knowing there is a gate to keep potential threats to their children out of their respective community. Th ese individuals desired to live in a place they considered safe enough to let their children play outside without the need for constant supervision. The following convers ation further demonstrates this concept: Interviewer: Does the presence of a gate make you feel safer than if your community was accessible to anyone? Informant: Much safer. I take my daughter to her friends houses in other communities without gates, and I just dont f eel she is as safe playing in those communities as she is ours. Interviewer: So you think the presence of a secured main entrance make you feel less apprehensive about letting your child ren play outside unsupervised than if you lived in an ungated neighborhood? Informant: Yes, Absolutely. Where I lived previously to thisI lived in Davie, Florida near a highway, and there was no gate. We had some smash and grabs in the neighborhood, and they had quick access to the highway. So you always had to worry about someone stealing a child and stuff like that. As the dialogue above indicates this parent felt much safe r having his/her child play inside the gates of the gated community than in the unsecured space outside the gates where criminal activity could happen. This attitude was common among the majority of the informants with children. Additionally, this desire to protect the children by moving into gated communities is not something unique to New Tampa, Florida, either. As Setha Low (2003) discovered in her study of ga ted communities in New York, Texas, and
109 Mexico City, the desire to protect the childre n is one of the main reasons why so many families with children are moving into gated communities. These secure sub-divisions are believed to be a safe haven for children to play without the fears of crime and danger that are present in un-gated communities. As a gated community is defined as any development which restricts access through the use of walls, fences, or earth banks covered with bushes and shrubs, and a secured entrance (Low, 2003) this study was interested in determining how important the presence of guards was to informants when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. The info rmants were unanimous in their desire for moving into a community that had a staffed guard gate at the main entrance. Additionally, all of the informants felt that electronic-access gates were completely ineffective in their ability to keep people out of a restricted-access community. The majority of informants responded that they would not have lived in their current community if there were only an electronic-access gate to restrict access. As one informant responded when asked that question: Of course notit is nice knowing that wh en Im away and my wife is here alone there is some sense to it (meaning the presence of a guard) rather than just neighbors looking out the window. Interestingly, while the majority of the nine informants from Hunters Green shared the same viewpoint, at the time of this study, a third entrance to Hunters Green, located near the recreation area, was an electronic-access gate accessible to anyone who new the correct numeric code. Neverthe less, the vast majority of the informants desires for security appeared to coincide, at least in pe rception, with the security measures in place within their respective gated communities.
110 With discovering that the majority of interview informants shared this overwhelming desire for security, a new question emerged and was added to the interview guide for the second half of interv iews: Why do individuals moving into gated communities appear to have such a fear of crime? What quickly unfolded from this question was a discourse about the influenc e the media has on societys perception of itself. The vast majority admitted that crime wasnt something that was actively on their minds ten to fifteen years ago. However, over the last eight to ten years the media have begun to sensationalize crime, death, and misery to the point that it is having a psychological affect on individual perceptions of safety. The conversation below with an informant who used to live in Canada reinforces the above point: Informant: Up in Canada gated communities dont exist. Gated communities, ghettos, and trailer parksthose kind of things simply dont exist in Canada. There are lower income homes in Canada, but they dont tend to be trashed or dangerous places to live. I guess up in Canada, you always hear about bad things happening down here (United States) on th e television, which I guess got me paranoid. I think its the media, the fact that there is no gun controlthere are still shootings in Canada, but not to the same level. So, Im more paranoid, definitely. Interviewer: Its interesting you bring up the me dia. Do you think the media is a facilitator of fear? Informant: Yupthats true. And Ive become very paranoid because of it. Interviewer: So would you say that your percep tion of crime in the United States influenced your decision to move to Hunter s Green because you feel safer there? Informant: Right. This informant admitted to feeling unsafe to walk in what he/she defined to be insecure areas of town. Other informants, to a greater or lesser extent, shared this sentiment and openly blamed the media for influencing this perception of crime and fear, and facilitating the need to move into a community which is protected by a gate.
111 Aesthetic Appeal When deciding which community to move into, the desire to live somewhere attractive is a very logical consideration. To that end, it is not surprising that all of the informants cited the aesthetic appeal of th eir respective community as factor in their decision. What was much more interesting, however, was the assertion by many of the informants that their community was definably unique from other communities in the area. When asked what makes their community unique, several interviewees replied with answers such as: the landscaping, growth of the trees, architectural styles, and even the road names. As one respondent rep lied when asked the above question: I think it is that all of the sub-divisions are really pretty. I like Hunters Green the best because the trees seemed more deve loped. Hunters Green isnt new so the foliage is developed. The Oak trees create sort of a canopy because theyre so developed. We like nature. This respondent concluded with an emotion that the interviewer would hear resonated time and time again from other informants: the love of nature. Several informants mentioned nature when asked question #3 (Wha t aspects of your sub-division attracted you the most?) prior to any prompting. Some discussed the visual beauty of the landscaping that they drove by everyday ente ring and leaving the sub-division, or the natural conservation areas located behind their homes. Others talked about the beauty of actually engaging nature by walking on nature trails or boating on a lake. To many of the informants, the presence of nature was what made their community aesthetically pleasing, and stand apart from other communities in the area. Interestingly, there is nothing very natural about much of what the informants discussed to be aesthetically pleasing and unaltered. As Andrew Ross (1999) discovered in his investigation of Celebration, Florida, many master-planned gated communities
112 theme themselves after a specific look, time, or place, and subsequently, insert natural landscapes into the communities whic h fit the motif. While none of the three gated communities investigated in this study was built with a theme that is devoid of natural Floridian vegetation, all three of the communities were built on land previously consisting of developed forest (Hillsborough County Community Planning and Growth Department, 2009). The forest was selectively removed, and more aesthetically pleasing vegetation was inserted. The lakes for Hunters Green and Arbor Greene are a series of man-made retenti on ponds to manage water draina ge for the two communities. It is important to note that not all of the informants shared the sentiment that their gated community was unique looking from othe r communities in the area. When asked if they would know what community they were in if blind-folded and placed in the middle of their community, several informants confe ssed that they would not because everything looked the same. One informant admitted that: no, I would not know where I am at. They (the homes) all seem the samepretty cookie cutter. However, this informant clarified his/her poi nt by stating that he/she did think the community was aesthetically pleasing, and th at was definitely a consideration when deciding upon a community to take up residenc e. However, they also admitted there is not anything truly unique about his/her communi ty, but that also wasnt a priority for him/her when buying a home. Interestingly, when other informants were asked if they felt it was important to live in a unique development, for most it was not very high on their priority list when compared to other considerations. As one informant stated: living in a unique place is not nearly im portant as living in a safe neighborhood with nice people. Im busyI dont ha ve time to walk around my neighborhood and compare it to other places anyways.
