People Who Live In Suburbs: Classy, Icky, or Dudes?

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My friends move to the suburbs when their babies are born. They become inexplicably conservative and boring. What happens out there?

Momus, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

It's the suburbs, so arguably nothing to do but watch TV and become horrible. This at least explains Irvine, where I work.

Perhaps something in babydom encourages conservatism. Having briefly looked after a coworker's kids yesterday (and they're both cool, but a handful), it was quite tempting to boil everything down to narrow-minded sloganeering in order to get a point across.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

And sounding a little less flippant -- I was essentially born and raised in suburbs or smaller towns. The atmosphere need not produce the person in the same way. I live in what is essentially a suburb of LA, as is everything in the basin -- and I'm about fifty miles from the city center, if not more. OC is famous for its conservative nature, alas, but I've known many open-minded folks here (on both ends of the political spectrum, I should note) who are in fact products of the area and wish to stay. Not everything is so cut and dried with this question.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Dud(es). How can you even find your way back home from the office? It all looks the same to me. I am quite sure that the suburbs partially makes people form rock bands. Didn't Iggy Pop say it was hell and he couldn't wait to escape suburbia?

nathalie, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

They get to tell people they live in the city, while evading all the nasty and pricey bits, and talk like they're Travis Bickle to people who don't know better. This only lasts until they inevitably get married and never leave their houses again except to buy a bigger satellite dish.

dave q, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

My ex couldn't stand the suburbs, but then again she came from a wealthy background and didn't appreciate that the not so well off need somewhere to live as well.

There's something good about living right on the cusp of London, suburbia's a lot more peaceful and spacious. I like the freedom of being able to dip into the city as and when I choose.

Trevor, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I am too fast paced, impatient, and easily bored a person to live in the suburbs. I do not know how to drive, either. I don't understand the allure. Some people like it, they like to live quiet lives, and that's what they need to do. I'd rather live on the city streets though, personally.

Ally, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I read that first sentence as "too fast paced, important and easily...". Well, I'm not going to disagree!

Sean, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

That too, of course.

Ally, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Slagging off Suburbia: remarkably old-hat and dull thing to do. Unwise, too, I think. Surely we've learned that creativity and fascination are variable and complex things, that all kinds of people live in all kinds of places? I say props to the suburbs, and to living in peace, if you're lucky enough to find it.

the pinefox, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Wise words from the Pinefox. It shouldn't matter where you come from, some of the most successful individuals have emerged from some of the most impoverished areas. For most of us, where we live is a matter of economic necessity - not many people can afford to just go out and buy a house anywhere.

I would absolutely *love* to live in London at the moment, but wallet wise that's a total no-no. At present there is only one borough in the whole of London where the average annual salary is sufficient to meet the average annual mortgage repayment. To say that all suburbia looks the same smacks of ignorance and upper middle class snobbery to me.

Trevor, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I like the suburbs, it's not as if anyone except the super-rich and uber-trendy can afford to live in the city anyhow.

jel, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Um, NYC suburbs are all really expensive too. Northeast - expensive anywhere.

Ally, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I have often wondered why people rage against the suburbs, they seem no more or less offensive than anywhere else. Slagging the suburbs = monstrous dud, in few other fields are there so many tired cliches (everyone's the same, everything looks the same etc). I can't think of any criticism than can be applied to suburbia in it's entirety and be true. In fact, I can't realy see any advantage to living further in to the city aside from travelling convenience.
"To say that all suburbia looks the same smacks of ignorance and upper middle class snobbery to me."
Yes, I think this is key. Certainly, no-one who had ever lived in the suburbs for any length of time (in my case - 20 years) would actually claim that suburbia has the negative qualities attributed to it. Unless they're posing and hoping for the approval of upper-middle class, usually arty, snobs.

DG, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Oh sure, I guess New York's a different kettle of fish altogether... as I'll hopefully be finding out for myself in October. A friend of mine has an appartment in Manhattan paid for by Columbia University, the lucky git!

