Suburbs

Is It Time To Rethink Density?

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With new forecasts of record population growth across Australia’s major capital cities over the next few decades and affordability remaining a challenge, is it time to reconsider the core principles and policies that guide the management of this growth?  read more »

Stop Bashing the Suburbs as Worst Places for Older People to Live

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Suburbs and automobiles are necessary bedfellows in the United States, but this is why many experts believe that these low density, physically spread-out communities are the worst places for older persons to live. This assessment should be taken seriously. We know that transportation requests are the leading concern of older callers to the Eldercare Locator service funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging.  read more »

Millennial Neighborhoods

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My generation – us ‘free love and drugs’ Hippies – were never going to be like our suburban parents who raised us. Until the Detroit Riots of 1967, I was raised in a 1,100 sq. Ft. three-bedroom brick home on Dartmouth street in Oak Park, Michigan, with no garage. That home (middle) as well as the neighbors (my grandparents lived in the home shown on the right) have not changed since they were built almost 70 years ago. My grandfather built both our home and theirs.  read more »

In Defense of Houses

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A critical component in the rise of market-oriented democracy in the modern era has been the dispersion of property ownership among middle-income households—not just in the United States but also in countries like Holland, Canada, and Australia, where it was closely linked with greater civil and economic freedom. In its early days, this dispersion was largely rural, but after the Second World War, it took on a largely suburban emphasis in the U.S., including within the extended metro regions of traditional cities like New York and Los Angeles.  read more »

The Great Conservative Suicide Pact

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Republicans have been celebrating their good fortune as Democrats vying for the presidential nomination propose free medical care for undocumented people and the elimination of private health insurance, and open borders, not to mention reparations for slavery and the near-term elimination of fossil fuels. Add it up, and it may be enough to keep Doctor Demento in the White House for four more years.  read more »

The Good Life, Just Beyond

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Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, by Amanda Kolson Hurley (Belt Publishing, 160 pp., $16.96)

If forced to compare an ice cream flavor with suburbia, many would pick vanilla. Yet, as Amanda Kolson Hurley writes in her new book, Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, this is just one of many “misinformed clichés” about these peripheral communities. City-dwellers internalized these attitudes early on. In the early 1950s, novelist Raymond Chandler spoke for many urbanites when he disdained suburban life for its “eight-room house, two cars in the garage, chicken every Sunday and the Reader’s Digest on the living room table, the wife with a cast-iron permanent and me with a brain like a sack of Portland cement.”  read more »

The Midwest’s Small Suburbs

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I’ve been examining data lately, revisiting a topic I’m mentioned in the past, namely the smaller sizes of suburbs in Midwest cities compared to other parts of the country. This applies to much of the US east of the Mississippi as well.

West of that river, there are a number of states and regions where there are large suburbs, some of them ranking among the largest municipalities in the country. For example, here are the ten largest suburbs of Dallas-Ft.Worth:  read more »

As United States Divide, the Green New Deal Could Be Democrats’ Undoing in 2020

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If next year’s election is a referendum on Donald Trump, you can hand power to the Democrats now. But fortunately for the president, and the Republican Party, politics remains more about interests than personalities.

More than by cultural memes touching on race, gender, and even taste, the United States are divided by where we live and how we make our living. America, after all, is a vast country and its remarkable economic diversity is what makes it so dynamic and capable against all competitors.  read more »

New Urbanism and Jane Jacobs – A Tangled Disconnect

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By a majority of votes and voluminous citations, Jacobs tops the list of the 20th century's most influential urban thinkers. Had this been a transient fascination, as with literary works, it would be a major achievement in itself. In this case, it's far greater: an entire profession mesmerised in thought and action.  read more »

When it Comes to Road Diets, Small Businesses are the Biggest Losers

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Twenty-one businesses have closed in less than two years since the city of Los Angeles reconfigured a 0.8 stretch of Venice Boulevard in the west side’s Mar Vista neighborhood. The city replaced one of three traffic lanes in each direction with protected bike lanes, removed some street parking, and installed physical barriers. The project is called a “road diet” and it’s part of the city’s “Vision Zero” and “Complete Streets”  programs.  read more »