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Three Olives
Apr 10, 2005

Ummmm....



The Daily Beast posted:

The Triumph of Suburbia: Despite Downtown Hype, Americans Choose Sprawl
by Joel Kotkin

Urban nostalgists say Americans ought to want to live in dense downtowns—and simply ignore overwhelming evidence to the contrary, writes Joel Kotkin.

The “silver lining” in our five-years-and-running Great Recession, we’re told, is that Americans have finally taken heed of their betters and are finally rejecting the empty allure of suburban space and returning to the urban core.

"We've reached the limits of suburban development,” HUD Secretary

“We’ve reached the limits of suburban development,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan declared in 2010. “People are beginning to vote with their feet and come back to the central cities.” Ed Glaeser’s Triumph of the City and Alan Ehrenhalt’s The Great Inversion—widely praised and accepted by the highest echelons of academia, press, business, and government—have advanced much the same claim, and just last week a report on jobs during the downturn garnered headlines like “City Centers in U.S. Gain Share of Jobs as Suburbs Lose.”

There’s just one problem with this narrative: none of it is true. A funny thing happened on the way to the long-trumpeted triumph of the city: the suburbs not only survived but have begun to regain their allure as Americans have continued aspiring to single-family homes.


Read the actual Brookings report that led to the “Suburbs Lose” headline: it shows that in 91 of America’s 100 biggest metro areas, the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown declined over the 2000s. Only Washington, D.C., saw significant growth.

To be sure, our ongoing Great Recession slowed the rate of outward expansion but it didn’t stop it—and it certainly didn’t lead to a jobs boom in the urban core.

“Absent policy changes as the economy starts to gain steam,” report author and urban booster Elizabeth Kneebone warned Bloomberg, “there’s every reason to believe that trend [of what she calls “jobs sprawl”] will continue.”

The Hate Affair With Suburbia

Suburbs have never been popular with the chattering classes, whose members tend to cluster in a handful of denser, urban communities—and who tend to assume that place shapes behavior, so that if others are pushed to live in these communities they will also behave in a more enlightened fashion, like the chatterers. This is a fallacy with a long pedigree in planning circles, going back to the housing projects of the 1940s, which were built in no small part on the evidently absurd, and eventually discredited, assumption that if the poor had the same sort of housing stock as the rich, they would behave in the same ways.

Today’s planning class has adopted what I call a retro-urbanist position, essentially identifying city life with the dense, highly centralized and transit-dependent form that emerged with the industrial revolution. When the city—a protean form that is always changing, and usually expands as it grows—takes a different form, they simply can’t see it as urban growth.

In his masterwork A Planet of Cities, NYU economist Solly Angel explains that virtually all major cities in the U.S. and the world grow outward and become less dense in the process. Suburbs are expanding relative to urban cores in every one of the world’s 28 megacities, including New York and Los Angeles. Far from a perversion of urbanism, Angel suggests, this is the process by which cities have grown since men first established them.

In the U.S., the hate affair with suburbs and single-family housing, even in the city, dates to their rapid growth in the American boom after the first World War. In 1921 historian and literary criticic Lewis Mumford described the expansion of New York’s outer boroughs as a “dissolute landscape,” “a no-man’s land which was neither town or country.” Decades later, Robert Caro described the new rows of small, mostly attached houses—still the heart of the city’s housing stock—built in the post-war years as “blossoming hideously” as New Yorkers fled venerable, and congested, parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan for more spacious, tree-lined streets farther east, south, and north.

In the 1950s, the rise of mass-produced suburbs like Levittown, New York, and Lakewood, California, sparked even more extreme criticism. Not everyone benefited from the innovation that allowed the Levitts to pioneer homes costing on average just $8,000—African-Americans were excluded from the original development—but for many middle- and working-class American whites, the housing and suburban booms represented an enormous step forward. The new low-cost suburbia, wrote Robert Bruegmann in his compact history of sprawl, “provided the surest way to obtain some of the privacy, mobility and choice that once were available only to the wealthiest and most powerful members of society.”

The urban gentry and intelligentsia, though, disdained this voluntary migration. Perhaps the most bitter critic was the great urbanist Jane Jacobs. An aficionado of the old, highly diverse urban districts of Manhattan, Jacobs not only hated trendsetter Los Angeles but dismissed the bedroom communities of Queens and Staten Island with the memorable phrase, “The Great Blight of Dullness.” The 1960s social critic William Whyte, who, unlike Jacobs, at least bothered to study suburbs close up, denounced them as hopelessly conformist and stultifying. Like many later critics, he predicted in Fortune that people and companies would tire of them and return to the city core.

