Is America’s suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?

Is America’s suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?
This piece in from a tipster about the changing American landscape. While I found it a bit reactionary about the upward tick in crime in some suburban communities as a result of subprime-related vacancies, the trends outlined by urban planning professor Christopher Leinberger seemed to reflect some of the realities we’re seeing in Newark and other New Jersey cities.

Last year, the population tipped from favoring suburban to urban communities when a study found that the majority of the American public now lives in cities.

I also found it interesting that when I asked Executive Director at Leadership Newark, Celia King, what her five-year prediction for Newark was, that she imagined — over every other prediction she could have made — that Newark would be a walkable community.

“The American dream is absolutely changing,” he told CNN.

This change can be witnessed in places like Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and Dallas, Texas, said Leinberger, where once rundown downtowns are being revitalized by well-educated, young professionals who have no desire to live in a detached single family home typical of a suburbia where life is often centered around long commutes and cars.

Instead, they are looking for what Leinberger calls “walkable urbanism” — both small communities and big cities characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything — from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Newarker, PCA Elder, Business Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

3 thoughts on “Is America’s suburban dream collapsing into a nightmare?”

  1. Gentrifying the Ironbound, sorry people I don’t see that happening in my lifetime.I’m in my forties, it would be great to see some young perfoessnals moving in but it’s not really happening here like in Hoboken and Jersey City. It seems like its becoming more and more Latino then anything else.


  2. Ziggy, I think recent press would contradict this about Newark overall.
    Yes, the Ironbound is an interesting outlier — first as rapidly gentrifying ahead of the rest of the city, and now it seems that some of that momentum has slowed down while downtown is picking up.
    Still, building projects are popping up in the Ironbound, and I see more of the shirt-and-tie crowd on my walk along Ferry Street to Penn Station.
    The Newark in 2012 will look very different from the Newark of 2008. Without using the loaded “g” word, I’d be willing to wager that you will definitely see a more densely-populated, well-designed, walkable city than you see today.


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