Life in the suburbs

Jan 2014
2,333
Westmorland
#32
At least multistory construction saves rural land and it need not be dreary. Paris solved this problem in the 1850's when the city was largely rebuilt. The population density is over 20000 per sq km (over 50000 per sq mile) within the city limits, but people love it
I'd be careful about holding Paris up as a model in this regard. The nineteenth century redevelopment (beautiful as it is) hasn't helped with twentieth century population growth. In keeping with many French cities, Paris has an enormous hinterland of pretty depressing housing estates, many of which reminds one of the worst excesses of 60's planning in Britain where huge swathes of people were moved out from city centres into new communities in the sky (Easterhouse near Glasgow being a good example), where no services were provided and people were left isolated and sundered from their city centres.

The suburbs come into some stick as being the natural habitat of the pampered middle classes, but I'd argue they have their place. They are good for people with young families - houses often have gardens, crime is generally pretty low and there are lots of other young families about. They are convenient for people who no longer want to live in groovy city centre apartments in which there is no room to swing a manky urban fox but who still have a burning desire to get into city centres in order to pay £20 for a cup of coffee. They are, in other words, extremely convenient for family, for work and for play.

The problem with the suburbs is that they are often pretty indistinguishable from one another and they aren't really geared up to the independent young. The convenience that drew one's parents to the suburbs is unlikely to resonate much with the children once they get old enough to want to get out to pubs, bars and venues. The young therefore see the suburbs as boring and monotonous although I suspect that as they in turn begin to settle down and breed, the convenience of the suburbs once again starts to look attractive.
 
Oct 2010
4,891
DC
#37
My point is not that that US cities are great places to live. Some are better than others. My point is that the move to the suburbs preceded the decay of many cities like Detroit. The worse things got in the cities, the more the people fled. Detroit in 1950 was actually a city of well built single family homes. The flight coincided with the building of freeways and accelerated.
I think there has to be a case study about that situation.

1-Maybe the people saw the writing on the wall but could not get out until they saw the freeways as a facilitator.
2-Maybe the people did not like the unchangeable way the city is run but saw the freeways as a facilitator to getting out.
3-Or something was done to the people that forced them to take their families out of that city irrespective of the time and distance cost.

or maybe it was something else that made the the freeways as the facilitator/savior.

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Interestingly enough, I moved further from DC about 7 years ago, I have had not my child yet but the place was near a very good school, not to mention my mother was nearby as well, it took the county that much time to destroy the school's ranking and performance through "something I am yet to figure out" , knowing fully well they are not going to tell me why, I am going to try to move to a different district with a better school and hope he graduates before the county achieves similar damage to that school.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
#38
I think there has to be a case study about that situation.

1-Maybe the people saw the writing on the wall but could not get out until they saw the freeways as a facilitator.
2-Maybe the people did not like the unchangeable way the city is run but saw the freeways as a facilitator to getting out.
3-Or something was done to the people that forced them to take their families out of that city irrespective of the time and distance cost.

or maybe it was something else that made the the freeways as the facilitator/savior.

---
Interestingly enough, I moved further from DC about 7 years ago, I have had not my child yet but the place was near a very good school, not to mention my mother was nearby as well, it took the county that much time to destroy the school's ranking and performance through "something I am yet to figure out" , knowing fully well they are not going to tell me why, I am going to try to move to a different district with a better school and hope he graduates before the county achieves similar damage to that school.

People always liked the extra room of the suburbs, and even before the expressways had a desire to move out. In the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street, the little girl shares her Christmas wish of a house with a swing (presumable in a suburb) with the man claiming to be Santa Claus, rather than living in an apartment in the city as she was. This shows what a common aspiration was even before the freeways were built in the 1950s.

As for crime being a factor of moving out of Detroit, a friend of mine had grandparents who moved out of Detroit because of the crime. They would have preferred to stay in the home they had built during the Depression, but no longer felt safe. Poor schools, poor city services (streets in poor repair, street lamps not fixed, streets not plowed, poor ermegrncy medical services) contributed as well.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,536
US
#40
I grew up in suburban New York. We had the usual amenities of a single family home, private yard, a two car garage, etc. There were no blacks, native Spanish speakers and just a few Asians. That's the way everyone liked it. It was overwhelmingly Republican in contrast to the "city" where the Democratic Party dominated. Although my father worked in Manhattan, we rarely went there. As an uncritical adolescent I had no complaints. As an a young adult I came to hate the suburbs. I never lived in the suburbs as an adult. I preferred small university towns with easy access to the countryside.

Suburbs are wasteful inefficient places. They cut off true urban areas from the countryside by mile after mile of dreary tact housing and ugly commercial development. Humans have long lived in cities or rural areas. It seems natural. I blame suburbs for much of the modern cultural/social dysfunction in the US. Europe has done a better job of keeping their cities viable but the they are not immune from the disease of suburbanization. Does anyone disagree? If you agree, what can done to prevent the planet from the becoming a wasteland of suburban sprawl?
I lived in the city until I was schooled aged then moved to the suburbs. In my neighborhood, were Blacks, children/grandchildren of Jewish, Indian and many European ethnicities. There were two Jewish "temples," a Hindu place of worship, and all kind of Christian churches. This was in the 1970s. People moved there because they were fleeing the blight and crime of the city. The school system far exceeded that of the city I left. I see these as advantages for myself. Cities are exciting when you are young. For many though, once you have a family with children to raise and they and your job take priority, the suburbs can serve one well.
 

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