More recent critiques of suburbia have focused as well on their alleged vulnerability in an energy-constrained era. “The American way of life—which is now virtually synonymous with suburbia—can only run on reliable supplies of cheap oil and gas,” declares James Howard Kunstler in his 2005 peak oil jeremiad, The Long Emergency. “Even mild to moderate deviations in either price or supply will crush our economy and make the logistics of daily life impossible.”

Too often, the anti-surbanites seem to take a certain perverse comfort in any development, no matter how grim, that “helps” protect Americans from the “wrong choice” of aspiring to space of their own. The housing crash of 2007 was cheered on in some circles as the death knell of the suburban dream, as when theorist Chris Leinberger declared in the Atlantic that soon, poor families would be crowding into dilapidated McMansions in the “suburban wastelands.”

For retro-urbanists such as Richard Florida the reports, however premature, of the death of the suburbs, confirmed deeply held notions about the superiority of dense, urban living. He summarily declared the single-family house archaic, and the quest for homeownership one of the “countless forms of over-consumption that have a horribly distorting affect on the economy."

The Real Geography of America

But the simple fact remains that the single-family home has remained the American dream, with sales outpacing those of condominiums and co-ops despite the downturn.

Florida has suggested that simply stating the numbers makes me a sprawl lover While he and other urban nostalgists see the city only in its dense urban core, and the city’s role as intimately tied with the amenities that are supposed to attract the relatively wealthy members of the so-called “creative class,” I see the urban form as ever changing, and consider a city’s primary mission not aesthetic or simply economic but to serve the interests and aspirations of all of its residents.


Clearly the data supports a long-term preference for suburbs. Even as some core cities rebounded from the nadir of the 1970s, the suburban share of overall share of growth in America’s 51 major metropolitan areas (those with populations of at least one million) has accelerated—rising from 85 percent in the ’90s to 91 percent in the ’00s. There’s more than a tinge of elitism animating the urban theorists who think that urban destiny rides mostly with the remaining nine percent matters. Overall, over 70 percent of residents in the major metropolitan areas now live in suburbs.

Surveys, including those sponsored by the National Association of Realtors, suggest roughly 80 percent of Americans prefer a single family house to an apartment or a townhouse. Only 8 percent would prefer to live in an apartment. Yet just 70 percent of households live in a single-family house, while 17 percent live in apartments—suggesting the demand for single-family houses is still not being met. Such housing may be unaffordable, particularly in high-cost urban cores, but there is a fundamental market demand for it.

To be sure, the Great Recession did slow the growth of suburbs and particularly exurbs—but recent indicators suggest a resurgence. An analysis last October by Jed Kolko, chief economist at the real estate website Trulia, reports that between 2011 and 2012 less-dense-than-average ZIP codes grew at double the rate of more-dense-than-average ZIP codes in the 50 largest metropolitan areas. Americans, he wrote, “still love the suburbs.”

The Future Demographics of Suburbia

Ultimately the question of growth revolves around the preferences of consumers. Despite predictions that the rise of singles, an aging population and the changing preferences of millennials will create a glut of 22 million unwanted large-lot homes by 2025, it seems more likely that three critical groups will fuel demand for more suburban housing.

Between 2000 and 2011, there has been a net increase of 9.3 million in the foreign born population, largely from Asia and Latin America, with these newcomers accounting for about two out of every five new residents of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas. And these immigrants show a growing preference for more “suburbanized” cities such as Nashville, Charlotte, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. An analysis of census data shows only New York—with nearly four times the population—drew (barely) more foreign-born arrivals over the past decade than sprawling Houston. Overwhelmingly suburban Riverside–San Bernardino expanded its immigrant population by nearly three times as many people as the much larger and denser Los Angeles–Orange County metropolitan area.

Clearly, immigrants aren’t looking for the density and crowding of Mexico City, Seoul, Shanghai, or Mumbai. Since 2000, about two-thirds of Hispanic household growth was in detached housing. The share of Asian arrivals in detached housing is up 20 percent over the same span. Nearly half of all Hispanics and Asians now live in single-family homes, even in traditionally urban places like New York City, according to the census’s American Community Survey.

Nowhere are these changes more marked than among Asians, who now make up the nation’s largest wave of new immigrants. Over the last decade, the Asian population in suburbs grew by about 2.8 million, or 53 percent, while that of core cities grew by 770,000, or 28 percent.

Aging boomers, too, continue to show a preference for space, despite the persistent urban legend that they will migrate back to the core city. Again, the numbers tell a very different story.

