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monsoon

Why do we have Suburbia

Why do we have Suburbia  

34 members have voted

  1. 1. Why do we have Suburbia

    • Its what people really want
      9
    • Its makes a quick buck for developers
      10
    • Government is not doing its job
      4
    • Other (explain)
      11


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As pointed out in another thread, surburbia in the USA really means anti-urban. I have read a number of articles recently that point out the anti-urban movement was caused because moving to a suburban environment (and having an automobile) establishes a person's individuality and give them a perception of control over their lives.

Cities were historically created and exist for several reasons.

  1. Cities were created as places for common defense, either against the environment and animals, or outsiders.

  2. This was followed as trading and administrative centers. These two items where the primary reason that cities existed for thousands of years. Most people lived in the countryside.

  3. When industrialization began in the 18th century, great concentrations of labor in where required in small places. People left the country side in great numbers and most of the cities as we know them today were built. (especially in the USA)

It was the 3rd phase of city building that caused the loss of individuality and control that people had over their lives. They were forced to travel on mass transit, at times and to locations not under their control, and work and live in crowded and many times bad conditions. In the period leading up to WWII there was a pretty significant anti-urbanist movement in the works that viewed cities as one of mankind's biggest problems.

After WWII, at least in the United States, the middle class all of a sudden had access to enough wealth that allowed people to leave the cities. You could have a car, house with a yard, and go anywhere you wanted. The car eliminated the need to live near your work location and items 2 & 1 above were no longer relevant. The inner cities started to die. We have now had 60 years of growing suburbia and there are no sings that it is slowing down.

So the question is, do we have suburbia (anti-urbanism) because this is what the people want?

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I'll keep it short and sweet.

1) Most people want to live with people who look, act, and have the same amount of money as themselves. White flight in the 50's, 60's and 70's showed us that.

Yes, I'm sorry to say, if you move to your nearest city you might have to live next to someone who doesn't look like you.

2) Americans are lazy. We are the fattest country in the world. Most people don't want to walk to their car in their own driveway, let alone to the bus stop or subway.

3) As we've discussed this before (I think) oil companies and highways are heavily subsidized. I don't know the percentage of subsidy for car transportation vs. mass transit but I'd say it leans far to the car side nationally. If our cities could expand, renovate and in start new mass transit programs it would do a great service to our cities. Currently only a handful of American cities have large enough transit systems that a resident can get by without a car.

4) Americans really don't give a rats a$$ about the environment. Countless studies have concluded that sprawl is horrible for the environment but we don't care. From green house gases to destruction of habitat to loss of farm land, the average person would rather bull doze that forest land so he can get a nice new 1/2 acre Mc Mansion.

5) I disagree with your analysis that cities were or are built from rural area residents. Cities were and are built from immigration from other countries or other metropolitan places. Set aside the great depression which caused many people in the midwest to move west.

6) Republicans hate cities. Think about it, cities house the poor, immigrant, liberals and minorities of America. Everything the republicans hate.

These are just some of the thinks that popped in my mind first but there are many more.

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I voted 'Other'.

The root cause of suburbia is clearly the automobile, cheap fuel, and cheap land. That combination has existed across much of the USA for the better part of a century. As long as automobiles and fuel are affordable to most residents and property is affordable to developers, sprawl will ensue. If any of those ever become unaffordable, this peculiar urban development pattern will be relegated to the scrap heap of history.

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I voted 'Other'.

The root cause of suburbia is clearly the automobile, cheap fuel, and cheap land.  That combination has existed across much of the USA for the better part of a century.  As long as automobiles and fuel are affordable to most residents and property is affordable to developers, sprawl will ensue.  If any of those ever become unaffordable, this peculiar urban development pattern will be relegated to the scrap heap of history.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Couldnt of said it better myself the main reason is its cheaper and in most cities newer.

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Well it ties in with so many things. personally I think the big boom started at the end of WWII we had the creation of the American Dream. A time of optimism, where having your own car/land/backyard was plastered everywhere and this image was admired and desired by all in the land. This was coupled with the advertising industry's realization that it's easier to sell products when they're catered to the individual vs. talking about the product's attributes (this shift happened around WWI) and we now have a culture of atomization; where we're all bombarded with messages directed at 'me' the individual and not 'us the society'. Most of us lack the capacity to even think about the collective society.

What this means for sprawl is that we all place emphasis on material goods as a means of acquiring happiness (advertising also learned how to associate happiness with the marketplace). Think about it---the three central ideas in capitalism are production, distribution and consumption. The first two are a piece of cake-throw up a factory and a road and bam you've go it. But the problem lies in consumption...which is why advertising was born. And now that our culture is almost dictated by the marketplace we are taught to consume and consume and consume and that the bigger picture doesn't matter.

Therefore we buy seperate houses (all about the individual), each person has their own car (what's the purpose of public transit if I can't drive what I want to drive?) and nobody has the capacity to realize the fragile, nonrenewable nature of our environment.

Sorry for the long message lol, this gets me worked up sometimes.

