What Is the Future of Suburbia?

suburbia kunstler image

Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics asked a few smart people- James Kunstler, Thomas Antus, Jan Brueckner, Gary Gates, John Archer, Alan Berube, and Lawrence Levy - and asked them: What will U.S. suburbs look like in 40 years?

The answers were from some, predictable, and from others fascinating. Jim Kunstler started off with his apocolyptic vision:

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

Thomas E. Antus says it will be expensive:

"To pay for the expanded services taxes will also increase exponentially to the point where individual pay checks are made payable to the government and deposited directly in the general treasury."Jan Brueckner sees a big mix-em-up:

"If [gentrification] continues in a significant way, large numbers of suburban households looking for urban stimulation may end up switching places with minority central-city dwellers, stirring the ethnic pot in both places."

John Archer is an optimist:

"Suburbia will be flexible, it will be smarter, and it will be hybrid."

Alan Berube thinks they won't exist."

in 40 years perhaps we'll get beyond our fixation with "the suburbs" (love them or hate them) and develop a richer vocabulary for what lies beyond the city limits."

Lawrence C. Levy says

"It depends — on how smart and bold we are willing to be."

Fascinating reading in ::New York Times
More from the Freakonomics boys on TreeHugger
Freakonomics on Bike Safety
Freakonomics on Global Warming
Freakonomists on the Merits of Local Food
TreeHugger on the Suburbs
Paul Krugman On Being "Stranded in Suburbia "
Escape from Suburbia - The Movie
Kunstler on Peak Suburbia ; Harpers Magazine on Detroit
Is America's Suburban Dream Collapsing?

Related Content on Treehugger.com