A National Association of Realtors survey last year of buyers over 65 found that the vast majority looked for suburban homes. Of the remaining seniors, only one in 10 looked for a place in the city—less than the share that wanted a rural home. When demographer Wendell Cox examined the cohort that was 54 to 65 in 2000 to see where they were a decade later, the share that lived in the suburbs was stable, while many had left the city—the real growth was people moving to the countryside. Within metropolitan areas, more than 99 percent of the increase in population among people aged 65 and over between 2000 and 2010 was in low-density counties with less than 2,500 people per square mile.

With the over-65 population expected to double by 2050, making it by far America’s fastest-growing age group, they appear poised to be a significant source of demand for suburban housing.

But arguably the most critical element to future housing demand is the rising millennial generation. It has been widely asserted by retro-urbanists that young people prefer urban living. Urban theorists such as Peter Katz have maintained that millennials (the generation born after 1983) have little interest in “returning to the cul-de-sacs of their teenage years.”

To bolster their assertions, retro-urbanist point to stated-preference research showing that more than three quarters of millennials say they “want to live in urban cores.” But looking at where millenials actually live now—and where they see themselves living in the future—shows a very different story. In the nation's major metropolitan areas, only 8 percent of residents aged 20 to 24 (the only millennial adult age group for which census data is available) live in the highest-density counties—and that share has declined from a decade earlier. What’s more, 43 percent of millenials describe the suburbs as their “ideal place to live”—a greater share than their older peers—and 82 percent of adult millenials say it’s “important” to them to have an opportunity to own their home.


And, of course, as people get older and take on commitments and start families, they tend to look for more settled, and less dense, environments. A 2009 Pew study found that 45 percent of Americans 18 to 34 would like to live in New York City, compared with just 14 percent of those over 35. As about 7 million more millenials—a group the Pew surveys show desire children and place a premium on being good parents—hit their 30s by 2020, expect their remaining attachment to the city to wane.

This family connection has always eluded the retro-urbanists. “Suburbs,” Jane Jacobs once wrote, “must be difficult places to raise children.” Yet suburbs have served for three generation now as the nation’s nurseries. Jacobs’s treatment of the old core city—particularly her Greenwich Village in the early 1960s—lovingly portrayed these places as they once were, characterized by class, age, and some ethnic diversity along with strong parental networks, often based on ethnic solidarity.

To say the least, this is not what characterizes Greenwich Village or in Manhattan today. In fact, many of the most vibrant, and high-priced urban cores—including Manhattan, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle—have remarkably few children living there. Certainly, the the 300-square-foot “micro-units” now all the rage among the retro-urbanist set seem unlikely to attract more families, or even married couples.

The Persistence of the Suburban Economy

As Americans have voted with their feet for the suburbs, employers have followed.

Despite the attention heaped on a handful of companies like United Airlines and Quicken Loans that have moved “back to the city,” the suburbanization of the overall American economy has continued apace. Historically, suburbs served largely as residential areas, so-called bedroom communities, but their share of steadily.

Job dispersion is now a reality in virtually every metropolitan area, with twice as many jobs located 10 miles from city centers as in those centers. Between 1998 and 2006, as 95 out of 98 metro areas saw a decrease in the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown, according to a Brookings report. The outermost parts of these metro areas saw employment increase by 17 percent, compared to a gain of less than 1 percent in the urban core. Overall, the report found, only 21 percent of employees in the top 98 metros in America live within three miles of the center of their city.

This decentralization of jobs was slowed somewhat by the Great Recession, which hit more dispersed industries like construction, manufacturing and retail particularly hard. Yet an analysis of jobs in 2010 by the Rudin Center for Transport Policy and Management found that dispersion had continued. Between 2002 and 2010 only two of the top 10 metropolitan regions (New York and San Francisco) saw a significant increase in employment in their urban core.

Some observers claim that job growth is coming to the urban core in response to the changing preferences of younger workers, particularly in high-tech fields and as much media attention has been given to a few prominent social media start ups in New York and San Francisco. Similar pronouncements were made during the great dot-com boom of the late 1990s, and burst along with the bubble. In fact, the number of urban core country tech jobs actually shrank over the past decade, according to an analysis of Science, Technology, Engineering and Management (STEM) jobs by Praxis Strategy Group.

While companies in walking distance of big-city reporters make news out of all proportion to their importance, virtually all the major tech concentrations in the country—including Silicon Valley—are suburban. San Jose is a postwar suburban core municipality, having experienced the vast bulk of its growth since 1940. Virtually all the nation’s top tech companies—Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Oracle and even Facebook—are located in suburban settings 45 minutes or more from San Francisco. Apple’s recent plans to construct its new corporate campus in bucolic Cupertino elicited anger from the Environment Defense Fund and other smart-growth advocates, but reflects the fact that the vast majority of the tech industry is located, along with the bulk of its workforce, in the suburbs.

