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Middle-Class Gatedness: A Practice-Based Analysis of Middle-Class Gated Communities in Mexico

Morales , Emma R. (2016) Middle-Class Gatedness: A Practice-Based Analysis of Middle-Class Gated Communities in Mexico. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Gated communities are a global phenomenon - a common housing choice for middle-income groups in contexts of large socio-economic disparities. They have recently gained academic attention, and scholarly work since the late 1990s has focused primarily on drivers such as security, status, prestige, and social homogeneity. However, the proliferation of these enclaves is not only the result of individual motivations and choices, but rather a complex issue that goes beyond the gates. In this thesis, I propose that the discussion should focus not on the physical artefact (gated communities) but the policies, practices, and meanings that enable their existence. I centre the discussion on the concept of “gatedness”, which embodies the three elements of practice proposed by Shove et al. (2012): materials, competences, and meanings. The research took place in Mexico, a country with a history of debt-fuelled economy that affects individual households, particularly middle class families. The thesis provides elements for better understanding the complexity of the gated communities’ social phenomenon, where global economic forces affect national housing, land, finance, and planning policies, while shaping individual practices fed by aspirations and anxieties. The focus on the middle class population is mainly due to their role in the proliferation of these enclaves, and also because of the challenges to sustaining their lifestyle in a context of social, economic, and political uncertainty. Research was conducted with a qualitative approach using the case study of Lomas de Angelópolis, a large-scale suburban gated community in Puebla, Mexico. This research adds to previous knowledge about gated communities by recognising how elements of practice shape the physical world. Understanding these spaces better could help planners and policymakers in countries with similar dynamics to Mexico, propose alternatives to make cities more equitable, addressing the aspirations and anxieties of the middle classes without critically affecting access to opportunities to others.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: gated communities, Mexico, social practices, policy analysis, Puebla, gatedness
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Urban Studies and Planning (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.703369
Depositing User: Dr. Emma R. Morales
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2017 15:06
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16257

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