Outdoor activities in gated communities

The development of gated communities in Chinese cities has been studied by several researchers such as Pow Choon-Piew1. In a recent article, Wu, Wei and Wang chose to focus on the use of outdoor open space in these communities, choosing a gated community in Xiamen for their case study2. This community contains several different housing types (low-rise, medium-rise and high-rise buildings) surrounded by different designs for green spaces. They conducted their research by distributing a questionnaire to the residents gathering information on their outdoor activities within their gated communities (walking, practising sports, walking their dog, swimming…) and correlated their answers with their profile (age, gender, education, job, family income).

According to these findings, children, housewives and retirees benefited most from outdoor spaces. This study also shows that residents living in communities with large open spaces, and have a high annual income, are not more likely to take advantage of this feature and do not necessarily practise more outdoor activities. Therefore, we can argue that residents see green space more as an indicator of social status rather than something that meets a real need for outdoor activities.

  1. POW, C.-P. (2009). Gated communities in China: class, privilege and the moral politics of the good life. Abingdon and New York: Routledge []
  2. WU Caiwei, WEI Yongping, and Mark Y. WANG (2014). Planned gated communities in urban China : outdoors activities and designed leisure spaces. In Mark Y. WANG, Pookong KEE, and Jia GAO. Transforming Chinese cities. London UK and  New York NY: Routledge []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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