Gated Communities of Poland. Isolation and the Modern City

"Gated Communities of Poland. Isolation and the Modern City," a lecture by Dr. Jacek Gądecki took place on March 28, 2012 at the Center for Urban History. The lecture is part of the "Home: A Century of Change" exhibition at the Center, and was held with the support of the Polish Institute in Kyiv.

Gated communities are among the most significant symbols of the social and economic changes that took place in our part of Europe. The number and variety of these communities raises many questions not only among the critically-minded urban or social researchers, but in the residents themselves, living on either side of the fence. In his lecture, Jacek Gądecki does not treat gated communities purely as physical objects, but above all as socio-cultural constructs. Prior to analyzing the media discourse of gated communities, the wider context of the phenomenon, as well as changes in urban studies, was considered. As can be concluded from the analyzed discourse, gated communities are places that bring together residents of similar status; define aesthetic standards, and shape tastes, whereby they also limit the freedom of individual choice and decision, and even control human behavior.

Jacek Gądecki is a sociologist and ethnographer. He has graduated from the Institute for Sociology, Nicholas Copernicus University in Torun. He currently holds a position with the Department for Sociology and Social Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow.

Gądecki’s academic interests include the anthropology of architecure (he has published a book entitled Architektura i tożsamość (Architecture and Identity, Torun, 2005), urban anthropology and sociology, especially questions of social spaces, economy of culture, and architecture as such. Jacek Gądecki has been a participant in the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the CUNY programs for researchers. Following research undertaken as part of these programs, he has written Za Murami. Osiedla grodzone w Polsce – analiza dyskursu (Behind Walls: Gated Communities in Poland – a Discourse Analysis) (Wroclaw, 2009). He is currently working in the I love NH project, which studies the gentrification potential of the Nowa Huta district of Krakow.