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."