By Robert Mann
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down," Robert Frost wrote in his poem "Mending Wall." Indeed, we humans struggle against our urge to erect walls, even as we retreat behind them. The earliest colonizers – in places like Jamestown and Roanoke – barricaded inside forts, fearfully emulating their English ancestors who had done the same for centuries. Later generations of Americans would, instead, build vibrant communities, which prized responsibility, accountability and social capital.
But the urge to huddle behind walls – primal, but suppressed – never vanished. In the early 20th century, new enclaves spouted – New York's Tuxedo Park and the private streets of St. Louis.
Today, of course, gated communities are all the rage. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates almost 11 million households live behind walls, up from 7 million in 2001. The reasons are many and perhaps better left to the sociologists. But it seems clear that fear of crime, the "wrong" neighbors and a nostalgic desire to recreate our own private Mayberrys are partly at play.
Continue reading at NOLA.com: http://www.nola.com/opinions/index.ssf/2013/06/louisiana_is_walling_off_schoo.html#incart_river