Trevor, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Sure it's easy to slag off the suburbs, but I'm easy like Sunday morning. Prices in the suburbs are not appreciably lower than in Zone 1 anymore, so there's no excuse. Why would I want to save perhaps £50 a month in return for a endless train journey? In my experience (perhaps this is not true of everybody), people I know who have moved further out have essentially realised that they're content to 'grow up' and start getting house-proud, taking their jobs in Dad's furniture business seriously for once, and neurotic about their pension plans, etc. Going gently into that good Zone 6 night, of course. I mean, if you're in your 20s and you panic about getting the last train home because there's an 'important day at work tomorrow', you're lost.

dave q, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Suburbia is an end, not a means. I'm sure we all did city development in geography at school. As I said in the London thread, I think London's suburbia is amazingly diverse. Of course you have to first admit that places like Wimbledon, Hampstead and Hackney are all suburbia first - which kind of goes against the original idea that suburbia is one bland block of faceless housing.

It is defined as housing to sleep in, which is oddly why nothing obviously exciting goes on there. Except those garage bands, those DJ's, those people making killing machines out of wheelchairs & flymo's to win on Robot Wars. Around the idea that most people who spend their time in suburbia are at school you might get a vague idea why less excitement is going on.

Your friends become inexplicably(?) conservative (small C?) and boring because now they just aren't interested in entertaining you anymore. They have something more important in their life - a baby.

If you don't live in hicksville, or suburbia then you have nowhere to escape from.

Pete, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Not that there's anything WRONG with the lifestyle I described, but it's a certain tone of weary-but-cheerful resignation I encounter in suburbia that grates. Smugness? I'd rather deal with smugness of the urban boho variety than the "It's OK, you'll grow up and leave that filthy slum eventually and join us" type.

dave q, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Prices are appreciably lower out here in Zone 4 than in Zone 1, thank Mr Q in King's Cross.
If people become boring once they move to the suburbs it's probably because they are actually boring people anyway, it's got nothing to do with where they live. Are all urbanites amazingly interesting? Hmm, think not.

DG, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

> Going gently into that good Zone 6 night, of course. I mean, if > you're in your 20s and you panic about getting the last train home > because there's an 'important day at work tomorrow', you're lost.

Well it all depends how much you value your job really, so that's another matter entirely. I *heart* my job, so if that means I'm lost then I can live with that.

Anyhow, speaking of Zone 6 the district line beckons me - can't wait to curl up in a comfy chair with my pipe and slippers - I hear there's a good film on telly tonight. ;-)

Trevor, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

You're on the District Line? So when are you planning on getting home, Christmas?

dave q, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'd better wish you a Happy New Year now, just in case.

Trevor, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Being patronised by 'urbanites' is part of life in the big city for recent arrivals from suburbia. Scratch hard enough and you'll find most of us doing the taunting came from there, we're just checking you out, putting you through your paces. But I really do resent those who move here to have salad days then fuck off back to Zone Hell with their papoose (see: numerous Hoxton references). I mean, why bother? Ditto for pied a terre folk.

London alternative: move to Brighton instead. The glut of demi-trendy breeder-tendency kidult bourgie bohos MUST BE SEEN TO BE BELIEVED.

suzy, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

>>> But I really do resent those who move here to have salad days then fuck off back to Zone Hell with their papoose (see: numerous Hoxton references). I mean, why bother? Ditto for pied a terre folk.

Eh? This is hard to get. But I *think* you're saying: people shouldn't move to the inner city, then leave again. Why the hell not? Who are you to tell them what do to with their lives, for goodness' sake?

the pinefox, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Yes I'd like to move to Brighton...

David Inglesfield, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Since all the obvious minuses of the suburbs have been pointed... some pluses: nature. My parents live in the suburbs of St. Louis, and have deer quite often in the backyard. Also mammoth Great Horned Owls, Screech Owls, foxes, coyotes, and all sorts of other woodland creatures.
Long safe walks
Easier to have dogs i.e. you don't have to pick up their shit as you walk down the street
Better schools
Long drives at night
Familiarity breeds (contempt, but also) friendliness. Employees at restaurants, grocery stores (Which by the way, kick the crap out the big city ones) can know you by name. And you are more likely to run into someone you know.

bnw, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think suburbs are *great* and I don't understand why boring middle-class people want to leave them. Don't they know that suburbs are the next trendy happening place to live? It's obvious when you see all of the arty funny-haired teenagers hanging out at places like the 7-11 parking lot and White Castle, and all the baggy panted geto kids hanging out at the mall! If you want seedy glamour by proxy, look no further! And now the suburbs are complaining about traffic, pollution and crime! Not to mention corrupt politics! Why have the suburbs become so unfashionable?

