“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”

[My childhood home and personal corner of Suburbia]

That bit of wisdom from James Kunstler. Yes, the James Kunslter who seems to take so much joy from coming up with innovative ways to describe just how much he hates something. His vitriolic response, which continued to describe the suburbs as “the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world,” was evoked by a question from The New York Times Freakonomics Blog: What is the Future of the Suburbs?

At least he also concedes that cities will be shrinking as well, overburdened by their high-rise socio-economic structure. Although I in no way agree with Kunstlers dire predictions, they are incredibly entertaining and well-written. Someone get this man to do fiction. Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Suburban Living.

There’s been a lot of talk recently of suburbs becoming the new slums. Ridiculous polemics like that sound like they’re coming from people who have never actually, you know…lived in a suburb. Suburbs are here to stay, if for no other reason than they’re a great place to raise kids. Despite the increasingly expensive commutes to work (which will, by hook or by crook, eventually get cheaper), the public school systems are usually far superior to those in cities and the quality of life is arguably higher — or at least preferred by many. While those are only two admittedly superficial reasons, there are many other on which smarter people than me could elaborate. If only it were hip to do so. However, “the death of the suburb” is a really cool thing to write about right now. The Middle-America Distopia. So despite economists and planners telling me otherwise in enrapturing prose, I remain confident that the American suburb will remain mostly unchanged. Plus, without suburbs, we’ll have no disaffected youth dreaming of going to Art School or moving to the Big City to become bloggers.

&#183 What Is the Future of Suburbia? A Freakonomics Quorum [Freakonomics -NYT]

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Jimmy Stamp

Jimmy Stamp is a freelance writer, researcher, and recovering architect. He has contributed to The Guardian, Wired, Smithsonian, The Journal of Architectural Education, and many other websites and publications. His first book Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale comes out in spring 2016. If you're looking for writer with a penchant for Piranesi and pop culture, or if you just want to say hi, you can find him on twitter @LifeSansBldgs or instagram or email him at jamestamp@gmail.com

3 thoughts on ““The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.””

  1. “Someone get this man to do fiction. Tales of Post-Apocalyptic Suburban Living.”

    He’s way ahead of ya.

    “World Made by Hand”

    “In the wake of global catastrophes that have destroyed industrial civilization, the inhabitants of Union Grove, a small New York town, do anything they can to get by, as they struggle to deal with a new way of life over the course of an eventful summer.”

  2. Wow, something else to site when trying to prove that this man’s brain is devoid of anything resembling a connection to reality.

    Purely academic drivel, still fun reading though!

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