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Loving suburbia!

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
28
Which of you Cyburbanites love the suburbs?!

I grew up in the 'burbs and loved it! All the complaints of it being an auto-oriented hell do not ring true to me. I had many freedoms and my parents let me go practically anywhere I wanted. Perhaps they were a little too permissive, but I was the youngest of 4 that spanned 11 years between myself and my oldest subling, so I'm sure my parents were too tired and already broken-in by my more mischevious older sublings. I was able to ride my bike to the comic book store, to the many 7-11s to buy baseball cards, to the video arcade, to the toy store to gawk at all the Kenner Star Wars toys, to the mall that was 5 miles away, and to practically anywhere else I could have dreamed! I don't know what it is about these complaints from planners and self-assumed urbanites who constantly deride the suburbs. Sure, as an adult, the driving does get a little crazy, but it's quick and convenient, even though its a tad bit expensive when considering gas, maintenance, and insurance.

Was I bored in the suburbs when I was at home and not on my bike? Not that I recall. I don't think I was spoiled, but I had plenty to keep me entertained at home and had plenty of friends in the neighborhood. Plus I had 3 older siblings to harrass!! Maybe I had a weird imiganition and was too much of an introvert reading my comics, Highlights, and Electric Company magazine, but for some reason, I don't have bad memories of suburbia. Am I an anomoly, or have familes and values changed significantly in the past 20 years? I have no children of my own, so admittedly, I am not too keen on the new pressures and issues that affect children and families these days.

So what's up about all those complaints about the so-called American Suburban Hell? Was my situation and family experience unique or am I missing something here? Suburbia rocks!!!
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
I too grew up in suburbia but I don't claim it as home. I still attended school in the city - rode up to 3 transit buses for an hour each day when I was old enough to travel on my own. My church was in the city. I did most of my shopping (clothes and such) in the city. All of my friends and the rest of my family lived in the city. The city had all of the attractions - Canal Street (before its decline into cheap retail hell), the French Quarter, the Riverwalk, the Superdome, etc. etc. When I turned 18, I used a relative's address so that I could register to vote in Orleans Parish (county), not Jefferson (which was considered the 'burbs). I'm glad that I was allowed the opportunity to be exposed to both sides of the Parish line as it has helped me tremendously as a planner in this area.

Ironically, as much as I love the city, I still live in the suburbs, but for no other reason than the fact that it's cheaper for the time being.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I grew up in the suburbs. It was a nice place then, an older suburb that started along the rail line heading north from Chicago in the 1800's. It had a traditional downtown with a train station, village hall, library, stores, and old streets in a grid pattern lined with elms forming a cathedral ceiling. There was a pool built by the WPA a few blocks from downtown.

I lived in a house built in the 50's in what was not quite the old pattern of building, but not the later sprawl either. After ten years of college, Army and rambling around, I moved back to the area. It had changed, lost its charm, even its soul. No, I don't love suburbia.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
My exurbia is now a suburbia

I grew up in the Town of Delafield, WI when it was "exurban". My parents built a modest ranch home of about 2,000 square feet for a mere $50,000. It was in the early 70's in one of the Town's first subdivisions, unsewered and with no local services such as trash collection or police protection. The house next door was the original farm house dating to the 1860's. Our lot had the barn on it, which was razed right before we took occupancy. There were notraffic lights for miles. Doctors, and all but the most basic retail were 25-30 minutes away. The local grociery store was about 6,000 square feet, and only things like barbers and supper clubs were around. Without a bike, there was nothing to do except go play at the landfill. Milwaukee was 30 miles east, but I never ventured there unless we were on a school field trip. The bus ride to middle school was over 1 hour each direction. I can honestly say, I hated it until I had a car of my own. But it was safe, and the schools were good, and I turned out alright I guess.

Fast forward 30 years : Home Deport, Target, Kohls Department Store amongst others, all crowd the freeway interchange. The road has been expanded to 6 lanes, and there are 4 stop lights in the 1 mile between that house and the new retail establishments. Yet somehow it all seems to work, and when I compare that busy interchange to others that have popped up recently, I think the area has been one of the best planned in the area. The old 'town center' has been gentrified with a Williamsburg Colonial design theme, which looks awesome (despite the fact that the locals hate the developer!)
Now, the average new home price is approaching $700,000.

Yep, sad to say it's not only a suburb now, but its trending towards being an upscale one too.