Apple employs many experienced engineers, many of whom have families and prefer to live in suburbs. In 2012 San Francisco had a significantly lower share of STEM jobs per capita than Santa Clara County. And the new rising stars of the tech world—Austin and Raleigh-Cary—are even more dispersed and car-dependent than San Jose.

What Really Matters

While they’ve weaved a compelling narrative, the numbers make it clear that the retro-urbanists only chance of prevailing is a disaster, say if the dynamics associated with the Great Recession—a rise in renting, declining home ownership and plunging birthrates—become our new, ongoing normal. Left to their own devices, Americans will continue to make the “wrong” choices about how to live.

And in the end, it boils down to where people choose to live. Despite the dystopian portrays of suburbs, suburbanites seem to win the argument over place and geography, with far higher percentages rating their communities as “excellent” compared to urban core dwellers.

Today’s suburban families, it should be stressed, are hardly replicas of 1950s normality; as Stephanie Coontz has noted, that period was itself an anomaly. But however they are constituted—as blended families, ones headed up by single parents or gay couples—they still tend to congregate in these kinds of dispersed cities, or in the suburban hinterlands of traditional cities. Ultimately life style, affordability and preference seem to trump social views when people decide where they would like to live.

We already see these preferences establishing themselves, again, among Generation X and even millennials as some move, according to The New York Times, toward “hipsturbia,” with former Brooklynites migrating to places along the Hudson River. The Times, as could be expected, drew a picture of hipsters “re-creating urban core life” in the suburbs. While it may be seems incomprehensible to the paper’s Manhattan-centric world view by moving out, these new suburbanites are opting not to re-create the high-density city but to leave it for single-family homes, lawns, good schools, and spacious environments—things rarely available in places such as Brooklyn except to the very wealthiest. Like the original settlers of places like Levittown, they migrated to suburbia from the urban core as they get married, start families and otherwise find themselves staked in life. In an insightful critique, the New York Observer skewered the pretensions of these new suburbanites, pointing out that “despite their tattoos and gluten-free baked goods and their farm-to-table restaurants, they are following in the exact same footsteps as their forebears.”

So, rather than the “back to the cities” movement that’s been heralded for decades but never arrived, we’ve gone “back to the future,” as people age and arrive in America and opt for updated versions of the same lifestyle that have drawn previous generations to the much detested yet still-thriving peripheries of the metropolis.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articl...ose-sprawl.html

tl;dr Despite popular opinion people, particularly "millennials" aren't rejecting suburban sprawl in an attempt to live a more sustainable and cultured life in city cores.

I'm a huge advocate for the death of the suburbs so as much as I am inclined to disagree with this article I have to say that it does appear that the author has a good point, my generation seems as interested in ever into moving to same sprawling cultural voids that our parents did.

Which seems odd to me, there has been so much public investment in highlighting the positive effects of sustainable city living and I thought a big part of the cause of the suburban problem was white-flight and that people were much more amendable to multi-cultural urban living these days and reaping the benefits of sustainable urban living.

Is the allure of the suburban mcmansion really strong? Spending all your time in the car, not being able to walk everywhere? A yard to tend to, living at the mercy of gas prices, heating and cooling space that you don't need and will rarely use? Obviously there are always outliers but I really thought the general movement was seeking a higher quality of life by embracing vibrant urban communities. I also noticed the mention of the suburban tech campuses as I have seen so much made of the tech companies private buses shuttling people in from San Francisco out to the suburbs because their employees preferred to embrace the amenities of dense urban living instead of being stuck in the suburbs.

To those that have settled in the suburbs is there anything that could make you reconsider moving to the urban core? Do you simply not care for the kind of lifestyle that us happy urban dwellers advocate for or is it simply just having a big house and a yard that overrules any other considerations of lifestyle and sustainability?

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CommieGIR
Aug 22, 2006

Knee deep in the V.A.G.

Hasn't the decline of the Suburbs been directly linked to rising fuel prices and the housing crash?

Harrower
Nov 30, 2002
Proud poster of the the worst post in Something Awful history


Hour+ long commutes just aren't worth it. No house/neighbourhood is that sweet.

Squiggle
Sep 29, 2002

I don't think she likes the special sauce, Rick.

I hate cities. Any I've ever lived in, anyway.
I like the suburbs (or farther) because they're quiet and significantly cheaper for a higher quality residence.

edit: I also don't much care to be surrounded by people, though, so...that probably has something to do with it.

