Saturday, March 28

The suburban conundrum

It's been a great reversal. In the 20th century Americans escaped to the suburbs looking for a certain type of lifestyle. Now, many gravitate that direction because urban life is unaffordable.

This makes suburban life more complicated. If the burbs are not the first choice of where you want to be living you have a more difficult time sinking down roots -- and you've always got an eye open for opportunities elsewhere. On top of that you spend more time on the road commuting and less time investing in the community. All of this opens the door to many of the problems historically associated with community disintegration -- crime, drugs, gangs... The "urban problems" are migrating to the burbs, in turn making suburban life even more unappealing.

The new suburbia needs people who are self-aware, knowledgeable of the issues associated with their place, and willing to swim against the current.

Who are the writers and thinkers associated with suburban renewal? Any suggestions?

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