**sign** I guess you can never go home.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
I grew up in Philly then moved to the burbs for four years, and I'm now back in Philly. I'm never moving again. There is just so much in the city that the suburbs can't offer. My own sports teams, restaurants, clubs, bars, bike lanes, a real newspaper, etc, etc.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
I grew up in the 'burbs and only recently moved into the central city a few months ago. Am still getting used to not having any garden or yard, and never really getting clean seaside air like I used to have. I like living in the city for a change but I miss the suburbs. I always lived within walking distance of school, and we had a small town centre also within walking distance. But post high school, all my age group have moved away - there isn't enough in the way of entertainment, employment or even tertiary education to keep us there. But it was a great place to grow up.
 

GeogPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,433
Points
25
i grew up in a blue collar city neighborhood made up of two family two story flats. i'm still here...i live next door to my childhood home now. my girlfriend came from the burbs and said she'd have a hard time going back and giving up the ability to walk to the Post, the corner market, church, etc.

i've had family who live in the burbs and while it seems inviting...i still have not been able to leave this good ol' neighborhood.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
I grew up on the northwest side of Detroit; in the city but away from much of the blight further in. I left Detroit in the early 80's to spend seven years in Muncie, IN (culture shock!). After that I moved to the Chicago area, where I've been in and out of the suburbs. I'm presently living on the southwest side of Chicago.

I would have admitted to an anti-suburb bias several years ago; I saw the suburbs almost as leeches that were drawing the life out of vibrant cities. If you grew up in Detroit in the '70s, you might think so, too. But I'm rather neutral toward suburbs now. I realized they're not going anywhere, and that possibly my opinion was strongly in the minority. Suburbs are what they are; there are positives and negatives, good and bad. They can be improved upon, just like our cities.

pete-rock said:
I grew up on the northwest side of Detroit
My neighborhood was full of two-story colonial style homes built between 1945 and 1950. It was family-oriented with many kids, a mix of blue-collar assembly line workers, mid-level auto execs and other professionals.
 
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Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
I grew up in the Village of Merton, Wisconsin, which is about 20 miles west of Milwaukee. When I was a kid, living there was great, as a teenager (before I had my driver's license) living there sucked. When I got my driver's license, I was in Milwaukee several times each week. When it came time for college, I chose UW-Milwaukee because I loved City life. I have lived in Milwaukee since then (over 11 years).

Merton was more of a small town than a suburb when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. There was a post office, a bait store, a feed mill, a small food store, and a couple of taverns. Then throughout the 90s, the farms were replaced by subdivisions, many of them upscale. Now it looks like suburbia, with large homes, large lots, and mini-vans everywhere.

I guess I could see myself living in a traditional "small town," with small lots and a walkable downtown area, but a subdivision in the middle of suburbia is out of the question.
 

dmvallie

Cyburbian
Messages
22
Points
2
raised in suburbia

I was raised in the suburbs
first neighborhood was great, hundreds of other kids to play with and even as young as 5, I was allowed to go all over the neighborhood.
second place was not really a neighborhood, a bit more sprawl but all the teens accepted that you walked 2 miles to friends house or to the movies(or pestered parents for a ride)


FAST FORWARD
I would like a small town that is very walkable. So... fond memories of what used to be suburbs but don't want to live in what most suburbs are now and I don't want any large cities either.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I grew up in the suburbs, went to the suburban high school, etc.
Absolutely hated it. My home town is extremely class consciouss and snobby, and being a working class, very bookish, non-athletic nerd was not much fun in a high school full of "Trish, the Daughter of the Mayor's Personal Attorney" and "Chip, the star quarterback/son of the bank vice president" and the like. Never felt like I fit in. Not that City neighborhoods are never snobby either! (In San Francisco, it is far worse, of course). But, my personal history is not very pro-suburban.

I would never consider living in a standard subdivision on the fringe of a town. Don't like the aesthetics, the social attitudes, the visual dullness, or the auto-orientation of modern suburbs. But, suburbia as a mass contains small pockets where this is not true.

Today, I live in a suburban city on the outskirts of the Bay Area. Vacaville at least has a traditional core, with a sleepy Main Street and some sense of local community. I can be in open countryside on my bicylce in ten minutes. I can walk downtown (as sleepy as it is, it has a few services). There is actually a variety of architecture in my neighborhood, from Victorian mansion to shacky hovel (with the wrestling ring and seven-foot tall plywood fence) within three blocks.