Squiggle fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 17:55

Lieutenant Dan
Oct 27, 2009

Weedlord Bonerhitler


My family moved to the suburbs because it was cheaper than living in the city. That was pretty much it. My parents could still commute, and when I graduated from high school I moved to a major city. I like it way, way better, and my parents would rather live in a "cultural hub", but the house they have in the suburbs is three times the size of our old apartment at half the price.

Leon Einstein
Feb 6, 2012
I must win every thread in GBS. I don't care how much banal semantic quibbling and shitty posts it takes.

I live in the city, and my property taxes are a fair amount higher than the suburbs, but I like being close to downtown. I do live in a single family, and I think my house was cheaper than it would've been had it been out in the suburbs.

I like being near businesses that are open late or all night, and you really don't get that as much in the suburbs.

Sierra Nevadan
Nov 1, 2010

Here, have some hantavirus


Big surprise! People have different tastes, including where they live!

Three Olives
Apr 10, 2005

Ummmm....

CommieGIR posted:

Hasn't the decline of the Suburbs been directly linked to rising fuel prices and the housing crash?

That and I've also seen it theorized that my generation (I'm 30)really never wanted to live in urban cores, that we were really doing it out of necessity do to the turbulent economy and when we felt more stable we too would move to the suburbs. I do think it is a bit interesting that a lot of the new development that I see near to my city core tends to be luxury which is a weird dichotomy in that is seems urban living is both viewed as a luxury and undesirable.

SevenSixTwoX39
Jun 28, 2009

Capitalism has triumphed all over the world, but this triumph is only the prelude to the triumph of labour over capital.

I've lived most of my life in what I guess you'd call a suburb of a suburb of a lovely city of about 100,000 people, and I vastly prefer that to when I was living in apartment in a city of a couple million people. I think that for me the pros and cons definitely weigh in more on the "suburb," side though really where I live is a geographically large semi-rural town of 6,000 and I would prefer to live in a much more rural area if I could.

edit: Also the "commute," around here isn't bad at all. There's literally nowhere worth driving I can't make it to in 25 minutes, and that's for the most distant town I'd travel to.

SevenSixTwoX39 fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 17:59

Mundane
Jan 20, 2009


I'll move back to the urban core when the price of living downtown doesn't require me to work 2 jobs. A downtown apartment in my city can cost up to 2500 a month, not including bills. Meanwhile, in suburbia, I pay 1150 for my mortgage, and about 400 in bills. Top that off with a 10 minute commute to work and it was a pretty easy choice for me.

Not to mention that the downtown core is horribly covered in litter, homeless, and gangs, the roads are in terrible disrepair, and traffic makes our public transit a joke. I lived downtown for 3 years with 2 roommates, and in that time I never met a single person in our apartment block that was interested in "community". In my 'burb, I know all my neighbors, we have barbeques, some of us play poker weekly, and there are parks and recreation facilities everywhere within walking distance, that are maintained by volunteers, as well as the city, who take pride in keeping their greenspace well cared for.

Three Olives
Apr 10, 2005

Ummmm....

Sierra Nevadan posted:

Big surprise! People have different tastes, including where they live!

Of course people have different tastes but a lot of people, myself included were feeling that the there was a lot of movement to a preference for vibrant sustainable urban living that suburban sprawl in my generation.

Tigntink
Jan 9, 2008
bouncy

I guess i'm one of those weird people that loves living in the urban core. We have a single family in the ex burbs of Seattle and honestly, I want to be closer to downtown. I hate having a yard at all and Seattle has enough parks that when I want a dose of green, I usually just walk to one from my office in downtown. One big issue with downtown, was there was a food desert for a while. It was recently remedied by putting in a kress market in the basement of a building in the heart of the shopping district though.

When we possibly have kids someday I'd rather raise them in city as well. Parks are better than most back/front yards all through Seattle because there isn't much flat land except parks so if they want to play soccer or what ever sport, they'll need to be learning at a park anyway.

I actually get panic attacks when I go to my SILs house in a tract housing development. Its like standing in a long hotel hallway. Everything looks exactly the same and it makes me feel really nauseated.

Tigntink fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 18:07

GreenCard78
Apr 25, 2005

It's all in the game, yo.


Everyone who was totally on board with living in the city with you, wanted to revitalize it, wanted to be a part of a community leaves eventually. The second kids come into the picture, their rear end is back in the suburbs. Many people who never got to live in the suburbs may still want to leave the city at rates greater than people entering the city, especially as some suburbs become more affordable.

Ariza
Feb 7, 2006


Three Olives posted:

Of course people have different tastes but a lot of people, myself included were feeling that the there was a lot of movement to a preference for vibrant sustainable urban living that suburban sprawl in my generation.