113 Therefore, one could make the argument that a community doesnt have to be unique in order to be aesthetically pleasing to a homebuy er, nor does an individual in the market for a house have to necessarily place a high priori ty in buying a home in a community that is uniquely themed, just because he/she is intere sted in living somewhere visually attractive. With that in mind, one could make the additional argument that it is the builders and planners which are promoting the imagi neering (Ross, 1999) of master-planned communities with exotic themes, and that all the average individual wants is an attractive place to take up residence. Maintaining Property Values If a desire for security was the inform ants primary consideration when picking a community to move into, then maintaining property values was found to be a close second as a priority to the individuals who were interviewed. Th e qualitative component of this study resulted in two concrete findings: (1) the interviewees all unanimously viewed the maintenance of property values as a very high priority when deciding in which community to purchase a house; and (2) the informants were equally universal in their belief, prior to moving in, that buying a home in a gated community is a very sound investment. It is important to note that the data collection portion of this study was in 2007, prior to significantly declining property valu es in the real estate industry, in general (First in Real Estate, 2008). While all informants considered maintaining property values very important, a couple of distinct differences were noticed across demographic lines. Male informants tended to place a greater level of importance on property values than women. The female interviewees, on the other hand, were primarily concerned with security, first, and then
114 aesthetic appeal, specifically pertaining to nature. Additionally, older informants placed less importance on property values than did th e younger individuals being interviewed. Below is a conversation from an informant between the age of twenty-six and forty: Interviewer: What aspects about your sub-division attracted you the most? Informant: I was looking for a good community with schools, and that maintained property values. We wanted to buy property that we knew would maintain value. Below is another conversation based on the same question with an informant over the age of seventy: Interviewer: What aspects about your sub-division attracted you the most? Informant: Well, people were wondering why I was building in the country off Bruce B. Downs. I liked the house, the desi gn of it, and the privacy of the lot, so those were the main points for moving here. You will notice that the younger informant is much more focused on making a sound financial investment w ith the purchase of his/her home. Conversely, the older resident was more concerned with buying a house that he/she liked on a private lot. For the second informant, buying the home as an inve stment never even en tered the conversation until prompted by the interviewer. At which time the informant responded: I intend to stay in this house until I die, so it doesnt matter too much to me what its (the house) worth. As long as Ive got my pond in the back, Im happy. To that end, the qualitative data supported the results of the quantitative data which found individuals older than seventy to place le ss important on buying a home to maintain property values than younger residents. Concerning the perception that buying a home in gated communities is a solid financial investment, a ll seventeen of the informants, regardless of gender or age, felt this to be the case. At one point or another during each of the interviews, all seventeen
115 informants mentioned that they felt that th e trademark components of a gated community (i.e., secure entrance, aesthetically pleasing entrance and landscaping, deed restrictions, etc.) helped maintain property values, and even facilitate appreciation, in homes located inside the gates. As a result, several informants discussed how that perception helped influence their decision to buy a home in a gated community. As one informant commented when asked whether or not he bou ght in his community because of his belief that gated communities help maintain property values: oh yes, because deed restrictions lim it what my neighbors can do to their property which could hurt my investment. While other interviewees did not share the above informants sentiment regarding his acceptance for deed restrictions, all seventeen of the residents inte rviewed voiced similar perceptions which influenced their decisions to buy homes in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. Community Interaction Upon analysis of the interview transcript s for potential tre nds, it was discovered that the informants perception of importance with regards to community interaction was quite low. In fact, only one of the sevent een individuals interv iewed even mentioned community interaction as one of the primar y reasons for moving into their respective community. Interestingly, this finding directly contradicts traditional real estate marketing strategies which have aggressively promoted gated communities as familyfriendly places with an active social calendar. This claim is substantiated by the marketing strategies included in the excerpt used on one of the informants when the real estate agent was trying to sell him/her a house:
116 Interviewer: For your sub-division, how were the seven pull factors marketed to you via brochures, roadside billboards, real estate agents on the premises, etc.? Informant: They marketed community interaction very heavily. They gave us a brochure that had a picture of a two fami lies doing some sort of recreational activity together, I dont reme mber what anymoreI think they were biking, and on the top it said Have Your Family Beco me a Part of our Family. They also marketed the economic value of the hom ereally pretty much those two. Interviewer: Were any of these marketing strategies influential in your decision to move into this sub-division? Informant: For us it was the home. Thats why we moved. It was for a home. However, for this informant, the primary consideration for moving into his/her respective community was the economic value of the home. The marketing discourse surrounding community interaction did not influence her d ecision one way or another. It is important to note that this particular informant did have two children as well. To that end, the qualitative data produces some findings which do not support the findings of the quantitative data for the same pull factor. For example, with the exception of one informant, none of the younger residents (regar dless of gender) showed any greater desire for community interaction than older resident s who were interviewed. Coincidentally, the one informant who did cite community intera ction as a consideration for moving into his/her respective community ended up having a very negative social experience. This will be discussed in more detail in the section 7.2.2. In the quantitative results section it was inferred that because this is an elite gated community (Blakely and Snyder, 1997) there would be more stay-at-home wives, thus facilitating the need for increased community interaction. It should be noted, that of the ten interviews conducted with female in formants, every one of them was a full time employee. To that end, the above inference can not be substantiated, nor can in be
117 invalidated, with such a small sample. Nevertheless, females in this interview sample did not place a greater importance on community interaction than the male informants. Perhaps the reason is that all of the women in this sample worked, and did not have the time to prioritize the social aspects of th eir respective communities. Nonetheless, it should be stated once more that the vast ma jority of the residents interviewed placed minimal importance on community interaction wh en deciding to move into their gated community, regardless of any marketing strategi es that may have been used to facilitate this pull factor. Privacy and Amenities Because there were no questions on the semi-structured interview guide pertaining specifically to privacy and amenities as pull-factors, it was decided to combine them into one section. During content anal ysis of the seventeen one-on-one interview transcripts, only one person was found to have used the word privacy as a consideration for moving into his/her respective community This was the same older informant who was discussed earlier as having prioritized a private lot over maintaining property values. The other sixteen informants, six of whom live in privately-gated neighborhoods, did not mention privacy as a consideration for movi ng into their particular gated community. Moreover, when probed, all six of the info rmants who lived in the gated neighborhoods mentioned security as the primary motivation for living in a gate within a gate and not privacy or seclusion from other residents. Interestingly, this qualitative finding for the sixteen informants does support the findings from the quantitative results for the same variable. The lone informant who did menti on privacy as a motivation was over the age of seventy (the oldest of the informants). As a result, this does coincide with the
118 argument that the desire for privacy increased with age with respect to residents of Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. Based on years of analysis of gate d community marketing materials (i.e., brochures, websites, billboards, etc.), by the primary investigator of this study, it has been noticed that the presence of state-of-the-art amenities are one of the most activelymarketed aspects of gated communities by real estate companies and builders. For example, on the website of a local real estate company in Tampa, one can take a virtual tour of Grand Hampton. This tour is a clip show highlighting the different amenities, such as a theme-park inspired waterslide, and markets Grand Hampton as a resort for all of its residents to enjoy (http ://www.tampahomesontheweb.com 2009). With such strong marketing campaigns promoting them, it is not very surprising that several informants mentioned the presence of amenities as a selling-point for them when deciding which community to take up residence. As one in formant responded when asked what attracted him/her to Grand Hampton: it was amenities, definitely. The childre n were happy with the pool areathat was attractive, and the fitness center was nice too. This resident mentioned that his/her children were pleased with one of the amenities. This concept was a common trend found throughout ma ny of the transcripts. Individuals with children appeared to place greater importance on moving into a community with amenities. These facilities were viewed as places which facilitated family togetherness and community interaction by many of the in formants. One resident even based his/her move into Arbor Greene on the plan of starting a family in the near future: Interviewer: What aspects of your sub-division attracted you the most?
119 Informant: The gate, the clubhouse, and the amenities and pool. We liked the idea of the parks within each neighbor hood because at the time we were planning on having kids. As this informant pointed out, having children did, for most of the informants, make the presence of amenities more of a priority than it was for those interviewees who did not have children living in their home. The quantitative data for this pull factor indicated that as individuals get older, their desire for amenities goes down. While only conducted with a sub-sample of three individuals, the three interviewees; two informants over the age of sixty, and the other over the age of seventy, were questioned a bout how much importance they placed on the presence of amenities when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. While none of the informants cited, unprompted, amenities as one of the reasons they moved into their respectiv e community, once probed two of the three informants did mention that the amenities were something they considered when deciding where to live, but for both of them it wasnt a major priority. The third informant had absolutely no need for the amenities within his/her community, and responded with the following statement when asked if he/she has ever used any of the amenities: We dont belong to the country club. Weve never been to the pool or golf courseI guess we dont need it. It is important to note that this informant had been living in the same community for twelve years. Based on the statements made by these three older residents, one could make the argument that amenities arent as important to many individuals as they get older. However, upon further conversations with th ese three older residents, it would be a large generalization to hypothesize, as was mentioned in the quantitative analysis
120 section, that the reason older residents dont prioritize the presence of amenities as high as other age-groups is because they generall y have less mobility, as well as no children living at home. While the argument about thes e individuals not having any children living at home may have some validity, as none of these three info rmants did have any children living with them, the argument regarding senior citizens having less mobility as a reason for not needing amenities is invalid. First of all, the three older residents all appeared quite mobile enough to participate in some of the amenities offered by their respective communities, if desired. Secondl y, and most interestingly, two of the three informants do actively use some of the amenities offered within their community (one of them is the informant over 70 years old). The quantitative results only measured how much importance residents placed on amenities when deciding in which community to take up residence. The results didnt measure how often different demographic sub-groups actually used the amenities. According to one of the three informants: I didnt move in here for the amenities. I moved here because we liked the house. But now that were here, and were paying for them, we might as well use them (the amenities). To that end, the qualitative results were necessary in triangulating these findings and preventing any inaccurate conclusions or de ductions, which could have been made from analyzing the quantitative data alone. It should be noted that the one older informant who has never used the amenities in his/her community has, by his/her own admission, never used the amenities in any of the communities in which he/she has been a resident. However, this is not an issue of age but rather a life-long personal choice.