Ideal? Nah, I would still feel more at home in San Francisco or Berkeley. But, downtown Vacaville ain't no sprawling subdivision either, and I feel no need (or ability, to be honest), barring a winning lottery ticket, to move.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I grew up in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles (the Valley)... about the 'burbiest place I can think of. I loved it as a kid... although it was suburbia, it had some L.A.-equivalent elements of more rural areas.

As an example, my boyfriend often waxes nostalgic about his farm life upbringing in Nova Scotia. When he starts talking about biking around with his friends and playing in the local streams, I often counter with "well I did the same stuff!" It's amazing to think now that my friends and I when we were 7 or 8 years old would run wild in Los Angeles in the late-70s. The Los Angeles River (which is really a concrete ditch with a trickle of water) was located across the street from my house. We used to climb down into the storm sewer and play in the river! I loved Sherman Oaks... I still do to some extent.

I like to live in the suburbs now, but usually the ones that were exurban during the 50s. I usually pick the oldest houses near the core areas to live. I loved living in downtown Davis, CA and Woodland, CA. Given the chance (and the six digit income to achieve it), I would gladly move to the town I work for outside of Edmonton.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Downtown Davis is quite charming. Although it would have meant a longer commute and not as nice a house, I sometimes wish now I had bought in Davis. Today? $300K for a 1965 rancher-and very, very few houses for sale.

Still, using Davis and Woodland as examples begs the question that has been beaten to death on this (and other :)) boards: what is suburbia. Woodland is a County seat/agribusiness/farm town that has only recently (last 15 years) picked up a significant suburban fringe. Davis is a small University town that has seen similar suburban growth on the fringe. Neither town is the standard suburb that I at least find unappealing (although I know why they get built and understand the appeal of the "new house" on the edge of town)
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
BKM...

I agree that Woodland is questionable as a suburb, but Davis most definitely is suburban. I think part of it is how much do they depend on services from the larger metropolitan areas. I think despite the fact that Davis tries to think of itself as its own little city (often called "The Republic"), Mace Ranch, Willowbank, and many other areas of South and East Davis are commuter havens for Sacramento. When I left the area in 1995, towns like Dixon were moving from cute farmtown to suburban sprawl (at least in my mind).

I still wouldn't mind living in any of these towns (except for it's too damn hot in the summer!)... as long as I could be near the core area where pre-50s architecture and street design is still intact.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Nerudite: I would certainly agree with you that Davis is increasingly serving as a suburb of Sacramento (as is much of Woodland-and Dixon, now). That is true of most metro areas though- did the hipsters commuting from San Francisco to San Jose make San Francisoc a "suburb" of Silicon Valley.

This is an unanswerable question :) what is a suburb?
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
We live in surburban Albany, and although when growing up, I swore that I'd either be a city girl or a country girl, but never suburban (which I always associated with Levittown/Jersey/Westchester). However, I really don't think that where we live will be so bad for our kids - they are walking distance to all three of their future schools, the town park, a local Stewarts (a Capital District 7/11) and comic book shop.

I do, however, hate the suburban subdivisions that are willy nilly plopped in the middle of a field, with absolutely no connections to other neighborhoods or amenities, that force kids to be completely dependant upon their parents for transportation. And we've got plenty of those in our town and can't seem to develop houses in them fast enough.

And nerudite - my brother just got an apartment in Sherman Oaks and is pretty excited about it - I'm glad you feel so warmly about the town!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
VACAVILLE?

doesn't that translate into Cowtown?

or maybe my spanish is total crap.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
suburbs.. ehhhh

grew up in a town of 16,000 in BFE Illinois. 1.25 hours from ANYTHING.

1.25 hrs from Peoria, Bloomington, Joliet, and Aurora

I used to think suburbs were great because they offered me more shopping oppertunities. Then i realized the recycled standard corporate architecture sucked. I also realized that i enjoyed the diversity of my college life. Different people from different backgrounds. You just dont get that in MOST suburbs. I like cities, they offer me culture, and diversity, and a stronger community feeling.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Vacaville

Boiker: Well, Vacaville could certainly be translated as "Cow Town." And, given that a significant element of the demographics is similar to that described by Dan (lots of monster pick-ups, SUVs, a strong blue collar/contractor element of the population), and a history that still talks about small town and country roots (despite pushing 100,000 people in stucco and tile roof boxes), Cow Town would fit. (And, I love my neighborhood, which is the remnant of the old farm town that Vacaville was).

