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
Workspace Property Trust's Thomas Rizk, GIC's Lim Chow Kiat (Workspace Property Trust, GIC, Getty)
Singapore wealth fund, U.S. REIT splurge on suburban office properties
Singapore wealth fund, U.S. REIT splurge on suburban office properties
CP Capital co-head Paul Doocy and managing director of CBRE Land Services Group Steve Lehr (LinkedIn, CBRE)
No lots? No problem: Developers turn retail into rentals
No lots? No problem: Developers turn retail into rentals
Home shopping in the suburbs? Listings still scant
Home shopping in the suburbs? Listings still scant
Home shopping in the suburbs? Listings still scant
(Getty)
Flight to suburbs hits London, too
Flight to suburbs hits London, too
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
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...