Do Fence Me In

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Once upon a time, when families moved into a new neighborhood, they might expect a visit from the Welcome Wagon. These days, the Welcome Wagon might not be able to get past the front gate.

The biggest trend in American real estate is the “gated community,” where only residents have access to the streets and playgrounds. In some parts of the Southeast and the Southwest, gated communities are practically the only new housing being built. And they’re not just enclaves for the super-rich. Moderately priced houses are also in subdivisions set off like fortresses. And HUD is using federal money to retrofit housing projects with electronic gates, so there as well visitors can become trespassers. It’s a trend that some call un-American, or maybe it’s very American.
(Hosted by John Donvan)


Mary Gail Snyder, co-author of “Fortress America” and professor of urban studies at the University of New Orleans

Jerry Russo, photographer documenting the gates of gated communities

Robert Engstrom, real estate developer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

John Stilgoe, professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard

and Meredith Hollaus, resident of Boca Pointe gated community, Boca Raton, Florida.