Actually, though (if anyone cares :) ) the name comes from one of the early land grant families: Juan de Vaca-whose adobe rancho we can still visit tucked away in a dusty park near the freeway
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
I'm a teacher in Queens,ny.When I was a child in urban Winnipeg Canada,I rode by myself or walked all over the neighborhood from 5 years and up.When I talk to the other teachers at my school they won't let their children[9 yrs to 14 yrs] go anywhere without them.They will walk to school, or take a taxi or bus with them to school.It is not that Woodside,Queens is not safe. They point to the kidnappings and things that happen on TV everyday.They tell me there is a law that children can not be unsupervised under the age of 12 years.By contrast at age 11[25 years ago] I was a patrol[crossing guard]for our elementary school.I now only see adult crossing guards wherever I go.Is this over protectionism the result of more traffic,different times,or maybe different countries?
 

illinoisplanner

Cyburbian
Messages
5,336
Points
25
I've spent my whole life in suburbia. I spent the first nine years of my life in Wheeling, IL. And the most recent nine years of my life in Lake in the Hills/Huntley, IL. They are both suburbs northwest of Chicago. I seemed to enjoy growing up in Wheeling a little better. I lived in a quaint 50s era ranch in a very dense neighborhood. There were nice big trees all over the place...I love trees. And I could ride my bike to school, to the library, to a drive-in gyro/burger joint, and to all my friends' houses. We even made long bike ventures to the state-of-the-art aquatic center or to Taco Bell once in a while. But we didn't like 6 mexican families living in one house and trailer park-type people moving in and destroying our neighborhood. The house also seemed much too small for us. We felt it was time for a change.

Then we moved an hour west to southeastern McHenry County, the poster child for sprawl. While the air is clean, the people are nice, the area is prosperous, and the aesthetics are gorgeous, I've never really been able to embrace it. I can't really ride my bike anywhere...if I do, I'm tired by the time I reach my destination and am too tired to ride back home. It took me a half hour to get to school because traffic is horrendous. But I did like being able to go to my friends' houses who lived on bigger lots than me, where we went swimming, dirt bike riding, jumping on the trampoline, and having big huge bonfires in people's back yards and out in the woods. I also am glad having gone to a better high school than the one I would've attended in Wheeling.

So growing up, suburbs are nice in some aspects, depending upon what you seek out of life, and what kind of suburbia you prefer. I guess I prefer the older suburbs, which are more bikable/walkable. But I also like ruralness nearby and economic prosperity. Big yards aren't that important to me, as long as there is plenty of public parkland/natural lands to make up for it.
 

spunky2

Cyburbian
Messages
65
Points
4
I grew up in the standard 80's suburb. The closest bus stop was a 45-minute walk away. Just a sea of houses. I think we had one park and it was about a 30 minute walk away. And it was just baseball fields. I was trapped. My parents worked all the time to pay for the damn house so they were never going to drive me anywhere. So basically, we just hung around the neighborhood and caused trouble. I remember throwing things down the storm drain for entertainment. Around Christmas time, my friends would try to break all the Christmas lights in the neighborhood.

When developers design to maximize their profit, the occupants suffer. When you give neighborhood kids absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to do, and price the homes so that the parents have to work night and day to pay for them, you increase what I like to call the "punkass factor". Then people complain about how there is so much vandalism, graffiti, etc. in their supposedly sheltered suburban neighborhood only to find out it's their own kids doing the damage. Mostly because they are bored to tears. And angry about it. That's why suburbia sucks. But it doesn't have to if it is designed well.
 

DC Librarian

Cyburbian
Messages
29
Points
2
I was raised in a medium-sized city (Niagara Falls, NY), and my family moved to the suburbs when I was entering high school (so I could go to a better school). My mom still lives in the suburbs, although an older neighborhood adjoining the city limits.

I have lived in both urban, suburban, and rural environments, and prefer to live in an urban environment. My partner and I live in the suburbs now (of Washington, DC), mostly because that is where he wants to be, and that is the most affordable at this time. We just moved out of DC proper wher we shared a row house with roommates. I loved it, but he wanted something more "apartment-complex-like".

He grew up in Chicago (north side - West Rogers Park), and we toy with the idea of moving back there some time.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
DC Librarian said:
I was raised in a medium-sized city (Niagara Falls, NY), and my family moved to the suburbs when I was entering high school (so I could go to a better school). My mom still lives in the suburbs, although an older neighborhood adjoining the city limits.

I have lived in both urban, suburban, and rural environments, and prefer to live in an urban environment. My partner and I live in the suburbs now (of Washington, DC), mostly because that is where he wants to be, and that is the most affordable at this time. We just moved out of DC proper wher we shared a row house with roommates. I loved it, but he wanted something more "apartment-complex-like".