Kerry, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I've lived in the suburbs all my life and have had no opportunity to move out. I hope that doesn't make me automatically icky because you know what? There's nothing I can do about it right now. Rather, nothing I'd want to do. I guess I could run away to New York City and do God only knows what, but I'd rather just finish school.

Good points:
safe and suitable for walking, biking, and going on vacation without locking the doors
trees and grass
proximity to stores and other people

Bad points:
Not enough wilderness to be really gorgeous
lack of cultural events (school concerts are about it)

And worst of all, NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. There is a lovely fun job I was offered today and I can't take it. Why not? Because the rest of my family has places to go and we do not have multiple cars or a goddamn BUS to get me there. I am really, really upset about this. The only place I can work anytime soon is the grocery store.

Lyra, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I really wish more people who had kids, etc, would stay in cities, send their kids to state schools, etc. rather than hive them off to suburbs due to Conservative Fear. Because as it stands cities are places where only the very rich or very poor remain, creating horrible divisions in society and perpetuating many ills. That's what bugs me.

I grew up in a suburb (bordering city) which was multicultural and filled to the brim with Jewish intellectuals and faculty brats. You only went private if from out of town and/or you suffered from behavioural problems. 20/20 hindsight tells me it was great, but this was the exception.

Still, I moved to NYC and then to London at first available chance.

suzy, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I think we have to make a difference between suburbs and rural life. Living as a farm kid is tough , siving as a sub-urban is coddle good.

anthony, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

As a kid I never could understand why my address read "Knoxville" yet the house I lived in was outside the city limits. Actually I still don't.

Pluses: you can smell things (nice things). You can hear things that are more than 50 feet away. There are places to fuck around that aren't necessarily made of concrete. Romance is easier to come by because of opportunity for adventurous privacy.

Tho I'm stumped by people who live in pre-fab white picket Connecticut paradise and commute 2 hours to work in MANHATTAN. Surely they've got it backwards?

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Priorities change, people and attitudes change. Perhaps, they think their old friends in the city are boring and horrible. What's it called, domestication? Some people feel tied down, some people feel most comfortable.

Nude Spock, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The Suburns are Euro-american living pods popular for their isolation and seclusion, allowing a social interaction -free life. This prevents minorities from seeing them and vice versa. The television acts as the survelince monitor for world events and to have social times. No more apartment neighboors, a welcome sight to the easily annoyed and annoying American stereo owner.

I HAVE WONDERED WHAT A CITY BABY WOULD BE LIKE?!?!?! City babies I met in college seemed well - adjusted though a bit boozy and promiscuous.

Mike Hanle y, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Being a bit boozy and promiscuous sounds like a major plus!

Sean, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

And people talk about not wanting a dog in the city cause it would be cruel!!

Tracer Hand, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Does living in a town nowhere near London count as the suburbs? It's not that bad, really. There is life down here too! Having said that, we own a pied-a-terre and are obviously rich bastards but if my family can afford it, why shouldn't we?
Anyway, the suburbs and the city are both classics in their own eccentric ways. Yeah.

Bill, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

The areas immediately to the east of London are probably the most right-wing anywhere in Britain: three seats in East London / Essex were *regained* by the Tories in their recent election disaster, which says it all (what a shocking litany of current and recent-past Tory MPs Essex and Kent have - Norman Tebbit, Iain Duncan Smith, Andrew "Italian Fascists' Lackey" Rosindell, Bob Spink, Jacques Arnold, Julian Brazier, Eric "Evangelical Sect" Pickles, Bob Dunn, David "Cake" Amess: hardly any West Country Tory MPs have ever been that far to the right). When I lived in the Dartford / Gravesend area (it's been 7 years since I last saw it now, and would be thankful never to see it again) there was also a good deal of petty, aggressive racism about, and by all accounts since I left asylum seekers have been attacked and it's been seen as quite a natural, common thing to happen. The BNP's Head of Publicity has an 01322 (Dartford) phone number according to their website. Gravesend used to have a Tory MP who'd been involved with the Monday Club and maybe even the National Front in the 70s.