121 Private Governance Of the seven pull factors, none was more di vided, and hotly contested, than that of private governance. Of the seventeen interview ees, about half actively sought to live in a community which was governed by an HOA and/or a CDD. Conversely, the other half of the informants did not prioritize living in a deed restricted community, but simply accepted it as a byproduct of moving into a co mmunity that included several other factors which they did find important. While analyzing the transcripts for common themes and language, one significant relationship emerge d with respect to private governance. It appeared that those informants, who were more concerned with maintaining their property values, and protecting their investment, were also more inclined to prioritize private governance and deed restrictions as something they looked for in a community. This type of relationship was ech oed in the conversation below: Interviewer: Did you actively pursue living in a deed-restricted community, or was it just an aspect of the community that you had to accept in order to live in a community that had other feat ures that you desired. Informant: I consciously chose to move into a community that was deed restricted to protect my property. I li ved in a gated community in Denver, and I will never live in a non-gated community again. The person in the development right next to us decided they wanted a chicken farm. Part of one development got sold off to a hotel, so they dynamited out the foothills in order to build a hotel, but they ran out of money, so they just left it like thatit was a nightmare. This informant referred back to a negative experience as a reason for never wanting to live outside of a deed restricted community again. Other informants, however, referred to their fear of the unknown when citing reasons for prioritizing private governance when moving into their respective community. One informant illustrated this sentiment in the conversation below:
122 Interviewer: Do you think deed restrictions are successful in protecting property values? Informant: Yes, I am a big fan. Thats one of the reasons I moved into this neighborhoodbecause I would be aggravated if someone kept parking vans or other things in the street or making things look badyou never know what people are going to do to their property. Someone was complaining they were getting cited for too many cars, but I felt li ke oh well, thats your problem. This informant had no real prior experiences or issues from which to draw upon, but was just more content living in a community wher e he/she didnt have to fear what his/her neighbors might do to their property, which could, subsequently, negatively impact his/her property. Not every informant felt the same way about private governance, however. Several of the interviewees were apathe tic, or completely devoid of knowledge, concerning their level of desire for private governance within their community. They didnt actively seek to live in a private governing community, and were not fulfilling a need by moving into a community that had a private governance structure. However, at the time they were looking to purchase a home, there simply were not many suitable alternatives to deed restricted communities in the area. As a result, these individuals relationship with their respective HOA and CDD has been ranged from harmonious to combative. This conundrum is captured in the following excerpt: Interviewer: What attracted you to Arbor Greene? Informant: I just like the house itself. I didnt know what a CDD and HOA were. I came from New York, so I wasnt awar e and I knew there were amenities, but didnt look into that specifically. I had i ssues with the CDD board right from the start, with my want for a dog park. I am a dog guy, so thought it would be good. I would have preferred this house in a non-gated and non-deed restricted community.
123 As Evan McKenzie pointed out in his book Privatopia (1994), many residents of deed restricted communities are stuck abiding by rules and by-laws which they had no active role in creating. Moreover, not everyone actively seeks to live in a deed restricted community. However, alternatives to deed restricted communities are not very plentiful in many parts of the United States (McKenzie, 1994). As a result, many residents of deed restricted communities are caught between living in a home or community which they openly enjoy, and forced to be a part of a private government structure which they did not actively seek to join. Finally, there was one informant who openly sought to move into a privately-governed community due to the pres ence of deed restrictions. However, after seven years of torment and unfair treatment from his/her local HOA and CDD, this informant and his/her spouse put their home up for sale with the desire to move to a community without deed restrictions. This residents unfortunate experiences will be discussed in more deta il in section 7.2.2. Perceptions about Life in Gated Communities (Qualitative Analysis) Overall, did these informants perceive their respective community to be safe? Did these individuals possess a strong sense of community feeling? Were the private governing bodies perceived to be a benefit to the stability of property values and aesthetic appeal or a detriment to civil liberties? Th ese were the types of intensive (Sayer 1984, 1992, 2000) questions which the seventeen semi -structured interview informants were asked about their respective communities. Th eir responses, as well as research-grounded discussion regarding their responses, were included in this section.
124 Perceptions about Security In section 7.1, it was discovered that securi ty was cited as the highest priority for the majority of the seventeen informants when moving into Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton. However, after having lived in their respective community for a period of time, do residents perceptions of safety coincide with the original needs and desires that the majority of the informants had when moving into one of the three gated communities? When asked, the majority of the interviewees did mention that they feel safe within their respective community. None of the informants talked about how they felt unsafe within their community or neighborhood. However, none of the informants responded that they felt comple tely safe within their community or neighborhood either. Each of the seventeen info rmants mentioned some aspect of their respective community which kept them from feeling completely safe within fences and gates. Some of these reasons were geographic in nature (i.e., outsiders can gain entrance to Hunters Green by walking across the golf course). Other reasons were mechanical in nature (i.e., gates are malfuncti oning and wont close all the way). Finally, other reasons were human in nature (i.e., the guards are not properly trained and dont pay attention). Yet other informants could not find anythi ng specifically wrong with the current security features of their respective comm unity, but provided suggestions on additional gadgets and features which could make thei r community even safer. When provided an opportunity to give such a suggestion, one informant responded: a camera at every gate which record s every persons face and license plate. Another informant stated: more video surveillanceperhaps ca meras throughout the neighborhood that are frequently moved around.
125 Yet another informant even proposed: a fingerprinting machine at the front gate, so the guards know exactly who is in the community at any one time. Upon investigation of these types of sugges tions, two questions come to mind. (1) why are these additional security measures being requested when the majority of informants answered just a few questions previously that they felt safe in their respective community?; and (2) why are these individuals so content to give up their civil liberties and freedoms to live in a system of constant surveillance and monitoring? Setha Lows study (2003) of the psychological affects that living behind the gates can have on childrens perception of fear a nd crime could provide some insight to these questions. In her study, Dr. Low argued that the constant sight of gates, video surveillance, and other security devices could actually facilitate heightened feelings of fear and insecurity in children, resulting in the need for even more security measures to feel safe (Low, 2003). Is this a phenomenon which could only be pres ent in the psyche of children, or is it possible that adults could become programmed t oo by the constant sights of anti-crime propaganda? To investigate this issue further, a nother dichotomous rela tionship between the perception of security and the fear of reality was investigated. Interestingly, while most of the informants specifically cited the presence of a gate as one of the greatest contributors to a perception of safety within their community, several of the same residents questioned the actual effectiveness of the gate, and feared that crime could still enter from outside the gate, and into his/ her respective community. As one informant stated when asked why he/she feels so secure in his community: well, we do have the gates which make me feel safer.
126 However, in an answer to the very next question this same informant admitted that: gates are secure to an extent, with the cameras to help find people later, but theres not much you can do after the fact It is a perceived sense of security. People can come in (to the community) with one intention and leave with another. Again, it was interesting to see that the informant perceived himself/herself to be safer because of the presence of a gate at the entrance to his/her community. However, the informant also questioned the potential effectiveness of the very instrument which he/she said made him/her feel safe in the first pl ace. In addition, as Setha Low (2003) pointed out in her study, this resident, like many, failed to make any distinction between the potential for crime from within the gates, and his/her desire to remain safe from crime perceived to be isolated outside the protection of the gates. It is important to note that this individual moved into his/her respective community to feel safe in the first place. Nevertheless, this informant, like many of th e other individuals interviewed, had become so comfortable with the idea of feeling secure, via the presence of a gate, that when asked if he/she would move into the exact same house, but in an un-gated community the response was simply: no The above illustration certainly provided additional evidence which suggests that many residents living in gated communities have a heightened sensitivity to crime, and actively seek residence in those communities with the latest security features, regardless of whether or not they truly believe that these additional layers of protection, in reality, actually make them any safer. It is important to note that in her study of the perceptions of crime in gated communities in San Antoni o, Texas, Setha Low (2003) found this exact same dichotomous relationship be tween the desire for security and the fear of reality in
127 several of her interview informants. Below is an excerpt from one of Dr. Lows informants to highlight the similarities between the perceptions of residents in her study and those in this study: I think its (gating) one of those nice things. I dont think people are so afraid. I think they have that same attitude that I originally had that crime doesnt really affect me. I think people have that sense of security, although its probably false if you look at personal-property crimes like we have here (but) if you asked me tomorrow if I was going to move, it would be only to a gated community. I think that the safety is most important; I really like knowing whos coming and goingI love knowing my kids can get on their bicycles and ride around the block, and I dont have to wonder are they gonna come back home. (Low, 2003 p. 104) The above excerpt simply reinforced the ar gument that many individuals living in gated communities have a heightened sense sensitivity to crime. However, it remained unclear as to whether it was this greater sensitivity to crime which was facilitating the relocation of individuals to gated communities, or if it wa s the constant presence of security features associated with gated communities which was promoting a heightened fear of crime and need for additional security for its residents. A deeper probe into this puzzle only served to produce even more complexity to the issue. First, for those informants who prioritized security when moving into their respective community, the majority felt that their sensitivity to crime was the product of the media, and not from constant exposure to gates, cameras, and other security features. In fact, several informants mentioned that, in their opinions, living in a gated community actually caused residents to b ecome lackadaisical about the potential for crime within the gates. As informant #1 commented when aske d if the security features of his/her community made residents more complacent about the potential for crime: Yesbecause people think that nothing c an possibly happen to them in here, so they dont lock their doors, or set their alarms as maybe they should?
128 Below is the response of informant #2 when asked if he/she has become more complacent about crime since living in a gated community: Yesthat is why I dont activate my house alarm even though we have one. Both of these respondents provided insight to the sense of security that the presence of gates and guards give many residents liv ing within a gated community. However, interestingly, informant #2 was the same indi vidual who had suggested that a camera be installed at every gate to take a recording of every persons face and license plate who entered his/her respective community. This finding helped to reinforce the following primary conclusions with regards to residents perceptions of security in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton: (1) the vast majority of residents moved to their respective gated community to feel safe from crime; (2) most of the residents perceive their respective community to be safe and secure; some to the point of actually being derelict in their responsibilities to promote safety and security within their own homes (i.e., locking doors, setting alarms); and (3) other informants are caught in the dichot omous relationship between the desire for security (a complete feeling of safety), and the fear of reality (the understanding that no place is ever entirely safe). Fo r these informants it is an ongoing battle between the need of security features to feel safe, and the understanding that their respective communitys security features may not be completely effective in keeping unwanted crime outside the gates, thus facilitating the need for additional security features to maintain the perception.
129 Perceptions of Social Intera ction vs. Economic Responsibility I work long hours at my job, and so does everyone else in my neighborhood. I have to attend my childrens sporting events. I dont have kids. The above excerpts summarized the stance of the vast majority of informants when it came to being socially involved in their respective community; everyone had an excuse, and no one had a friend. However, as was pointed out in section 7.1.4, of the seventeen interview informants, only one actively sought to live in a community that was socially active. The other sixteen individuals placed very little importance in moving into a community with strong community interacti on, and the majority of them placed getting to know their neighbors once they moved into the community as a very low priority as well. This argument was illustrated in the following conversation: Interviewer: Would you say that you are a socially active member of the community? Informant: Well, I work about sixty hours a week, and I am constantly talking to people at work, so when I come home I dont want to talk to anybody. I dont want to see anybody. I just want to enjo y my nice quiet house, and watch my nice backdrop of birds and wildlife while sitting on my patio and having a glass of wine. Thats my idea of interaction. To this informant, there was a definite division between social life and home life. This informants sentiment was shared by several other residents as well. As another interviewee stated when asked if he/she is social in the community: Informant: ha-ha (laughing) shame on me. I cant even tell you what my neighbors look like barely. I talk to one guy across the street once in a whilewe tried the neighbor thing in other areas, but it wasnt for us. We prefer our home and keeping to ourselves. In former nei ghborhoods I did try to socialize, but never connectedwe just keep our so cial life separate from home life.
130 Interviewer: In your opinion, which word best describes your relationship with your neighbors: cohabitation or community? Informant: Cohabitationsimply just an econom ic arrangement between me and them (his/her neighbors) You take care of your property and Ill take care of oursI think it is more cohabitation for mo st people who live in Hunters Green. This informants perception of community in teraction supported the argument by Evan McKenzie in his book Privatopia (1994), in which he cont ended that one way CIDs privilege rules over a sense of community belo nging is by redefining the responsibility of the neighbor from one of a social obligation to one that is more economically driven. For example, in CIDs, like this informants respective gated community, a persons commitment to his/her community can be satisfied simply by following the rules and keeping up with his/her economic responsibilities (McKenzie, 1994) Based on this argument, both of the above informants were fulfilling their social responsibilities to their respective communities merely by maintaining their properties up to code. In section 7.1.5 it was mentioned by the six informants who live in privately gated neighborhoods that their primary motivation fo r moving into one of these neighborhoods was for additional security. However, it was the responses by several of the eleven individuals who did not live in a privately gated neighborhood on the subject which uncovered some very in teresting discourse regarding how gated neighborhoods affect perceptions of community interaction. A few of these informants felt that these additional gates inside the gated communities fragmen ted different neighborhoods and negatively impacted social interaction within the communities as a whole. In addition, certain amenities were only available to residents of certain ne ighborhoods, so an outsider from another neighborhood would not be able to socially branch out into particular neighborhoods by way of using these amenitie s. This argument was captured in the
131 discussion below from one of the eleven informants who doesnt live in a gated neighborhood: Interviewer: You commented that you think second gates are a pain. Care to expand? Informant #1: I think people more or less want them for statuspeople lock themselves inside these gates (of private neighborhoods) and others out. It gives them a sense of exclusiveness bei ng able to go places and use things (amenities) that others cannot. Interviewer: How do you think that this fragmentation of neighborhoods impacts community interaction in Hunters Green? Informant #1: Im not really one for getting out t oo often, but I cant imagine that it does it (community interaction) any good. Another informant living in an ungated neighborhood echoed si milar concerns for the facilitation of community interaction with individuals living in privately gated neighborhoods: Informant #2: In other communities Ive lived inblock parties were a way for people to all come out and unwind together. But it is difficult to feel close to people when they are having a block party in a neighborhood that you cant get to (because of a private gate) without a pin, or unless you call someone up (and they allow you to gain entry to the neighborhood) so it is a symbolic thing more for status. Interviewer: So, do you think there is a hierarchy in Arbor Greene? Informant #2: I can see that. There are diffe rent neighborhoods that have the different house ranges and income levels. The opinions of some people from the richer neighborhoods seem to be held with higher regard. Both of these informants cited gates as a physical obstacle hindering the development of community inte raction between the different neighborhoods within their respective communities. Interestingly, Informant #1 seemed quite unable to draw the similarities between how un-ga ted neighbors feel not being able to travel freely throughout their community, and the plight of the outsiders who are unable to even
132 enter the community without a suitable reason. Nevertheless, there is plausibility in this informants argument as research has shown that a physical barrier, such as a gate, can act as a buffer separating the insiders, who reside with the community (privately-gated neighborhood), from the outsiders, who can f eel marginalized due to their lack of access to the entire community (Low, 2003). Ad ditionally, through his statements above, Informant #2 implied that the financial status of residents within these communities was a source of hierarchy within the community, creating pockets of affluence and, subsequent influence, for those at the top, and further deteriorating any feeling of belonging to the outsiders living in ungated neighborhoods at the bottom of the pecking order. It should be noted that the majority of the six informants who lived in the privately-gated neighborhoods did not shar e this complaint, and felt community interaction was occurring (at the time of data collection for this study) across different neighborhoods, whether one of the neighbor hoods was privately-gated or not. For the informants, nowhere was the collision between social interaction and economic responsibility more apparent than in the discussions pertaining to the homeowners associations for Hunters Green and Arbor Greene, and the community development district for Arbor Greene. It is important to remember that, at the time of data collection for this study, Grand Hampton was still privately governed by a professional management compan y. As a result, the same conflicts of interests did not exist in Grand Hampton regarding the enforcement of deed restrictions by fellow neighbors, as did in the other two commun ities, whose private governing bodies were comprised primarily of ordinary residents living within these two communities. While there was a mixed opinion about the desire to live in a community which is privately
133 governed, there was much less discrepancy in the negative perception that the informants had regarding the HOAs and CDDs impact on soci al interaction, as well as a sense of community, within Arbor Greene, Hunt ers Green, and Grand Hampton. Most of the informants were able to rec ount at least one or two run-ins with their respective communitys HOA or CDD over issues many of which were considered to be trivial. Further complicating the matter was the fact that several informants mentioned that these issues were either reported to the HOA or CDD by a neighbor, or dealt with directly by a neighbor who was on one of the governing boards. Both of these situations are indicative of sub-divisions which appeared to be privileging the enforcement of rules and economic responsibility over creating a sense of community (McKenzie, 1994). When a resident appeared to be derelict in meeting their economic responsibilities to their respective community, the reaction from those in power was often swift, inflexible, and harsh in nature. The following excerpt from an interview with a resident in Hunters Green reinforced this argument: Interviewer: Do you like having the community being run by individuals who actually live within the community? Informant: Yes and no Interviewer: Why both yes and no? Informant: I like that they (private governance board members) have a vested interest in looking out for the well being of the communitybut I also dont like being called out by people that I know (for violating deed restrictions) Wellas I said before, I was fined once, so I did appear in front of the board. The board changes, so depending on who is se rving on the board at particular times, you can have very different outcomesit wasnt an overly positive experience (going in front of the board) I think there were people on the board who were understanding of my situation when I explained it to them. Interviewer: Did they wave the fine?
