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#91 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
Finally I do, honestly, really think that living in the suburbs can be soul crushing.  Location matters for my sanity at least.  Although for me its not so much about the sameness of the houses, but rather the dominant mindset of the people tends to be much more conservative and intolerant in the 'burbs, which I find damn oppressive.  Hate it.   Though the place I lived that I hated the most we were close to the city center thank goodness because our walks to look at the mighty fine old houses in our neighborhood were the only thing that kept me from total despondency.  The sad part was this was in a city where the suburbs were where the money was so the old houses were often falling apart (and I got quite a lot of well-meaning crap about where I chose to live...its a very racist and segregated city).  But honestly, sincerely, really it was the only redeemable feature of said city.  If I had lived in the suburbs I would have gone insane.


I can understand that to some extent. I moved from an old, liberal town in northern CA to the master-planned community of Irvine in Orange County, CA about 10 years ago and I almost lost my mind. The conservatism, the focus on looks and material goods, the sea of blondes in Juicy Couture with Coach bags tucked under their arms, the bland grid of the town itself, the characterless strip malls -- it was really depressing (and I've never lived in a big city, so it wasn't urban snobbery). But over time I made friends and realized that although the general area does have a specific political and social tone, just like anywhere the people are individuals, and even in that setting I was able to find like-minded people (mostly transplants from other liberal areas), and made a group of friends who were just as varied and full of character as my group up north.

 

We live in a different town now, one I find much more likeable in terms of its layout and topography (there are huge protected wilderness areas surrounding us), so that helps a lot, but I really do think that even areas like you describe above are what you make of them. Don't get me wrong -- I knew the instant I set foot in Irvine that I couldn't live there long-term, but I'm convinced that there are great people everywhere. 


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#92 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 09:09 AM
 
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Just a side note, which to me is very relevant:  the internet has changed everything!  I'm sort of old here and prior to 90's, there was no such thing as the interent.  I couldn't wait to get out of my semi-rural town to move to the city.  Access to the things that were important to me (for both work and leisure) was basically non-existent.  Moving to a large metro area gave me easy acess to these things (stuff like materials, supplies, the types of books and references that I needed). It also gave me access to like-minded people. I so wish that I could have had internet access growing up as we know it now.  Our local shops and libraries didn't cut it...at least for what I was interested in.  While I'll probably live in the city for the rest of my life, the idea of being back in a remote or semi-remote area doesn't seem so ominous to me now.  You can be connected to the larger world now wherever you are.  Just a thought.


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#93 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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I think the real thing for me though is, the title of the thread is "why do people hate the suburbs?"  And, so much of what people have mentioned hating about the suburbs are things that simply aren't the case in all the burbs, or even most.  You can find suburbs with cookie cutter houses, and you can also find burbs where the houses are much more individualized.  You can find burbs that are monocultural, you can find burbs that are mulitcultural.  You can find burbs that are sprawled out all over, and you can find burbs where everything is close together and there is plenty of stuff within walking distance.  You can find new burbs with brand new Walmarts and Best Buys, you can find burbs with locally owned butchers and Indian grocers...and often, you can find both in the same burb.

 

It just seems like many folks who hate the burbs do so because they have assumptions about all burbs based on a few experiences.  Especially since we can't even seem to agree on just what "the burbs" really are anyway!

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#94 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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I think the real thing for me though is, the title of the thread is "why do people hate the suburbs?"  And, so much of what people have mentioned hating about the suburbs are things that simply aren't the case in all the burbs, or even most.  You can find suburbs with cookie cutter houses, and you can also find burbs where the houses are much more individualized.  You can find burbs that are monocultural, you can find burbs that are mulitcultural.  You can find burbs that are sprawled out all over, and you can find burbs where everything is close together and there is plenty of stuff within walking distance.  You can find new burbs with brand new Walmarts and Best Buys, you can find burbs with locally owned butchers and Indian grocers...and often, you can find both in the same burb.

 

It just seems like many folks who hate the burbs do so because they have assumptions about all burbs based on a few experiences.  Especially since we can't even seem to agree on just what "the burbs" really are anyway!

 

I completely, totally agree. I'm reading descriptions of soul-crushing suburbs that some have described, and I'm shaking my head thinking man...that sounds NOTHING like my suburb. Maybe they need to specify, like 'post-war, cookie-cuttered, strip-malled, endless cul-de-sac'd and soccer-mommed suburbs' or something!!

 

My suburbs are GORGEOUS. Beaches, rivers, estuaries, some pockets of cookie cutter but definitely not my neighbourhood. Crazy-diverse multiculturally, mix of classes (city planning thing - subsidized housing mixed in with many neighbourhoods), lots of one-of restaurants (also REALLY multicultural). It sounds like kind of a dream...it is! The city by me is I think ranked among the  most expensive in the world (the world!) Unless you're oozing with offshore wealth or on skid row in the 'bad' part, no one else lives there. It`s a great place to visit, but I can do without the congestion, tourists, noise, pollution and pretentiousness. That`s simply soul crushing ;)
 

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#95 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I completely, totally agree. I'm reading descriptions of soul-crushing suburbs that some have described, and I'm shaking my head thinking man...that sounds NOTHING like my suburb. Maybe they need to specify, like 'post-war, cookie-cuttered, strip-malled, endless cul-de-sac'd and soccer-mommed suburbs' or something!!

 

My suburbs are GORGEOUS. Beaches, rivers, estuaries, some pockets of cookie cutter but definitely not my neighbourhood. Crazy-diverse multiculturally, mix of classes (city planning thing - subsidized housing mixed in with many neighbourhoods), lots of one-of restaurants (also REALLY multicultural). It sounds like kind of a dream...it is! The city by me is I think ranked among the  most expensive in the world (the world!) Unless you're oozing with offshore wealth or on skid row in the 'bad' part, no one else lives there. It`s a great place to visit, but I can do without the congestion, tourists, noise, pollution and pretentiousness. That`s simply soul crushing ;)
 

 

Dang, then I should get my middle class toushe out of there!  ROTFLMAO.gif

 

In all seriousness, stereotyping is a two-way street, based on people's limited perceptions of the "other." 

