Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From Suburb to City: An Opportunity Born of Necessity

By Rhys Phillips

An article entitled "transforming suburbia" runs the risk of suggesting a known and relatively constant urban configuration is either in the process of, or more proscriptively should be, changing. In 2006, The Globe and Mail reported that "the suburbs have undergone sweeping change and bear little resemblance to the enduring Leave It to Beaver stereotype." In addition to a radical diversification of the suburban population such that it increasingly mirrors that of surviving urban centres, "many have downtown cores, thousands of jobs and even high-rise condominiums." In fact, what we broadly call suburbia has been in a constant state of transformation since the post-war double diaspora out of both city centres and rural villages radically transformed urban life. The archetype configuration of post-war residential suburbia is still being reproduced every day, albeit with densities now rivalling city neighbourhoods. But this continual suburban growth, now referred to simply as "sprawl" by planning professionals, politicians and critics (if not the development industry) has been significantly transformed by the intrusion of changing models for retail services and employment.

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