The Suburbs New Look

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Architects Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson explain how existing suburbs can be redesigned and redeveloped in their book Retrofitting Suburbia.


Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson

Comments [8]

See from NJ

If you follow the rail lines in NJ you'll find a variety of lovely older towns with viable centers and a variety of housing.

Apr. 16 2009 04:52 PM
Teaneck Listener from Teaneck, NJ

Back in the middle 1970(s) my wife and I gave up New York congestion to move to Teaneck and we have been here ever since. One of the reasons we chose Teaneck was because we were within walking distance of shopping, good public transportation, entertainment, restaurants and other amenities. We raised two girls here, They were born here left for college in NYC and now live in NYC with their spouses. We have been in Hackensack for the last year while our house is being rebuilt and being made more green thanks to a lightning strike. There is nothing in walking distance of these dense useless luxury apartments. You have to drive to everything except for one dinner and a hospital. It seems a lot of people moving into Teaneck from other parts of NY have discovered what we found over 30 years ago. People who walk for exercise or for religious reasons pour into this town and desire homes here.

Apr. 16 2009 01:27 PM
Sarah from west new york, nj

Is there not a difference between "suburbia" and "towns"? I always thought of suburbia as a post-war invention of bedroom commmunities built on farmland--communities without town centers. If your town has a center, isn't it just a town? I always think it's strange to call everything that isn't the city, the suburbs. What do the guests think about this?

Apr. 16 2009 12:57 PM
Chicago Listener

does retro-fitting include "greening" suburbs? any thoughts on storm water management? those vast, impermeable asphalt parking lots coincide rather neatly with flooded basements and overflowing river banks.

Apr. 16 2009 12:54 PM
JP from The Garden State

I grew up in Natick and my mom still lives there. The Natick Mall project the speaker is talking about is an absolute disaster. The mall is in an extremely dense area. Several very high price condo’s (not a single affordable unite made) were made right over the mall. This area is anything but sustainable. Plenty of boutiques but not a supermarket to be found unless you hop into your car. Guess what, no body wants to live above a mall, especially rich folk. They also hosed the town with taxes and now Natick is now scrambling to find revenue to make up for loss taxes. If this was an anti sprawl experiment, it was viewed locally as building contractors building more waist and the tax payer getting stuck in the rear, really, really hard. Please ask how the Natick mall project was supposed to be good even tough from the get go it seemed like such a waist?

Apr. 16 2009 12:52 PM
Chicago Listener

Have changes in building materials and techniques contributed to the rate of suburban sprawl? In no time, developers can build hundreds of shiny "tornado magnet" homes in a former corn field.

Apr. 16 2009 12:49 PM
Chicago Listener

Do the authors have any comments on Chicago's suburbs? Are they unique in any way?

Apr. 16 2009 12:47 PM
antonio from park slope

President Obama spoke today about the need for new high-speed rail throughout the country.
Could the smaller trolley system that was dismantled years ago be used to help the sprawling burbs?

Apr. 16 2009 12:38 PM

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