 


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#97 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 10:20 AM
 
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Have you ever done any real research into one of these subdivisions you discussing?  Like actually researched how these homes are sold to people?  Because what you describe doesn't really fit in the process.  Pantry...my home has one because I picked a floorplan with one.  My sister's home does not because she picked a floorplan that doesn't...because she didn't want a pantry.  If a home doesn't have a pantry, it's not because the builder decided that they didn't want to build it, it's because the original buyer of the home decided they didn't want one.  Building a home or buying a home is a pretty big deal to most folks and they do their research.  They aren't going to buy a home that doesn't have what they want.  If the home isn't going to function well for them, they aren't going to buy it.  If a builder isn't listening to their customer and providing what they want, they aren't going to be in business very long. 

 

And on the other side of the coin, if ANY business, be it a development builder or a custom builder, isn't worried about profit they aren't going to be in business very long either.  Custom builders provide that higer cost insulation because it's important to their customers, not because it's better for them.  And I am sure they charge more accordingly as well.  Lower quality insulation may be the standard in the developments, but that doesn't mean it's the only option.  If it's important to that specific customer, upgrades are usually available.  At additional cost of course, just like anywhere else. 

 

Location-A substantial number of suburbanites don't commute to the city.  The live in suburbia because they work there too.  Those nasty big box and chain places that people dispise so much do employ people and those people often live right there.  The managers and cashiers and greeters at Walmart aren't going to commute far to work at Walmart, so of course they live in that cookie cutter subdivision less than five minutes away.  And these places are full of locally owned small businesses, of course those owners live in those same cookie cutter subdivisions.  Not to mention that these places usually start out in the middle of cornfields, but business often spring up around them.  I mentioned previously that the only places within walking distance are a DQ and a gas station, but actually I was wrong.  There's a hospital too the one I had my kids at.  It was build just like 3 years ago.  A friend of mine bought her house when it was in the middle of a corn field, but now there's a Y opening up that's within walking distance, and the district opened a new school right there also.  And, if they walk through the Y's ginormous parking lot and athletic fields, there's quite a bit of other stuff that's recently opened up right there too. 


Actually, yes, I have.  And for you to assume that the only people buying homes and moving into subdivisions are buying brand-new homes wherein they had input on the design process isn't accurate.  At all.  Maybe you heard about the Housing Bubble???  Yes, we continue to have new subdivisions built all over the country - there is in fact a glut on the market.  One of my sisters lives in a very popular area in NW MT - and the city where she lives has, per their estimates, about 5 years of speculative homes built.  Empty developments sitting there, houses built and waiting for a buyer.  My SIL's home (mentioned earlier) was in a subdivision which was "hot."  She could either take the home they offered her, or wait for a year for them to build to her specs.  So she took what they offered.  They were in a tornado-prone area (not tornado alley, but they do get tornadoes every year) - but everything was slab on grade (quicker and easier for the contractor, but NO basements - and none of their set floor plans had 'safe rooms' for tornadoes built into them either.  Again, if SIL wanted to wait for quite awhile, she could have had that designed into her home.  But she took what they were in the process of building and willing to sell her. 

 

*Someone* is moving into all those suburban homes built in the '50s, '60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and early part of the last decade.  And *someone* is buying the speculative homes that were built three years ago.  The percentage of people in this country who can afford to purchase a newly-built home is not a large number, especially more than once in their lives.  Most people are moving from a previously-owned home into a previously-owned home.  That's the nature of the beast.  So, no, they don't have a say in whether there is a built-in shelf in their kid's room, and they don't have a say in whether there is a pantry.  As you point out, they DO have a choice about which home they purchase.  But in markets which are constrained (high prices for homes, high cost of living, etc.) - they don't really have much of a choice.  Dh and I looked for a long time to find our home.  It didn't have all the features we wanted.  But housing prices kept going up and we couldn't afford to wait because if we did, we would have had to settle for even less of what we wanted.  I suppose we could have relocated to a different city/state and found a suburb where the developers were able to build a home to our specs in our timeframe but that's a bit ridiculous given that we both had jobs and family in our area and wanted to live here, not in Indiana or etc. 

 

Not all the workers can live in the suburbs while working those big box stores.  In fact, in parts of the Mountain West, they must commute from a neighboring county or even state, to their jobs.  Jackson Hole, Vail, and even my own lesser-known community spring to mind.  Some employers in Vail were creative enough to build employee apartments above their gas stations etc. to try to combat this, but the fact remains that property prices in some areas simply make it impossible for the low-wage workers (even when paid more than the average for workers like them elsewhere in the country) to live there. 

 

Also, as I mentioned earlier, my husband is an architect and so are many of our friends (scattered around the country, university friends).  It is insulting for you to assume that the reason that they are designing energy efficiency features into the homes and office buildings they design simply because their clients ask it of them.  Frankly, they often put those features in after talking their clients into doing it and explaining the long-term cost savings to the clients.  They are educated, passionate professionals who know how important it is to do this, for the future of the planet and the long-term financial usability of the property.  And, architects aren't typically paid more for specifying an r49 insulation or incorporating passive solar into their design.  They do it as a responsibility for their clients.  The contractor might charge more for the additional materials.  [Not all architects do this automatic incorporation of energy-conscious features, but dh and his friends do as much as possible]. 

 

As Cat's Cradle said, I think an aspect of our disagreement in this discussion stems directly from differing definitions of "suburbs."  I tried to clarify that in my recent post - that obviously there are going to be gradations and differences including 'suburbs' which were once self-contained small towns and have been absorbed through urban sprawl. And I defined my take on "suburbs," which is the one I learned in my Urban History course -- the area of development which houses people outside the city, away from their work, and from which they commute TO work in the city, typically with very few amenities or local businesses and not usually walking-friendly.

 

Finally - we continue to talk about suburban areas which used to be cornfields and now, after several years of being a suburb, have their own DQ's and a gas station and a hospital.  But the fact remains - they were once cornfields.  Where are we growing that corn now??????  We have a finite amount of agricultural land in this nation.  We are already importing foods from other countries.  If we continue to advocate and defend gobbling up agricultural land so we can all have our big suburban homes, we will find ourselves in a situation where, rather than exporting food to other countries, we are importing it.  And while in some parts of the country, a little 1/8 acre lot might grow most/all of what a family needs for food (even some backyard chickens) - that's not true for *all* of our country.  In places with limited rainfall, and/or less temperate climates, etc., it would not be possible.  I live in a grain-growing area but I could NOT grow the wheat, oats, and barley we eat as well as all our fruits and vegetables on our lot (and it's larger than most of our neighbors' lots).  Let alone goats or some other larger meat source than chickens (assuming they were legal, which is a gray area in our city). 

