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Old May 19th, 2005, 09:13 PM   #1
brooklynprospect
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Why are suburbs popular in America, Australia, NZ etc?

Why do you think suburbs are so popular in America, and to a slightly lesser extent, in Australia, NZ and Canada?

If you live in a suburb, why did you make that choice, instead of moving to the city?

A big reason in America is the terrible state of schools in the cities. Once you have children, unless you have enough money to send them to private schools, you're not very likely to stay in the city.

Also, frankly, life in a suburb isn't necessarily as bad as it's made out to be on this forum. I have a strong feeling that most people in this world (and remember that W Europe and N America each make up well under 10% of the world's population) would prefer to live in a big brand-new house with a lot of land, a big garden in the back, perhaps a private swimming pool, and two new cars parked outside, than in a small two or three room flat in central London, NY, Paris or San Francisco.

Suburbs don't have as many dining, cultural or entertainment options as cities, but there are perhaps more than enough restaurants, bars, shopping malls, and even museums for an average 35-year-old individual with a full time job and young children at home. And suburbs have far more nature-related activities than the cities, since almost everyone in the suburbs has a car and can easily drive to good fishing, hiking, boating, beaches, etc. And since the overall population density is less, parks/beaches in the suburbs tend to be much larger and less crowded than ones in the city.

Finally, living in the suburbs, it's really not very difficult to drive into the city when you want to experience a wider range of museums, restuarants and nightlife. I live in Manhattan, and go to museums perhaps once every two or three months. And I have seen 7 broadway plays since moving here three year ago. It wouldn't be too hard to drive in to NY from NJ just as often.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 09:21 PM   #2
rocky
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VS




actualy both pics are suburbs
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:11 PM   #3
[Everywhen]
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actually.......in australia the suburbs are famous for their original entertainment activities...they are busy etc. like parramata, penrith, liverpool in sidney and others in many cities, with their own identity

whereas, cities like dallas, houston, atlanta, and all cities from the states, with the exception of san francisco, new york and chicago (which are the only american cities that resemble european life style), you live in a suburb with endless parks and you never know who's your neighbour, you have to drive 40,50 kms. to get to a super market, or downtown.....those are ugly cities
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #4
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brooklyn, I think your post answered your own question pretty thoroughly. Suburbs generally have better schools, less crime, less pollution, less noise, more space (both public and private), and cheaper land values than urban areas. Since it's fairly easy to travel to either the country or the city from a suburb, they're attractive for people who want a little of both.

I live in a suburb now but would prefer to live closer to the city; nevertheless, I can understand why many people, especially the elderly and young families, would want to live farther away from the bustle.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Everywhen]
you live in a suburb with endless parks and you never know who's your neighbour, you have to drive 40,50 kms. to get to a super market, or downtown.....those are ugly cities
That's a bit of a stereotype. Even in the country you'd rarely have to drive that far to get to a market, let alone in the suburbs; and if you don't know your own neighbor you're just antisocial.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justadude
That's a bit of a stereotype. Even in the country you'd rarely have to drive that far to get to a market, let alone in the suburbs; and if you don't know your own neighbor you're just antisocial.
i lived in forth worth, which is 80 kms. from dallas

the life is like that, the typical american city where the downtown is just a bunch of buildings, the streets are empty etc.

the same for dallas....for being a 4 million city......its a ghost town.....nothing but buildings crammed in a 10 x 10 square area......very dull

the same for houston.....life is beneath the floor....and american cities tend to be like that.......

the only ones that have the vibe and life everwhere are n.y., chicago and san fran........then, even los angeles is an outspread city with pure highways.....
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:35 PM   #7
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I think it's part of the American/Canadian/Australian, etc. dream. It's being able to afford a house, etc. at a lower price than living in the city.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 10:35 PM   #8
brooklynprospect
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Everywhen]
actually.......in australia the suburbs are famous for their original entertainment activities...they are busy etc. like parramata, penrith, liverpool in sidney and others in many cities, with their own identity

whereas, cities like dallas, houston, atlanta, and all cities from the states, with the exception of san francisco, new york and chicago (which are the only american cities that resemble european life style), you live in a suburb with endless parks and you never know who's your neighbour, you have to drive 40,50 kms. to get to a super market, or downtown.....those are ugly cities
Actually I think Boston might be the most European big city in America, and has tons of pedestrian traffic (seemed like it had more than SF). Washington and New Orleans also have busy areas. Most other smaller cities have little urban sections that give you a decent taste of nightlife, dining, museums, etc.

And you might be surprised to know that it often takes the same amount of time to drive 40kms in the suburbs as it takes to go from midtown to downtown in Manhattan by subway. Anyway, no one in the suburbs has to drive 40kms to get to a supermarket. I would guess that 15km would be the max. And where I grew up, we had supermarkets (even a big chinese supermarket), a multiscreen movie theatre, a big bookstore, restaurants etc within 3-10km. Took 5-10 minutes by car.

