A Gated Community, in our modern world, is a term used to describe a group of houses in a walled off section in a residential area. It can be in the form of a housing estate, a residential community, a retirement village, etc. The entrances to these gated communities are strictly controlled and you have to comply with the regulations and laws to get in and out.
These communities mostly consist of residential streets and shared public amenities, for instance, parks, a clubhouse, playground for children, sports facilities, etc. They differ in size and features. In many instances, these gated communities are planned together with the planning of a city, but in many others, it is added afterwards. It can be new planning or an already settled area that is walled off.
The motivations can differ from:
Lifestyle-oriented: Country Clubs, very often admittance to these are only through an invitation of a member or a sponsorship, also, only achieved via members. Membership can be exclusive and sometimes handed down through families. Country clubs are privately owned and offer various recreational and outdoor facilities, as well as, dining and entertainment options.
Catering to the Rich: Sometimes, the gates and surrounding walls of the gated community are symbols of status and prestige. If you consider living there, you will have to be approved and also abide by the rules and regulations and laws that are governed by the H.O.A. of the community.
Age restricted: Retirement communities are designed specifically for persons older than a certain age, mostly 55 and older. These communities cater for older adults that can still look after themselves, but also offer assistance- and home-care facilities when needed. It usually includes age-appropriate activities and socialization. Shared services and amenities are part of the features.
Safety and security: In many countries, gated communities started to develop because of safety concerns. Gated communities focus on the security and safety of its inhabitants. The fact that entrance control is strict and that some gated communities have guard patrols, make living in them quite favourable for persons concerned with safety.
On the other hand; when you think about it; modern prisons are a form of Gated Community with no access in or out for unauthorised persons. The only major difference will be the freedom of the patrons residing there.