You're using loaded words and descriptors in your generalization. Some see suburban living as vibrant and sustainability isn't as big an issue when we have such a low population density.

grumplestiltzkin
Jun 7, 2012


I make a decent middle class income (as decent as can be expected for skilled manual labor, anyway), and i currently live in a house built in 1934 that has been divided into 4 600ft-ish apartments. The town is Lakeland fl, if anyone wants to google it. Its a smallish town (few hundred k iirc) that is mostly hideous suburban sprawl, but there's a neat little downtown historic area that i live near.

I would love to live in a more downtown area (Tampa or St Pete, specifically) but right now the combination of high rent and a lack of engineering/manufacturing jobs has me living in the suburbs.

I guess i'm a stereotypical "wants to live in an urban center but can't" millennial.

Fragrag
Aug 3, 2007
The Worst Admin Ever bashes You in the head with his banhammer. It is smashed into the body, an unrecognizable mass! You have been struck down.

The expansion of the city is not bad, as long as people think about it. Plopping down huge expanses of McMansions willy-nilly is just wasteful, stupid and insular. Especially if the only mode of transportation is by car. What is needed is a move towards more mixed-use zones of both residential and commercial.

Germstore
Oct 17, 2012


Three Olives posted:

Of course people have different tastes but a lot of people, myself included were feeling that the there was a lot of movement to a preference for vibrant sustainable urban living that suburban sprawl in my generation.

Well who the heck wouldn't choose "vibrant sustainable" over "sprawl."

Three Olives
Apr 10, 2005

Ummmm....

Ariza posted:

You're using loaded words and descriptors in your generalization. Some see suburban living as vibrant and sustainability isn't as big an issue when we have such a low population density.

The sustainability of suburban sprawl is a massive problem, particularly with regards to water and energy usage.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



Squiggle posted:

I hate cities. Any I've ever lived in, anyway.
I like the suburbs (or farther) because they're quiet and significantly cheaper for a higher quality residence.

edit: I also don't much care to be surrounded by people, though, so...that probably has something to do with it.

Well if you don't like being surrounded by people then a rural area would be the place to live. The suburbs are still endless houses and driving everywhere. Good news for you is if more people move into the city then there'll be more rural spaces.

Lobok
Jul 13, 2006

Nightmare fuel


It is kind of silly that the "urbanists" this article speaks about have been predicting that people would fall back in love with the city if nothing is changing. There were massive social, economic, and industrial upheavals that led to the rise of the 1950s-style suburbs, so thinking it would change back without similarly large-scale and widespread changes is... dumb. We still have our cheap cars, we still have terrible transit, we still all want privacy and space, we're still all afraid of poors, and so we still don't care about moving into the city.

I love living in the heart of downtown in my city and will have to be dragged kicking and screaming out to some quiet exurb nightmare but I know why lots of people don't share that view.

toxicsunset
Sep 19, 2005


Three Olives posted:

The sustainability of suburban sprawl is a massive problem, particularly with regards to water and energy usage.

We get it, you're a better, smarter, more environmentally conscious person than everyone who doesn't like living in tiny rooms with no yard

Wandle Shaytham
Apr 16, 2005
The freshmaker.

Three Olives posted:

Of course people have different tastes but a lot of people, myself included were feeling that the there was a lot of movement to a preference for vibrant sustainable urban living that suburban sprawl in my generation.
I don't think that sustainable and vibrant are terms that are exclusive to the urban center. I live in Olympia, Washington, and the community here is undoubtedly a lot more interested in sustainability than San Francisco, where I originally come from.

There's a ton of music and art here too. I get that Olympia is an outlier, but you can find sustainability minded, artistic communities in the suburbs. If you like those things but also like having your own space to do what you please with (I love working on my house and yard) then there are places you can go.

Calculon
Mar 19, 2006

WAKE UP AMERICA


After googling the author's name, I want to ad hominem him so badly.

What the hell--I'm shocked a fellow from a private Christian University, whose writing is sponsored by the Cato institute, would have a career espousing the greatness of American suburbia.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



toxicsunset posted:

We get it, you're a better, smarter, more environmentally conscious person than everyone who doesn't like living in tiny rooms with no yard

Well it's more like the fact that everyone can't have giant yards and long commutes forever.

toxicsunset
Sep 19, 2005


Dusseldorf posted:

Well it's more like the fact that everyone can't have giant yards and long commutes forever.

Given the exponential growth of human population, nothing is sustainable. Nothing. An infinite amount of people cannot sustain themselves on a world with finite resources.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



Calculon posted:

After googling the author's name, I want to ad hominem him so badly.

