Gated communities in Poland. Program “secure by design” as an alternative to gating. Katarzyna Zaborska Faculty of Psychology University of Warsaw Gated communities are a new and recently recurring phenomenon in larger cities in Poland. The question of 'gating' relates not only to housing estates, but also wider areas, such as streets, which can be closed to public traffic. The purpose of this project is to study the impact of gated communities, as compared to other forms of multi-family housing, on the social aspect of life of the community members. An important objective and challenge is to find different ways of multifamily housing settlement planning and development, which could become an alternative to gated communities. A possible solution may be the program “secure by design”, which is based on appropriate spatial planning and territorial division at the project design stage, so that the space itself becomes safe. Additionally the program includes suggested forms of interactive neighborhood activities aimed at development of social ties within local community. The research framework is based on the environmental psychology theory. One of the referral points in this study is Oscar Newman's (1996) concept of 'defensible space' and the implication that a settlement can be understood not as much as a gated space, but as a 'civil space' designed specifically with an aim to enhance the development of 'neighborhood ties'. The study was conducted at the sample gated communities and at the settlement known as 'secure by design' in Poland. The research strategy deploys qualitative methods: neighborhood ties, place attachment, safety questionnaires and evaluative maps in the scale 1:500, entailing the territorial division into a private, semi-private, public and semi-public space. The results indicate that the gated communities experience alienation of neighborhood ties, and effectively a lower identification with the settlement space comparing to the communities 'secure by design', while the safety indicator is similar in both. At this stage, it is still early to arrive at a set of compelling results. However, on the basis of the comparative study entailing the gated community and secure-by-design settlement, it is possible to conclude that the latter can become an alternative form of settlement to the gated community. Also, the appropriately arranged architecture enhanced the feeling of safety among the community members.