The influence of gated communities (security villages) in the pursuit of sustainable urbanism in Ethekwini : a case study of Mount Edgecombe Country club, Umhlanga.
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This study examined the influence of gated communities in the pursuit of sustainable urbanism in eThekwini Municipality, using Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate as a case study. Sub-objectives were established as a guide in addressing the main aim. The sub-objectives highlighted key components of sustainable urbanism and gated communities in the South African context. Sustainable urbanism indicators were established using gated communities as an urban built form so as to lay a foundation to determine the influence of the case study on sustainable urbanism. The study also sought to establish the extent to which eThekwini Municipality incorporates sustainable urbanism as a means to sustainability. Gated communities were also assessed in the South African context with a focus on their nature, extent and effect in an urban setting. Qualitative research methods were used to gather relevant information. Qualitative research enables a researcher to clearly observe personal perspectives and experiences while highlighting contextual and locational factors that relate to the phenomenon at hand. It allowed the researcher to describe the phenomenon in detail, laying the foundation for conclusions on the influence of gated communities in the pursuit of sustainable urbanism in eThekwini. The study found that gated communities’ have disparate influences on sustainable urbanism at the internal and external level. It was found that gated communities, particularly large security estates, have the ability to adopt key sustainable urbanism principles, such as biophilia and transit-oriented development, through their management body. Externally, it was observed that the urban context in which a gated community is located influences the way the community functions. Thus, in the eThekwini urban setting, fear of crime and the Municipality’s financial capacity has limited the extension of sustainable urbanism principles beyond gated communities’ boundaries.