Changing The Suburbs After The City

How might we re-imagine the suburbs?

An exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York examines that question from an architectural standpoint. While the designs are rather dramatic, perhaps the most interesting idea is that we need to “change the dream.” That means re-thinking home ownership and single-family homes.

So, yes, density.

But I’m not hot on the idea of building more stuff far from established urban centers. I’d like to see the urban centers fixed first and allow for a continued migration out of the suburbs into the cities.

Plus, I’m all about putting ideas to the energy test. These retrofits make me wonder if they are simply dramatic artistic expressions with little connection to our reality, i.e. an ongoing financial crisis and limited energy resources.

My vision for Springfield: Redevelopment of the urban core on a human scale, i.e. with walkers and bicyclists in mind.

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Comments 4

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Yep. Didn’t see anything about energy consumption and fuel availability on that “architectural digest” page. I think that was outside their mental box, but not ours.

    Perhaps a suburban hub and spoke model might work, where there is an efficient transfer of people, goods, and services between an urban center and centralized “suburbs”. I’ve started to wonder about how one redesigns our civilized space in a post peak-oil world, and actually talked to the UNM urban planning folks if there is a thesis in it once I tire of my life in BombTown.

    Posted 16 Feb 2012 at 1:40 pm
  2. Steve A wrote:

    I don’t really have a lot of confidence these planners will do any better than the GM Motorama ones did. Far more than 100k people are an easy bike ride from my low density suburban home. 3M more are available with rudimentary transit. And do the math about rearranging 90 years and trillions of dollars spent on auto-oriented facilities. That will not change for the same reasons York still has much of its city wall. What is there will be repurposed. Including the low density.

    Posted 16 Feb 2012 at 5:40 pm
  3. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Yep. Too expensive to change. Just read something by Larry Littlefield about painting ourselves into corners.

    Posted 16 Feb 2012 at 10:28 pm
  4. Andy Cline wrote:

    Steve… I think you’re right. We too invested in the system we have.

    Posted 17 Feb 2012 at 10:22 am