August 18th, 2013

BOOKS – The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving

booklook2In the spirit of Jeff Speck’s Suburban Nation comes a new and equally searing indictment of life in suburgatory: The End of the Suburbs, Where the American Dream Is Moving, by Leigh Gallagher.  Those familiar with Speck’s earlier work will find Gallagher’s book a welcome addition to the growing list of hyper critical treatise on life in suburbia.

Gallagher, a first-time book author and senior editor at Fortune Magazine, presents a strong case for America’s increasing preference for higher density lifestyles and the resulting trend to manage our lives via the information highway, not the paved kind.

While no one knows for certain how American residential preferences will change in the coming decades, Gallagher’s well researched and provocative assessment of housing and lifestyle trends provides some interesting insights: Americans want out of their cars; cities are booming; the nuclear family is no longer the norm.

According to Gallagher, after the U.S. housing bubble burst, no part of our country felt the pain more than the suburbs. “Headlines screamed of foreclosed homes, displaced families, and an upsurge of crime in the once bucolic subdivisions that for so long symbolized the American Dream.” Even five years later, conventional wisdom seems to be that this is all temporary, “that once the economy rights itself and home prices return to pre-recession levels, we’ll go back to the lives we led before.”

“The most convincing book yet on the lifestyle changes coming to our immediate future.” –Andres Duany, co author of Suburban Nation

Not so, says Gallagher. Instead, she posits that the recession was simply a catalyst for a much larger trend. “The suburbs may have represented the dominant pattern of housing and population growth in the United States for more than half a century, but powerful social, economic, and demographic forces — along with the suburbs’ poor design to begin with — are converging to render them unnecessary, and even undesirable, for an ever-increasing number of Americans.” Of course, Gallagher is not suggesting that all suburbs are going to disappear, or even that they should, but that the trends are undeniable.

The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving

Leah Gallagher

Portfolio Hardcover

2013

Hardcover, 272 pages

ISBN: 978-1591845256

 

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