He grew up in Chicago (north side - West Rogers Park), and we toy with the idea of moving back there some time.
I lived a semester in West Rogers Park-Western at Fargo. A nice neighborhood.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,793
Points
43
Suburbia is not too bad...heck I live here. Granted, it's streetcar suburbia (1900-1930), but it's certainly not car free living either.

I think a good distinction to make would be the kind of suburbia that's OK (subjective, I know).

The suburbia Wanigas? describes probably is/was nice and accessible for the non-drivers and I have known similar suburbia and liked it. Now the suburbia that spunky2 describes is certainly the stereotypically reviled suburbia that everyone speaks of. I have also known that suburbia and can certainly attest to it's spirit crushing capability. There must have been some weird change around 1970 that sucked all the remaining soul out of new suburban development.

But if one has to go low density residential living, I would prefer small town America. I grew up in a small city in northern Michigan. It was six miles end to end, but was an old(er) industrial city with lots of semi-abandoned places to explore and be harmlessly mischievous, which is essential for young male development ;-).
 

Jaxspra

Cyburbian
Messages
3,517
Points
24
My parents grew up in the city of St. Louis and bought a house way out from the City on an old farm. It was one of the only other new homes around. There was a little convenience shop, a corner bar and a few small service stores one block up. My parents eventually bought that store and ran it for some years. Then the houses started going in on the old farm when our friend moved "out to the country". I guess there was too much around him and he sold off the remainder of his property. Soon the area had tons of houses, lots of big cedar fences, etc. I lived there until I went to college. I still drive by all the time because my mom owns a different shop in the old nieghborhood. So yes I would definately say I grew up in suburbia but I loved it as well. We had open fields all around, shopping in walking distance and kids all around to play with.
I currently live in suburbia as well. Cul-de-sac, houses all around, no where to walk to unless you want to walk a mile to 7-11 (I do if I want to get out but it is more convenient to jump in the car to go there. However, I also don't lock my doors, I know all of my nieghbors and I don't freak out if the 3 year old wonders into the street (or even plays in the street)...those are things I couldn't do in the city.
If it were just me I would prefer to live in the city in an older, smaller home. But suburbia definately works for me right now.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I spent ages 11-18 in the suburbs. Beat living in the city. Our subdivision had a lake and several hundred acres of woods surrounding it. Spent many an afternoon and day traipsing around the piney woods.

We lived (my folks still do) in a gated community, which was intended to keep out those people. Though for years they have been trying to recruit a nice non-white New Orleans Saint to move into the subdivision. Just to do a little token representing, I guess. After several years I questioned whether the bad people were being kept out or in.

But it was a nice Beaver Cleaver sort of existence with well-maintained streets and infrastructure.
 

prana

Cyburbian
Messages
565
Points
17
I was definitely raised in the burbs like many on here. Milford, Ohio, outside of Cincy, from '79-'84 (4th-8th grade) and Sandy, Utah, outside of SLC, for high school. Like Wanigas, had tons of freedom to ride my bike out of our neighborhood and up to about 3 miles away from about 5th grade on. Milford had enough to keep us entertained and mostly out of trouble. Great neighborhood (300 homes) with almost exclusively families and probably close to 600 kids of school age. And we could name every one of them.

In Sandy, on the other hand, I couldn't get to much of anything without a car. Thankfully I was old enough to drive for most of it. About the only thing that I could walk to was the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon and hitchhike up to Snowbird or Alta!! :-D

And I only went through this little nostalgic trip to say that I think the burbs have changed significantly since the 80's. I know that I would not be allowed to make the same bike trips in Milford today as a 5th grader that I did then. The roads have gotten too big, too much traffic, too many dangers that a parent just couldn't control.

Today, we live in the downtown area of Loveland (pop. 70k+/-) with a distinct purpose of being able to WALK to my daughter's school, WALK to the grocery store, WALK to restaurants and bars, WALK to the library and rec center, BIKE to the movies and BIKE to work a good portion of the year. It's a shame that public transportation can't get us to Ft. Collins or Denver more easily. We would never get rid of VW bus because we camp way too much, but it could almost become a weekend vehicle if the public transportation was better.

