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View Poll Results: Suburbs - the BEST of both worlds (urban and rural) or the WORST
BEST of both worlds 45 37.50%
WORST of both worlds. 75 62.50%
Voters: 120. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 05-08-2008, 09:44 AM
 
24,781 posts, read 26,159,449 times
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I think it really depends on the suburb.

We live in an established, forested suburb that's close to the city, very high household income, with great zoning. There's only one chain fast food establishment in the entire city. There are sidewalks, great schools, non-existent crime, and a very strong sense of community.

However, we have lived in suburbs that were a 45-minute commute to work, unzoned concrete hells with bad traffic and wall-to-wall retail, soulless subdivisions devoid of trees, and zero neighborhood spirit. These were places where nobody put down roots. They were just looking for a place to sleep in between stints at work.

So, it's really hard to depict suburbs as one kind or another.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:17 AM
 
583 posts, read 799,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
The suburbs offer peace and quiet and privacy compared to the city. I can't imagine looking out my window and seeing soulless concrete, crowds of people and cluttered streets. i need trees and grass and an open sky.
You bring up good points, but I am pretty surprised of your perception of the 'city landscape' when you say you live in DC area. When thinking of the city of Washington DC, soulless concrete and lack of green is not really what comes to mind.
If you haven't found trees, grass and open sky (given how 'low rise' DC is) in the city proper where have you been looking? Most large cities in the US and other countries have at least one very large park where you won't even feel you are in the city when you are in the midst of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
This is why gentrification has its limits, you can reduce crime but you can't give people things like nature, peacefulness, and privacy that the suburbs and rural areas offer. Plus many suburbs offer things like entertainment and diverse restaurants.
I agree that nature and peacefulness is more prevalent outside of the city, but that's what I would associate with the rural areas not suburbs. Most suburbs I've had a chance to live in or work in have not been peaceful at all. To add to that, I would take soulless concrete of the city over the soulless stucco, adobe, or faux-brick of the master planned suburbs any time.

I do agree though that diverse restaurants exist in suburbs, in the case with Washington DC area actually majority of very good ethnic restaurants are in the suburbs, we found ourselves driving outside of the city for good and inexpensive ethnic eats.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 3,048,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missymomof3 View Post
I agree. I much rather green than concrete.
I just don't understand this. Cities are not all concrete. If anything, I'd say the suburbs have more unpleasant, baron concrete landscapes then the cities. Where I am moving to this summer is a street lined with tall oak trees, right next to a pocket park with large trees and plenty of greenery. Also two blocks from a river with large trees, plenty of green and walking trails. Where my parents live in the suburbs? Well, lots of green around -- but it's not "public" space. It's in people's yards. And to go any place to do any type of activity (shopping, school) you must travel along an ugly suburban collector road surrounded by seas of parking lots. Whereas walking to shops near my new house in the city, I walk on shady streets by pocket parks. But yea, cities are all concrete
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 3,048,084 times
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I also think this poll should be made more clear. There ARE good suburbs. These are "inner-ring" suburbs that were founded in the early 20th century. Tree-lined streets, small shops and houses that front the sidewalks. If anything, these suburbs are more like the cities they were developed right outside of.

Then there are the suburbs formed after WW2, these are the bad ones. Full of sprawl and ugliness with separated land uses.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:47 AM
 
583 posts, read 799,791 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
I also think this poll should be made more clear. There ARE good suburbs. These are "inner-ring" suburbs that were founded in the early 20th century. Tree-lined streets, small shops and houses that front the sidewalks. If anything, these suburbs are more like the cities they were developed right outside of.

Then there are the suburbs formed after WW2, these are the bad ones. Full of sprawl and ugliness with separated land uses.
I guess this poll induced a lot of ambiguity and that's why posters often say "suburbs are not all made equal". I can't disagree with that. I normally would 'classify' the 'good', walkable, connected, early suburbs to be either small towns or the parts of residential city neighborhoods. It's all a matter of technicality, I guess.

What I meant by 'suburbs' in this example are the ones mostly associated with the later sprawl.

Some newer upscale and less dense suburbs I've seen in NOVA are situated in really picturesque heavily wooded areas, but the trees often get cut down to make enormous ugly bare lawns for the McMansions. Even though the houses may look nice, they don't really integrate with the nature around. I would feel more 'peaceful' if my house would be surrounded by mature trees as opposed to a faceless bare lawn and other identical McMansions I would see from every window. Are these places as noisy as the cheaper and denser suburbs? of course, not, there is much more space between you and your neighbor, but are they peaceful or 'in touch with nature' like rural areas? I don't think so.
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 3,048,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KT13 View Post
I guess this poll induced a lot of ambiguity and that's why posters often say "suburbs are not all made equal". I can't disagree with that. I normally would 'classify' the 'good', walkable, connected, early suburbs to be either small towns or the parts of residential city neighborhoods. It's all a matter of technicality, I guess.

