Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

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Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby Matt the Czar » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:39 pm

http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-ways-subu ... to-die_p2/

Well, what do you guys think will replace the subdivision sprawl? I personally think the idea of an actual town should come back. Town center, surrounded with shops, fields, and houses, instead of a town hall next to rows and rows of houses. Sidewalks, instead of grass to the curb.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby sunglasses » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm

Bunkers.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby cmsellers » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm

I think you're advocating for New Urbanism: essentially building small towns like they're miniature cities. That's growing in popularity, but mostly people are leaving the suburbs for cities or exurbs. That is, they either don't want to use a car, or if they have to use a car, they want breathing room and the ability to buy their food from their neighbors.

I like to say that I come from an exurb, but I actually live in a New England town. My area's kind of odd: Springfield is the largest city and official metropolitan center, and it's where all the regional branches government offices are. But the surrounding towns can't be called suburbs or exurbs of Springfield, because Springfield is itself is basically a giant commuter town for "everywhere else." People in Springfield mostly work in surrounding towns, and mostly do their shopping in Holyoke or Chicopee. The center of culture in the Pioneer Valley is Northampton, and Northampton and Amherst serve as essentially co-equal economic centers for people who don't live in Hampden county.

New England isn't really comparable to the rest of the country, since we never lost small towns or had much in the way of suburban developments, though I've noticed that other young people tend to prefer renting apartments on bus routes over houses where possible.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby Anglerphobe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:49 pm

For most people, the pragmatic answer would probably be tower blocks. The price of land being what it is, that would seem to make sense.
For people who desperately need to own a lawn (sidenote: why is this such a popular thing in your country? At what point did middle class Americans suddenly all decide to fastidiously maintain a large, flat patch of cropped grass?) I suppose a scaled down version of the suburbs located closer to town centres would do the trick. The issue isn't that suburbia itself is unsustainable but that far fewer people will be living there in a decade or so.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby octoberpumpkin » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:51 pm

I live in a suburb and I love it. I never had a normal childhood and now I have a normal house with a normal yard in a normal neighbourhood and it feels good
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby Cordslash » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:21 pm

What Pumpkin said.
Whether or not suburbia is dying in the States is something I know nothing about. But over here it's the dream.
A nice two or three or four bedroom house with a big yard, and yes a well mown lawn, is something everyone aspires to. Those of us who have it try to keep suburbia suburbian, while others try to make their own spaces as much like that as possible.
Not many people necessarily choose to live in the inner cities in huge apartment buildings but live there because they have to.

Just saying it's not the same everywhere.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby NathanLoiselle » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:26 pm

I lived in a suburb and never understood what people were talking about with their lack of sidewalks, no mass transit system, or lack of shops near by. We had the city's largest mall fifteen minutes in one direction and two variety stores, a bank, a grocery store, and a restaurant fifteen minutes away in another direction. There were sidewalks on every road, sometimes two sidewalks!, and the bus ran down the street in front of my house straight on to the downtown/urban sector and on to the local public college (which is way bigger than most public colleges because we have to be a university town).

I finally moved downtown because I was tired of mowing the driveway in the autumn and shoveling the lawn in the spring.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby MisterKrinkle » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:54 pm

Meanwhile... Us country folk are sitting out here wondering what the fuss over cities is all about.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby Tuli » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:06 pm

Suburbs are mostly a new phenomenon here (I'd estimate the last 20 years) because during soviet time you couldn't just build houses all willy-nilly. People who had the right connections could get a private house, but mostly the government built residential districts like this (also to accommodate the influx of migrant labor from other parts of the USSR):

Spoiler: show
Image


Which, all told, were even more devoid of vibrant life than the average suburb. All you need to know is that they were popularly called magala - sleeping districts. Even as a child, just looking at the uniform grayness was depressing to me.

Luckily, my family had the good fortune of obtaining a house in one of the old districts close to the city center despite not being rich, so I never had to live there. The inner city has never lost its high status here, so it was always strange for me how in the US the inner city is an area of poverty and crime. Living in the city center is great and I wouldn't change it for a suburb.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby sunglasses » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:01 am

MisterKrinkle wrote:Meanwhile... Us country folk are sitting out here wondering what the fuss over cities is all about.


