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The impact of gated communities’ developments on the quality of life of local residents in periurban areas: a case of Accra city

Owusu, Leticia Amoakoa (2021) The impact of gated communities’ developments on the quality of life of local residents in periurban areas: a case of Accra city.

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Abstract:Gated communities are widespread in the Global South cities and their peri-urban areas. They are characterised by the privatisation of public spaces and restricted access to the neighbourhood and are found in various forms. Gated communities reflect socio-economic and environmental inequality in cities. Research has shown that gated communities have specific impacts on the population outside such settlement, such as limiting access to amenities and services, reducing social interactions, threatening security and loss of livelihoods which is likely to affect the local residents quality of life (QoL). However, there are also some positive impacts of these developments, like increasing working opportunities and reducing social stigmatisation. Planners and developers of most Global South cities see gated community developments as the perfect solution for improving integration and equality to basic social amenities in society. Their efforts in creating ideal cities leveraging on gated community developments sometimes fail to consider the needs of the local residents that will be affected by these developments. This study analyses how gated communities influence the QoL of local residents in Abokobi, a peri-urban area in Accra-Ghana. It employed a mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) approach using secondary and primary data to understand the impact of gated communities over local residents QoL from the perspective of developers, planners and local residents. Secondary data aided in selecting two different types of gated communities with varying characteristics across the study area (lifestyle and prestigious gated communities). Primary data was collected through key informant interviews, focus group discussions and household surveys. The household survey included 73 respondents, each living outside the selected gated communities, to determine the roles of the different types of gated communities and spatial proximity. In total, 146 questionnaires in the form of close and open-ended questions on a 6 Likert scale were administered. Descriptive statistics were used to understand the perceived QoL satisfaction of local residents. An independent t-test was computed to compare the differences in the subjective QoL of local residents living outside the two different types of gated communities. The study found that both developers and planners claim only positive impacts of gated communities. However, not all benefits related to gated communities’ claim materialise in urban areas as local residents perceive both positive and negative effects. The t-test shows no significant differences between the perceived QoL of local residents living outside the different gated communities. The assessment of the QoL satisfaction revealed that local residents perceive an improved overall QoL in the area after the development of gated communities. Satisfaction with social conditions of life was higher than expected among the local residents. However, residents close to the gated communities were less satisfied with their level of interaction than those further away. Regarding economic conditions, residents perceive better QoL conditions with employment and quality of work excerpt with living costs. For environmental conditions, local residents have higher dissatisfaction with access to open spaces and good drainage systems though potable water and improved sanitation services were made accessible in the area. Studying the relationship between the gated communities and QoL through their socio-economic and environmental effects appears useful as it helps understand the urban concerns from a multidimensional context and offers insightful lessons for planners and decision-makers in formulating better policies that promote sustainable urbanisation when developing gated communities in peri-urban areas. It also contributes to exploring potential impacts of the different types of gated communities over local residents QoL.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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