“The gated community as heterotopia”, by Setha Low, discusses the gated community and its social and psychological meanings. These gated communities are neighborhoods that are surrounded by fences, obviously, with either security guards or an access code restricting who is permitted to enter the area. Gated communities began in areas of nice climate as places of refuge for retirees. Florida is specifically known for having tons of neighborhoods of elder who move there for the warmth and calm setting. Over the years though these gated communities became even more common and popular for people of upperclass to stay safe and keep crime out of their lives. The article says that these are really an excuse; the gates are represent the safety people want due to the hysteria of mass media and their emphasis on urban crime. Ironically crime has decreased since the 1990s though the media’s presence and their emphasis on criminal activity has increased. This gives people a somewhat false sense of insecurity which they try to fight with gates and security guards and access codes and barbed wire.
With this new sense of security people feel more sheltered and less responsible for what goes on. In a gated community we revert back to children in our attempt to feel more security and let a greater power, whether it be our parents or the gates around us, protect us from the cruel and unknown threats of the outside world.
Along with protection these gated communities also give its members an insider mentality. They feel a part of something that is exclusive. I find all of this very relatable to life at Georgia Tech. We are a school in the middle of Atlanta, a big and potentially crime-filled city. our walls to protect us are in the form of the GTPD, the blue security polls with emergency written on the side, and the buzzcard swipe needed to get into every dorm and buildings after hours. This gives the students and our parents the feeling that in our GT bubble, or heterotopia, we are safe. This also excludes us from all others. Like we mentioned in class on Wednesday, we live in an exclusive community. You can tell when there are kids who are still in high school touring the campus- they just stick out for some reason. They may share the place that we are in for the short amount of time that they are visiting Georgia Tech, but they do not share the same space as us, as Foucault would say. Then within this exclusive place people get even more exclusive. Fraternities are only friends with their “brothers”. They will befriend a new brother as quickly as they will “de-friend” an ex-brother who had to drop out. I have seen this happen first hand; it is a messed up system. We as people all seem to live in gated communities whether that be in the literal or metaphorical sense.