In metropolitan Accra, Ghana’s economic and administrative hub, the global phenomenon of the gated housing estate is burgeoning, representing a substantial part of the new housing market. It has a recent history dating back only to the neoliberal era of the mid-1990s. Because it is a new phenomenon in Ghana very little is known about the motivations and contentment of residents, interactions within and outside the gates, and perceptions toward gated residents. This paper takes the first step by providing empirical insights from three communities (Manet Court, Devtraco Villas, and Regimanuel Estate) located in Metropolitan Accra. The data suggest that perceived concern for security is the primary motivation for the residents to live in these communities. Contrary to findings of other studies, the current research reveals that there are appreciable levels of interaction among the residents in these communities, although such interaction exists purely on the economic level, with gated housing estates providing a considerable level of low-income employment opportunities to surrounding residents. The paper concludes by identifying some of the key urban planning challenges that have so far accompanied gated housing development.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Arku, G. (2006). Housing and development strategies in Ghana, 1945–2000. International Development Planning Review, 28(3), 333–358.
Arku, G. (2009). Housing policy changes in Ghana in the 1990s. Housing Studies, 24(2), 263–274.
Aryeetey, E., Harrigan, J., & Nissanke, M (Eds.). (2000). Economic Reforms in Ghana: The miracle and the mirage. Trenton, NJ: African World Press.
Atkinson, R., & Blandy, S. (2005). Introduction: International perspectives on the new enclavism and the rise of gated communities. Housing Studies, 20(2), 177–186.
Blakely, E. J., & Snyder, M. G. (1997). Fortress America: Gated communities in the United States. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Blandy, S., & Lister, D. (2005). Gated communities: (Ne)gating community development? Housing Studies, 20(2), 287–301.
Caldeira, T. (2000). City of Walls. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.
Coy, M., & Pohler, M. (2002). Gated communities in Latin America megacities: Case studies in Brazil and Argentina. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 29, 355–370.
Davis, M. (1998). Ecology of Fear. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Dick, H. W., & Rimmer, P. J. (1998). Beyond the third world city: The new urban geography of south–east Asia. Urban Studies, 35(12), 2303–2321.
Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC). (2007). Registered Real Estate Projects. Accra: Government of Ghana.
Gottdiener, M., & Hutchision, R. (2000). The new urban sociology (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.
Government of Ghana. (1988–1993) Budget Statements. Accra, Ghana.
Government of Ghana. (1993a). National Shelter Strategy. Part I—Background Report. Policy Planning and Evaluation Unit of the Ministry of Works and Housing.
Government of Ghana. (2000). Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. Accra, Ghana.
Government of Ghana, Ministry of Works and Housing. (1989). The Economic Impact of Government Policies on the Housing Sector. Prepared by Management Development and Productivity Unit.
Government of Ghana, Ministry of Works and Housing. (1993b). Development of The Building Materials Industry in Ghana. Draft Report. Prepared by Comptran Engineering and Planning Associates Ltd May 1993.
Grant, R. (2001). Liberalization policies and foreign companies in Accra, Ghana. Environment and Planning A, 33, 997–1014.
Grant, R. (2005). The emergence of gated communities in a West African context: Evidence from Greater Accra, Ghana. Urban Geography, 26(8), 661–683.
Grant, J., Greene, K., & Maxwell, K. (2004). The planning and policy implications of gated communities. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 13(1), 70–88.
Grant, J., & Mittelsteadt, L. (2004). Types of gated communities. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31, 913–930.
Grant, R., & Yankson, P. (2003). Accra profile. Cities, 20(1), 65–74.
Helsley, R. W., & Strange, W. C. (1999). Gated communities and the economic geography of crime. Journal of Urban Economics, 46, 80–105.
Jurgen, U., & Gnad, M. (2002). Gated communities in South Africa—experiences from Johannesburg. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 29, 337–353.
Kuppinger, P. (2004). Exclusive greenery: New gated communities in Cairo. City and Society, 16(2), 35–62.
Lang, R., & Danielsen, K. (1997). Gated communities in America: Walling out the world? Housing Policy Debate, 8(4), 725–727.
Le Goix, R. (2005). Gated communities: Sprawl and social segregation in Southern Ontario. Housing Studies, 20(2), 323–343.
Low, S. (2003). Behind the gates: Life, security and the pursuit of happiness in fortress America. New York and London: Routledge.
Marcuse, P. (1997). The Ghetto of exclusion and the fortified enclave. American Behavioral Scientist, 41(3), 311–336.
McKenzie, E. (1994). Privatopia: Homeowner associations and the rise of residential private government. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Minton, A. (2002). Building balanced communities: The US and US compared. London: RICS.
Mycoo, M. (2006). The retreat of the upper class and middle classes to the gated communities in the poststructural adjustment era: The case of Trinidad. Environment and Planning A, 38, 131–148.
Payne, G. (1989). Informal housing and land subdivisions in third world cities: A review of the literature. London: ODA.
Roitman, S. (2005). Who segregates whom? the analysis of a gated community in Mendoza, Argentina. Housing Studies, 20(2), 303–321.
Sabatini, F. G. C., & Cerda, A. (2001). Segregacion residential en las principles ciudades chilenas: Tendencies de last tres ultimas decadas y posibles cursos de accion. EURE XXVII 82, 2–42.
Salcedo, R., & Torres, A. (2004). Gated communities in Santiago: wall or frontier? International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(1), 27–44.
Sanchez, T. W., Lang, R. E., & Dhavale, D. (2005). Security versus status? a first look at the census’s gated community data. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24(3), 281–291.
Sassen, S. (1996). Cities and communities in the global economy: Rethinking our concepts. American Behavioral Scientist, 39, 629–651.
Staples, W. G. (2000). Everyday surveillance: Vigilance and visibility in postmodern life. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
Thuillier, G. (2005). Gated communities in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina: A challenge for town planning. Housing Studies, 20(2), 255–271.
Webster, C. (2001). Gated cities of to-morrow. Town Planning Review, 72, 149–170.
Webster, C. (2002). Property rights and the public realm: Gates, green belts, and Gemeinschaft. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 29, 397–412.
Webster, C., Glasz, G., & Frantz, K. (2002). The global spread of gated communities. Environment and Planning B, 29, 315–320.
Werlin, H. H. (1994). Ghana and South Korea. Explaining development disparities: an essay in honor of Carl Rosberg. Journal of African and Asian Studies, 29, 3–4.
Wu, F., & Webber, K. (2004). The rise of “Foreign Gated Communities” in Beijing: Between economic globalization and local institutions. Cities, 21(3), 203–213.
Yeboah, I. (2000). Structural adjustment programs and emerging urban form in Accra, Ghana. Africa Today, 47, 61–89.
Yeboah, I. (2003). Demographic and housing aspects of structural adjustment and emerging urban form in Accra, Ghana. Africa Today, 10, 106–119.
We would like to thank three anonymous referees for their helpful remarks. We are also grateful to Emily Ofosu who made useful comments on the earlier draft of the paper.
About this article
Cite this article
Asiedu, A.B., Arku, G. The rise of gated housing estates in Ghana: Empirical insights from three communities in metropolitan Accra. J Hous and the Built Environ 24, 227–247 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-009-9146-0
- Gated housing estates
- Liberalization policies
- Metropolitan Accra