Rethinking Suburban Design

Architect Alan Chang writes an extensive piece for PLACES on the need to rethink how suburbs are built and designed now, before the economy recovers.

Part of the problem, says Chang, is that while the construction of suburban homes is often easily replaced, the infrastructure and regulation that made them possible is not:

"It was indiscriminate production of this housing type that inflated the bubble and drove the economy to near collapse; yet the very policies that enabled the proliferation of these neighborhoods now render them unproductively inflexible. Large-scale social, cultural and economic changes - in family structure, household income and mobility, gas prices, home heating and cooling costs - have registered hardly at all in the built environment of suburbia."

Chang sees it as an imperative for architects and urban designers to engage with fixing the suburbs:

"These neighborhoods embody major investments of energy and material resources; the housing surplus constitutes a vast store of underused - or "underperforming," as developers would say - shelter, of habitable spaces already served by basic infrastructure."

Full Story: Beyond Foreclosure: The Future of Suburban Housing

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