Journal of Housing and the Built Environment vol:28 issue:4 pages:679-688
Drawing on in-depth interviews with 78 middle class Whites in two neighborhoods of Cape Town, this paper focuses on domestic geographies of encounter. By looking at the motivations to fortify houses with walls, gates and alarms, it will be demonstrated, ﬁrst, that seemingly banal actions to secure the residential environment are not
only dependent upon the socio-spatial exclusion of poor people, but also speciﬁcally targeting it. Secondly, it will be argued that fortiﬁed homes provide, nevertheless, one of
the rare places where White, middle class South Africans interact across class and race lines. Precisely because of the perceived absence of a crime threat, encounters with domestic workers, builders and homeless people inside and around fortiﬁed homes do not only help middle class Whites to shatter their naive assumptions about crime, poverty and privilege, but to set up small-scale acts of generosity as well. Based on these ﬁndings, the conclusion raises three issues to take up in the geographies of encounter literature. They relate to the nature of interactions, the conditions under which they emerge and their potential effects.