By Lydia Kanyoro
When you think of a gated community, what comes to mind? Probably fully-fledged ‘cities’, of well-planned luxurious homes which incorporate strict safety and security measures, privacy and amenities surrounded by high perimeter walls. But what else lies beyond those gates? And is a home in one of these neighborhoods the right fit for you and your family, or as an investment?
The demand for real estate in many developing countries such as Kenya has been increasing over the years. However, sustaining an urban environment whereas balancing the demand and supply has become a major challenge. The challenge has been brought about by the inability to sustain adequate infrastructure and proper planning. As a result, a majority of real estate developers are mainly led by demand rather than infrastructural capacity.
Kenya as a fast-growing nation with a high population grapples with the lack of implementation of an urban plan, hence, the rise of unplanned residential estates coming up everywhere. However, Superior Homes Kenya, East Africa’s award-winning development, is one such developer that is working to curb such challenges, with well-planned gated community concept. It is a controlled development with a set of rules and regulations laid out in an agreement, and signed by all the homeowners.
At the present time, the prevailing housing development trend is gated communities. With the COVID- 19 pandemic that restricts us to avoid overcrowding; many have opted to shift to gated communities that bring out restriction of movement due to availability of amenities and families’ safety from the virus infections. For others, living in a gated community could also be a sense of belonging to a ‘nyumba kumi’ initiative, or for prestige and luxurious lifestyle.
With the rising cases of burglaries however, the security element is the biggest perk of gated communities for privacy and safety that residents enjoy. It is proven that safety comes in numbers. People naturally feel secure when living within communities than in isolation. Living in a gated community allows homeowners to form associations that look after their interests.
Most gated community estates are managed by an estate management company and each resident owns equal shares in the company. The estate management company is tasked with ensuring the estate is well secure with a security protocol where there are strict entry and exit points manned by security guards, as well as perimeter walls and an electric fence to safeguard the property and its residents. Security guards are also doubling efforts to check temperatures and enhance COVID- 19 measures of hand washing especially for visitors.
Secondly, gated communities are a safe haven for children. One of the greatest advantages of living in a gated community is that it is built for families with kids. While the benefits can be reaped by both singles and families alike, the safety and security in gated communities are especially good for the little ones with aspirations for exploring. Since there are no open roads with fast moving traffic, it is safer to allow your kids to play outdoors; you wouldn’t have to worry about them bumping into strangers either. With communal areas set for the kids to play, it is also easier for parents to monitor them.
Another pleasant benefit of living in a gated community is the sense of pride and belonging it elicits, and the integrated lifestyle it enables one to enjoy. Gated communities usually offer various amenities such as a golf course, tennis courts, football pitches, children playground areas, clubhouse, schools, adequate parking spaces, swimming pool, efficient water supply, shopping centers, garbage collection points, sewerage systems, back-up power, solar systems, water filtration systems, internet provisions, and home working stations which are all part of planning when it comes to the construction of a controlled environment.
Human beings have since time immemorial been accustomed to a sense of belonging and pride when living within a certain community. Additionally, the cost of purchasing a home in a gated community is usually higher compared to unplanned communities. This is because homeowners are assured of a unique lifestyle convenient for you and your family within the desired environment. When you buy a home in a gated community, you are assured of getting a good return on your investment.
These are just some of the perks you would benefit from while staying in a gated community, which would otherwise cost you an exorbitant amount of money. Having such a well – integrated community with such shared facilities makes a comfortable living experience.
The home is where people typically spend most of their time, a common avenue for social contact and, for most, a major financial, emotional and personal investment. One’s choice of residence also reflects one’s choice of the surrounding neighbourhood, which has a significant impact on one’s well-being and quality of life.
Obviously the housing choice is not a simple decision to make, housing is very important for individuals as the fact that it is their home. Choosing the right residential location is essential as it also influences the whole family life, their activity, well-being, social life, work, and education among others. And the way I see it, gated communities are indeed the future for sustainable living.
Question is, on what side of the divide are you on?