The Many Faces of Exurbia
Writer James Barilla is dismayed to find that his hometown in rural New England qualifies as an exurb under the definition put forward by the Brookings Institution (communities that "have at least 20 percent of their workers commuting to jobs in an urbanized area, exhibit low housing density, and have relatively high population growth."):
"Is my dad's small town an exurb? According to the Brookings study, nearly half of the nation's 10.8 million exurbanites live in the South; fewer than 5 percent live in New England. The exurban South is growing fast, thanks to the availability of zoning-free open space and a regional population explosion. Cities in the Northeast already have established bedroom communities, suburbs that should limit exurban growth. Surprisingly, however, Worcester, Massachusetts, where my dad works, ranks eighth in the nation among exurban metro areas; its 20 percent exurban population puts it right behind Birmingham, Alabama, and Knoxville, Tennessee. My dad's long commute is more typical than I had imagined."