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Paradise Planned: Community Formation and the Master Planned Estate

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Abstract:

The popularity of master planned estates with prospective settlers and planner-developers alike has burgeoned in the past 20 years. Stimulated by the settlers' desire for product assurance, and the developer's search for a marketing advantage, movements such as new urbanism and neo-communitarianism have underpinned large-scale planned suburban tract developments in both Australia and the USA. The marketing of such developments together with quality of design and physical and social infrastructure, commonly includes the promise of ‘community'. Such promises strike a chord with residents driven by security concerns. Drawing on recent qualitative research on two planned housing estates on Sydney's south-west fringe, this article examines two interrelated processes that underpin the notion of community in the contemporary master planned community. Firstly, it investigates the influence that design and development practices can have on community formation and community outcomes. It also examines the nexus between community association and economic interests in the drive to shape a secure, status-oriented residential environment. During a time when community is perceived as a scarce resource, and a goal to be achieved, ‘community' becomes a resource deployed by both the planner-developer and residents to differentiate one residential area from another.

Keywords: Master planned estate; community; social captial

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0811114042000335304

Affiliations: School of Social and Human Sciences, University of Western Sydney, Bankstown Campus, Australia

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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