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Urbanizing the Suburban Street

Urbanizing the Suburban Street | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
A community tries some relatively pain-free fixes to make its streets greener and more walkable...

 

One of the most challenging aspects of suburbs, and of the prescriptions for improving them, is the character of their roadways. Most of us take the poor design of our streets – the most visible part of most suburban communities, if you think about it – so much for granted that it never occurs to us that they actually could be made better for the community and for the environment.

Consider, for example, main "arterial" streets so wide that pedestrians can’t cross them, even if there is a reason to; little if any greenery to absorb water, heat, or provide a calming influence; or residential streets with no sidewalks.

This is where Montgomery County’s new street-scape initiative comes in. It has done some things right, including the preservation of much of its farmland – in part by channeling growth into the central districts of Bethesda and Silver Spring, both served by D.C.’s rail transit system, and more recently by encouraging walkable redevelopment along the notoriously sprawled-out Rockville Pike corridor.


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Stranded in suburbia: Why aren’t Americans moving to the city?

Stranded in suburbia: Why aren’t Americans moving to the city? | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
It's going to take more than wishful thinking to convince Americans to move back to the urban core.

 

While some urban pundits have been projecting a decline of suburbia, the numbers haven't born that out.  How come?  What will that mean for society?  How does urban planning account for cultural and economic preferences?    


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, September 12, 2013 7:02 PM

Because of lack of jobs in our economy today most college kids move back home with mom and dad after school. This means parents can move out of the suburbs if the so choose. Cities also have a bad rep, they are seen as violent and dirty and poverty filled and the schools in the cities arent always the best. All of these leave many families choosing suburbs first or leaving the cities for them. 

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The Beginning of the End for Suburban America

The Beginning of the End for Suburban America | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Beginning of the End for Suburban America...

 

A provocative title, but are our cities and urban settlement patterns shifting?  Is sprawl going to be curtailed by cultural, environmental and economic forces?


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Aimee Knight's curator insight, February 10, 7:01 AM

Over the years, Americans have been attracted to the "big city life" and all that goes with it. They chase down this dream that they know nothing about. This seemingly overrated lifestyle has suited some, but many, as we are seeing now, have discovered that the fast-paced life is not for them. In large numbers, people are beginning to desire the simplicity of life away from the constant streams of people and traffic. This change in trend contradicts the trends of previous years. We have worked so hard to build the large cities we have now, but was it all for nothing?

ethanrobert's curator insight, February 10, 7:04 AM

 Urban sprawl is starting to slow along with things like how much people drive their automobiles. This shift is due an increase in gas prices leading to a more selective choice to use public transit over the rising gas prices. This is mainly an economic problem, but other cultural and environmental issues will develop over time. This may lead to the end of the urban sprawl. - Robert

The Kingdom Keepers's curator insight, February 10, 7:10 AM

When suburban areas starting increasing, it had several advantages- Bigger homes, better education, a yard to call your own. These advantages are beginning to be shadowed by several factors that are actually pushing people out of these suburban areas and changing the urban pattern in our cities. Will people start to swarm in the central business district, or will rural areas reign? -Brooke

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Public Spaces Worth Caring About...

http://www.ted.com In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good....

 

Kunstler impassionedly argues that American architecture and urban planning are not creating public places that encourage interaction and communal engagement.  We should create more distinct places that foster a sense of place that is 'worth fighting for,' as opposed to suburbia which he sees as emblematic of these problems.  How should we design cities to create a strong sense of place?  What elements are necessary?  Warning: He uses some strong language.   


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Mary Burke's comment, April 15, 2013 9:24 AM
I appreciate what this guy is saying. I wish we could build places worth caring about. We need more people like Mr Kunstler. But I don't things are as bleak as he depicts. He picked some of the ugliest places there are. We do need a sense of place. Right now we get that in our homes. I think what Mr Kunstler is talking about is a community based sense of place that could be created just with the kind of buildings we make in the space. Maybe we could create a friendly atmosphere with well designed buildings. We need to start somewhere to make people not so afraid of each other.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 9:44 PM

Everyone in the world should care about places if it is small or not known but a place has it own character that some people enjoy while other do not want to know about. Every place has it significance that many people have not noticed because they are blinded to it. People should really have an open mind when it comes down to experiencing new places and learn about its history or anything that you did not know about it.

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Poverty pervades the suburbs

Poverty pervades the suburbs | AP Human Geography Education | Scoop.it
More people in poverty live in America's suburbs than in cities or rural areas. And their numbers are multiplying fast, overwhelming social service agencies' ability to help them.

 

The socio-economic structure of our cities is changing as suburbs are increasingly becoming places of poverty.  The map highlights that the Central Valley of California is the worst region in regards to this trend. 


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