'Infinite Suburbia' Upends Everything We Know About Suburbia

Joel Kotkin and Alan M. Berger discuss their new book, which analyses what the suburbs are and will become, in both the United States and around the world.
December 7, 2017, 8am PST | snewberg | @JoeUrbanist
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Alan Sheldon

A new book, Infinite Suburbia, edited by Joel Kotkin and Alan M. Berger, looks at suburbia from a variety of perspectives. At more than 700 pages, it is a collection of essays from the perspectives of architecture, planning, history, and transportation, to name a few. The Architect's Newspaper interviewed Kotkin and Berger about it.

In the interview, Kotkin is quoted:

"Two trends that may seem counterintuitive to urbanists have been the rapid pattern of diversification in suburbs, which now hold most of the nation’s immigrants and minorities, as well as the fact that suburbs are more egalitarian and less divided by class than core cities."

Kotkin and Berger point out that suburbs are not just diversifying, but that many U.S. central cities exhibit suburban land use patterns. Conversely, many cities around the world have suburbs with housing that is primarily multifamily and dense, a far cry from the transitional American single-family home and manicured lawn.

They point out that the future of suburbs will continue to be denser, but also more environmentally friendly. Suburbanites will demand fewer golf courses in the future and more public trails and common landscapes. They also believe autonomous cars will transform suburbia, and take strain off of transit systems so they can focus on improving service in urban cores rather than expanding outward in less efficient ways.

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Published on Thursday, November 30, 2017 in The Architect's Newspaper
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