Alan Berger and Joel Kotkin, authors of Infinite Suburbia, recently had a good interview with the Hyperloop One blog on the resurgence of suburbia.
I thought this was interesting: From 1980 to 2003 in the U.S., rural landmass conversion to urbanized areas was about the size of New York State. From 2003 to 2030 the conversion is estimated to be the size of Utah. That’s a mega-trend.
I think part of the problem with the initial conversion to suburbia was too little attention to quality of life. And to make improvements harder, suburbia had its haters—mostly academics and wealthy city dwellers. As Kotkin explains, “Unlike urban cores, suburbs have few boosters; most media and major academic institutions are clustered in denser, inner city areas. Planning departments have long ignored them, or tried to figure out how to undermine them. Now, the greens are also a factor, weighing against suburban life. Simply put: everyone of consequence generally hates them, except for the vast majority of metropolitan residents who live there.”
How can suburbia achieve the benefits of urban life and remain a nice place to raise a family?
As Alan explains, “My research group at MIT is currently working on a project that envisions the future of the American suburb past 2060. We have focused on the continued development of polycentricity in metropolitan areas and a tendency to expand in space as transportation technology, infrastructure, and policies allow.”
You can read more from this interview here:
The suburbs are back. In April, New York Magazine sounded the alarm that “more and more people are fleeing New York.” Time discovered just a few weeks ago that millennials are moving to the suburbs in droves. Recent studies have shown that millennials associate homeownership with the American dream more so than Generation X or baby boomers. As the world rapidly urbanizes, suburban migration presents an opportunity to define what this growth will look like — and how it might fit in more synergistically with urban cores and rural communities.