February 4, 2009 The future of the suburbs?
Last week in the New York Times Allison Arieff wrote an interesting blog post about the 20th century growth in the suburbs and subsequently some recent challengs of foreclosures and empty big box stores. Ms. Arieff doesn’t really provide a solution to these potential problems, but she writes:
I still dream that some major overhaul can occur: that a self-sufficient mixed-use neighborhood can emerge. That three-car-garaged McMansions can be subdivided into rental units with streetfront cafés, shops and other local businesses.
Definitely much of the recent population growth in Utah has occured in the suburbs. And while some of these communities are hurting with the economic downturn and the slowing of residential construction many others are thriving and beginning to reshape their communities in more than just bedroom cities with larger homes and lot sizes. It appears suburban cities that are weathering this economic storm the best are cities that have already started a shift toward mixed-use neighborhoods.
Today Ms. Arieff follows up the previous post with a second blog titled “Saving the Suburbs, Part 2”. This post reviews many of the comments from previous readers and highlights a tension between urbanites and suburbanites. I don’t see quite the same dissonance between urban and suburban communities in Utah, although it can and does exist. Most people don’t realize that Utah is a very urban state — ranking in the top 10 in America, around half of Utah’s statewide population live along the Wasatch Front. You can read both parts of this interesting blog here: