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image for OpenScout resource :: Suburbanization

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Suburbia varies widely both between countries and within them. In some countries suburbanization represents the forcing out of the powerless from the center; in others it is a retreat from the center that allows the privileged to perpetuate their advantage. This article focuses on the latter model of suburbia which is common in, among other places, Australia, the UK, and the USA. This type of suburbia represents the physical attempt to mix the urban and rural and is closely associated with the traditional nuclear family, the aspiration for upward social mobility, mass consumption, and commuting. Because of these associations, suburbia has been attacked for being conventional and dull. Such criticism assumes a uniformity in suburbia that is not borne out in reality. Studies of suburban history suggest that it was never as homogeneous as its critics supposed and neither is it static. As cities change, extending their sphere of influence ever further, the relationship between suburbia and the city is likely to change. The most pressing challenges for suburbia are first, whether it can remain a residential location of choice and second, the extent to which low-density, car-dependent suburbia can become more sustainable.

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