134 Informant: They did wave the fine, but there were definitely other members on the board who gave me a hard time about itit wasnt this warm and fuzzy place to be, thats for sure. Interviewer: So it felt like you were appearing in front of a judge and jury? Informant: I did. I did. In terms of what they wanted to convey, they definitely conveyed it. Interviewer: In theory, these are suppose to be your neighbors; your friends Informant: I did not feel like that. Interviewer: Did it feel like there was a judgment cast down upon you? Informant: Yes, it did. Interviewer: and you were somehow the outcast of the community for that moment? Informant: Yes (laughing) Definitely This informants experience was one shared by most of the informants interviewed in this study, and one that is replicated in CIDs re gardless of geographic location. Residents in CIDs are both neighbors and traders in th eir respective development, and, more and more often, neighbors are drawing a distin ct line between the value of money and neighborly love, when striving to keep fellow neighbors up to snuff (Low, 2003). Unfortunately, to an unsuspecting participant, this constant juggling act can undermine the very perception of community that they sought in the first place. The lone respondent who placed a high priority in m oving into a community with a burgeoning level of social involvement was one such vi ctim. This informant moved in looking for community interaction and social bonding. While admitting that there were a lot of social things to do in his/her community, especially events involving children, the informant mentioned that after years of being involved in what he/she defined as neighbors
135 narcing on other neighbors he/she was completely disi nterested in being socially involved in his/her community any longer. When asked if he/she thought that the presence of an HOA eroded a feeling of comm unity interaction, the informant responded: Somewhat, because I dont want to asso ciate with these people anymore. When these people arent narci ng on other neighbors, they are standing in the street talking with other neighbors about how s o-and-so isnt up to code, and why did that guy plant that bush there? That is not the kind of community interaction that I or (my spouse) were looking for. I have yet to meet the guy who sent me the letter (decorations around the mailbox violated deed restrictions) and I hope I dont because Im liable to say something that I may regret. He was just being way too picky. As a result of this disappointment with the lack of true communi ty interaction, and overall distain for the administration of the private governance entities within his/her subdivision, the informant placed his/her house on th e market shortly after this interview in search of a new community. Ironically, the HOA gave him/her a difficult time for erecting a non-approved real estate sign in the yard, and sent him/her another violation letter. As a result of this action, the informant contacted the primary investigator of this study looking for legal advice. When last sp eaking with this individual, he/she had moved out of the gated community and into a new development in Georgia. Interestingly, this community was also privately govern ed with an HOA. When asked why he/she moved into another deed restricted community, the informant responded: There is nothing wrong with deed restric tionsjust the people who carry out the bylaws. This final contradiction helped to reinforce the following primary conclusions with regards to residents perceptions of so cial interaction and economic responsibility in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampt on: (1) the vast majority of residents do not move into gated communities, specifically, or CIDs, in general, to fulfill the need of
136 community interaction; (2) any attempts at social interaction, at a community-wide scale, are hampered by the fragmentation and hi erarchical construction produced by the presence of internal gates on select neighborhoods within gated communities; (3) as originally argued by Evan McKenzie (1994) w ith respect to CIDs in general, there is a new conceptualization of community, in whic h relationships between residents of gated developments are more economically based or transactional than socially based or interactional. Residents under this model are viewed as satisfying their social obligations as long as they maintain their property up to acceptable standards in the opinions of other residents within their respective community; and (4) this tradeoff of social cohabitation for economic stability in privately governed gated communities is undermining the very essence of community interaction for thos e residents who seek it. However, this tradeoffs not to the degree, apparently, where individuals are willing to settle for living in a non-deed restricted devel opment for the opportunity to experience a greater level of social interaction that doesnt adhere to an economic agenda.
137 Chapter Eight Final Conclusions & Opportunities for Additional Research Geography is the study of uneven social relations and spatial structures. In addition, over the last few decades, master -planned gated communities have become a significant suburban developmental form in the Tampa region. However, prior to this investigation there had not been any othe r comprehensive studies of magnitude conducted on gated communities specifically within the Tampa Bay area. Moreover, there had not been any investigations as to the various socio-economic factors which have stimulated the popularity of gated co mmunities, nor any inquiry concerning the perceptions that residents in the Tampa region have with respect to life within their particular gated communities. As a result, three years ago, this study set out to fill these gaps in knowledge, and to enrich both geographic literature in general, as well as the growing bodies of work on gated communities specifically, through the design of the three research question listed below: Are the gated communities of Arbor Gr eene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton demographically homogenous? Do the residents perceptions of so cial practices and conditions in the three gated communities within the study area coincide with the desires and needs that residents originally had when deciding to move into their respective community? What social push/pull factors exist to create a draw for individuals wanting to live in these three gated communities (i.e., fear, crime, desire for seclusion, socio-economic status, etc.)?
138 These questions were meticul ously constructed with the so le focus of developing a comprehensive understanding of how three gated communities in Tampa affect the conceptualization, negotiation, and access to space. In addition, these research questions were grounded in the latest academic research and social theory surrounding gated communities, particularly the works of Setha Low (2003) and Theresa Caldeira (2000). In many ways the findings of this study coincided with the findings made by Low (2003) and Caldeira (2000) in their respective studies First, this study did find Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton to be demographically homogenous in nature. However, at only 48%, this study also found a smaller percentage of families with children than expected living in the three gated communities. This finding contradicts arguments made by Low (2003) that protec ting the children has been a significant catalyst for the popularity of gated commun ities with families in recent years. In her study, Caldeira (2000) found the pr esence of crime and a general distrust in government to be the two primary motivating factors for moving into a gated community in So Paulo, Brazil. In this study, a fear of crime and a desire to maintain property values were found to be the two most signific ant pull factors for residents when deciding to purchase a home in Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, or Grand Hampton. However, like the findings of Low (2003), but in stark contra st to the findings of Caldeira (2000), this study found that the residents perceived need for security was due to a fear of possible crime, rather than as a result of actual crime. Thankfully, most of the informants in this study had never been the victim of crime. However, it was the fear that crime could happen to them, as a result of media sensati onalizing or some other external influence, which facilitated their perceived need to move into a gated community. In Caldeiras
