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Is The Experience Of Suburbia Uniquely Different To Either That Of City Or Country Life?

1349 words - 6 pages

In the years following World War II, there was a drastic increase in population in America as a result of the influx of soldiers returning home from the war, which brought on the need for more housing options for them. The modern American suburbs were developed to meet that need. A suburb is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (2014) as “an outlying district of a city, especially a residential one”. The emergence and development of the suburbs was made easier by the implementing of various zoning laws and advances in transportation. In some older American cities, specifically ones in the northeastern parts of the U.S. “streetcar suburbs”, which were residential areas in which the ...view middle of the document...

This essay will be discussing the characteristics and experience of suburban living and comparing it the experience to living in the country and the city.
There are certain features that over the course of development have become characteristic of Suburban living. In order to be considered a suburb, the residential area is required to be significantly less crowded than the central city residential areas. Suburbs are typically made up of single family homes with relatively small land mass surrounded closely by many other houses of similar design to maintain the sense of uniformity. There is also often a sense of autonomy among the residents as certain committees are erected to assist with the governing of the area. Residential and commercial buildings are usually located separately from each other as a result of zoning laws which means that most purchases are not available within comfortable walking distance of the houses. The commercial buildings also tend to be franchises of larger corporations and not many in number and residents of suburban areas usually patronise the same institutions: religious establishments, schools, as well as commercial businesses. Within suburban residential areas there is often a distinct lack of diversity in areas including demographic and income bracket. There is also a specific road pattern used to separate the different parts of the suburb, as the houses are usually grouped in terms of property value. Properties in suburban areas often stand one or two storeys tall and have a high percentage of white inhabitants as opposed to minorities. As a result of the close proximities and familiarity, crime rates in suburban areas tend to stay comparatively low. Media portrayals of suburban living often subtly suggest that while the suburbs seem calm, friendly, and full of happy people; things are not truly as they seem in the area.
It is often debated whether or not any of the earlier settlements can truly be referred to as a city. Cities began as centres for the inhabitants of a certain area to trade and interact with each other on many different levels. The various interactions had negative and positive effects on the society. One of the major positive effects that came with the rise of cities is that they became a platform for the exchange of goods, services, and ideas between people from different social, economical, and racial backgrounds. Another great benefit of cities was the layout: business owners were able to strategically locate their firms in areas that guaranteed a great influx of customers. While at the same time, essential goods were within convenient proximity for most of the residents. Suburban areas do not have that same benefit as a result of zoning laws that establish demarcations between residential and commercial areas. Cities also tend to have a larger selection of businesses ranging from small family stores to large corporations which provides options and competitive pricing that may not be...

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