What all this says is that a lot of people in South Essex and North Kent - Richard Littlejohn country, the cliches are rooted in truth I'm afraid - are consciously reacting to the multiculturalism of the city from which they garner their wealth, and react by creating a kind of aggressive white English state, a recreation of an imagined monocultural outer London. And of course it's infinitely nastier and pettier than those London suburbs ever were. London actually felt no closer from there than it feels from South Dorset, which is a curious state of affairs.

However I know other suburbs are nicer and more civilised places: the parts of south-west London straddling the Thames (from blue to yellow in one glorious thrust in '97) seem lovely to me. Colindale is OK. Does Brighton count as a suburb of the "extended city of London" (cf Hywel Williams in the Guardian late last year). If so, it's GRATE.

Robin Carmody, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Ooh, I hope my comments about NF activity in the South-West Londony suburbs don't go and mess up anyone's theories...

I think that, broadly speaking, Robin's right - at least in terms of voting habits etc of suburbs east of London and those of the suburbs south-west of London.

I think (hope) that most of the NF activity was just a couple of nuts rather than typical of the people where I live. The stickering was quite frenzied (about 50 suddenly appeared over night covering Worcester Park station. I actually know for a fact that there is/was at least one active NF member who lived near me (I remember seeing a picture of him at an NF rally in Searchlight and thinking "Blimey - he went to the same school as me"). The NF opened an office in Epsom but despite me living quite near Epsom, I have NO IDEA what it's like (why would anyone get a train in THAT direction?).

Other scary far-right things that happened in my lovely south-west London suburb:

Crazed nut phoned police after Brick Lane nailbomb claiming responsibility (Edward Davey MP said the phone box should be "disinfected").

Asian guy attacked by ten drunken yobs a few weeks ago in violent racial assault.

On a more positive note, New Malden has something like the highest concentration of Koreans outside Korea in the world. I'm not sure why they love New Malden so much - it's not that good.

jamesmichaelward, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

And of course you had a particularly right-wing, thuggish Tory candidate (David Shaw, himself unsurprisingly once an MP in Kent) against a Lib Dem majority of only 56. From what little I heard he tried to stir up a lot of sub-racist sentiments in the same way that, say, Andrew Rosindell did in Romford: he truly deserved the massive tactical LD vote that confronted him. A 15,000-plus Lib Dem majority, wasn't it?

Robin Carmody, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

If I may just post my thoughts on some of the issues raised here:
As most of you may well know by now I actually live in the East London/Essex area talked about above, and so I have a few things to say.
- "creating a kind of aggressive white English state" Robin, I suggest you actually come here and have a look around. There is a sizeable non-white population, and indeed the Tory candidate for Ilford South this year was a fellow called Suresh Kumar, who lost to Mike Gapes (Labour) who has been MP here since 1992, I think. Take a walk along the high road and you will find many a curry house or halal butcher, and witin 100 yards of each other there is both an Islamic bookshop and a Gurdwara. There is very little overt racism, and whilst it's true opposite my house there's a junction box with a swastika daubed on the front that's (usually) about as far as it goes, 14 year olds with spray paint who reckon they're well 'ard. The BNP didn't field a candidate this year, so I would imagine this disqualifies my locality somewhat from the areas that are "most right- wing anywhere in Britain" when compared to say, ooh, Oldham. As for "Richard Littlejohn country", this is fairly accurate in terms of the small-minded ignorant Sun reader stereotype that does stalk my streets, but it applies equally across all races, I find.
I don't mean to be rude, but as much as there is to moan about Ilford/Romford, it is my home and I will defend it.

DG, Friday, 31 August 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

i grew up (18 yrs) in various New Jersey suburbs, and i loved all of them. being an only child for 10 years and not living by many kids as a small child, my imagination was my best friend, and in a suburban backyard, where it's safe for an 8 year old to wander and play, the imagination RULES. the suburb i lived in from junior high through high school was great - everything was, at most, 40 minutes away. ("At most" being NYC.)

since moving to a semi-urban area (St Louis), i enjoy it a lot less. i'm hoping to move to NYC in about 2 or 3 years, and hopefully i'll enjoy that more. i think the main problem w/ St Louis is the lack of ANY type of worthwhile "scene", but that seems to be a whole new thread topic. i simply moved to the part of the city i liked best, and i'm a lot happier now.

while suburbans can be snobs, driving around in giant Sport Utility Vehicles and partaking in Lawn Wars, fighting over who has the bigger status symbol, most teenagers who complain about suburban life tend to be boring individuals inthe first place, no matter what setting you place them in. it's all about making the best of what you're given.

mike j, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

DG, I'm sorry if I offended you at all.