 

Is it responsible for us as a society to continue this entitled expansion into our farm and ranchland and open spaces, this commuter lifestyle with our Kentucky Bluegrass lawns carefully watered, fertilized, and mowed regardless of our ecosystem and the wildlife we are displacing and the agricultural people who have been forced into selling their farms/ranches in part by the skyrocketing property values caused by the developments around them?

 

When you move into that cornfield, think about what used to be there.  What happened to that farm family, their way of life, their dreams for their children and grandchildren. 

 

This isn't just about whether you have the sort of house you want (assuming you can get it).  It's about a continued cancerous expansion of our suburbs which leaves our cities weaker and which jeopardizes our nation's ability to feed itself (and to feed others as well).  Chamomile Girl's post #90 (middle paragraph) sums this up well, I think.

 

Does anyone else have the Talking Heads' "(Nothing But) Flowers" playing on loop in their heads as a result of this conversation?  wink1.gif  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3t5nmgRVMs&feature=related


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#98 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 10:27 AM
 
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You guys are talking about two different times in history.  Being able to choose a specific floorplan is a much more modern phenomenon, while elanora is referring to how things were done from the forties to about the eighties when suburbinization was at its peak in the US.  

 

See, the location argument you lay out here bothers me.  Because everything you outline comes at the expense of the cities where people move from to live in your suburb.  There is a new hospital near you because they decided it was easier to build a new one than update an older one (I'm generalizing here...I don't know the story of your specific hospital). Its part of the throw-away society we live in.   Because of the ticky-tacky houses in the cornfields cities like Detroit are dying.  All those old beautiful houses empty and falling down (or being burned down more specifically) because people fled to build houses in the cornfields to get bigger houses and to get away from "those" people.  I find it so incredibly sad.  So, yeah its part of the nature of capitalism that the goods follow the market.  But the whole phenomenon of surburbinization is historically troubling.  The trend for the houses in suburbs to gradually get larger and larger is also troubling from an environmental point of view.  Because as stated upthread most new houses are not built to be energy efficient, just to be friggin' BIG.  And I'm going to be uber-judgemental here and say that most people do not need as much space as they think they are entitled to. So its another big freaking waste.

 

Finally I do, honestly, really think that living in the suburbs can be soul crushing.  Location matters for my sanity at least.  Although for me its not so much about the sameness of the houses, but rather the dominant mindset of the people tends to be much more conservative and intolerant in the 'burbs, which I find damn oppressive.  Hate it.   Though the place I lived that I hated the most we were close to the city center thank goodness because our walks to look at the mighty fine old houses in our neighborhood were the only thing that kept me from total despondency.  The sad part was this was in a city where the suburbs were where the money was so the old houses were often falling apart (and I got quite a lot of well-meaning crap about where I chose to live...its a very racist and segregated city).  But honestly, sincerely, really it was the only redeemable feature of said city.  If I had lived in the suburbs I would have gone insane.

See, we can't really argue about which historical period we're talking about, unless we open it up on both sides.  So far, anti-burbs folks are talking about the historical emergence of the suburbs, as cookie-cutter houses for the elite who wanted to move away from non-whites in the city.  That's fine, but then really we need to talk about the historical erection of tenements in the city, as places where poor immigrants and POC were/are stockpiled and live disease-ridden, poverty-riddled lives, where there was little opportunity, and rent gouging was common practice.  Places that were quickly built (like the suburbs, historically) with little thought for the safety of the occupants, and no thought for their happiness and value as members of the urban community.  So, we can't use history to bash the suburbs without also turning a critical eye on the cities.

 

Further, I have lived in a city because I moved to one.  But my mother, father, and none of my grandparents ever lived in cities.  Absolutely no one in my family, in the whole family history in this country, ever lived in a city.  Talking about big cities as if they're the genesis of civilization in this country is kind of, well, urban arrogance, IMHO.  Especially when family farms in the west are going under and selling water rights to corporations, rendering the land a dust bowl, so that the river can continue through the land in order to supply big cities with water.  It's just not really fair to talk about "at the expense of cities" without looking at the other side of the coin as well.


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#99 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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See, we can't really argue about which historical period we're talking about, unless we open it up on both sides.  So far, anti-burbs folks are talking about the historical emergence of the suburbs, as cookie-cutter houses for the elite who wanted to move away from non-whites in the city.  That's fine, but then really we need to talk about the historical erection of tenements in the city, as places where poor immigrants and POC were/are stockpiled and live disease-ridden, poverty-riddled lives, where there was little opportunity, and rent gouging was common practice.  Places that were quickly built (like the suburbs, historically) with little thought for the safety of the occupants, and no thought for their happiness and value as members of the urban community.  So, we can't use history to bash the suburbs without also turning a critical eye on the cities.

 

Further, I have lived in a city because I moved to one.  But my mother, father, and none of my grandparents ever lived in cities.  Absolutely no one in my family, in the whole family history in this country, ever lived in a city.  Talking about big cities as if they're the genesis of civilization in this country is kind of, well, urban arrogance, IMHO.  Especially when family farms in the west are going under and selling water rights to corporations, rendering the land a dust bowl, so that the river can continue through the land in order to supply big cities with water.  It's just not really fair to talk about "at the expense of cities" without looking at the other side of the coin as well.


Ramama, can you see how the suburbanization and inappropriate sprawl and water usage in those cities and the *suburbs around them* is directly causing these situations where water rights are being bought up, and where farmers and ranchers watch water flow past their properties and straight to California to water peoples' lawns instead of watering hay ground, wheat, cattle? 

 

ETA:  My family on both sides were also rural, agricultural folk and have been since they arrived here - prior to the Revolutionary War on my mother's side.  There are a few of us who are living in cities or suburbs now, but that's this generation - prior to this, it was all farms or ranching.  I think that colors my concern about suburbs and urban sprawl and irresponsible use of land.  I think we have been socially programmed to think that the suburbs are 'what we need' for open spaces, clean air, areas for kids to play (as close to the country as we can get unless we're actually farming or ranching).  In reality, cities can and have created community areas with green space, etc. More apartment buildings are being designed with rooftop gardens, as abandoned neighborhoods are razed and reclaimed those city neighborhoods are being rebuilt with a greater community focus (the Stapleton developments in Denver are a pretty good example of this - some might say they are in fact a suburb, but I would say that they function very well as a city neighborhood instead, due to conscious development decisions).  The belief that the only 'good' option is the suburbs, ignores the increased footprint, energy use, and environmental impact which a single-family suburban lot has compared to the population of an urban city area.  The e2 documentaries which were on PBS had a fascinating section on the urban interface with energy issues - including examinations of NYC and Portland OR as well as other cities in other countries.  I highly recommend putting it in one's Netflix queue.  (All the e2 series is good, there's one on building, one on transport, and one on energy, IIRC). 


