Dolores Hayden on Suburbia’s Hope

"Americans have cherished suburbia in many of its forms, but many people feel puzzled and frustrated by the tracts, malls and freeways found in edge nodes and rural fringes. A new generation hopes to start over. The problem is that many people believe that starting over means exerting total design control over elite enclaves or placing isolated houses in undeveloped land. For all the talk of smart growth, what might it mean to be smart? Suburbia is the hinge, the connection between past and future, between old inequalities and new possibilities. In all kinds of existing suburbs, inequalities of gender, class, and race have been embedded in material form. So have unwise environmental choices. To preserve, renovate, and infill the suburban neighborhood of the past can make the suburban city more egalitarian and sustainable."

Dolores Hayden, from Building Suburbia GreenFields and Urban Growth, 1820-2000, 2003.

This is part of a collection of quotes related to cities. They don't necessarily reflect our views, just topics of interest. We welcome you to add others.

Credits: Photo of suburban life by Carl Sandbag, from Mad Magazine c. 1974.

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