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  #37841  
Old Posted Yesterday, 6:48 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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^ Dude, relax. I read all that stuff long ago (GM buying all the streetcar systems and dismantling them to support buses), the fossil fuel lobby, etc etc. I schooled myself on that stuff over a decade ago.

Nothing anybody here says changes a damn thing I'm saying because I'm making a simple point that continues to remain salient--suburbs--or let's call them "collar communities", have existed and developed long before the automobile. You have already been given many examples in Chicago alone.

Suburban growth is how cities like New York and Chicago grew to begin with. The only difference now is the lack of annexation, which was more common in those days. And I still don't see mass annexation making a comeback any time soon.
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  #37842  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:03 PM
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emathias emathias is online now
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Of course you're all right, insofar as you go.

It is probably most correct to say that transportation technology enabled the rise of suburbs.

Before the 1930s, suburbs were fueled by commuter rail. This was true in cities from as diverse a collection as Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Philadelphia, Sydney, several Chinese cities (especially in Manchuria when occupied by Japan), several Indian cities, Toronto, Buenos Aires, etc. Most of the suburbs created by or supplemented by rail service were built for a human, pedestrian-driven environment much like the larger cities they connected to. This was out of necessity since people had to be able to get to the train station for it to be useful.

With the democratization of the automobile starting in the 1920s the stage was set for a new style of suburb. The Great Depression and then the Second World War delayed the practical implementation of this new paradigm, but once World War Two ended and soldiers returned home, scores of new families wanted quiet, clean neighborhoods with their own house and a yard to be enjoyed within the private confines of the family. Initially many of these suburbs were still built fairly densely because it was assumed they would still make use of the commuter rail system for commuting, but as expressways enabled fast access to city centers and those with car discovered the speed and convenience of the point-to-point travel the automobile enabled, pedestrian access to commuter rail became to be seen as unnecessary and antiquated. Neighborhoods, subdivisions, and entire new suburbs were suddenly built in a way that not only enabled the automobile but suddenly required it. This was largely seen as inevitable and the future of transportation, with little heed given to the consequences and eventual inconvenience that mandatory participation in the age of the automobile would bring.

As the inevitable congestion and limitations of the automobile finally becoming unavoidably apparent, various localities began to realize that in their rush to embrace the automobile they'd ignored its limitations and slowly they started taking steps to reign in the ubiquity of cars. Some regions have been better at doing this than others, but there is at least a near-universal understanding that planning on 100% use of automobiles for transportation isn't possible, let alone desirable. BRT, expansion of commuter rail, creation and expansion of light rail systems have all had an impact on at least providing as an option communities with transportation choice, no longer assuming that 100% automobile dependency is desirable.

With the advent of autonomous automobiles, it will be interesting to see how communities adapt to yet another transportation technology. There are ways it will impact community design that we know of, but there will probably be unforeseen impacts, too. Some of these may be new uses that are surprisingly helpful, and some maybe situations that turn out to be far more negative than we can currently predict.

One thing is certain - transportation technology drives a constant evolution of how we live. Desired density will ebb and flow, with desired attributes of transportation constantly adapting to both practical and opinion-based considerations.
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  #37843  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:25 PM
Khantilever Khantilever is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ Many of Chicago's neighborhoods were once suburbs.

Sprawly, auto-oriented suburbs are the result of the car, but not suburbs themselves.
When we're talking about "the suburbs", we're referring more to Schaumburg, Oakbrook, and Naperville (and the many townships and villages around them) - not the classic bedroom communities of Oak Park and Evanston, and certainly not everything that at any time could have been considered a suburb.

"Suburbanization", in particular, refers to the rapid period of growth in outlying areas and the emptying of central cities in the post-war period.
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  #37844  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:31 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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^ Ok, go ahead and invent your own terminology then. Makes for a very useful discussion
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  #37845  
Old Posted Yesterday, 7:49 PM
Khantilever Khantilever is offline
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ Ok, go ahead and invent your own terminology then. Makes for a very useful discussion
It's not about inventing terminology. You're being disingenuous when you pretend not to understand what everyone is referring to when they say "suburbs".

If I were to talk about "modern" architecture, and point out an example from the '50s, you would understand that even though the building is not "of, relating to, or characteristic of the present or the immediate past" (Merriam-Webster) it is a modern building in the sense of the movement and historical period.

Regardless, your point is perfectly valid that in the more general sense "suburbanization" is the process by which all urban areas grow; the fringes are slowly populated until they're eventually subsumed by the city.
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  #37846  
Old Posted Yesterday, 9:23 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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When a city is not seeing population growth there is no reason to expand borders. All of the world's great cities have gone through multiple periods of slow or negative growth. This is how cities mature. Chicago was built "suburban" style from day one, it's just that the technologies changed and then the city boomed creating a distinct growth ring from the post war period that is colloquially known as the suburbs. This doesn't include pre war communities that were built as an extension of the city grid. If you go far enough back technically all of Chicago besides the loop is a suburb which is just a rediculous way of looking at things.

The interesting point you make is that places like Lawndale or Austin were built in very much the same fashion as the mid century and later suburbs we are talking about. They were built in a matter of years on green field sites and all the buildings therefore share a synched depreciation cycle. This is also a big part of why the neighborhoods took such a spill. Everything was the same age and there wasnowhere to build anything new. So people left for the next green field in the burbs. Now there's a little space and a lot of character so these older urban areas are ripe for eventual redevelopment. The suburbs built in 1950-70 are now where Lawndale, built in the 1900's and 1910's, was in 1950 or 1960. Everything is old, Everything needs work, everything is out of style. The later burbs from the 1980's or 1970's when building quality really started to fall off are catching up quick.
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  #37847  
Old Posted Yesterday, 10:15 PM
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Swicago Swi Sox Swicago Swi Sox is offline
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I think you would all find this article and video about the difference between the growth of American cities and European cities interesting and relevant to the current on-going discussion/argument.

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/why-are-am...ean-1788196723
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  #37848  
Old Posted Yesterday, 10:50 PM
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harryc harryc is online now
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  #37849  
Old Posted Yesterday, 11:01 PM
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Kumdogmillionaire Kumdogmillionaire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
I schooled myself on that stuff over a decade ago.
Well that's your first problem, and biggest. You clearly don't have a properly nuanced understanding of white-flight, suburbanization(as someone else mentioned), Eisenhower's creation of the massive highway system, and the explosion of the automobile industry all at once. That perfect storm is why suburbs helped kill the city, and not the city losing growth first as one other user seemed to imply...
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