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#100 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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See, we can't really argue about which historical period we're talking about, unless we open it up on both sides.  So far, anti-burbs folks are talking about the historical emergence of the suburbs, as cookie-cutter houses for the elite who wanted to move away from non-whites in the city.  That's fine, but then really we need to talk about the historical erection of tenements in the city, as places where poor immigrants and POC were/are stockpiled and live disease-ridden, poverty-riddled lives, where there was little opportunity, and rent gouging was common practice.  Places that were quickly built (like the suburbs, historically) with little thought for the safety of the occupants, and no thought for their happiness and value as members of the urban community.  So, we can't use history to bash the suburbs without also turning a critical eye on the cities.

 

Further, I have lived in a city because I moved to one.  But my mother, father, and none of my grandparents ever lived in cities.  Absolutely no one in my family, in the whole family history in this country, ever lived in a city.  Talking about big cities as if they're the genesis of civilization in this country is kind of, well, urban arrogance, IMHO.  Especially when family farms in the west are going under and selling water rights to corporations, rendering the land a dust bowl, so that the river can continue through the land in order to supply big cities with water.  It's just not really fair to talk about "at the expense of cities" without looking at the other side of the coin as well.


Ramama, can you see how the suburbanization and inappropriate sprawl and water usage in those cities and the *suburbs around them* is directly causing these situations where water rights are being bought up, and where farmers and ranchers watch water flow past their properties and straight to California to water peoples' lawns instead of watering hay ground, wheat, cattle? 


Yes, I do see that, which does negate my point at all.  Talking about the expense of the cities is arrogant, and small-picture thinking.  The pros and cons go both ways.  I just refuse to accept that suburbs exists at the expense of the cities.  It just seems like people are being forced to accept all the short-comings of the burbs and not being permitted to analyze the urban lifestyle in the same acute way.


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#101 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 10:51 AM
 
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Here is why we don't live in a suburb:

It's cheaper to live in the city.

We have one car and we live by work/a busline/ bike paths.

We love being able to easily walk to the library, park, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and stores.

We like living around very different kinds of people.

We need trees, sidewalks and parks and must be able to walk.

We don't really care about our yard and have chickens and our neighbors don't give a hoot.

 

That said, we're considering a move to a bigger house.  We would live in a suburb if we found an old one, close to work, that was diverse, green, walkable, and on a busline.  Such a place exists near us.  The houses are still mostly 40+ years old, so I'm not really sure how suburban it actually is.

 

We have a lot of friends who live in typical suburbs.  They drive everywhere, have 2 cars, shop exclusively at mega chain stores and just live a really different kind of life than we do. 


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#102 of 116 Old 01-07-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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This whole thing is circular, though.  I for one, am not anti-burb or seeking to bash suburbs or suburbanites.  I do like to observe patterns in migration, though, and the effect that it has on our social well-being as well as environmental impact.  Poor housing standards (especially in the cities) have been around since Roman times.  Tenements, (in NYC at least) were built to house a huge influx of immigrants and others migrating to the city. Those were typically poor people...people who wouldn't afford to leave until one or two generations later.   Again, and I feel like I've said this before, redface.gif economics played a huge role in the conditions in inner-cities.  People without power (financial or other) were those that usually represented the vast majority of inhabitants in the cities during the periods in which cities took a great decline.  Why?  Because the middle class had left and there were no longer resources (tax-based or otherwise) to contribute to the diversity and fabric of the city.  These problems still exist today.  I keep thinking about how every medium size city that I've been in has had a "down-town revitalization" plan.  Some have utterly failed.  There was a period in NYC's history where block after block of housing were boarded up.  No one had the resources or the intention of making it better. People with the power to make it better were the middle class - they were the ones who cared about schools, cared about livable housing, cared about neighborhoods.  They were the ones that left.  The rich didn't care as long as they had a penthouse, access to the opera and a summer house in the country.  The poor were stuck where they were. Let's face it, cities (in the US at least) have gotten a bad rap over the last century, fairly and unfairly.  I think that is the "expense" that others are speaking about.  Some cities have rebounded but after the huge migration to the suburbs (by the middle class), the cities became shells of their former selves and some are still economic wastelands.  My only regret regarding NYC, which is very vibrant today compared to yesteryear, is that it has become one huge mall.  The old bread shop gets replaced with a GAP; buildings that once contained vital manufacturing services are now tony lofts for the upper income.  A sense of community was lost when people left for the suburbs, now a sense of community is once again lost in pursuit of commercialization.  It is all real circular.
 

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See, we can't really argue about which historical period we're talking about, unless we open it up on both sides.  So far, anti-burbs folks are talking about the historical emergence of the suburbs, as cookie-cutter houses for the elite who wanted to move away from non-whites in the city.  That's fine, but then really we need to talk about the historical erection of tenements in the city, as places where poor immigrants and POC were/are stockpiled and live disease-ridden, poverty-riddled lives, where there was little opportunity, and rent gouging was common practice.  Places that were quickly built (like the suburbs, historically) with little thought for the safety of the occupants, and no thought for their happiness and value as members of the urban community.  So, we can't use history to bash the suburbs without also turning a critical eye on the cities.

