The New Suburbanism

Author and commentator Joel Kotkin and consulting firm, The Planning Center, team up to produce what they are calling 'A Realist's Guide to The American Future.'
November 2, 2005, 1pm PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"For the better part of a half century, many of America’s leading urbanists, planners and architects have railed against suburbia. Variously, the suburbs have been labeled as racist, ugly, wasteful or just plain boring. Yet despite this, Americansâ€"including many immigrants and minoritiesâ€"continue to “vote with their feet” for suburban or exurban landscapes.

These areas, essentially the metropolis outside the traditional urban core, have also increasingly snagged the lion’s share of new economic growth and jobs. Projections for expansion of the built environmentâ€"estimated to grow 50 percent by 2030â€"will be in the suburbs and exurbs, most particularly in sprawling, lower-density and autodependent cities of the South and West. The key challenge facing developers, builders, planners and public officials, will be how to accommodate this growth. This can best be done, not by rejecting the suburban idealâ€"which would violate the essential desires of most Americansâ€"but by crafting ways to make it work in a better, more efficient and humane way.

...The core of our approach is that, in general, suburbs are good places for most people, and
we need only to fi nd ways to make them better. We reject the notion of the continued
primacy of the city center held by many urbanists, and the widespread assertion that
suburban life is, on principle, unaesthetic and wasteful."

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Published on Wednesday, November 2, 2005 in The Planning Center / Joel Kotkin
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