139 (2000) study, Brazilian elites we re moving into gated communities to escape actual crime and police ineffectiveness that was making the external environment a dangerous place to live. This study also found a general apathetic attitude towards the desire to move into a gated community for social interaction. Most informants in this study made a pronounced distinction between home-life an d social-life. This finding was both unexpected and in direct opposition to the argu ments made by Low (2003) in her study of gated communities in New York, Texas, and Mexico City. While the realities didnt always parallel the perceptions, Low (2003) found that many of the individuals who moved into gated developments did so in search of community interaction. The informants for this study, on the other hand, appeared to be more aligned with Evan McKenzies (1994) argument th at a residents commitment to his/her community, in a CID, can be satisfied simply by following the rules and keeping up with his/her economic responsibilities. Finally, this study found that, for most informants, the perceptions of social practices and conditions in the three gated communities within the study area coincided with the desires and needs that these residents originally had when deciding to move into their respective community. Individuals who sou ght to live in a gated community due to a fear of crime generally perceived their resp ective community to be safe. Residents who sought to live in an aesthetically pleasing community generally viewed their respective sub-division to be quite attr active. In many ways, these findings once again coincided with arguments made by Caldeira (2000) a nd Low (2003). Whether it be reality, the product of marketing st rategies (Caldeira, 2000), or the product of self-fulfilling
140 prophecy, for many of the informants in th is study life in their respective community had lived up to their original desires and expectations. However, one of the most intriguing findi ngs of this study was the complexity of the beliefs, perceptions, and viewpoints held by many of the informants in this study. For many of the informants in Lows (2003) study, they either moved into their community for a specific reason (i.e., co mmunity interaction) and were happy because they found it (or perceived to find it) there, or were disp leased because reality did not parallel their original desires or percepti ons, and were looking to move out to meet their needs in another community. In this study, many of the informants openly acknowledged that they moved to their respective community for a give n reason; that this desire had not been satisfied by reality, but that they either would not move if they could, or if they did, would move to a very similar type of co mmunity. (See the informants conversation regarding the effectiveness of gates in his/her community in Section 7.2.1) Capturing the intricacy surrounding human emotions, desires, and perceptions would not have been possible using one met hodological approach alone. Instead, through the use of a mixed-methods approach, th is study was successful in producing a comprehensive understanding of the human mo tivations and perceptions surrounding the three gated communities in New Tampa, Flor ida. Through the triangulation of mixedmethods, this study was able to identify a nd understand the complexity with which many of the perceptions, issues and concepts pertaining to gated communities are inseparably woven together and dynamic in nature. For exam ple, the desire for security, but the fear of reality seemed to be inextricably linked to many of the informants in this study. Likewise, the relationship between the perceived role of informants socially within the
141 community, and their perceived economic respon sibilities to the community appeared to be inseparably tied together. The findings captu red in this study, especially through the semi-structured interviews c onducted with residents from Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton, illustrates the need to not attempt to divide the indivisible, therefore giving significance to one over the other, and creating what Andrew Sayer (1982) refers to as a chaotic conception. To that end, th is study attempted, through the use of mixedmethods research, to go beyond the studies of Setha Low (2003) and Theresa Caldeira (2000), who relied predominantly on qualitative research alone, and research the issues of interest at many different levels and from many different angles, thereby giving a voice to the residents of the Arbor Greene, Hunters Green, and Grand Hampton, and embracing the complexity of these issues. A mixed-methods approach is not wit hout its own limitations, however. Perhaps the greatest limitation is one temporal in nature. As all of the interviews were conducted in early 2007, this methodology was only capable of taking a single snapshot in time of the different desires and perceptions that residents had of their respective community. Therefore, it could be argued that a differe nt snapshot in time could produce different findings. In the midst of a global economic crisis, this argument seems even more plausible. For example, in early 2007, all in formants interviewed had a perception that gated communities maintained, and even fostered an increase in property values. The real estate data at the time certainly supported this perception (these data also showed stable property values in non-gated co mmunities as well) (First in Real Estate, 2007). However, with plummeting home values everywhere, woul d residents have the same perceptions of the ability of gated communities to maintain property values? With residents moving out,
142 and renters potentially moving in, would residents still perceive their community as secure from crime? Finally, with more and mo re individuals facing a crisis of financial instability, is community interaction more important as a coping strategy? Additional research would need to be conducted to answer these questions, and to determine if gated communities are full of residents still trying to ke ep everyone else out, or if they are now full of prisoners just looki ng for a way out themselves.
143 List of References Literature Sources: Bernard, H. Russell. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches London: Sage, 2000 Blakely, Edward J., and Mary Gail Snyder. Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1997 Calavita et al. Inclusionary Zoning: the California Experience. NHC Affordable Housing Review Volume 3. Issue 1 (2004) 1-46 Caldeira, Theresa P. R. City of Walls: Crime, Segregation, and Citizenship in So Paulo Los Angeles: Universi ty of California, 2000 Cope, Kevin. Interviewing. In. Hay, Iain. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography 2nd Ed New York: Oxford. (2005) 79-105 Davis, Mike. City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles London: Verso, 1990 Davis, Mike. Ecology of Fear New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998 Doel, Marcus A. Analyzing Cultural Texts. In. Clifford, Nicholas J. and Gill Valentine. Key Methods in Geography London: Sage, 2003 501-514 Dunn, Meghan. Coding Qualitative Data. In. Hay, Iain. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography 2nd Ed New York: Oxford. (2005) 223-247 Horkheimer, Max Traditional and Critical Theory (1937). Critical Theory: Selected Essays New York: Continuum. (1982) 188-189 Longhurst, Robyn. Semi-Structured Inte rviews and Focus Groups. In Clifford, Nicholas J. and Gill Valentine. Key Methods in Geography London: Sage, 2003 117-132 Low, Setha. The Edge and the Center: Gated Communities and the Discourse of Urban Fear. American Anthropologist Volume 103. Issue 1 (2001) 45-58
144 Low, Setha. Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America London: Routledge, 2003 Low, Setha. The Politics of Fear: Gated Communities New York: City University of New York, 2004. McGuirk, Pauline M. and Phillip ONeill. Using Questionnaires in Qualitative Human Geography. In. Hay, Iain. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography 2nd Ed New York: Oxford. 2005. McKenzie, Evan. Privatopia New Haven: Yale University, 1994 McLafferty, Sara L. Conducting Questionnair e Surveys. In. Clifford, Nicholas J. and Gill Valentine. Key Methods in Geography London: Sage, 2003 87-100 Ogborn, Miles. Finding Historical Data. In. Clifford, Nicholas J. and Gill Valentine. Key Methods in Geography London: Sage, 2003 101-116 Rice, Stephen. Sampling in Geography. In Clifford, Nicholas J. and Gill Valentine. Key Methods in Geography London: Sage, 2003 223-248 Ross, Andrew. The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Li berty and the Pursuit of Property Values in Disney's New Town New York: Ballantine Books, 1999. Sanchez, Thomas W., and Robert E. Lang. Security versus Status: The Two Worlds of Gated Communities United States Census, 2002 Sayer, Andrew. Explanations in Ec onomic Geography: Abstractions vs. Generalizations. Progress in Human Geography (1982) pgs. 68-88 Sayer, Andrew. Method in Social Scienc e: A Realist Approach London: Hutchinson, 1984 Sayer, Andrew. Method in Social Science London: Routledge, 1992. Sayer, Andrew. Realism and Social Science London: Sage, 2000. Tedlock, Barbara. The Obse rvation of Participation and the Emergence of Public Ethnography. In Denzin, Norman K. and Yvonna S. Lincoln Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry London: Sage, 2007 151-172 Winchester, Hilary P. M. Q ualitative Research and its Pl ace in Human Geography. In. Hay, Iain. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography 2nd Ed New York: Oxford. 2005.
