America Loves Suburban Sprawl

Scholar aruges that Americans have embraced sprawl and the lifestyle that accompanies it.

As planner and policymakers continue to argue over whether sprawl or compact development will dominate in the future, Joel Kotkin thinks he has the definitie answer - "the winner is, yes, sprawl." He points to the explosion of new development since 1950 in suburban areas as one piece of evidence. He thinks suburbs offer a better opportunity to achieve the American Dream, because they give us more "space, quality of life, safety and privacy" than cities can offer. Kotkin hypothesizes that in the future, cities will serve "niche lifestyle, preferred mostly by the young, the childless and the rich." He does admit that as baby boomers retire, they will look increasingly for places to live that are walkable and compact. "They don't want to move to Florida and they want to stay close to the kids," says Jeff Lee, CEO of a prominent D.C. real estate, architecture and planning firm. "What they are looking for is a funky suburban development -- funky but safe." In the end, Kotkin implores Americans to stop complaining about sprawl, embrace this quintissential American lifestyle, and work towards improving it for future generations.

Thanks to Peter Buryk

Full Story: Rule, Suburbia


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.