Gated Communities – Are they any different?

"The only difference is that there is a gate", declared my friend who resides in one such place. "We decided to come here only because of the security; now we know that it’s just an eyewash", she added. That set me thinking. How different is the houses in gated communities to the others? Do the residents NRIs or foreigners want a home away from home? Expats in Bangalore take pride in stating that they don’t live in Whitefield whereas we Indians still do. I have tried to highlight the similarities or differences under certain common headers.

Note: These are just my thoughts and should not be taken as a thoroughly researched material.

Facilities Gated Community Apartment Complex Individual Houses

Security

There’s 24 hour watch at the community entrance. The security works in shifts. Still the watch is not that effective as the security is only at the entrance. Same as the Gated Enclaves In some areas, Ghurkhas claim to parole in the night. Some families keep a watchman to do a night watch while they are temporarily away from home.
Maintenance Gated Communities score on this point. The maintenance is usually quite good. One doesn’t have to go in search of a plumber/electrician/gardener as they are paid employees of the community. Same as the Gated Enclaves. The owner has to find the local electrician who’ll have a shop around the corner. It’s always a headache to get such persons for small jobs and the quality of work might vary.
Ambience Gated Communities have ample space, good parking lots and generally kept clean. The open area, good gardening gives the area a nice feel. However there are some for whom such exclusivity can be boring and would like some action on the street. Apartment Complexes too provide all the amenities a gated community would. Also many of them are located within the city and hence are very convenient to commute. Individual houses lose out on this end. However it makes up by providing ample action on the street. From the grocer shouting his wares, the noise of the autos to uninvited visitors like salespersons and courier boys ringing the bell around 3-4pm.
Transport The community is located in the suburbs. People commute in their own cars. School children are ferried through school vans/buses that enter the gated area. However for those who need an auto, it does come at an exorbitant rate. Buses don’t stop here even though there might find commuters especially to the Airport. Most Apartment residents have cars. And autos do commute in & out of the complex. For complexes that are located within the city limits and transport is not much of a problem. Most middle class areas use cars, autos for convenience. The lower middle class & the elderly use the buses.
Shopping Malls and smaller retail outlets have sprung up to serve the community needs. However the prices are a wee bit higher than inside the city. Some retail outlets are located within the complex for basic needs. Most complexes also have a local ATM. Some huge residential enclaves like Brigade gateway claim to provide complete townships with hospitals, malls, banks etc. The houses score on this point. Shops are just around the corner. One can walk down the street to buy vegetables or newspaper and do not have to rev up the car
Other Facilities My mom is always sceptical about the integrity of the domestic help. Helps have to provide their residence and Id proof and their salaries are usually higher in gated communities than in housing colonies. Apartment complex are generally no different from gated communities.

 

Maids are sought through neighbours or nearby relatives. Some tend to be loyal and some are bad eggs.

Residents Mainly from outside Karnataka, businessman, IT, young Bangaloreans, foreigners, pilots – middle class to upper middle class Bangaloreans, Non Kannadigas, IT engineers who live temporarily in the city, mainly middle class. Bangaloreans who had been provided BDA sites, government employees, lower middle class and upper class

About Poornima Kannan 21 Articles

Poornima is an avid blogger with keen interest in urban wildlife.She is also a freelance communication consultant with special interest in organizations that work towards a social cause.

5 Comments

  1. Wrong Vishwanath!!!! if there are 100 residents with average five memners in each family, there will be more than 500,000 different thoughts. A “gated community” or an apartment complex is just like our own “mera bharat mahan”.

    I know I lived in two different apartment complexes in the last 14 years.

  2. Thanks very much Deepa. And Mr Vishwanath, I agree that some variety is missing in gated area as it brings western town-planning system. But most residents are Indians and hence spice can never go out of life. So that’s some solace:)

  3. Spice, as in ‘ variety is the spice of life’, could be missing in gated communities. People living in gated communities may have the same thoughts, same reflexes etc. India is something they see only from inside the cars ! Very interesting analysis

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