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This whole thing is circular, though.  I for one, am not anti-burb or seeking to bash suburbs or suburbanites.  I do like to observe patterns in migration, though, and the effect that it has on our social well-being as well as environmental impact.  Poor housing standards (especially in the cities) have been around since Roman times.  Tenements, (in NYC at least) were built to house a huge influx of immigrants and others migrating to the city. Those were typically poor people...people who wouldn't afford to leave until one or two generations later.   Again, and I feel like I've said this before, redface.gif economics played a huge role in the conditions in inner-cities.  People without power (financial or other) were those that usually represented the vast majority of inhabitants in the cities during the periods in which cities took a great decline.  Why?  Because the middle class had left and there were no longer resources (tax-based or otherwise) to contribute to the diversity and fabric of the city.  These problems still exist today.  I keep thinking about how every medium size city that I've been in has had a "down-town revitalization" plan.  Some have utterly failed.  There was a period in NYC's history where block after block of housing were boarded up.  No one had the resources or the intention of making it better. People with the power to make it better were the middle class - they were the ones who cared about schools, cared about livable housing, cared about neighborhoods.  They were the ones that left.  The rich didn't care as long as they had a penthouse, access to the opera and a summer house in the country.  The poor were stuck where they were. Let's face it, cities (in the US at least) have gotten a bad rap over the last century, fairly and unfairly.  I think that is the "expense" that others are speaking about.  Some cities have rebounded but after the huge migration to the suburbs (by the middle class), the cities became shells of their former selves and some are still economic wastelands.  My only regret regarding NYC, which is very vibrant today compared to yesteryear, is that it has become one huge mall.  The old bread shop gets replaced with a GAP; buildings that once contained vital manufacturing services are now tony lofts for the upper income.  A sense of community was lost when people left for the suburbs, now a sense of community is once again lost in pursuit of commercialization.  It is all real circular.
 

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See, we can't really argue about which historical period we're talking about, unless we open it up on both sides.  So far, anti-burbs folks are talking about the historical emergence of the suburbs, as cookie-cutter houses for the elite who wanted to move away from non-whites in the city.  That's fine, but then really we need to talk about the historical erection of tenements in the city, as places where poor immigrants and POC were/are stockpiled and live disease-ridden, poverty-riddled lives, where there was little opportunity, and rent gouging was common practice.  Places that were quickly built (like the suburbs, historically) with little thought for the safety of the occupants, and no thought for their happiness and value as members of the urban community.  So, we can't use history to bash the suburbs without also turning a critical eye on the cities.

We are in agreement here.  You're right, it is circular, sort of a chicken-or-the-egg type deal.  Was the middle class lured out of the city by the new suburbs, or was there an existing problem in the city that created a demand for suburbs?  There's really no definite answer, but I think that the "blame" (for lack of a better word) is pretty evenly split.  If the middle class had been happy in the city, they wouldn't have left.  They also wouldn't have left if there weren't another option, the suburbs.
 


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We are in agreement here.  You're right, it is circular, sort of a chicken-or-the-egg type deal.  Was the middle class lured out of the city by the new suburbs, or was there an existing problem in the city that created a demand for suburbs?  There's really no definite answer, but I think that the "blame" (for lack of a better word) is pretty evenly split.  If the middle class had been happy in the city, they wouldn't have left.  They also wouldn't have left if there weren't another option, the suburbs.
 



Funny thing is, people on Space Colony "X" will be studying our debate with much amusement in the year 2211 (maybe sooner; maybe later).  orngtongue.gif


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It's cheaper to live in the city.

  • here is cheaper to live *away* from the city.  Our town is WAY cheaper than where we lived in Boston

We have one car and we live by work/a busline/ bike paths.

  • We live biking/waking to distance to our offices

We love being able to easily walk to the library, park, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and stores.

  • we do too and they are all locally owned operated!

We like living around very different kinds of people.

  • 15 years ago not so much but now we are much more diverse-economically, culturally, politically,

We need trees, sidewalks and parks and must be able to walk.

  • our backyard is a state park, we are surrounded by many protected land banks and there are lots of playgrounds too

We don't really care about our yard and have chickens and our neighbors don't give a hoot.

  • well ours is a 250+ year old farm house and the lawns looks the same.  We let nature take it course. We don't have chickens but our next door neighbors do and we don't give a hoot!

 

I just don't think you can stereotype suburbs vs city/urban


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For me, I'd probably say something like "I hate the suburbs", meaning "I would hate to live in the suburbs".  Suburbs combine the aspects that I dislike about city life with the aspects I dislike about rural life into one big pile without having the redeeming qualities of either.



He He He, I tend to think the opposite...that it combines the best parts of both:lol:  I might have to drive everywhere, but I don't have to drive far for anything.  Once I get to the main street, it's all there within minutes of each other, from big box grocery to locally owned tattoo shop to Subway to locally owned chinese restaraunt etc.  My dentist is in a little converted ranch style house right next to Meijer, which is right next to the locally owned sewing machine store, then JoAnns and Target, etc etc etc.  Everything from farmers markets to Walmart is right there, but I am not stuck living with listening to sirens and horns and whatever other noises occur in the city every night.  ( I wouldn't know I haven't ever lived in a city)

 

I wonder though, what qualfies as living "in the city" vs "in the suburbs?"  My actually address is Indianapolis.  I have also lived in Columbus Oh, with that as my actual address.  Yet, my neighborhood is totally one of those neighborhoods that springs up out of farm land that is within walking distance of very little, and most of the houses consist of the same 10 to 20 floorplans.  The house in Columbus was in a well established neighborhood though I assume that it was also once farmland as there was a horse farm that backed up to our backyard.  However, it was within walking distance of a convenience store and an ice cream shop.  So is that suburbs or not?  Is it suburbs if you are actually within city limits? 

 

Maybe though that's part of the problem in the thread...that it's all about assumptions.  There are quiet areas within big city limits, there are unique areas outside big city limits, there are small towns that are just absorbed by the big city.  There are little small town "downtowns" all over big city areas, left over from towns that were absorbed by big cities, and there are areas that are brand new built to be the "downtown" area of that neighborhood (ie "revitalized areas."  There are master planned suburban areas that are actually purposely built to have "everything" (ie everything needed) within walking distance, but the whole community is pluncked down in the middle of cornfields. 

 

Few areas are going to fit everyone's assumptions. 



That's exactly how I feel. Having grown up and lived the first 26 years of my life in the country, outside the city limits of a town with a population of 200, I LOVE that I now only have to drive 5 minutes to get to the grocery store instead of 15 miles. 

 

I never even realized that people hated the suburbs so much, especially considering how many people live in suburbs. LOL

 

 I don't think I could be happy living in a downtown area of a city until my kids are older and DH and I are empty nesters. Once we get to that phase of our lives, I can totally see us living downtown in a city like Portland. Til then, I'm loving the burbs. :)

 

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Here is why we don't live in a suburb:

It's cheaper to live in the city.