145 United States Census Office. Statistical View of the United States. Washington: GPO, 1854. Websites: AARP: http://www.aarp.org/ (9 April, 2009) Arbor Greene Community Website : http://www.arborgreene.com/ (5 May, 2008) Arbor Greene Community Development Distri ct Website: http://www.arborgreene.org/ (3 March, 2009) Ben-Joseph, Eran. Land Use and Design Innovations in Private Communities Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2004. http://www.lincolninst.edu/pubs/pub-detail.asp?id=971 (5 May, 2006) Coats, Bill. We Lead Tampa Growth. St. Petersburg Times, April 1, 2001. http://www.sptimes.com/News/040101/Nort hoftampa/We_lead_Tampa_growth_. shtml (5 May, 2006) First in Real Estate: http://www. newtampafirst.com/default.asp (5 October, 2008) Grand Hampton Community Webs ite: http://www.grandhampton.com/ (4 March, 2009) Hatem Touman, Abdelhamid. Gated Communities: Physical Construction or Social Destruction Tool? http://aesop2005.scix.ne t/data/papers/att/177.fullTextPrint.pdf (8 April, 2009) Hunters Green Community Website: http://www.huntersgreen.com/main.cfm (8 September, 2008) Landman, Karina and Martin Schonteich. U rban Fortresses: Gated Communities as a reaction to crime. African Security Review Vol. 11 No. 4. (2002) n.pag. http://www.iss.co.za/Pubs/ASR/11No4/Landman.html (18 August, 2007) New Tampa Community Council: http://www.newtampa.org (16 July, 2006) S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indi ces. http://www.standardandpoors.com (27 September, 2008) State of California Department of Real Estate: Living in California Common Interest Development California: SCDRE, 2002. http://www.dre.ca.gov/cidinfo.htm (12 September, 2006)
146 State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS): http://socds.huduser.org/ (5 May, 2006) Sun City Center Online: http://www.suncitycenter.org/default.htm (5 May, 2006) Tampa Homes on the Web: http://www.tampahomesontheweb. com/Grandhamptonvirtualtour (22 March, 2009) United States Census: www.census.gov Retrieved multiple times between 9 October, 2005 3 March, 2009. United States Social Security Administration: http://www.ssa.gov/ (9 April, 2009) Van Sickler, Michael. The Lands Next Crop. St. Petersburg Times, April 11, 2001. http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/11/Hills borough/The_land_s_next_crop.s html (5 May, 2006) Wiatrowski, Kevin. Pulte Ex its Wiregrass Ranch Project The Tampa Tribune, January 29, 2008. http://www2.tbo.com/content/ 2008/jan/29/pa-pulte-e xits-wiregrassranch-project/ (8 April, 2009)
147 Appendix A: Structured Survey
148 Why this Sub-Division? 1) Which factors were most important to you when selecting which neighborhood to move into? Please rate how important the following factors were to you when deciding to move into this sub-division on a scale of 1 through 10; with 1 being the least important and 10 being the most important. a) Security (the desire to live in a neighborhood that has a gated entrance in order to feel safe) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 b) Aesthetic Appeal (the desire to live in a particular neighborhood because it may have unique architectural designs or a very attractive entrance and overall landscape design) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 c) Maintaining Property Values (the desire to live in a neighborhood that is deed restricted to protect property values) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 d) Community Interaction (the desire to live in a neighborhood that has an active social life which facilitates interaction and potential friendship between neighbors) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 e) Privacy (the desire to live in a neighborhood that is exclusive, isolated, and gated, which restricts access to only those individuals who have permission to be in the neighborhood) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 f) Amenities (the desire to live in a neighborhood that has luxurious and state-of-the-art recreational accommodations for its residents and guests) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 g) Private Governance (the desire to live in a neighborhood that is privately governed by either a Homeowners Association or a Community Development District) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
149 Specific Questions about Life in your Sub-division Security: 2) Is there an active neighborhood watch program in operation within your sub-division -Yes -No -Not sure 3) Does the presence of a guard at the entrance to your sub-division make you feel safer than if there was only an electronic gate which visitors had to gain access to? -Yes -No 4) Have you ever noticed the gates to the main entrance of your sub-division left open and unguarded making it possible for anyone to drive into the community unannounced? -Yes (If so, then how often; too many times to count, once a day, once a week, once a month, once a year, other __________ ) -No 5) Overall, would you say your sub-division is safe? Please rate, on a scale of 1 through 10, with 1 being the least secure and 10 being the most secure, how secure you feel living inside your sub-division? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Least Secure Most Secure 6) What improvements, if any, would you like to see made to current security features within your sub-division which would make you feel even safer? 7) What additional security features, if any, would you like to see within your sub-division which would make you feel even safer? Aesthetic Appeal, Property Values, and Deed Restriction: 8) On a scale of 1 through 10, with 1 being the least attractive and 10 being the most attractive, please rate how aesthetically pleasing you think the following aspects of your sub-division are? Front Entrance to the sub-division: Home architectural style: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
150 Landscaping along side the roads and throughout the sub-division: Clubhouse, parks, and other common areas: 9) Do you think the various restrictions and guidelines within your sub-division regarding what you can and cannot do with your property are too strict? Yes, I would like to have more cont rol with what I can do with my property No, the guidelines and restrictions are fine with me 10) Do you believe that deed restrictions and property guidelines help maintain property values? Yes No 11) What do you think, if anything, is unique about your specific sub-division which makes you different from other neighborhoods in New Tampa? Social Practices; Community Interaction and Amenities 12) In your opinion, do you have a close relationship with many other residents within your sub-division? a. Yes b. No 13) On a scale of 1 through 10, how involved are you in social functions that take place within your sub-division. (These functions could include, but are not limited to, child play groups, yoga classes, wine tasting events, neighborhood yard sales, dinner parties, or any social functions which take place at a neighbors house, the clubhouse, or some other common area. For this question, please do not include briefly talking in the street to a neighbor as a social function.) Completely Uninvolved Completely Involved 14) In your opinion, is there more or less community interaction and friendship in this subdivision than there was in previous neighborhoods you lived in? More Less 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
151 15) Do you have a community website for your sub-division where you can do such things as read announcements, talk to other residents on a message board, and view a calendar of upcoming social events within the neighborhood? Yes No (If no, please skip question 24) I dont know (If you arent sure, please skip question 24) 16) If you do have a community website for your sub-division, approximately how often do you access it on the internet? At least once a day Once a week Once a month Once every few months Never 17) How often do you use the amenities which are provided in your neighborhood? In the chart below, please check the box that applies to how often you use each of the following amenities in your sub-division. Amenity At least Once a day At least 3 times a week At least Once a week At least Once a month Less than Once a month This amenity doesnt exist in my sub-division Community Swimming Pool / Hot tub Community Health Club (fitness center) Tennis / Racquetball / Basketball Courts Golf Course Community Clubhouse (i.e., meetings, parties, or social functions) Community Parks 18) What suggestions, if any, do you have for further improving community interaction within your sub-division?
152 Private Governance: Homeowners Association or Community Development District 19) Would you consider yourself an active member of either the Homeowners Association or Community Development District in your sub-division? Yes No 20) Approximately, how often do you attend either Homeowners Association or Community Development District meetings for your sub-division? I regularly attend every meeting I attend once in a while I only attend when they are discussing an issue which I consider important I never attend a meeting 21) On a scale of 1 through 10, with 1 being bad and 10 being good, how would you rate the following aspects regarding your s ub-divisions Homeowners Association or Community Development District? Organization: (-Is your HOA or CDD well structured and are their meetings well organized and efficient?) Leadership: (-Does your HOA or CDD have strong leadership?) Fairness: (-Is your neighborhood HOA or CDD fair in the treatment of its residents?) Effectiveness : (-Is your neighborhood HOA or CDD effective in making decisions, fixing problems, and handling issues on behalf of its residents?) 22) How would you rate the attendance of residents at an average Homeowners Association or Community Development District meeting? Excellent (> 75% of homes are in attendance) Good (50% 75% of homes are in attendance) Fair (25% 49% of homes are in attendance) Poor (<25% of homes are in attendance) I dont know because I do not regularly attend the meetings myself 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
153 General Questions about You 23) What is your gender? -Male -Female 24) How old are you? under 25 -26 to 40 -41 to 55 -56 to 70 -over 70 25) What ethnicity are you? -White Black or African American Hispanic Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander American Indian or Alaskan Native Other Do not wish to answer 26) What is your level of annual household income? Under $35,000 $35,000 $49,999 $50,000 $74,999 $75,000 $99,999 $100,000 $139,999 $140,000 $179,999 More than $180,000 27) Are you; __single / widowed __divorced __married / partnered 28) Do you currently have children living in your home at least part of the time? Yes (If so, how many ___ ) No 29) How long have you been a resident of this sub-division? less than 6 months 6 months to 1 year 1 year to 2 years 2 years to 3 years 3 years to 4 years 4 years to 5 years more than 5 years 30) Do you currently rent or own the home in this sub-division? Own Rent
154 Appendix B: Letter of Consent for Semi-structured Interview
155 Hello, my name is Scott Nonne maker. I am a graduate stude nt in the Department of Geography at the University of South Flor ida. I am conducting research on the various reasons that individuals & families choose to move to gated communities, as well as the various perceptions and opinions that reside nts have of their respective community. I would like to ask you some questions regarding your motivations for choosing to live in a gated community. Privacy Statement: All of your responses will be kept completely confidential. I will not use your name in connection with any of the information that you provide me regarding this research project. The study is not funded by any compan y or corporation, and I am not trying to sell you anything. Your Personal Rights: You may stop the interview at any time, or decide that certain parts of the interview should remain off the record. It is your decision whether or not y ou wish to participate in this study You will not be negatively viewed if you decide to not participate in the study. No personal judgments will be made based on the answers you provide in the study. Consent Statement: I understand that that this is a research study to identify the various reasons that individuals and families choose to live in gate d communities, as well as an investigation into the various life experiences, opinions, and attitudes residents have regarding their respective gated community. I have had an oppor tunity to ask any questions with regards to this study or the interview process in ge neral, and all of my questions have been adequately answered for me. I have read the information in this consent form, and I agree to participate in this study. I understand th at upon signing this consent form, I will receive a copy for my own personal files. If you have any additional questions at any time or would like more information, please contact Dr. M. Martin Bosman in the Department of Geography at the University of South Florida at 813-974-4770 or email@example.com
156 Appendix C: Semi-Structured Interview Guide Questions
157 General Opening Questions: 1) How long have you lived in this sub-division? 2) Have you ever lived in a gated community before? Questions about choosing to move into this community: Ask to look at the ranked list he/she completed earlier 3) What aspects of your sub-division attracted you the most? 4) What aspects of your sub-division were most aggressively marketed to you by the real estate agents who sold you the home? (Nature, security, amenities, etc.) 5) In your opinion, has the reality of the sub-division met your expectations when you decided to live there? 6) What emotions do you feel when you enter yo ur sub-division? Do you feel a sense of serenity (nature), tourism (resort)? 7) What do you think the main reason was for placing secondary gates on select neighborhoods in your sub-division? 8) Do you think that builders/developers are marketing more than houses to todays homebuyers? Lifestyles? Questions about security: 9) Overall, do you feel safe in your community? 10) Does the presence of a gate and a trained guard make you feel safer than if your community was accessible to anyone? An unmanned gate with an electronic keypad? 11) (If the informant has children) Does the presence of a secured main entrance make you feel less apprehensive about letting your children play outside unsupervised than if you lived in an ungated neighborhood? 12) Why do individuals moving into gated commun ities appear to have such a fear of crime? (included in second half of interview only) 13) Do you agree/disagree with the following statements: a) The constant sight of gates, video surveillance, and other security devices actually facilitates heightened feelings of fear and insecurity resulting in the need for even more security measures to feel safe? b) The proliferation of gated communities are producing future generations of Americans who only feel safe living behind a gate?