Last edited by brooklynprospect; May 19th, 2005 at 10:45 PM.
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Old May 19th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #9
marathon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynprospect
And you might be surprised to know that it often takes the same amount of time to drive 40kms in the suburbs as it takes to go from midtown to downtown in Manhattan by subway.
Yes, exactly. Which is why sprawl sprawls ever further from the ceter city as the center city encroaches on it. People move 20 km outside of town to a rural/suburban setting. A decade later, where they now live has matured in develoment, and become exactly what they fled, so they move another 20 km away. And so on...
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Old May 20th, 2005, 12:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justadude
brooklyn, I think your post answered your own question pretty thoroughly. Suburbs generally have better schools, less crime, less pollution, less noise, more space (both public and private), and cheaper land values than urban areas. Since it's fairly easy to travel to either the country or the city from a suburb, they're attractive for people who want a little of both.

I live in a suburb now but would prefer to live closer to the city; nevertheless, I can understand why many people, especially the elderly and young families, would want to live farther away from the bustle.
they do, but not all the time...sometimes you can live in a suburb where crime is incredibly rampant and the school system is just bad

I think sometimes people just want some space to themselves, I grew up in some really poor suburbs..I grew up in an complex of buildings that were rapidly deteriorating..and I can remember my mom worked in the rich parts..and I always wanted to live in one of those spots..I had the chance to go to school in one. for a bit.

but when I went to school of a little in this wealthy suburb, what turned me off was the lack of diversity, and I was one of the few minorites in the school...I dealt with so much racism and bullshit I was ready to drop out...I was alot more safe in the worst parts of my own neighborhood than the rich one/townships/towns etc.

yeah brooklyn is right..man you can literally fly into manhattan if you jump on the henry hudson

as for the car thing...
I recently got a permit, but I don't really use it to much I still take the bus and train most places..around here nothings really to far off.
this might sound off topic..but the only reason I can think of to have a car (at my age 21) for me right now is to pick up some girls or transport some paintings and dj equipment
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Old May 20th, 2005, 12:11 AM   #11
cydevil
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Let me rephrase the question:

Why aren't there any suburbs in Asia?

The answer:

High population density.



Seoul also has low-density suburbs like those in the U.S., but the problem is that only the richest can afford them.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 12:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marathon
Yes, exactly. Which is why sprawl sprawls ever further from the ceter city as the center city encroaches on it. People move 20 km outside of town to a rural/suburban setting. A decade later, where they now live has matured in develoment, and become exactly what they fled, so they move another 20 km away. And so on...
..... and so began coruscant
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Old May 20th, 2005, 02:03 AM   #13
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Actually, for Melbourne, it has enjoyed the city revival for more than 10 years as more and more people are moving in or near the central business districts (CBD) and the place is booming with high rise apartment construction. Infact, the best schools at Melbourne is not far from the CBD itself (University of Melbourne, Melbourne Grammar, Melbourne High etc). And many of the best and affluent suburbs, can be considered as inner city suburbs since they are no more than 10km away from the city center (Toorak, South Yarra, Kew etc). The price of land is also higher in general the closer the suburb is to the city, particularly in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne although there are always exceptions to this. Inner city living is a growing trend though, as examplified by the South Bank and Dockland developments where cranes are going up like crazy.

-G'day-
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Old May 20th, 2005, 02:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Kompii
Actually, for Melbourne, it has enjoyed the city revival for more than 10 years as more and more people are moving in or near the central business districts (CBD) and the place is booming with high rise apartment construction. Infact, the best schools at Melbourne is not far from the CBD itself (University of Melbourne, Melbourne Grammar, Melbourne High etc). And many of the best and affluent suburbs, can be considered as inner city suburbs since they are no more than 10km away from the city center (Toorak, South Yarra, Kew etc). The price of land is also higher in general the closer the suburb is to the city, particularly in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne although there are always exceptions to this. Inner city living is a growing trend though, as examplified by the South Bank and Dockland developments where cranes are going up like crazy.