We have one car and we live by work/a busline/ bike paths.

We love being able to easily walk to the library, park, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and stores.

We like living around very different kinds of people.

We need trees, sidewalks and parks and must be able to walk.

We don't really care about our yard and have chickens and our neighbors don't give a hoot.

 

 

I've read this thread with some amusement for the past few days. The original question kind of struck me that it's like asking why some people hate the colour yellow and prefer the colour purple. 

 

I want to respond to this post though. I live in a suburb in a pretty typical ranch-style house. Housing prices in the city core would add at least $200,000 to $300,000 more than this house, for the privilege of living in tighter quarters, without a parking spot (added cost for a permit for street parking) and almost no yard. 

 

I just returned from an hour-long hike in the green, treed ravine area a block from my house, where my dog can roam off-leash. It's populated with fox and coyote.  Not far from here, 17 y.o. DS works part-time at an art gallery in a similar ravine, and last month I saw a deer there.  


We have one car.  My teens use public transit to get to school, to work and to their social activities. I often do the same. (In the last suburb we lived in, in another city and country, we didn't have a car at all, and relied on public transit). I am certain that our suburban petrol consumption is much less than many country dwellers, with their cars, trucks, ride-on lawn mowers and recreational vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles....).  

 

Many of the people on my street have lived here for decades. They have Polish, Greek, Italian and Asian accents. 

 

I get the appeal of living in the city core, close to "the action" of shops, clubs and restaurants. But I also listen to my friends complain about the drunks on their front steps day and night, the noise and fights when the clubs close up in the wee hours of the night/morning, the litter, the crowds, the headache of coming home with a trunk full of groceries only to find no parking near their front door, etc. I think cities need to preserve attractive residential spaces in their core areas, but it's understandable why some people will opt for more generous, peaceful living areas. 

 

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

Here is why we don't live in a suburb:

It's cheaper to live in the city.

We have one car and we live by work/a busline/ bike paths.

We love being able to easily walk to the library, park, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and stores.

We like living around very different kinds of people.

We need trees, sidewalks and parks and must be able to walk.

We don't really care about our yard and have chickens and our neighbors don't give a hoot.

 

 

I've read this thread with some amusement for the past few days. The original question kind of struck me that it's like asking why some people hate the colour yellow and prefer the colour purple. 

 

I want to respond to this post though. I live in a suburb in a pretty typical ranch-style house. Housing prices in the city core would add at least $200,000 to $300,000 more than this house, for the privilege of living in tighter quarters, without a parking spot (added cost for a permit for street parking) and almost no yard. 

 

I just returned from an hour-long hike in the green, treed ravine area a block from my house, where my dog can roam off-leash. It's populated with fox and coyote.  Not far from here, 17 y.o. DS works part-time at an art gallery in a similar ravine, and last month I saw a deer there.  


We have one car.  My teens use public transit to get to school, to work and to their social activities. I often do the same. (In the last suburb we lived in, in another city and country, we didn't have a car at all, and relied on public transit). I am certain that our suburban petrol consumption is much less than many country dwellers, with their cars, trucks, ride-on lawn mowers and recreational vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles....).  

 

Many of the people on my street have lived here for decades. They have Polish, Greek, Italian and Asian accents. 

 

I get the appeal of living in the city core, close to "the action" of shops, clubs and restaurants. But I also listen to my friends complain about the drunks on their front steps day and night, the noise and fights when the clubs close up in the wee hours of the night/morning, the litter, the crowds, the headache of coming home with a trunk full of groceries only to find no parking near their front door, etc. I think cities need to preserve attractive residential spaces in their core areas, but it's understandable why some people will opt for more generous, peaceful living areas. 

 

 


Just a couple of observations about your post.

 

First, while its grand for you to be able to go to a ravine with wildlife a couple of blocks from your house, your neighborhood is endangering the habitat of those very animals you love to watch.  This is another issue with sprawl that we haven't discussed much in this thread but I think its important.  So although peaceful living spaces are desirable, and beautiful, they have environmental consequences that don't get nearly enough examination when people are deciding what they are looking for in a living space.

 

Secondly, I do not live in an urban center, but I do have to deal with issues with there being no parking (thank goodness I at least have a driveway!  Otherwise I would be screwed) drunk people staggering about and fights after the bar three doors down closes for the night.  Once a woman charged me and told me she was going to "kick my a**" when I told her to keep it down at 2am...I was holding my 11mo old at the time.  These are issues that exist where there are lots of people living (and crappy neighborhood bars) both in the 'burbs and in urban centers.  The funny thing is that it was MUCH quieter where I lived in San Francisco than here in Santa Clara.  Much.  So peaceful living can certainly exist in cities as well as in exurbs.

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Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

Here is why we don't live in a suburb:

It's cheaper to live in the city.

We have one car and we live by work/a busline/ bike paths.

We love being able to easily walk to the library, park, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and stores.

We like living around very different kinds of people.

We need trees, sidewalks and parks and must be able to walk.

We don't really care about our yard and have chickens and our neighbors don't give a hoot.

 

 

I've read this thread with some amusement for the past few days. The original question kind of struck me that it's like asking why some people hate the colour yellow and prefer the colour purple. 

 

I want to respond to this post though. I live in a suburb in a pretty typical ranch-style house. Housing prices in the city core would add at least $200,000 to $300,000 more than this house, for the privilege of living in tighter quarters, without a parking spot (added cost for a permit for street parking) and almost no yard. 

 

I just returned from an hour-long hike in the green, treed ravine area a block from my house, where my dog can roam off-leash. It's populated with fox and coyote.  Not far from here, 17 y.o. DS works part-time at an art gallery in a similar ravine, and last month I saw a deer there.  


We have one car.  My teens use public transit to get to school, to work and to their social activities. I often do the same. (In the last suburb we lived in, in another city and country, we didn't have a car at all, and relied on public transit). I am certain that our suburban petrol consumption is much less than many country dwellers, with their cars, trucks, ride-on lawn mowers and recreational vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles....).  

 

Many of the people on my street have lived here for decades. They have Polish, Greek, Italian and Asian accents. 

 

I get the appeal of living in the city core, close to "the action" of shops, clubs and restaurants. But I also listen to my friends complain about the drunks on their front steps day and night, the noise and fights when the clubs close up in the wee hours of the night/morning, the litter, the crowds, the headache of coming home with a trunk full of groceries only to find no parking near their front door, etc. I think cities need to preserve attractive residential spaces in their core areas, but it's understandable why some people will opt for more generous, peaceful living areas. 

