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Old 10-22-2008, 07:25 AM
5 posts, read 21,123 times
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I am old and remember the good old days of suburban America. I remember when the suburbs were really nice places to live and were demographically and ethnically homogeneous, basically crime free and full of big lots and woods. If you needed to go shopping, you drove into the city, the suburbs were bedroom communities. Your job was in the city also. Your home again was just a bedroom community.

In the year 2008, is there any old fashioned bedroom communities with lots of trees, fields, and strictly single family homes? Where if you wanted to shop and work you would have to drive to the next big City?

What did you think of the ethnically and demographically similar bedroom community suburban model of the 1950s? Would anyone want to live in such a place today?
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Old 10-25-2008, 02:31 PM
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I can't think of many in Chicago. There are perhaps a few communities way out on the fringes that are almost all residential. There are also a few closer into the city, but they are in such densely populated areas, I don't know if they would really count. Most towns at least have a chain supermarket, if not at a couple of big box stores. There are still a lot of towns without any significant number of jobs, though.
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:28 PM
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I'm not sure there ever was a time when there were large areas with nothing but houses. Even during the rapid growth of the suburbs after World War Two, there must have been local shopping centers with smalll stores that catered to everyday needs.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that maybe you're feeling some nostalgia for the days of family trips into the city to shop in big stores or take in the occasional movie at a grand old-fashioned downtown theater. Some things have changed a lot since those days. Maybe there are still a few of those old movie theaters left, but for the most part they seem to be gone. There are still big stores in cities, but I'm thinking that people in the suburbs are less inclined to go there when they have the convenience of big malls close by.

Although I doubt that it's true that you used to have to go to the city for everything, certainly there is much more economic activity in the suburbs of today than there once was. Big suburban malls provide shopping and entertainment opportunities, and there are even quite a few jobs in the suburbs now, with the presence of office and technology parks. I'm not sure that this is a bad development. I love downtowns. I love big-city downtowns, when they are vibrant places with various amenities, not made up mostly of office buildings while the nightlife is sprinkled around a city's outlying neighborhoods. I love small-town and small-city downtowns, when they are clean and prosperous, and are not dominated by little fancy snooty shops but have plenty of the kinds of small businesses that serve people in everyday life. Still, it's convenient to have the mall close by. There is a lack of soul about malls and office parks, but they are convenient. I'm not sure why their presence should compromise the quality of life in the suburbs. I don't see why crime and a decline in housing stock would follow from the increase of suburban economic activity.

Whatever the case about the effect of such economic activity on the quality of life in the suburbs, certainly suburbia as a whole is no longer a place that serves simply as home base for people who all work and shop in the nearest big city. There are still large residential areas in the suburbs, though. There are still areas where most residents are at a similar, middle-class, economic level, with clean neighborhoods of one tidy little house after another. It's just that now, when people who live there hop into their cars to go out shopping, they do not have to drive twenty miles to the city, but are more likely to take a quick spin to the mall five miles away. When they go out for entertainment, a restaurant at a mall and a movie at the multiplex are options. Suburban residents can go to the city if they wish, but now there are other possibilities. Right in the neighborhoods where they live, plenty of today's suburbanites are still surrounded by the land of the backyard barbecue.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:52 PM
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I know what you are talking about. These places disappeared when suburban "shopping plazas" were built in the 50s, which later morphed into malls and spawned "big boxes". At the same time, retail virtually left the city, leaving nothing but specialty and high-end stores. This all happened due to the development of the freeway, which ironically drew people in great numbers to what they would soon destroy.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:59 PM
Location: St Simons Island, GA
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Atherton, CA
Belleair, FL
Two communities that I can think of that are strictly residential.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:27 PM
Location: 河南郑州, Kansas City, Iowa, Fargo
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Eagle Run, North Dakota.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:47 PM
Location: Cortland, Ohio
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My hometown of Cortland, Ohio is somewhat of a bedroom community (to Warren, Ohio). Mostly residential, a downtown w/a few small specialty shops, a couple parks, but mostly single family homes.
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:41 PM
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Woodside, CA; LosAltosHills, CA....most commute to offices in various nearby SiliconValley suburbs

Atherton, CA fits description to some extent...but many in Atherton are building estates (on 4-20 acres) in Woodside to move further away from the crime of RedwoodCity and the crime corridor near the 101 fwy....modern urban regions have numerous crime-ridden slums in the suburbs....

Eastern Lake Forest, IL is arguably a bedroom suburb....

Suspect in era of deep recession; higher rates of urban street crime; and higher taxes in urban settings (despite inept public schools and barely passable roads), upscale suburbs (w/limited commercial nonsense and w/homes on >2 acres each) will once again become rather fashionable among the <40yo crowd w/families....similar urban flight from big cities to suburbs as occurred in '70s-'80s....
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:49 PM
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HELL NO!!! Why would I want to live in a place that is ethnically similar? That sounds horrible. I wouldn't fit in. I wouldn't want to live in a place that is ridiculously homogenous. I would want to teach my kids that there is a big world out there. I would fail them as a father if I did not. Mixed communities are better than the "ticky-tacky" suburbs of the 1950s. My father grew up in an all-white suburb. When he married my mom and they moved in with my grand-parents (since my parents just moved from Ivory Coast then Algeria) my mother was the only black person there. My parents where chastized. This was in suburban San Diego in the mid 1970s. Why should we go back to red-lining people because of race. If any person can afford a house, let them. Plus the suburban model is really bad for the environment. I live in what was America's 6th fastest growing city 2006 and America's fastest growing 1991. It is suburbia to the max. Its downtown is a shopping mall. Traffic as far as the eye can see. Rush hour is horrible. The mountains are covered with McMansions. The only good thing is that it is one of America's most ethnically diverse cities. But we need to remember that we have limited resources and suburbs without jobs are not feasible. Single Family homes in moderation are fine as long as they are in walking distance from schools and super markets. And mass transit to near-by jobs in the suburb would really help.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:05 PM
Location: Zurich, Switzerland/ Piedmont, CA
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The Bay Area has quite a few. Piedmont immediately comes to mind.
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