The increase in gated communities is the most important recent urban phenomenon in Latin America. This article proposes a methodology to identify the morphological features and spatial characteristics of gated communities to map them based on the land cover map and the quality of life index. The importance of this proposal is related to the fact that there are no official statistics on gated communities in most Latin American countries. The proposal was tested in Marília, a medium-sized city in southeastern Brazil. Geographic object-based image analysis with high-resolution satellite images and 2010 demographic census variables were used to support the research procedures. The accuracy of the output was 83.3%. It was found that there is a positive correlation between the quality of life index and the occurrence of high-standard gated communities (golden ghettos). They were mainly identified by the following land cover classes: white painted concrete slabs/light-colored roof tiles, and the existence of pavement, pools, and herbaceous vegetation. In addition to mapping the gated communities, it was possible to classify them according to the categories proposed in the literature (golden ghettos and lifestyle gated communities).
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