Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Minnesota History Center Exhibit Makes Room for Suburban Romance

"Suburbia," opening today at the new Minnesota History Center in St. Paul, allows a portrait of suburban living that goes well beyond the mundane. By redefining the history suburbia, the exhibit also tracks the contemporary evolution of suburbs.
October 17, 2015, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

John Rash reviews the "Suburbia" exhibit, which opened today at the new Minnesota History Center. 

According to the themes of the exhibit, "midcentury modern arrived with modern media, especially television" and "[f]ormal rooms gave way to family rooms, and to TVs, which gathered families with programs projecting idealized lives."

The exhibit's designers describe the simultaneous rise of the suburbs and modern media as a matter of symbiosis, not coincidence.

Rash also gives voice to a remarkable opinion that might seem like a long-time coming to fans of the suburbs—the idea that the narrative about the blandness and ennui of the suburbs, which arose as a backlash to the suburbs as the grew to national prominence during the 20th century, might be a better fit for the gentrified urban cores of contemporary times. "Dynamism, however, might be the best description of suburbs today. In fact, urban gentrification can mean that some suburbs better reflect America’s mosaic than the center cities they surround."

Rash also spoke with William Frey, author of the Diversity Explosion, to discuss the evolution of the suburbs.

Full Story:
Published on Friday, October 9, 2015 in Minneapolis Star Tribune
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email