The areas I had in mind are, I guess, further from central London than the area where you live.

I have however always been struck by how much nastier and more aggressive Toryism is when it's actually facing multiculturalism in the face than when it's at a relative distance. So only very recently have West Country Tory MPs become quite as nasty as the south-east mob (Oliver Letwin and Adrian Flook are obviously far more right-wing and far easier to hate instantly than Sir James Spicer and Edward Du Cann were).

However all the points you make are true, and I only had a minority (albeit a particularly aggressive and vicious one) in mind. I just found it curious that the biggest Tory revival in terms of Westminster seats was in East London / Essex (rather than in the outer shires as had been generally expected) and was throwing a few thoughts, perhaps overt generalisations, around.

Robin Carmody, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

where i live in sydney we have huge ethnic mix, a train station, members of the taliban wearing funny pink dresses and thongs who live above us, and great abkeries that sell lots of sweet things...according to the papers, we also have lots of gang violence and driveby shootings, but i haven't shot anyone yet.

Geoff, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm not offended Robin, I just wanted to stick up for my town and to make sure people don't get the wrong impression and stick to boring cliches about what this end of London is like, that's all.

DG, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

And you were quite right. Thanks.

Robin Carmody, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Isn't Northeast USA suburbia plagued by Lyme disease?

dave q, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

re; massive LD tactical vote in kingston & surbiton - i got the impression there was huge relief on the part of many people i spoke to in and around town when i was there that they had a lib candidate who could plausibly win escaping them from a guilty labour vote. plus the tory caompaign amounted to about two leaflets - i got about 10 different liberal ones, and the whole area was awash with yellow placards.

matthew james, Saturday, 1 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

I'm sure you're right, Matthew (speaks someone who guiltily voted LD when the tactical option was to vote Labour). The LDs put on the massive, high-profile campaign you describe in that seat principally *because* the Tory candidate was so violently, aggressively right- wing (he had, before 1997, represented the same town that gave us the "Let's wash asylum seekers down the drain" local paper headline).

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 2 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

Suburbs are crap because they're the worst of both worlds -- they're as heartless and as artificial as the city, but as geographically isolating and socially conservative as rural areas can be. There's nothing beautiful around you, nowhere to go without ending up in someone's backyard, and nothing to do. And they encourage the most consumerist aspects of American culture. It's hard not to have your sensibilities permanently affected if you live in a genuinely rural area, but the suburbs have Nature Lite, at best.

Of course, when I'm thinking of "suburbs" I'm thinking of places where all the houses look exactly the same -- Levittown-style stuff, where people give the streets fancy names to hide the fact that they live in an utter and total corporate contrivance. But not all towns near to cities are like that, of course, and it is not for those that my withering stare is intended...

Phil, Monday, 3 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

When you enter the suburbs, you feel yourself slipping in a coma.

travis bickle, Monday, 3 September 2001 00:00 (12 years ago) Permalink

like nobody moved to celebration florida to flee corruption and trade barriers

iatee, Thursday, 6 September 2012 17:10 (1 year ago) Permalink

it's not like disney got the power to change the legal system or trade agreements in Florida

― iatee, Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:04 PM (26 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

bet we could find counterexamples

your naïve bacon (mh), Thursday, 6 September 2012 17:31 (1 year ago) Permalink


Newgod joins this board, and quickly he's some dude (goole), Thursday, 6 September 2012 17:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...

tbf most of these people think they're going to still be living in mcmansions in suburbs and driving their oversized cars at the age of 85, as god intended

ɥɯ ︵ (°□°) (mh), Monday, 15 October 2012 14:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

not that this is new or anything but I like this graph

iatee, Monday, 26 November 2012 17:05 (1 year ago) Permalink

Isolated Cabin Dwellers More Likely to Vote Republican (The Atlantic)

drunk 'n' white's elements of style (Hurting 2), Monday, 26 November 2012 17:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...
4 weeks pass...