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I believe though it's the concept of being independant, with your own vehicle than having to take public transit, or just walk. Also because of the WW2 boom most didnt want to buy in the cities because of stereotypes. If you remember, the parents of WW2 Vets would have grown up in a time of tenament housing, poor immigrants and child labor swelling in cities, the cities at that time often were believed to represented the poor, underprivaliged. So if their parents passed that belief down to the WW2 generation, that along with what many percieve to be independance would drive most away from urban areas. That pttern follows as many people like people have said above want to be around people of their own type, and percieve most downtowns to be crime breeding grounds.

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5) I disagree with your analysis that cities were or are built from rural area residents.  Cities were and are built from immigration from other countries or other metropolitan places.  Set aside the great depression which caused many people in the midwest to move west.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Nah. Detroit (and other cities in the present-day Rust Belt) pulled tens of thousands of rural folk north during the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, both white and black, to work in the various industrial complexes. Sure, some may have come from some of the larger cities in the south, but a majority were rural people with no prospects where they were. A large percentage of Detroiters today can probably go back a generation or two to someone on the south.

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the suburbs have been subsidized by the government since the end of WWII. The government has constantly pushed for this kind of development since then.

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6) Republicans hate cities.  Think about it, cities house the poor, immigrant, liberals and minorities of America.  Everything the republicans hate.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There is no need to get political here. I'm not a registered one, but I do vote Republican, and I happen to love cities and downtown areas. There are plenty other conservative people that love cities and enjoy what they have to offer. However, I voted for people wanting to live in the suburbs, primarily because of individuality and control. Many people in this country value the ability to come and go as they please. People here want to be able to drive to Lowe's and pick up a new sink, then eat lunch at a nearby Arby's, and then maybe buy a new blouse for their wife at the mall. You can't do these things with the degree of freedom if you live in the middle of a city. You are limited to either walking or mass transit...even if there were a Lowe's downtown, do you think somebody is going to walk 10 blocks or ride the subway with a new sink?

Cars are not just modes of transportation that carry people; they are also important tools that provide people comfort and versatility to move and carry things. People want to be able to live in a place and not have to listen to people arguing above them, nor have to park their car in a garage that costs $100.00 a month. Also, owning a house with your own yard is what many people that first came to this country dreamed about: having your own land and your own "castle".

Cities and suburbs play an integral part with each other. Cities provide "suburbians" with a place to work, and if the cities plan things correctly, they also provide a destination to play, to eat, and/or to entertain. It really is a matter of preference about where you want to live. If you want to live among the excitement of nightclubs, restaurants, shopping, and other attractions, living IN the city is for you.

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You are limited to either walking or mass transit...even if there were a Lowe's downtown, do you think somebody is going to walk 10 blocks or ride the subway with a new sink?

I live downtown. I take the subway to work and to various places around town. I am currnetly remodeling a three story row home. I live approx. 15 blocks from both a Home Depot and a Lowes. You can rent a truck from both for 19.99 an hour. This is more than enough time to get the stuff from the store to my house.

You just need to do a little planning so you by things in bunches.

I think you may say some of these things because you grew up in the suburbs and have most likely lived your entire life there. I'm not saying that's bad but if you lived in a city you might find it's easier than you think.

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Here's what I think:

1. WWII ends and it's well documented what happend with population migration.

2. We have no concern for the environment or compunction about allowing our cities to sprawl.

3. Cars and gas are relatively cheap. But even now with gas at $2-$3/gallon it's not stopping people from driving the least efficient cars available, with no concern for distance to and from their destinations.

4. People like homogeneity in their neighborhoods.

5. People like have yards and that crap for their kids.

6. More and more large employers are putting up corporate campuses in the suburbs, and with growing congestion in major cities people are moving to be near their office.

7. Most major cities have terrible public transportation.

8. Years ago housing in downtown areas (at least in Minneapolis) was sub-standard and cheap. Now with the revitalization, prices for downtown condos are high and you can get a larger home out in the suburbs for the same or less money, especially the farther from the city center you go.

9. People think they are safer in the suburbs.

10. Chain retail stores and restuarants have taken away the need for families to drive to the major city for their shopping and eating needs.

11. City planning councils failed to recognize the urban flight fast enough and now it's gotten very difficult to reverse the trend (but not impossible).

Until our major cities being to address some of these issues in a real sincere and practical manner the suburbs will continue sprawl unchecked. This list is very short, and the reasons for why we have suburbs (and why they will continue to grow) could go on for days. It's too bad, I currently live in the middle of Minneapolis, and I have lived in the outlying suburbs and I would never go back. There's nothing unique about an Old Navy store next to the Olive Garden at your local strip mall. :(

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Well i think its great to have a city and suburbs i mean if we all lived in apartments then most cities would be four miles long or something like that and pollution and noise would be cramed into a smaller space and so would we i would hate for the USA to end up like Tokyo. But i do hate the Suburbs that have houses that are exactly the same for a quarter of a mile thats also pretty bad thats why i think that suburbs in older cities are better there is some uniqueness about the neighborhoods not just the exact same house design that seems to go on forever like in California and Texas.