What the hell--I'm shocked a fellow from a private Christian University, whose writing is sponsored by the Cato institute, would have a career espousing the greatness of American suburbia.

Well we can burn all the oil we want because Jesus is gonna take us all away any day now.

bossy lady
Jul 5, 2006



Clearly the best solution is for cities to annex all of their suburbs and collect on the tax money.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



toxicsunset posted:

Given the exponential growth of human population, nothing is sustainable. Nothing. An infinite amount of people cannot sustain themselves on a world with finite resources.

So clearly setting yourself up to get hit the hardest with resource shortage is a prudent course of action.

Boogaleeboo
Sep 13, 2011



Soft kitty,
Warm kitty,
Little ball of fur.
Happy kitty,
Sleepy kitty,
Purr, purr, purr.


Dusseldorf posted:

Well it's more like the fact that everyone can't have giant yards and long commutes forever.

Nobody cares about forever and nobody ever will

vickser
Dec 27, 2012


Harrower posted:

Hour+ long commutes just aren't worth it. No house/neighbourhood is that sweet.

As somebody who grew up in white suburban prison, no-- the neighborhoods are lifeless and boring and full of boring people and the communities are dull and culture-less. The suburbs are so goddamn awful in almost every way.

toxicsunset
Sep 19, 2005


Dusseldorf posted:

So clearly setting yourself up to get hit the hardest with resource shortage is a prudent course of action.

Probably, yeah, then the population thins out and eventually things reverse course once again. You really think you're saving humanity because you opt to live in a glorified rat cage? Cool, I guess. If pretentiousness were a vital natural resource, the world would never run risk of running short of it thanks to you guys, I guess.

Baby Cakes
Nov 3, 2005

I AM BECOME DEATH


Squiggle posted:

I like the suburbs (or farther) because they're quiet and significantly cheaper for a higher quality residence.

Per square foot you can't beat the suburb prices, but when you live in a city with a good transportation system and monthly (or yearly) passes to that system, your transportation cost plummets. Cost of living is generally higher in a city but so are wages (for white collar jobs at least). And "quality residence" is subjective as well. Just because your house was built in the last 10 years doesn't say anything about the construction quality (I'm speaking in general here, not you specifically. There are very well constructed houses everywhere). "Quality" may mean you live in an interesting structure, a neighborhood with character, proximity to transportation, local cuisine, neighbors who will say hi to you, etc.

I used to live in the suburbs through college and saw no problems with it. I now live in NYC. Whenever I go back to the suburbs to visit my family, it feels like a desert. Everyone is isolated: they're in a home surrounded by a fence, they're in a car surrounded by glass. I have trouble sleeping there because of how quiet it is. The suburban ideal of a house with a car in the garage in a picket fence has mutated from a symbol of prosperity to a symbol of isolation after generations of living there. There are few communities that do live and operate as a community. You'd probably have to go to rural communities to start finding that sense of community again, making the suburbs a glut of isolation between farm and city.

In addition to institutionalized racism and a history of discrimination, I'd say that suburbs themselves and people born into the environment, seeing home ownership and isolation as an "end goal", are a huge contributing factor to racism and classism in America. After all, your life is already compartmentalized.

The city isn't without its faults, though. These problems exist in any major metropolis (see: ghettos, gentrification, etc). The suburbs have no positives in my opinion, though.

runlegosleeprepeat
Jun 17, 2010


I moved from the city to the country. My area is about 1/3 the density of the picture in the OP.

Speaking anecdotally, a lot of younger couples (think 25-35, no kids, unmarried) are adopting a more old-fashioned lifestyle. Food, Inc. and documentaries like that advocate a closer relationship with our food supply, which means growing some of your own. Not that you can't grow SOME food in an urban rooftop garden, but you can grow a poo poo-ton more with a half acre and rich soil. Working the land is enjoyable, peaceful, drat good exercise, and makes a person happy.

With technology and new jobs becoming available, it's easier and easier to live in the suburbs and work from home. That means no commute, which seems to be the biggest gripe with suburbs so far in this thread.

Don't forget, cities are loud, overwhelming places. At least suburbs are a little quieter.

toxicsunset
Sep 19, 2005


Baby Cakes posted:

Per square foot you can't beat the suburb prices, but when you live in a city with a good transportation system and monthly (or yearly) passes to that system, your transportation cost plummets. Cost of living is generally higher in a city but so are wages (for white collar jobs at least). And "quality residence" is subjective as well. Just because your house was built in the last 10 years doesn't say anything about the construction quality (I'm speaking in general here, not you specifically. There are very well constructed houses everywhere). "Quality" may mean you live in an interesting structure, a neighborhood with character, proximity to transportation, local cuisine, neighbors who will say hi to you, etc.