The "multifamily island" looks to me like it might actually be an business hotel/extended stay sort of place.

s.clover, Friday, 25 January 2013 15:34 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

are american suburbs more fun to grow up in than english ones? i imagine you spend your days zooming about on yr skatebaord and then go home and listen to hardcore. in the sun.

the Shearer of simulated snowsex etc. (Dwight Yorke), Monday, 18 February 2013 10:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

They were awesome for the skateboarding years. Pure hell when I got old enough to want to go to shows.

how's life, Monday, 18 February 2013 11:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

I grew up in a "suburban" part of a city - inside city limits but public transit was very limited and there was no commercial area within walking distance. It was good in some ways -a yard to play football in, places to build snowforts and sled, quiet, etc. I was pretty miserable as a teenager though when I couldn't get anywhere without taking a long bus ride to the metro -- 1hr trip to anything worthwhile. Although I guess that's better than not having it at all.

space phwoar (Hurting 2), Monday, 18 February 2013 14:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

I spent my weekends in a planned community. Cul-de-sacs out the wazoo. Walking and biking paths snaking through the neighborhoods. Only two ways into the town. Playgrounds close by. That part of town where every street was named after a PGA golfer.

As a kid, my step-brother and I would enter a drainage tunnel and walk along through it to see where we'd come out at. Our local playground was this "tree-house", where there was a long tube with a ladder inside it that would lead to a circular platform, walled off with metal bars.

It must've looked pretty sharp when people started moving in during the late 70s, but by the time we were done with it around 1990, all that new had worn off in a bad way. All those houses with the wooden facades started looking pretty bad. Traffic was getting heavier, winding up and down those curvy streets to the cul-de-sac of your choice. Those walking and bike paths that went between and behind the houses were perfect for scoping out burglaries, peeping toms and even the occasional rape. People kept peeing down the tube of our "tree-house", so the community nailed plywood over the openings.

We went back over there recently for a Christmas party. There's a big five lane "loop" going around the city, mere feet from some people's backyards. They razed all the land around the lake my family would picnic at, so now it looks like this little pond surrounded by strip malls and Walmart Neighborhood Grocery. Those two routes into the city were clogged and I read that they're thinking about adding a third artery, if the state highway department lets them put in a new interchange on the interstate.

Instead of the planned "New Town" that the commercials for the place advertised, it looks now just like a regular town... albeit one that is choking itself through the shortsighted planning of that utopia that never quite came to pass. And it's STILL 30 minutes removed from any other city. I don't know why people still move out to those brick mini mcmansions on the slab. The crime is still there. The county property taxes are the same as in the "big" city. You can't see the stars at night. I honestly couldn't tell you what is the pay-out for all that.

pplains, Monday, 18 February 2013 15:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

That part of town where every street was named after a PGA golfer.

We had a part of town where every street was named from Tolkein.

how's life, Monday, 18 February 2013 15:25 (1 year ago) Permalink

A Frodo Lane, everybody wants one.

pplains, Monday, 18 February 2013 15:50 (1 year ago) Permalink

haha I was just thinking "Out on my skateboard the night is just hummin'."

s.clover, Monday, 18 February 2013 15:55 (1 year ago) Permalink

this is a good piece about the nutty vegas street names

max, Monday, 18 February 2013 16:00 (1 year ago) Permalink

there's a road near me called 'good intentions road'

乒乓, Monday, 18 February 2013 16:01 (1 year ago) Permalink

I drove down it once and it got really warm inside the car

乒乓, Monday, 18 February 2013 16:02 (1 year ago) Permalink

Of course.

Stranded In the Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 18 February 2013 16:21 (1 year ago) Permalink

I like the vegas article

iatee, Monday, 18 February 2013 17:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

did we talk about this? this seems like the right thread for it, somehow

goole, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 21:33 (1 year ago) Permalink

lumping AK and HI into the continental states seems like a major error to me crossedarms.jpg

goole, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 21:36 (1 year ago) Permalink

I think you mean contiguous, Alaska is still on North America, man

☠ ☃ ☠ (mh), Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:04 (1 year ago) Permalink

乒乓, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Some of the name choices are just dummmmmmb.

