Urban, suburban, is it all the same?

Suburbs are starting to look incredibly diverse, raising questions about what it means to say you are from "the city"

New York /
Jul.July 26, 2014 12:00 PM

 When abroad, suburbanites often use the closest major city as a proxy. “I’m from New York City,” could easily mean Long Island in a café in Madrid. But according to the Atlantic’s City Lab blog, we shouldn’t judge these suburbanites for claiming urbanite status, because the suburbs simply aren’t what they used to be.

For one, suburbs are becoming nearly as diverse as cities themselves.

“The 2008 U.S. Census update revealed that racial and ethnic minorities now make up one-third of the total suburban population in the nation’s one hundred largest metropolitan regions,” urban historians and sociologists Matthew D. Lassiter and Christopher Niedt wrote in a recent study published in The Journal of Urban History.

“[There are] residential patterns that include affluent single-family neighborhoods, high-poverty inner-ring suburbs… and exurban developments hit hard by predatory subprime lending and the ongoing foreclosure crisis. The U.S. suburban population now includes a majority of both first-generation immigrants and poor residents of metropolitan areas, and nearly half of all renters. Despite the persistence of the traditional nuclear family ideal, only about one-fourth of today’s suburban households consist of heterosexual married couples with children under the age of eighteen,” they wrote.

In fact, many city leaders are ditching the dichotomy between urban and suburban altogether. They argue that it is better to think of suburbs as a network of villages, unified by a larger metropolitan area.

Maybe they’re right, but that isn’t going to stop city snobs from calling out suburbanites next time they evoke the city as their own. At least for now. [The Atlantic] Christopher Cameron


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Oak Hill Advisors CEO Glenn August and Workspace Property Trust CEO Thomas Rizk (Oak Hill Advisors, Wordspace Property Trust, iStock)
Oak Hill leads $327M bet on suburban office market
Oak Hill leads $327M bet on suburban office market
(Illustration by The Real Deal)
How builders are changing America’s suburbs to fit the times
How builders are changing America’s suburbs to fit the times
(iStock)
State should stop exclusionary zoning in New York suburbs: report
State should stop exclusionary zoning in New York suburbs: report
Deals in southern Connecticut offices has surged more than 40 percent (iStock)
Suburban office demand spikes as working from home continues
Suburban office demand spikes as working from home continues
(iStock)
Cities dying? Suburbs booming? Data don’t show it
Cities dying? Suburbs booming? Data don’t show it
Most Americans claim they live in the ‘burbs, including 18% of New Yorkers
Most Americans claim they live in the ‘burbs, including 18% of New Yorkers
Most Americans claim they live in the ‘burbs, including 18% of New Yorkers
(Credit: Daniel Case, Pixabay)
Why Westchester homes are getting battered by “dramatic price reductions”
Why Westchester homes are getting battered by “dramatic price reductions”
Long Island Cheat Sheet: Douglas Elliman ranks as top resi brokerage in LI, three Smithtown sites move toward redevelopment … & more
Long Island Cheat Sheet: Douglas Elliman ranks as top resi brokerage in LI, three Smithtown sites move toward redevelopment … & more
Long Island Cheat Sheet: Douglas Elliman ranks as top resi brokerage in LI, three Smithtown sites move toward redevelopment … & more
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...