GATED COMMUNITY - HISTORY & EVOLUTION
All of us have read or heard stories of fort kingdoms. A moat would protect the fort and there would be one or two approach roads manned by armed guards. The entry was permission based. All the subjects had their homes inside the fort. The fort would have all amenities and there was seldom any need for anybody to venture out. Sounds familiar!!! Welcome to probably the first format of what we call today as the Gated Community.
Humankind has always exhibited a strong desire for safety, security, and privacy. The concept of Gated Communities took birth from the same. Modern day Gated Communities also boast of premium leisure facilities as well as pedestrian and child friendly environment. Gated Communities started appearing across the world in the early 1980s. It was a luxury only the ultra-rich could afford. Over the years, there has been demand even from the middle-class families. (Gated Communities are also known as Enclave Communities in some parts of the world.)
In its most sophisticated format Gated Communities might be home to high-value properties. Private security firms guard them round the clock. Visitors must announce themselves through intercoms or video cameras installed in all houses. At the other end there could just be a couple of pillars at the entry point and public would have access. A common feature of all Gated Communities are common facilities. Common facilities might include swimming pools, auditoriums, amphitheatres, and coffee shops.
GATED COMMUNITY - ADVANTAGES
Gated Communities are fast becoming the housing of choice among urban population across the world. Some of the perceived advantages include –
- Planned Locality
- Perceived Safety & Security of Residents due to Controlled Access
- Luxurious Amenities, Prestige, Sophistication & Solitude
- Social Control (A community of like-minded people, Keep undesirable elements out)
- Availability of an attractive and well-maintained landscaping. (No burden of maintaining a “lifestyle” block)
- Higher property values and Price appreciation
GATED COMMUNITIES IN NEW ZEALAND
In New Zealand Gated Communities have emerged in suburban areas since the late 1980s. Most of them are being sold as retirement villages or focused on the uber rich. Yet, in recent times suburban gated communities focus on the middle-income group.
The plethora of options available tend to confuse most prospective buyers. This blog attempts to throw light on a few points to consider before choosing a Gated Community.
LOCATION & EASE OF CONVEYANCE
This is a no brainer. It must be the first criteria to select any housing , leave alone a Gated Community. Look out for options that provide easy commute. Proximity of schools and hospitals are also key.
ACTUAL STATUS OF SECURITY
Gated Communities are sold on the plank of residential security. As a prospective buyer you should check the visitor access control mechanisms. Families who have toddlers or elderly should give importance to controlled access. Limited Access goes a long way in reducing traffic.
PARKS, PLAY AREAS & RELATED AMENITIES
Gated Communities have huge open areas designated as Parks and Play Areas. Kids can play in the fresh unpolluted air. The elderly can take an early morning or evening stroll without fear of accidents. If you are on the lookout for a Gated Community, this must be one criterion that you need to consider.
SPORTS & RECREATIONAL OPTIONS
What are the recreational options available at your Gated Community? Look out for Swimming Pools, Indoor Sports, Basketball Courts, Amphitheatres, Coffee Shops etc . In the modern busy life, social interactions have become rare. Sports and Recreational will help you relax after busy schedules. They also encourage and foster a sense of belonging in the residents. The health and emotional benefits are obvious.
Water Scarcity is a growing problem in urban areas, and it is important to make a wise choice in this regard. Does your Gated Community use Environmentally friendly measures like?
- Green Roofs
- Rainwater Harvesting
- In House Sewage Treatment and Recycling Plant
- Solar Energy Storage etc.
Urban population has ever growing water needs. Considering the recent droughts and extreme weather in New Zealand, Rainwater Harvesting is a must have.
ALTERNATE POWER SOURCES
New Zealand has high power costs. Hence it is important to have alternate Power Sources. Optimal usage of Solar Roofing to harvest Solar Energy through Off Grid, On Grid or Hybrid Systems is advisable.
When you buy a unit in an apartment or a Gated Community (unit title) you become an automatic member of the body corporate. The Body Corporate comprises all unit members acting as a group. It handles the management & maintenance of the building and its common areas. In return, all unit members are liable to pay an annual fee to the Body Corporate. This annual fee adds up to a sizeable amount.
When buying a unit title (an apartment or a Gated community) you should ask your builder or seller for the following.
- pre-contract disclosure statement
- pre-settlement disclosure statement
- information pertaining to the body corporate and the planned fee
- insurance policy on the property
- information about any other liabilities such as repairs, maintenance etc.
For more information on this you can visit https://www.unittitles.govt.nz/.
Choice of Gated Communities often comes down to personal preferences and budgets. The above-mentioned factors will help you zero in on your dream residence.
Gated Communities in New Zealand are likely to be multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. The availability of open spaces and playgrounds as well as same age group peers will to a large extent negate children’s addiction towards electronic media and contribute towards character building. The sense of belonging and positive socio-cultural quotients that might come out of living in such a society is reminiscent of the Sanskrit phrase found in ancient Hindu texts – “Vasudeiva Kutumbakam” (The World is One Family).