In urban scholarship Master Planned Estates (MPEs) are viewed as illustrative of broader changes to the urban environment and characterised as homogenous, affluent enclaves where community life is largely orchestrated by the developer. Yet no study has fully considered if, and to what extent, MPEs can be distinguished from other suburb types in terms of their residential composition and their levels of sociability and community attachment. In this article, we empirically test if MPEs are different from 'conventional' suburbs by examining them structurally in terms of their demographic and socio-economic characteristics, as well as in terms of their key community social processes. Using data from a 2008 study of 148 suburbs across Brisbane, Australia (which includes data from two MPEs), we undertake a comparative analysis of suburbs and examine the density of neighbour networks, residents' reports of place attachment and cohesion and neighbourly contact in MPEs compared to other residential suburbs. Our findings suggest that MPEs are not distinct in terms of their degree of homogeneity and socio-economic characteristics, but that connections among residents are lower than other suburbs despite-or perhaps because of-the active interventions of the developer.
- Master planned estates
- New suburbs