 

 


Just a couple of observations about your post.

 

First, while its grand for you to be able to go to a ravine with wildlife a couple of blocks from your house, your neighborhood is endangering the habitat of those very animals you love to watch.  This is another issue with sprawl that we haven't discussed much in this thread but I think its important.  So although peaceful living spaces are desirable, and beautiful, they have environmental consequences that don't get nearly enough examination when people are deciding what they are looking for in a living space.

 

Secondly, I do not live in an urban center, but I do have to deal with issues with there being no parking (thank goodness I at least have a driveway!  Otherwise I would be screwed) drunk people staggering about and fights after the bar three doors down closes for the night.  Once a woman charged me and told me she was going to "kick my a**" when I told her to keep it down at 2am...I was holding my 11mo old at the time.  These are issues that exist where there are lots of people living (and crappy neighborhood bars) both in the 'burbs and in urban centers.  The funny thing is that it was MUCH quieter where I lived in San Francisco than here in Santa Clara.  Much.  So peaceful living can certainly exist in cities as well as in exurbs.


 

I suppose you can see it negatively. I consider it a positive that about a century ago, forward thinking planners preserved these green spaces and preserved these habitats, and that the people in this area continue to believe that it's important to protect them. I know other city planners around the world have studied them with some envy. I agree that environmental issues are important to consider when urban/suburban building goes on, but that's true in the country too. FWIW, fox, coyote, raccoon, possum and many other species are probably better protected in the urban and suburban areas of this city, where there is a ban on pesticides and herbicides, than much wildlife in nearby rural areas where farmers still have fairly free reign to do what they want. These species are certainly thriving here. 

 

This neighbourhood has existed for the better part of a century now, and there is a fair amount of infill-building happening nearby.  When commercial buildings are removed, there is often a small townhouse complex or apartment built to house several families. It causes problem too, since it creates additional pressure for schooling, public transit, recreational programs etc., as well as infrastructure demands, but often without additional services planned or provided.  It's the kind of intensification of urban/suburban density that is trendy to talk about and advocate, but receives little actual support. People love to talk about limiting urban/suburban sprawl, but the fact is that people have to live somewhere and need adequate support to do so. 

 

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First, while its grand for you to be able to go to a ravine with wildlife a couple of blocks from your house, your neighborhood is endangering the habitat of those very animals you love to watch.  This is another issue with sprawl that we haven't discussed much in this thread but I think its important.  So although peaceful living spaces are desirable, and beautiful, they have environmental consequences that don't get nearly enough examination when people are deciding what they are looking for in a living space.


I don't really think this is a fair assessment at all.  Would the world be better if there were no suburbs?  Sure.  Would the world be better if there were no cities?  Sure.  I don't think we need to be pointing fingers at each other and judging each others' environmental impacts in such a general way.  What we really have is a population problem, not a urban vs. suburban problem.  It's just simple fact that urban areas cannot hold the population of the entire country (thus, urban sprawl, or more accurately, population spill-over from big cities), so blaming people who are living in the suburbs for not living in the cities and criticizing their environmental impact is not warranted.  We cannot assume that people in the suburbs live a wasteful life while people in cities live a sustainable life, because the reverse is just as likely.  Population density is only one factor in reducing environmental impact.


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First, while its grand for you to be able to go to a ravine with wildlife a couple of blocks from your house, your neighborhood is endangering the habitat of those very animals you love to watch.  This is another issue with sprawl that we haven't discussed much in this thread but I think its important.  So although peaceful living spaces are desirable, and beautiful, they have environmental consequences that don't get nearly enough examination when people are deciding what they are looking for in a living space.


I don't really think this is a fair assessment at all.  Would the world be better if there were no suburbs?  Sure.  Would the world be better if there were no cities?  Sure.  I don't think we need to be pointing fingers at each other and judging each others' environmental impacts in such a general way.  What we really have is a population problem, not a urban vs. suburban problem.  It's just simple fact that urban areas cannot hold the population of the entire country (thus, urban sprawl, or more accurately, population spill-over from big cities), so blaming people who are living in the suburbs for not living in the cities and criticizing their environmental impact is not warranted.  We cannot assume that people in the suburbs live a wasteful life while people in cities live a sustainable life, because the reverse is just as likely.  Population density is only one factor in reducing environmental impact.



White flight had/has nothing to do with population density.  Again, my views here are heavily influenced by growing up in the Detroit metro area, but there you have not "made it" until you live as far away from Detroit as you can, in as large a house as possible (on a lake thankyouverymuch)...plus have an "up north" house.  Its a lifestyle that is not environmentally sustainable.

 

The reason I see it as an urban vs suburban issue is that I am thinking of places, again like Detroit where the urban center has been essentially abandoned so people can live in the cornfields.  That has nothing to do with too much population but with the refusal to put resources into fixing the city (and now that's pretty much impossible because there is no money there and the problems are too large) rather than dump it and start over in the country.  Its like freaking termites or wood ants...devour the first place and then when its wrecked move on to the next.  And so on.  Manifest Destiny.  Its so shortsighted and it makes me crazy.  Locusts.

 

I've seen this in lots of places I've been and lived...but mostly in the Midwest.  I've seen it in Chicago and Detroit.  In Omaha and Oklahoma City.  To a certain extent in San Jose and Los Angeles.  The city centers are where the poor live because it costs less to built new structures than it does to fix up old ones.  My ILs live in Oklahoma City right next to an abandoned mall.  Nobody knows what to do with the mall because nobody wants to live in their neighborhood.  Not because its unsafe or has bad schools, but because people can get bigger houses and be nearer newer, bigger malls on the other side of town.  And so their section of town is slowing dying.  No more children live in the neighborhood where my DH grew up and the schools are closing.  People can't be bothered to fix up what is already there unless property values are so high that they are forced to.  This has nothing to do with population growth, but with capitalism pure and simple.  There is lots of room in these cities.  Tons.  But people are still building on the outskirts because of this strange manifest destiny mentality.

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Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

First, while its grand for you to be able to go to a ravine with wildlife a couple of blocks from your house, your neighborhood is endangering the habitat of those very animals you love to watch.  This is another issue with sprawl that we haven't discussed much in this thread but I think its important.  So although peaceful living spaces are desirable, and beautiful, they have environmental consequences that don't get nearly enough examination when people are deciding what they are looking for in a living space.


