Gated communities are a new and recently recurring phenomenon in larger cities in Poland pertaining mainly to Warsaw where in 2004 there were 200 gated housing estates, the number doubled to date. An important objective and challenge is to find different ways of multi-family housing settlement planning and development, which could become an alternative to gated communities. A possible solution may be the program Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), 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. Assumptions of the CPTED program base on Oscar Newman’s theory of ‘defensible space’. He distinguished certain characteristics of space, which contribute to diminishing vandalism and crime. These involve: territoriality- presence of actual or symbolical barriers separating the areas; surveillance- possibility to observe suspicious activities; image – visible attention to the area i.e. general cleanness; milieu – traces of frequent presence of housing estate dwellers. // The trial study was conducted at the sample gated communities and at the settlement known as ‘secured by design’ in Poland. The results indicate that the gated communities experience the alienation of neighbourhood 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.