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Thread: Suburbia Gone Wild

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Suburbia Gone Wild

    One of the things I like to do with Google Maps is explore various urbanized areas outside of the New World (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) where vehicle-oriented suburban development is the norm, and find patterns of development that might not seem so out of place in suburban Cleveland, Calgary, or Cape Town.

    Here's a new Web site featuring examples of New World-style suburbia from places where one would lease expect it: Suburbia Gone Wild (http://www.suburbiagonewild.com).
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Odd. It is poorly made flash, but I get the idea. The focus seems to be on interior instead of exterior. Or am I seeing something wrong?
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmmm......

    Nothing odd here, just a view of the rest of the world wanting a taste of the West.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I think it's important to bear in the mind that, for the most part, these projects (several of which I worked on, I hate to admit) are (relatively) equity-driven playgrounds for the rich in their respective countries instead of debt-driven future slums for the soon to be foreclosed-upon. Very few Chinese or Indonesian citizens will ever live like this - most aspire, instead, to an anonymous highrise mass housing unit in a city somewehre. And thank goodness for that, because their countries clearly don't have the land or resources for everybody to live like this...

    hopefully, Clearly, China's 800 milion member middle class can't all end up living in a single family detached home... let's do some numbers: say, if 70% of 800,000,000 people will eventually want to live in suburbia (as they do in the US) at an average density of of 8 units per gross acre and at 70% utilization of land for residential development and given where Chinese household sizes will be in, say 10 year.. that's 35 million acres!
    Last edited by Cismontane; 23 May 2011 at 8:35 PM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    ... let's do some numbers: say, if 70% of 800,000,000 people will eventually want to live in suburbia (as they do in the US) at an average density of of 8 units per gross acre and at 70% utilization of land for residential development and given where Chinese household sizes will be in, say 10 year.. that's 35 million acres!
    In order to power all those building envelopes and build the support structure and transpo, we would have to run a power line directly to the sun.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Most of you are forgetting that there have always been low density middle - upper middle class neighborhoods in most parts of the world, so suburbia isn't quite a new concept. The middle class suburb originated in Europe even if the Americans perfected it and in the 19th century the model of single-family detached dwelling in groomed landscaped settings was being exported all over the world - a concept not difficult to adapt to local environments given that most people still lived in single family dwellings.

    The houses featured in the link are still being inhabited by people in the top 1-5% income bracket for their country (it is interesting to note that these houses aren't necessarily that large). If these people prefer to live in a more "suburban" environment than an urban high-rise, more kudos to them.

    In fact, I completely understand the attraction for the clean living environment typified by the idealized suburbia. I've traveled through large parts of SE Asia and the cities are chaotic, crowded and dirty places (Hello Hanoi? Absolutely nothing in the US compares). Places like the new suburban developments offer a fresh breath of respite away from the hordes and crowds. But while the middle class in Asia is certainly growing it will never be *that* large. China will never have a 800 million middle class - it's economic model is based on having very cheap labour. Most Chinese in urban areas will always live in cramped highrises.


    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    I think it's important to bear in the mind that, for the most part, these projects (several of which I worked on, I hate to admit) are (relatively) equity-driven playgrounds for the rich in their respective countries instead of debt-driven future slums for the soon to be foreclosed-upon. Very few Chinese or Indonesian citizens will ever live like this - most aspire, instead, to an anonymous highrise mass housing unit in a city somewehre. And thank goodness for that, because their countries clearly don't have the land or resources for everybody to live like this...

    hopefully, Clearly, China's 800 milion member middle class can't all end up living in a single family detached home... let's do some numbers: say, if 70% of 800,000,000 people will eventually want to live in suburbia (as they do in the US) at an average density of of 8 units per gross acre and at 70% utilization of land for residential development and given where Chinese household sizes will be in, say 10 year.. that's 35 million acres!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PennPlanner View post
    Most of you are forgetting that there have always been low density middle - upper middle class neighborhoods in most parts of the world, so suburbia isn't quite a new concept. The middle class suburb originated in Europe even if the Americans perfected it and in the 19th century the model of single-family detached dwelling in groomed landscaped settings was being exported all over the world - a concept not difficult to adapt to local environments given that most people still lived in single family dwellings.

    The houses featured in the link are still being inhabited by people in the top 1-5% income bracket for their country (it is interesting to note that these houses aren't necessarily that large). If these people prefer to live in a more "suburban" environment than an urban high-rise, more kudos to them.

    In fact, I completely understand the attraction for the clean living environment typified by the idealized suburbia. I've traveled through large parts of SE Asia and the cities are chaotic, crowded and dirty places (Hello Hanoi? Absolutely nothing in the US compares). Places like the new suburban developments offer a fresh breath of respite away from the hordes and crowds. But while the middle class in Asia is certainly growing it will never be *that* large. China will never have a 800 million middle class - it's economic model is based on having very cheap labour. Most Chinese in urban areas will always live in cramped highrises.
    This is exactly why Americans who could afford them moved to suburban-like settings even in the 19th century, especially when cities really started to grow after the 1870s. Most of these "suburbs" were within city limits because 19th cities had large areas of undeveloped land within their boundaries. In fact, in upstate NY and western PA, most cities had developable land into the 1950s and 1960s, and I don't think they were alone in this. I'm also not talking about "infill". I'm talking about brand-new developments that look and feel just like suburban developments built around the same time.

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