Is Loveland the burbs or a city? A little of both. Most downtown residents still drive everywhere and then bitch that there is not enough parking in downtown. Well, genius, you just drove 4 blocks to meet your husband for dinner who drove 2 miles from work and now have taken up 2 parking spaces for your family of 3.4 people!! :-o
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,588
Points
22
spunky2 said:
I grew up in the standard 80's suburb. The closest bus stop was a 45-minute walk away. Just a sea of houses. I think we had one park and it was about a 30 minute walk away. And it was just baseball fields.
This is also what I think of when I hear the word suburb. The earlier descriptions of being able to walk to several convenience stores, comic book/toy stores, and other places isn't a typical suburb in my area.
Maybe that's the difference between suburbs and bedroom communities (and maybe my perception's a bit screwy), but it sounds to me like many people that described a good suburban upbringing grew up in a new urbanism-type of community which is, in my opinion, this middle ground between true urban and true SUB-urban.
Also to some degree, I think if children grow up in a good atmosphere, they generally like it - whether urban, suburban, or rural. It brings back good memories, so we can't then categorize it as all bad.

As for me, I actually wrote a paper in college about this very topic. And I came to the realization that if I had a good support system behind me (ie: family and friends to stand beside me), it didn't much matter to me where I lived. In my life -- living in downtown Stockholm, a cabin in the Adirondacks, a suburb of a declining city, and a small, small town -- I was only miserable when I didn't have some peops around me!
 
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sisterceleste

Cyburbian
Messages
1,519
Points
22
The Burbs are all right with me!!!

I raised my kids in the burbs. Nice PUD with utilities underground, neighborhood trails, pool, tennis courts plus they saved the trees. Kids had friends to play with. Gave them a great childhood.
I have lived in Boston and in Europe in big cities with mass transit and opera and I that was great then. But the burgs are where I am right now and that's all right with me!
 

ABS

Messages
104
Points
6
I'm yet another person raised in the suburbs. My area in Brisbane, QLD, Australia was built around the 1970s. I do like the suburbs, but there are better ways of doing development. Especially now that infill development is being encouraged in Brisbane I hope the zoning codes and NIMBY don't destroy it.
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
31
Bedroom Suburbia

This Bear lived in a couple of different suburbia-type neighborhoods.....

MacKondin Heights This incorporated in the city of Toledo area was just west of the 1950's shopping center, Westgate Village. All of the houses were ranch homes, usually brick, built by the same couple of developers. When we moved in (Bear at age six or seven) Central Avenue was just a 2-lane road. Now that same Central Avenue is five-lanes at this point.....and goes to even more lanes when you drive another five (5) miles west and get to the "real sprawl".

Otterpop called it a "Beaver Cleaver type of existence". That would describe the suburbia of my early youth.

Shoreland This incorporated in the city of Toledo area (adjacent to a very small unincorporated township) is in north Toledo, on the opposite side of the Ottawa River from Point Place (another T-town neighborhood). Everything we did involved the river and girls. 'Nuff said.

Just before graduating from high school my family moved to a Toledo neighborhood called Lincolnshire. More ranch houses. Adjacent-to the suburb of Ottawa Hills......2nd-highest income folks in Ohio. :cool:

The last twenty (20) or so years have seen this Bear in bedroom suburbs (Swanton) or in very-rural areas (Henry County), just west of BFE.

I have nothing against suburbs.

Bear
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
29
I never lived in the 'burbs until now. Having the 'burbs overlaid over a former small village makes some difference, as does the fact that the whole urban area is quite small, but having ridden our bikes on the town trail to see the fireworks last night, following a neighborhood picnic, following the community 4th of July parade, I have to say it can be pleasant. There are drawbacks: over-protective parents and spoiled kids, NIMBY-ism (it hasn't reared its ugly head in the time I've been here, but it is lurking out there), homegeneity, and the need to drive for most (we can walk to the library and one nice place to have breakfast or lunch) basic needs through what can, at times, be aggravating congestion. I know that our little 'burb is not at all like the vast tracts that surround larger cities, but the reasons people live here are essentially the same. What it suggests to me is that the critique of suburbia is in large part a critique of capitalism, of mass production and the way it transforms landscapes.

I can't evaluate the trade-offs with true city living, which I have never done. But this is similar to many small towns in character, just without the ability to walk (if you live in the "old" part of town) to basic services. It is not much different from living in a city of 50,000, depending on where you live in that city. My conclusion is that unless you live in the heart of a big city, a truly urban/urbane lifestyle, or in some of the most wealthy enclaves, the basics of life in America have become pretty much the same everywhere. So have the planning problems.

The 'burbs - including this one - could be a lot better. And history shows that we have always known how to make them so. Why didn't we? Because the nature of our economic system is to divide the individual and community interests and pit them against each other.
 
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