The New Jack Mormons! (kingfish), Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

keep looking for a state named "Candy" next to it

☠ ☃ ☠ (mh), Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:08 (1 year ago) Permalink

Seems like a fun way to shake things up in the states, can we vote on this to be put into legislation somewhere

sleepingbag, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

if you want to move you have to find someone in another state to swap with

A True White Kid that can Jump (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:11 (1 year ago) Permalink

no they just redraw the borders every day

iatee, Tuesday, 26 February 2013 23:14 (1 year ago) Permalink

3 months pass...


goole, Wednesday, 5 June 2013 18:23 (1 year ago) Permalink

cool jpg man

iatee, Thursday, 6 June 2013 14:03 (1 year ago) Permalink

suggest ban

stefon taylor swiftboat (s.clover), Thursday, 6 June 2013 17:07 (1 year ago) Permalink

Me too, btw. Keep that shit outta here.

how's life, Thursday, 6 June 2013 17:09 (1 year ago) Permalink

That NYT article is the sort of bullshit that newspapers can't resist, even when they know there's nothing real there. On a par with something headlined "Do Blondes Really have More Fun?"

Aimless, Thursday, 6 June 2013 18:40 (1 year ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

I just came to link to the gawker article on that.
this weekend I went to visit my girlfriend at bard college (ah so ok, this will have nothing to do with poverty) and couldn't get a taxi at the train station. realized there is no such thing as a bus in the area, and that it is actually impossible to walk anywhere at all (all semi-rural highways with little to no shoulder).
it was totally enraging and I got to hang out at the locked train station for about an hour in the middle of the night before my gf could scramble a ride. everytime I'm up there I think it's basically immoral or unethical to build a place like that. literally impossible to do anything without owning a private car. I don't know how anyone could justify that kind of planning!

chinavision!, Monday, 22 July 2013 16:29 (1 year ago) Permalink

if you can't afford a car you're written off as a lazy criminal. our only hope for better planning is if rich people want to walk or take more public transportation, and it'll only be in enclaves they can afford to live in. the people who need it these resources the least. that's just the society we live in.

Spectrum, Monday, 22 July 2013 16:38 (1 year ago) Permalink

one problem with that article is it is doing percentiles nationwide. so a whole areas can go up or down in avg income (witness north dakota). in that sense its not only a mobility story, but a story of which regions have been doing well or poorly, and the two notions get mashed together. also not clear how they inflation adjust, etc. can't drill in more to the details, because the website is down :-(

stefon taylor swiftboat (s.clover), Monday, 22 July 2013 16:41 (1 year ago) Permalink

Pretty crazy that in some of those North Dakota regions there's like a 20-30% chance that a child born in the bottom fifth rose to the top fifth. Just shows how powerful the oil boom is.

Cap'n Conserv-a-pedia (Hurting 2), Monday, 22 July 2013 16:57 (1 year ago) Permalink

remember that's not top fifth north dakota -- that's top fifth nationwide. so just everyone in ND is better off than before -- not an indicator of relative mobility in ND.

sites back up for me, skimmed the data, they don't seem to have put any thought into the sort of things i'm worried about -- no story on inflation adjustment, etc.

also as far as i can tell they're not comparing kids at _their parents age at time of survey_ with the incomes of their parents. so that's why you get this "everything towards the middle" effect. like obv income should grow over time. but because their cohort were born '80-81 they're all 33 or so now. if their parents income is from when their parents were e.g. 40 then at least for some classes of jobs, even if they were exactly in their parents footsteps, they would be making less b/c they're younger. for other classes of jobs you're going to top out in earnings earlier. so that's another confounding factor that makes this data v. up for interpretation

stefon taylor swiftboat (s.clover), Monday, 22 July 2013 17:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

RIP suburbs

Mordy , Monday, 5 August 2013 21:48 (11 months ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Hey, found a no-car, pedestrian neighborhood away from the city for iatee.

pplains, Monday, 25 November 2013 16:03 (8 months ago) Permalink


lollercoaster of rove (s.clover), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 03:48 (8 months ago) Permalink

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