The Problem of Suburbia

Americans have been living in suburbs for over half a century, but has the suburb caused lasting damage to the communities of this country?


Ryann Baines, Staff Writer

Something that the US and Canada have in common is the average suburban neighborhood. We all live in or by one, they have a long history, but it mostly starts with mass consumption, cars, and a tad bit of racial bias. What suburbs represented in America was a divide. As the great depression ran through America, so did poverty and homelessness. The push towards suburban areas during the great depression was mainly aimed at middle- and upper-class citizens. Which was the average white family.

The suburbs weren’t really a thing during pre-WWII, life before then was big cities and such, with open roads and being able to freely walk along with cars in the streets. There was a focus on community and pedestrians always having the right to walk everywhere. But as those areas grew, they lowered in height, and soon became more open, each home taking only one person with a big lot of land. Places like the Tower District here in Fresno were meant to be accessible to the Suburbs around it, and still have that urban community around it. But that’s only one place out of acres of land.

Suburbia covers up a lot of America’s land, and the payment from that ends up circulating, however. Those who’ve been there all their lives are forced to move as they can no longer afford housing. Places like San Francisco have been affected by gentrification, and the addition of wealthier individuals, according to Jake Hoffman of Culture Trip, “Since the dot-com boom, the area [Mission District] has become populated with young urban employees. This has forced a lot of the working class Latino community out because of the competitive house prices and extremely high rent.”

The suburbs have gotten to a point of no return, we’ve already made them, and we can’t afford to rehome millions of people. There seems to be no end in sight, so it appears we have to work around the suburbs if we want to solve the issues they’ve created.