Most interested in the security provided by such living situations are young singles, of which 41 percent reported wanting to live someplace surrounded by fences or requiring a door code for entry.
Meanwhile, only 26 percent of families with small children said they desired the additional security measures.
The study also reported that less than one fourth of the survey’s respondents – 23 percent – want to live in areas which feature cultural, ethnic, and social diversity.
The results come from a report entitled BoTrender 08 (‘Living Tends ’08’) carried out by the Tyréns Temaplan consulting company and based on responses gathered in August from 5,000 Swedes aged 18- to 70-years-old who live in apartments or are considering living in apartments in the future.
“I don’t think that those who answered the study were thinking of barbed wire, high walls, and guards, but rather a more secluded area with checks on who enters,” said Tyréns Temaplan’s Mia Wahlström to the Svenska Dadbladet newspaper.
Göran Cars, a professor of urban studies at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), said the study shows people place a high value on safety and security when it comes to where they live, but expresses his reservations about what a proliferation of gated communities might mean for Sweden.
“I would consider it deeply tragic of there was a propagation of gated communities. That would mean my city would lose some of its appeal; its diversity of people and activities. The city’s services would become impoverished and it would lose its international competitiveness,” he told SvD.
Pointing to trends in the United States, a country in which gated communities have become increasingly popular, Cars added that the trend can actually result in public places becoming less safe.
He believes that society has a choice to make when it comes to dealing with rising rates of crime and violence.
“On the one hand, we can accept the increase violence and insecurity. Then everyone who can afford to will choose to live in protected area. On the other hand, we can vigorously combat the violence and abuse which damages our security and safety by giving police and social services more resources,” he said.