Profile of Miss Emma Morales The University of Sheffield

Emma Morales

General research interests

I am interested in the impacts of macro-level policies in micro-level behaviours in things like housing estates, regeneration projects or public spaces.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

Middle Class Gatedness

PhD Abstract

Gated communities are a global phenomenon that has become a common housing choice for middle- and high-income groups in communities with large socio-
economic disparities. Their emergence and proliferation has gained academic interest in the last 20 years focusing primarily on the drivers such as security, prestige and social homogeneity. The increase and diversity of these private enclaves represent a much
more complex issue that goes beyond the
gates. The Mexican case of ‘gatedness’ provides elements for better understanding the complexity of the phenomenon where global forces have had an important impact in national housing, land, finance and planning policies since the 1990s; but have also had a major impact in individual and collective aspirations, expectations and behaviours.

The research focuses on the middle-class population because of the role they play in the proliferation of these enclaves. Socio-spatial segregation is not new in Mexico but it has increased since the adoption of an open neoliberal economy in the 1990s. The state’s promise of economic growth came with policies encouraging home/car ownership, credit/debt culture, and the privatisation of public services. Gated communities are one of many tangible examples of ‘middle-class entrapment’ that limit the times and places they can move on, as well as the encouragement of self-
provision of education, health, security, transport and public services. Several questions arise from the proliferation of these enclaves, but also about the challenges and lifestyle changes of their population.