I don't really think this is a fair assessment at all.  Would the world be better if there were no suburbs?  Sure.  Would the world be better if there were no cities?  Sure.  I don't think we need to be pointing fingers at each other and judging each others' environmental impacts in such a general way.  What we really have is a population problem, not a urban vs. suburban problem.  It's just simple fact that urban areas cannot hold the population of the entire country (thus, urban sprawl, or more accurately, population spill-over from big cities), so blaming people who are living in the suburbs for not living in the cities and criticizing their environmental impact is not warranted.  We cannot assume that people in the suburbs live a wasteful life while people in cities live a sustainable life, because the reverse is just as likely.  Population density is only one factor in reducing environmental impact.



White flight had/has nothing to do with population density.  Again, my views here are heavily influenced by growing up in the Detroit metro area, but there you have not "made it" until you live as far away from Detroit as you can, in as large a house as possible (on a lake thankyouverymuch)...plus have an "up north" house.  Its a lifestyle that is not environmentally sustainable.

 

The reason I see it as an urban vs suburban issue is that I am thinking of places, again like Detroit where the urban center has been essentially abandoned so people can live in the cornfields.  That has nothing to do with too much population but with the refusal to put resources into fixing the city (and now that's pretty much impossible because there is no money there and the problems are too large) rather than dump it and start over in the country.  Its like freaking termites or wood ants...devour the first place and then when its wrecked move on to the next.  And so on.  Manifest Destiny.  Its so shortsighted and it makes me crazy.  Locusts.

 

I've seen this in lots of places I've been and lived...but mostly in the Midwest.  I've seen it in Chicago and Detroit.  In Omaha and Oklahoma City.  To a certain extent in San Jose and Los Angeles.  The city centers are where the poor live because it costs less to built new structures than it does to fix up old ones.  My ILs live in Oklahoma City right next to an abandoned mall.  Nobody knows what to do with the mall because nobody wants to live in their neighborhood.  Not because its unsafe or has bad schools, but because people can get bigger houses and be nearer newer, bigger malls on the other side of town.  And so their section of town is slowing dying.  No more children live in the neighborhood where my DH grew up and the schools are closing.  People can't be bothered to fix up what is already there unless property values are so high that they are forced to.  This has nothing to do with population growth, but with capitalism pure and simple.  There is lots of room in these cities.  Tons.  But people are still building on the outskirts because of this strange manifest destiny mentality.


Well, then, I mostly agree.  I can totally see where you're coming from.  I just didn't want it to get to the point where we criticize an individual's impact on an environment simply based on their location (as in, your neighborhood endangers the animals' habitat because you live in the suburbs, etc.) because we don't know that's true.  I still disagree just a little with your statement that it has nothing to do with population growth, though.  The 20 million people in the New York metropolitan area simply cannot fit within the city limits.  It just cannot be done.  I also agree with your historical perspective on white flight, but I just don't think we can really hold current suburban residents responsible for that, or continue to blame suburbs for it.  I am mostly white and live in the suburbs, but I never fled the city, nor did any of my white family members :)  Because like CatsCradle said upthread, it really is circular.  When people's hardships aren't addressed, they migrate elsewhere, but also if they took a more proactive approach in their community rather than fleeing, the issues also might have been resolved.  I just don't think that white flight is the whole reason for the degradation of urban areas, it was probably more of a simultaneous event and a contributing factor at best.

 

FTR, I also agree that having more than one residence and an abnormally large house is not environmentally sustainable.  100%.  And I've never happened by Detroit, so I take your word on it, and the way you describe it turns my stomach.  Yes, that is so very not cool to just destroy a place and move on.


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#113 of 116 Old 01-08-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ramama View Post
 And I've never happened by Detroit, so I take your word on it, and the way you describe it turns my stomach.  Yes, that is so very not cool to just destroy a place and move on.


Here are some pictures of Detroit's old landmarks:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jan/02/photography-detroit

 

http://buildingsofdetroit.com/

 

And interestingly there was a segment on NPR's Studio 360 tonight about the ruins of Detroit called Ruin Porn.

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#114 of 116 Old 01-09-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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I'm sure all the rural mamas are reading through this thread and thinking, "YOU'RE ALL CRAZY." winky.gif


 

Yeah, pretty much.lol.gif I didn't read the whole thread, but it sort or makes me laugh, the idea that there's the "city" and the "suburbs". From where I'm sitting, it's all city with people living crowded together. It's sort of like people forgot about all that open land in between. 


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#115 of 116 Old 01-09-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Italiamom View Post

I'm sure all the rural mamas are reading through this thread and thinking, "YOU'RE ALL CRAZY." winky.gif


 

Yeah, pretty much.lol.gif I didn't read the whole thread, but it sort or makes me laugh, the idea that there's the "city" and the "suburbs". From where I'm sitting, it's all city with people living crowded together. It's sort of like people forgot about all that open land in between. 


Yep. I grew up in the suburbs. I have lived in the Boston area (not right downtown, but in a few different apartments around the area). I hated the burbs as a kid/teenager. I do not like visiting where I grew up--if my family wasn't there I would never go back. Boston was fun, as far as cities go, but I am not a city person. I live in the boonies and I love it.

 

The thing with suburbs, as others have said, is that they are so boring. There isn't the personality of a big city or a rural town. They are all so similar to each other, all around the country. I love visiting Boston now that I don't live there and I've really been enjoying visiting NYC lately. I can totally understand, in an abstract way, how so many people love living in urban centers. But I get the sense--and probably erroneously--that people just settle for the suburbs. That it isn't where a lot of them REALLY want to be--that they dream of living somewhere else. Or maybe that was just my experience growing up!

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#116 of 116 Old 01-09-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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I think it's changing though.  I have family in one of the cities you mentioned.  About half of them live in old houses in the city in great neighborhoods.  Their homes are way more expensive (especially per square foot) than out in the burbs.  Most of them send their kids to private schools, which is a whole different issue.  There are strongholds in a lot of Midwestern cities, but there certainly is the Manifest Destiny mentality that you've described as well.  The fancy burbs from when we were kids are just now so-so (and much more diverse) but the all white, super expensive places just keep getting further out.  It's disturbing.


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