-G'day-
Most of the same can be said for the "so-called" suburban cities of Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. All are enjoying revivals of their inner cities with tons of new highrise condos-apartments. Most of the inner suburbs of these cities are also very affluent and expensive or at least up-and-coming trendy areas filling with younger people and New-Urbanist projects.
Unfortunately Americans want that half-acre yard and life in the exurbs, (at least most do,) and that is why these sunbelt cities are growing faster than anywhere else in the USA.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 03:06 AM   #15
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Except for Edmonton, Canadian cities have never emptied out. That is an American and lesser degree Australian characteristic. Of cource Canada has sprawling suburbs but all Canadian cities also have very vibrant downtowns where the downtowns are busier at night than during the day. This is especially true in Toronto, Montreal, and to a lesser extent Vancouver.
Toronto and Montreal has massive downtowns and have always had dense inner city populations.They go all night. Tons of bars, theatre, nightclubs til the wee hours. Massive crowds downtown all night, hundreds of outdoor cafes, tons of late night restaurants and you can still not get a seat. Most of the inner city areas do their best times for dining after 9pm. They only start to wake up then and when they do its incredible energy and litterally tens of thousand just walking around, seating at a cafe and taking it all in.
This is why in Toronto the subway doesn't stop running til 2am to handle the downtown crowds.........everynight.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 03:58 AM   #16
Boris550
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssiguy2
Except for Edmonton, Canadian cities have never emptied out. That is an American and lesser degree Australian characteristic. Of cource Canada has sprawling suburbs but all Canadian cities also have very vibrant downtowns where the downtowns are busier at night than during the day. This is especially true in Toronto, Montreal, and to a lesser extent Vancouver.
Not quite true yet here in Calgary, mostly due to the fact that most of downtown is currently comprised of pure office towers. We're getting there fast though, with so many people moving into downtown condos. Right now, the real places that wake up at night (in the inner city) are areas in the Beltline like 17th Ave, and some other midtown areas.

---
I live in a suburb right now, and it's not as bad as it's made out to be (even though when I move out after University I plan on going inwards towards the core). Certainly it's quiet, and I don't see my neighbors all that much (but so what? I don't exactly have a desire to see them each and every day anyways). However I do get the benefit of having a view of a provincial park from my room, as well as schools, convenience stores, shopping areas, churches of multiple faiths, a C-Train line, and 3 golf courses all within a few kilometers of my house...

This is one of the benefits of suburban Calgary... (view from my room, taken last fall)
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cydevil
Let me rephrase the question:

Why aren't there any suburbs in Asia?

The answer:

High population density.



Seoul also has low-density suburbs like those in the U.S., but the problem is that only the richest can afford them.
As far as I know there are many suburbs in Bangkok. Not sure about cities like KL, Jakarta, Manila.
Suburban living is quite popular in Bangkok and has been for many years. While there are exclusive residential estates, I would say most of the housing estates are the sort of 'project home' development targeted at the middle income family. Houses in the suburb are quite affordable, compared to highly priced condo in central areas.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samsonyuen
I think it's part of the American/Canadian/Australian, etc. dream. It's being able to afford a house, etc. at a lower price than living in the city.
Absolutely agree. And thanks to TV programs like "Home Improvement" "Backyard Blitz" "Neighbours" "Home and Away"... should I keep going?

But that's not to say inner city living isn't so popular. C-Kompii mentioned Melbourne, for example, which is experiencing an urban renaissance.
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:32 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scguy
Most of the same can be said for the "so-called" suburban cities of Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. All are enjoying revivals of their inner cities with tons of new highrise condos-apartments. Most of the inner suburbs of these cities are also very affluent and expensive or at least up-and-coming trendy areas filling with younger people and New-Urbanist projects.
Unfortunately Americans want that half-acre yard and life in the exurbs, (at least most do,) and that is why these sunbelt cities are growing faster than anywhere else in the USA.
just compare sydney, melbourne, london with dallas, houston or dallas

ive never seen a pedestrian street in houston where there is art in the streets, coffe bars, malls, little stores, a bunch of people walking, announcements, living statues characters etc. all gathered in pedestrian streets, the same for dallas (the most awful city in texas). they are bigger than melbourne or sydney but they lack life.....everything is made up of glass buildings, cars, endless roads, hard to find a place to buy a pack of cigarretes in the city etc.

the great thing bout european cities, or european-like cities is that in one block you can find a little store, a hot dog vendor, a pub, a clothes store etc., just in a block of street

whereas in the american cities like houston, you have to go to a super market to buy cigarretes, a big supermarket, huge...outside the city cbd (new york, san fran, chicago are very european btw.)
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Old May 20th, 2005, 05:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Everywhen]
just compare sydney, melbourne, london with dallas, houston or dallas

ive never seen a pedestrian street in houston where there is art in the streets, coffe bars, malls, little stores, a bunch of people walking, announcements, living statues characters etc. all gathered in pedestrian streets, the same for dallas (the most awful city in texas). they are bigger than melbourne or sydney but they lack life.....everything is made up of glass buildings, cars, endless roads, hard to find a place to buy a pack of cigarretes in the city etc.

the great thing bout european cities, or european-like cities is that in one block you can find a little store, a hot dog vendor, a pub, a clothes store etc., just in a block of street

whereas in the american cities like houston, you have to go to a super market to buy cigarretes, a big supermarket, huge...outside the city cbd (new york, san fran, chicago are very european btw.)
If American suburbs are so bad, why are they so popular? That's the question here...

btw, I'm sure you can find coffee bars, art exhibitions, museums, outdoor cafes, fancy restaurants, nightclubs etc in Dallas and Houston. The difference is that you have to drive to them.
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