Pete Saunders “The death of America's suburban dream” http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/sep/05/death-america-suburban-dream-ferguson-missouri-resegregation


America’s “inner-ring” suburbs – the group of small, independent municipalities that surround the largest US cities – are undergoing a remarkable transformation. In the 25 years or so that followed the second world war, these neighbourhoods were the classic aspirational destination. People moved to the suburbs to purchase their slice of the good life – a spacious home, with a quiet yard, near a good school. The suburbs represented the American ideals of homeownership, education, low crime and complete autonomy. They represented, in other words, insulation from the perceived ills of urban living. Now it is that very insulation, which made them attractive in their early years, that may be sealing their doom.

The first inner-ring suburbs developed between about 1900 and 1930 – towns like Brookline and Somerville outside of Boston, and University City adjacent to St Louis. They were often called “streetcar suburbs”, after their principal mode of access to the downtown core. Their development stalled during the Great Depression and the war, but soon restarted: veterans received federally backed low-cost mortgages, and the interstate highway network opened acres of land to new housing.


There was another incentive for some of these new suburbanites: a desire to escape the complex social tensions at work in large cities in the postwar era. When faced with growing minority populations, particularly of African-Americans, white city dwellers often chose to pull up stakes. It wasn’t always the primary reason for moving, but it was often a part of the migration equation.

This pattern of “white flight” to the suburbs was characteristic of American metro areas until the 1970s and 1980s, when newer suburbs – bigger, more spacious, more contemporary – began stealing residents away from the older inner-ring suburbs. And by the 1990s, more minorities were beginning to follow the same aspirational path as the former white city dwellers before them. Just as previous generations did, minorities sought larger homes, quieter environments and better schools. And white residents who craved insulation from the perils of urban living now saw it coming to their front lawns – again.


(…) In recent years, young, college-educated adults have begun to move into cities in great numbers, attracted by jobs and urban amenities; meanwhile, the suburban sprawl machine that created the inner-ring suburbs in the first place continues to expand, making newer, more desirable places even further from downtown.

To understand the implications of white flight and “resegregation”, look no further than the north side of St Louis. It was the primary destination for early black migrants, but quickly became an impoverished, isolated enclave. In recent years St Louis has been successful in broadening its citywide appeal as an immigrant destination, but few of those immigrants are interested in moving to black-majority areas*3. In the words of black St Louis alderwoman Sharon Tyus: “No one wants to live next to black people.”

Studies document this sentiment. Indiana University doctoral student Samuel Kye*4 examined census data from 1990-2010, and found that, as affluent minority populations in the suburbs grow, “white flight” continues. White residents in these transitioning suburbs are “especially sensitive” to racial and ethnic change, he argues: “Ethnoburbs [Kye’s term for suburbs with large numbers of racial or ethnic minorities] have lost a steady flow of white residents over the past 20 years.” The end result? African-American suburban migration has only led to greater segregation, creating ethnic pockets: whites in one, blacks in the other.

This has been an active decision. As black people move into their suburban idylls, longtime white residents flee to other suburbs, or retreat to the highest value enclaves in town. They take other measures, too.

その一方で、白人高学歴層による都市回帰の動きの背景には、テクノロジーの発展による「全く新しい都市生活観(bold new ideas about city life)」がある;
Meanwhile, everyone’s talking about downtown cores: a back-to-the-city movement led by well-educated young adults seeking the vigour and dynamism of urban living. Rapid gentrification – a predominantly white phenomenon – is associated with bold new ideas about city life. “Big data” can create a technology revolution, it is argued. Apps can make cities run with greater efficiency. A more pedestrian-oriented environment is the way to make your neighbourhood attractive. Many of the best of these ideas have been filtering through to the newest suburbs, too.
グラン・トリノ [DVD]

グラン・トリノ [DVD]