Are Cities Becoming as 'Dull' as the Suburbs?

With the world's supposedly fashionable neighborhoods "increasingly as banal, antisocial and plain dull as any suburb," Feargus O'Sullivan explains why he's perfectly happy to have ditched inner London for the burbs.
August 23, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"For all their reputation as hives of individuality, neighborhoods like my own city's Broadway Market offer almost identical businesses to those you'd find in currently hip city neighborhoods anywhere," argues O'Sullivan. "While the base materials (streets and houses) may be different in, say, NYC's Greenpoint, Berlin's Neukölln, or Madrid's Malasaña, the trappings of gentrification – expensive coffee and bike shops, junk sold at a premium as 'vintage' and, soon after, bitterly resented chain outlets – make these places seem increasingly homogenous."

While O'Sullivan admits that Britain's suburbs - walkable, transit-served and historic - are not analogous to those in the U.S., his bile is more pointedly directed against the faux heterogeneity and diversity of "inner city honey pots."

"No longer the offbeat choice for hard-up people who couldn't fit in elsewhere, inner city living is now a ubiquitously promoted urban fantasy, recreated ad nauseam in real estate brochures, newspaper trend pieces and ads for instant coffee."

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Published on Thursday, August 23, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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