I used to live in the suburbs through college and saw no problems with it. I now live in NYC. Whenever I go back to the suburbs to visit my family, it feels like a desert. Everyone is isolated: they're in a home surrounded by a fence, they're in a car surrounded by glass. I have trouble sleeping there because of how quiet it is. The suburban ideal of a house with a car in the garage in a picket fence has mutated from a symbol of prosperity to a symbol of isolation after generations of living there. There are few communities that do live and operate as a community. You'd probably have to go to rural communities to start finding that sense of community again, making the suburbs a glut of isolation between farm and city.

In addition to institutionalized racism and a history of discrimination, I'd say that suburbs themselves and people born into the environment, seeing home ownership and isolation as an "end goal", are a huge contributing factor to racism and classism in America. After all, your life is already compartmentalized.

The city isn't without its faults, though. These problems exist in any major metropolis (see: ghettos, gentrification, etc). The suburbs have no positives in my opinion, though.

You honestly just said that wanting to live in the suburbs makes you a racist.

Germstore
Oct 17, 2012


Let's see burn $2500 in gas per year, or spend that much per month in higher rent. This is a hard choice.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



toxicsunset posted:

You honestly just said that wanting to live in the suburbs makes you a racist.

Well historically speaking the causation is reversed. Racists build the suburbs. Suburbs don't necessarily make racists.

13Pandora13
Nov 5, 2008


We are legion.

I like living in a house because I like blasting my music and having loud sex (but don't want to hear anyone else doing those things) and food gardening and pets that like yards. I've done the urban condo thing, it loving blew and was rear end expensive, I don't want to do it again. Do I wish there were more modestly built and energy efficient homes available, and do I wish that builders would make homes more energy efficient instead of whatever's the bare minimum cheapest to make code? Duh. Urban living isn't for everyone, there's not a "correct" way to live, drat.

Germstore
Oct 17, 2012


Baby Cakes posted:

Per square foot you can't beat the suburb prices, but when you live in a city with a good transportation system and monthly (or yearly) passes to that system, your transportation cost plummets. Cost of living is generally higher in a city but so are wages (for white collar jobs at least). And "quality residence" is subjective as well. Just because your house was built in the last 10 years doesn't say anything about the construction quality (I'm speaking in general here, not you specifically. There are very well constructed houses everywhere). "Quality" may mean you live in an interesting structure, a neighborhood with character, proximity to transportation, local cuisine, neighbors who will say hi to you, etc.

I used to live in the suburbs through college and saw no problems with it. I now live in NYC. Whenever I go back to the suburbs to visit my family, it feels like a desert. Everyone is isolated: they're in a home surrounded by a fence, they're in a car surrounded by glass. I have trouble sleeping there because of how quiet it is. The suburban ideal of a house with a car in the garage in a picket fence has mutated from a symbol of prosperity to a symbol of isolation after generations of living there. There are few communities that do live and operate as a community. You'd probably have to go to rural communities to start finding that sense of community again, making the suburbs a glut of isolation between farm and city.

In addition to institutionalized racism and a history of discrimination, I'd say that suburbs themselves and people born into the environment, seeing home ownership and isolation as an "end goal", are a huge contributing factor to racism and classism in America. After all, your life is already compartmentalized.

The city isn't without its faults, though. These problems exist in any major metropolis (see: ghettos, gentrification, etc). The suburbs have no positives in my opinion, though.

Yes, convince more middle class to move back into the city. That'll fix your gentrification problem.

Dusseldorf
Mar 29, 2005



13Pandora13 posted:

I like living in a house because I like blasting my music and having loud sex (but don't want to hear anyone else doing those things) and food gardening and pets that like yards. I've done the urban condo thing, it loving blew and was rear end expensive, I don't want to do it again. Do I wish there were more modestly built and energy efficient homes available, and do I wish that builders would make homes more energy efficient instead of whatever's the bare minimum cheapest to make code? Duh. Urban living isn't for everyone, there's not a "correct" way to live, drat.

There are lots of houses with yards in pretty much every city.

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Macintyre
May 6, 2006
Slow Rider

vickser posted:

As somebody who grew up in white suburban prison, no-- the neighborhoods are lifeless and boring and full of boring people and the communities are dull and culture-less. The suburbs are so goddamn awful in almost every way.


If your neighbors are boring, it's gonna suck no matter where you live.

I love my suburb, lots of young professionals and most with kids of similar ages. We regularly have neighborhood parties, and everyone watches out for everyone else. Best community I've ever lived in. 6 miles from work as well so during the summer I can ride my bike to work almost everyday. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

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