In the last twenty years, thousands upon thousands of the upper and middle classes have retreated into gated communities. In 2002 it is estimated that one in eight Americans will live in these exclusive neighborhoods. What has sparked this alarming trend?
Behind the Gates is Low's revealing account of what life is like inside these suburban fortresses. After years researching and interviewing families in Long Island, New York and San Antonio, Texas, Low provides an inside view of gated communities to help explain why people flee to these enclaves. Parents with children, young married couples, "empty-nesters," and retirees express their need for safety, their secret fears of a more ethnically diverse America, and their desire to recapture the close-knit, picket-fenced communities of their childhood. Ironically, she shows, gated neighborhoods are in fact no safer than other suburbs, and many who move there are disheartened by the insularity and restrictive rules of the community.
Low probes the hopes, dreams, and fears of her subjects to portray the subtle change in American middle-class values marked by the emergence of enclosed communities in the suburbs.

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|19 pages

Unlocking the Gated Community

chapter 2|27 pages

Arriving at the Gates

chapter 3|19 pages

Searching for Community

chapter 4|20 pages

Re-creating the Past

chapter 5|18 pages

Protecting the Children and Safety for All

chapter 6|21 pages

Fear of Crime

chapter 7|20 pages

Fear of Others

chapter 8|22 pages

Niceness and Property Values

chapter 10|20 pages

Easing the Way to Retirement

chapter 11|14 pages

Don’t Fence Me In