A Move To The Suspicious Suburbs

Moving from New York City to rural Westchester County, a writer meets an unfamiliar culture of xenophobia. Soon she finds herself increasingly suspicious of strangers, too.

Rebecca Johnson and her husband have moved to Pound Ridge, New York, a forested town of rural houses on meandering country roads and quiet cul-de-sacs. The landscape invites them to venture out and enjoy it -- until a property owner intervenes, stating they are trespassing on his private property.

She then begins noticing her new neighbors' fearful attitudes toward the unknown in their community. Strangers in unfamiliar cars elicit police calls. A crime in a Connecticut town grabs the community's full attention. Eventually she finds herself converted, also monitoring her surroundings with suspicion.

Johnson writes: "Sometimes the xenophobia of the suburbs is subtle, sometimes it's not. But you can't live here very long without becoming aware that so much of what draws us to the suburbs - the ability to find a parking spot in town, the quiet of the night, the sense of safety - is based on the principles of exclusion."

Thanks to Richard Layman

Full Story: Fear Thy Neighbor


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 $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.