What I meant by 'suburbs' in this example are the ones mostly associated with the later sprawl.

Some newer upscale and less dense suburbs I've seen in NOVA are situated in really picturesque heavily wooded areas, but the trees often get cut down to make enormous ugly bare lawns for the McMansions. Even though the houses may look nice, they don't really integrate with the nature around. I would feel more 'peaceful' if my house would be surrounded by mature trees as opposed to a faceless bare lawn and other identical McMansions I would see from every window. Are these places as noisy as the cheaper and denser suburbs? of course, not, there is much more space between you and your neighbor, but are they peaceful or 'in touch with nature' like rural areas? I don't think so.
It's funny you mention noise. Once again, I have to say that I will disagree with the popular notion that cities are more "noisy" then suburbs. Of course you can't make a blanket statement - but I would argue that there are many cities neighborhoods more quiet then their suburban counterparts. As you point out, a newer suburban neighborhood is often void of older mature trees (and less dense housing) that provide a barrier to the sounds of collector roads and highways. I've been in many city neighborhoods completely quiet except for the sounds of birds chirping and the occaisonal car driving down the street -- compared to a suburban neighborhood filled with the constant sound of a six-lane highway humming in the distance.
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:53 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,134 posts, read 58,222,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
I also think this poll should be made more clear. There ARE good suburbs. These are "inner-ring" suburbs that were founded in the early 20th century. Tree-lined streets, small shops and houses that front the sidewalks. If anything, these suburbs are more like the cities they were developed right outside of.

Then there are the suburbs formed after WW2, these are the bad ones. Full of sprawl and ugliness with separated land uses.
It is just not the "inner-ring" suburbs that are the "good" ones. We live in an old coal-mining town turned suburb some 25 miles from Denver. It is a great place to live and especially to raise a family. Some of the "inner-ring" suburbs of Denver are more cookie-cutter and bland, IMO.

5280.com - May 2008 - Where to Buy (Even) Now
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:37 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
810 posts, read 2,683,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danwxman View Post
These are "inner-ring" suburbs that were founded in the early 20th century. Tree-lined streets, small shops and houses that front the sidewalks.
I agree about the type of "suburbs" you refer to as being lovely... but out here in the West those areas are typically grouped along with the "inner city" or "mid-city," with the "suburb" definition starting at postwar neighborhoods... although they were very much suburbs at one point.


And as for some that think that midcentury vs. recent suburbs have a huge dichotomy .... even that is subject to a case by case basis as I see it. Midcentury subs are no more walkable than newer ones. Plus, the only reason that they may be tree-filled compared to the newer ones is because they've simply had the time to let foliage mature.

In my experience, here on the west coast, the older-ring suburbs are the ones with fewer trees (outside of people's yards) - they're the ones with the wall-to wall parking lots and huge signs out on the main drags. The newer ones are where you'll see the tree-lined medians and some attempt at greenery along the roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.

I don't think it's really old vs. new, it's simply the demand at the time that they were built. During a boom, anything will sell - so developers don't need to give anything much thought. During times that are closer to equilibrium in demand, there must be a certain degree of thoughtfulness that will entice those to move there. I go look at model homes from time to time just for kicks, and I remember looking at new homes in the mid 1990's in Sacramento, right before the big boom started - homes were quite nice, and neighborhoods were quite thoughtful, in both location and looks. Then, the boom started and that quality just couldn't be seen again.

Last edited by tande1n5; 05-08-2008 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:01 PM
Status: "Happy Halloween!" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,134 posts, read 58,222,176 times
Reputation: 19687
^^^ I agree with that and I also think city planners have learned a few things over time. Landscaping, etc are more important to people now.
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:48 PM
 
5,198 posts, read 8,709,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
It is just not the "inner-ring" suburbs that are the "good" ones. We live in an old coal-mining town turned suburb some 25 miles from Denver. It is a great place to live and especially to raise a family. Some of the "inner-ring" suburbs of Denver are more cookie-cutter and bland, IMO.

5280.com - May 2008 - Where to Buy (Even) Now
I agree. For my tastes, the best location of all is a town toward the outer fringe of a metro area, close enough to the city for that best-of-both worlds quality people seek in the 'burbs, but far enough out to have its own independent character and real sense of local community. This can get tricky, though. I used to live in a town like that, and loved it. In the twenty-odd years since I moved from there, the area has grown, and the sprawling kind of suburbia has started to overtake that town that was once the best of all worlds. Nice arrangement if you can find a town like that, though.

By the way, I didn't vote, because of the point several people have made here that it depends on the suburb. I'd need a choice of "It depends" in order to show my thoughts accurately with a vote.
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