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A comparative study of gated and non-gated dwellings in Ankara: Zirvekent settlement and Birlik neighborhood in Çankaya

Poyrazoğlu, Burcu Adike
Gated communities are the new forms of residential settlements, which emerged as a response to changing urban dynamics, becoming increasingly common across the world. Fenced or walled off from the surrounding and limiting the access of the nonresidents, gated communities are in an attempt to create an alternative way of living by eliminating the disadvantages of the ordinary city life and providing secure, well-managed, well-maintained and peaceful environments. On the other hand, gated communities are open to ongoing discussions and controversies. Gating attitude is mostly criticized in many fields, especially causing corruptions on the social and physical cohesion of the cities. Turkey is also witnessing these conflicts by the growing number of private residential areas. In this respect, this study tries to examine the contemporary development of gated communities in Turkey. To this end, a research study was conducted in Çankaya, the central district of Ankara. Zirvekent residential settlement –as an exemplar of gated communities- and its close neighborhood Birlik Mahallesi –as an exemplar of non-gated communities- were chosen as the study areas. Thereby, in the light of the analysis it was aimed to reveal the relationships and the differences between gated and non-gated residents, addressing their demographic characteristics, preferences, perceptions and evaluations for the certain physical and social aspects. Due to the results of the research study, the demographic characteristics of the residents in Zirvekent Settlement and Birlik Mahallesi showed differences especially regarding their ages, their education and income levels. The findings also revealed that Zirvekent residents were feeling much more secure in their houses when compared to Birlik residents. Furthermore, the residents of Zirvekent were mostly satisfied with their physical and social environments, and accordingly they associated their present houses to their ideal ones and they desire to continue to live in them more than non-gated residents in Birlik Mahallesi.