Journal of Law and Policy


In the last three decades, a new type of physical seclusion has appeared around the world: the gating and walling of urban and suburban spatial residences. This phenomenon, led mainly by dominant socio-economic groups, is referred to as “gated communities.” This article focuses on the legal challenges that gated communities raise in ethnocratic societies that share a legacy of segregation and of unequal distribution of land. The main argument is that, due to this legacy, the legality of gated communities and walls that separate communities generate legal debates that goes beyond classic legal claims of rights violations of non-residents of the gated communities. Rather, it touches upon the historical, geographic, and legal contexts that constructed the power relations between the groups. Based on the Critical Legal Geography approach, the article asserts that addressing these contexts by the court provides a more comprehensive view of the gated communities phenomenon and its implication on the creation of urban space and group relations. Gated communities are an opportunity for initiating wider change in spatial and social relations of groups.