Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Connecting the dots on America's suburbs

A recent NYTimes article on rising poverty in the suburbs connected with a few other readings and viewings I have encountered over the last few years. This topic is fascinating to me as Kristen and I recently made the shift from a suburban (perhaps exurban?) area into a metropolitan area. Additionally, this seems to be a topic close to home to millions of Americans--as evidenced in the comments section of the NYTimes article.

The Brookings Institution reported two years ago that “by 2008 suburbs were home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country.” In the previous eight years, major metropolitan suburbs had seen poverty rates climb by 25 percent, almost five times faster than cities. Nationwide, 55 percent of the poor living in the nation’s metropolitan regions lived in suburbs.

To add insult to injury, a new measure to calculate poverty — introduced by the Census Bureau just last year — darkens an already bleak picture: nationally, 51 million households had incomes less than 50 percent above the official poverty line, and nearly half of these households were in suburbs.
From The New York Times

James Howard Kunstler's thoughts on suburbia: (note: this video contains explicit language)

The True Cost of Gas may be much higher than we really think. How will the rise in gas prices (to levels normal around the rest of the world) impact less dense areas?

And finally, The Arcade Fire song "The Suburbs"

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