158 Questions about Community Interaction: 14) Would you say that you are a socially active member of the community? 15) What word best describes your relationship with your neighbors? (Cohabitation) (Community) What about the sub-division as a whole? 16) What types of social functions do residents in this community regularly engage in? 17) Do you think the presence of common areas and state-of-the-art amenities within the subdivision help facilitate greater community interaction? 18) In your opinion, is there a greater sense of community and neighborhood interaction in this sub-division than there was in previous neighborhoods you lived in? 19) Do you think that this heightened level of community interaction is localized to particular neighborhoods within your sub-division, or do you think that community interaction transcends different neighborhoods to include neighbors from all over the sub-division? 20) Even though you all are members of the same s ub-division, do you ever feel like there is a level of hierarchy or polarization between those individuals who live in privately gated neighborhoods and those who live in ungated neighborhoods? 21) Is there anything truly unique about your subdivision? 22) In your opinion, is Hunters Green a racially diverse community? Questions about Property Values and Private Governance: 23) Do you think deed restrictions are successful in protecting property values? 24) Do you associate higher property values with gated communities? 25) Do you ever find your homeowners association or any of their rules to be irritating or intrusive of your personal freedoms? 26) What benefits do you think there are in living in a sub-division that has a Community Development District? A Homeowners Association? 27) Do you feel that you have a greater voice in the running of a private government than you do in a traditional government structure? Concluding Questions: 26) Why do you think that gated communities have become so popular in Tampa over the last twenty years? What do you think are the driving forces behind these communities? 27) What is the one thing you like most about living in this sub-division? 28) What is the one thing you like least about living in this sub-division?
159 29) If you could make one improvement, either structural or social, to your respective community; what would it be? 30) What issues/topics, if any, do you think are important which I may not have fully investigated in this interview?
160 Appendix D: Coding Sheet for Collected Survey Data (by question #)
161 All missing data were coded 99 to flag for omission prior to statistical analysis Question # Raw Data Coded Value Notes 1 a) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 b) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 c) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 d) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 e) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
162 Question # Raw Data Coded Value Notes 1 f) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 g) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 2 Yes 1 No 0 Not Sure 55 Not Sure was coded 55 for observational purposes only, and was not included in any statistical analysis. 3 Yes 1 No 0 4 Yes 1 No 0 "How often" was not coded and was recorded for qualitative purposes only. 5 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 6 N/A N/A Open-ended question (no coding necessary). 7 N/A N/A Open-ended question (no coding necessary). 8 a) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 8 b) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
163 Question # Raw Data Coded Value Notes 8 c) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 8 d) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 9 Yes 1 No 0 10 Yes 1 No 0 11 N/A N/A Open-ended question (no coding necessary). 12 Yes 1 No 0 13 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 14 More 3 Same 2 Less 1 A number of informants added the category "same" on their own. Therefore this category was added to accommodate their voices. 15 Yes 1 No 0 I don't know 55 I dont know was 55 coded for observational purposes only, and was not included in any statistical analysis. 16 At least once a day 5 Once a week 4 Once a month 3 Once every few months 2 Less that every few months 1 17 This amenity doesn't exist 0 At least once a day 5 At least 3 times a week 4 At least once a week 3 At least once a month 2 Less than once a month 1 18 N/A N/A Open-ended question (no coding necessary). 19 Yes 1 No 0
164 Question # Raw Data Coded Value Notes 20 I regularly attend every meeting 4 I attend once in a while 3 I only attend when discussing an important issue 2 I never attend a meeting 1 21 a) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 21 b) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 21 c) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 21 d) 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 22 Excellent 4 Good 3 Fair 2 Poor 1 I don't know 55 I dont know was coded 55 for observational purposes only, and was not included in any statistical analysis. 23 Male 1 Female 2 24 Under 25 1 26-40 1 41-55 2 56-70 2 over 70 3 This data was coded to separate young-aged individuals (age 40 and younger), middleaged individuals (age 41-70), and elderlyaged individuals (older than 70).
165 Question # Raw Data Coded Value Notes 25 White 1 Black or African American 2 Hispanic 2 Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 2 Asian 2 American Indian or Alaskan Native 2 Other 2 I do not wish to answer 55 Since the racial/ethnic makeup in the three gated communities within the study was highly skewed towards Caucasian individuals, this data was coded to separate white individuals and non-white individuals (any other race/ethnicity) to allow for more meaningful statistical analysis. I do not wish to answer was coded 55 for observational purposes only, and was not included in any statistical analysis. 26 Under $25,000 1 $25,000 $49,999 1 $50,000 $74,999 1 $75,000 $99,999 2 $100,000 $124,999 2 $125,000 149,999 2 $150,000 $174,999 3 More than $175,000 3 This data was coded to separate low-income individuals ($74,999 or less), middleincome earners ($75,000 $149,999), and high-income earners ($150,000 or more). 27 single / widowed / divorced 1 married / partnered 2 28 Yes 1 No 0 "How many" was not coded and was recorded for qualitative purposes only. 29 less than 6 months 1 6 months to 1 year 1 1 year to 2 years 1 2 years to 3 years 2 3 years to 4 years 2 4 years to 5 years 2 more than 5 years 3 This data was coded to separate shortlength residents (2 years or less), mediumlength residents (2 years to 5 years), and long-term residents (5 years or longer). 30 Own 1 Rent 55 Rent was coded 55 for observational purposes only to exclude anyone who checked this response from the study (renting the home was part of the study's exclusion criteria from participation).
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Nonnemaker, Scott E.
Living behind bars? :
b an investigation of gated communities in New Tampa, Florida
h [electronic resource] /
by Scott E. Nonnemaker.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 165 pages.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: With protective gates and guard booths restricting access to their entrances, master-planned gated communities have become a dominant form of suburban development throughout much of the country. Many home builders, developers, and real estate companies promote gated communities as a developmental step towards the creation of a real-life utopia. However, many academics, like Karina Landman and Martin Schonteich (2002), argue that their existence simply marks a new chapter in the fragmentation and polarization of societies all across the world. This study used a mixed methods approach to analyze the demographic makeup of individuals living in gated communities in New Tampa, Florida, as well as the different socio-economic motivations and perceptions which residents had regarding life within their respective community.The research questions for this study were grounded in the latest academic research and social theory surrounding gated communities, particularly the works of Setha Low (2003) and Theresa Caldeira (2000). The three gated communities investigated in this study were Arbor Greene, Hunter's Green, and Grand Hampton. Using demographic data obtained from structured questionnaires, this study found that these three communities were socio-economically homogenous with a large percentage of residents: (1) having a high median income; (2) being Caucasian; and (3) being married. Using data obtained from semi-structured interviews, this study found that the desire for security and the desire to maintain property values were the two most important considerations for residents when deciding to move into Arbor Greene, Hunter's Green, and Grand Hampton.Additionally, for most informants, the perceptions of social practices and conditions in the three gated communities within the study area coincided with the desires and needs that these residents originally had when deciding to move into their respective community. As Geography is the study of uneven social relations and spatial structures, these findings were used to fill gaps of knowledge which existed prior to this study with respect to gated communities in the Tampa Bay area, as well as to provide the discipline of geography with a more comprehensive understanding of how these communities in Tampa affect the conceptualization, negotiation, and access to space.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: M. Martin Bosman, Ph.D.
Common interest development
Community development district
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.