Mmm, yep. We're headed down to town, Krinkle. You be needin' anything from the store?
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby iMURDAu » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:24 am

sidenote: why is this such a popular thing in your country? At what point did middle class Americans suddenly all decide to fastidiously maintain a large, flat patch of cropped grass?


I'm interested in finding out the answer as well. I've had neighbors in the past who were hardcore about lawncare and I know it had to drive them nuts that I only mowed once a week and that was all the time I spent on the lawn.

The only suburb I've lived in is the one I grew up in*. Mass transit, sidewalks, nearby shopping, those were all things and over time they put in 2 subway stops within a mile of my house. I took the Metro to high school if I missed the school bus. I guess living in a suburb of the nation's capital makes a difference compared to living in a suburb of other large cities. I have friends that live just outside Columbus, Ohio and there is no mass transit. Sidewalks depend on the neighborhood and so does the shopping.

I don't count Williamsport, MD as a suburb of Hagerstown because Hagerstown isn't a big city imo.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby SilverMaple » Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:40 am

Finally, other people who don't understand what's so awesome about lawns. I guess it kind of makes sense here, as we have no shortage of water (although I don't get the appeal of going out and mowing, fertilizing, and weeding the damned stuff just so you can have this big expanse of green-ness that does nothing except look tidy), but it totally baffles me that people keep lawns in dry areas like the Southwest. It just seems like a huge waste of water. I actually prefer how it looks when people use a variety of plants that are, y'know, adapted to that particular climate. Even here, native prairie grasses look much nicer than regular grass.

I've lived in suburbia all my life, though, and everyone around here looks at me like I'm crazy when I say I dislike lawns. It's probably best not to think about how much water my dad and my neighbour use in their annual competition to see who can make their lawn the greenest.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby cmsellers » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:00 am

SilverMaple wrote:Finally, other people who don't understand what's so awesome about lawns.

Lawns suck; I've said it so many times I didn't feel like repeating it. Trying to raise English grasses in North America is wasteful and pointless. The common excuse is that children need a place to play, but my backyard growing up was mostly forest. Trust me when I tell you: trees beat grass for playing in, hands down.

And that brings me to another point: lawns suck, but yards are awesome. Though I don't see the point of a suburban-size yard: you either want a yard just big enough to grow a garden (like I've seen in San Diego, Miami, and Queens), or else large enough that you can't make out the expressions on your neighbors' faces when you flip them off. (Bonus points if you can't actually see the neighbors.)

Personally, I'd love to have a yard of several acres: a half-acre garden behind the patio, berry bushes behind the garden, orchards (peaches, Seckel pears, and cider apples) behind the berries, and a forest with native trees all around the rim. Also, a couple of fowl yards off to the side, with ducks, geese, quail, partridges, guinea fowl, and possibly chickens and turkeys. *wistfulsigh*
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby SilverMaple » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:30 am

Not to mention that pretty much every suburban house that I know of is within about 5 or 10 minutes' walk to a park or school yard, which are simply lousy with grass. And trees are indeed more awesome than grass (hell, I named myself after one on here); I think I had more fun playing on the big cottonwood behind my old house than I ever did in the yard.

For me the ideal living situation would be a parrot-friendly apartment or condo, though - no yard work and no shoveling, although it does have the slight drawback that I won't be able to sit on the porch and scream at the neighbourhood kids to stop playing on my lawn with their hoverboards or whatever. Sigh.
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Re: Four Reasons the Suburban Dream Is About to Die

Postby cmsellers » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:36 am

SilverMaple wrote:For me the ideal living situation would be a parrot-friendly apartment or condo, though

If you live in an apartment or condo, you wouldn't be able to build a custom bird room. Also, you'd be limited in terms of what parrots you could keep. I imagine even the pet-friendliest landlord would likely have second thoughts after all the complaints and ENT bills generated by a Nanday conure.
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