Also suburbs are good because they offer privacy so u can go to your backyard and relax your let your pets out and for those lucky enough to have a pool you can go into the pool without the problem of a little kid peeing in there from an hour ago which would happen if we all lived in apartments/condos and if it had a pool and many residents shared it.

Also its personalization that lets you decide how you want your house to look like which is nice because the house i moved into now was grey brick which was really ugly in my opinion and we changed the color and completely changed the look of the house which for sure you cant do in an apartment/condo although you can change the interiors of condos. This also put major businesses like Home Depot and Lowes into our economy. And most of my life i lived in an apartment then got a town house so i know a little about the urban style infact ive only lived in a house for about a year and i like the house better basically because you can personalize it.

My point is though America cant be America without a mix of urban and suburban i think it should stay that way its what seperates us from the rest of the world this is my opinion of course. Its good to have a really nice downtown or coast line lined with hi-rises but not the whole city.

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I live downtown.  I take the subway to work and to various places around town.  I am currnetly remodeling a three story row home.  I live approx. 15 blocks from both a Home Depot and a Lowes.  You can rent a truck from both for 19.99 an hour.  This is more than enough time to get the stuff from the store to my house.

You just need to do a little planning so you by things in bunches.

I think you may say some of these things because you grew up in the suburbs and have most likely lived your entire life there.  I'm not saying that's bad but if you lived in a city you might find it's easier than you think.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You see, what you're doing just proves my point. You have to rent a truck to get things done. That takes time and money, whereas if you lived in a suburb, you get in your car and do it yourself. What about costs to keep your car in a garage or storage? The main thing is that it costs more money to live in the city, especially if people want freedoms to do their own things. For a little more than $20, I can get gas for my car and not be limited by time constraints.

It's true, I grew up in the burbs. But they were only 15 minutes from DT and still in the main city limits. So I may be acclimated, but I do know that living on top of other people in boxes is not very appealing. Also, I want OWNERSHIP in the building and the land around it. That would be impossible in a DT.

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Apartment buildings aren't bad, its just different. The closer you live to other people the more noises there will be. If you want complete seclusion the city is not for you. Parking is the only problem. I like living downtown though, and I am sort of dissapointed that I will have to live someplace other than a downtown soon. Oh well.

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Many hardware stores also offer delivery for large items. No need to lug it yourself. That said, I have seen people in NYC, and even on our buses, lugging large and heavy items around. I live in Downtown, Minneapolis and live very well without a car. For freedom, I always have my bicycle, which is plenty good for distances of upto 10 miles.

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A car is essential in my life. My fiancee currently lives in Florence while I live in Columbia. We are both close with our familes which require car trips to Bennettsville and Charleston on some occasions and weekends. I have an SUV which allows me to transport luggage, furniture, and storage boxes. I can say that I truly have "utilized" my Jeep. The thing is, without a car, I could not do the things that I want to do and need to do. Maybe you can get by without one, but that is not my lifestyle choice or others.

What I disagree with is lugging things around on buses like you have mentioned. It seems like that would be a terrible inconvenience for other people on the bus as well as the people moving these heavy items. I know people like a challenge, but I have enough of those in my life to not want more of them! ;)

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What many people don't realize is that having a car costs a lot of money.

Actually a lot more money than moving on mass transit and having to rent a car to move things from home depot.

If you add up what you pay for your car, plus fuel, plus maintenance, plus insurance, plus the depreciation of the car plus the cost of the environmental impact, a car is anything but a bargain.

So living in a city and moving in mass transit is a lot cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

People dont have the freedom with mass transit because cities arent planned for mass transit in the US. It doesnt happen that way in other parts of the world and you can be equally free without giving that much money to car companies, insurance companies and oil companies.

I personally think a healthy city should have suburbs and urban environment, but not in such disproportion as it happens in most american cities. Everyone should have an option.

Having a dilapidated downtown is just a waste of valuable land that usually has a great location and can be easily connected with public transit.

But urban environments are so scarce now, that the new generation (that i think are more urban inclined), cant afford the soaring prices of downtown living.

Suburbia promotes individuality and it's terribly exclusive to sector of the society like disabled, elderly, young people (teenagers not able to drive). I dont think they feel particularly free living in suburban areas. I thank not having to grow as a teenager in suburbia.

Suburban areas also lack of character.

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i believe one of the reasons is that the united states is a physically large country with money to spend. if you look at economically similar europe, most of the people live in the city. the difference between europe and the united states though, is that europe is so much older than the u.s. their cities were there way before mass transportation and most people had to live in a city to survive. this was true in the united state when it was first colonized. but then look what happened when the railroads were built. people started moving west. sure, europe has mass transportation the same time that we did, but they were already saturated with people. living in the united states was simply a new way to live. people could have their own space. this has always been a big attraction to people moving here. i do see an upswing of cities beggining to revitalize their cores however, and i am 100% for it. just look how well it's worked in europe. we still have a lot to learn from them.

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