Thursday, October 27, 2011


Among the 2010 census results that received a lot of attention was news of "The Rapid Growth of the Suburban Poor"

But most Americans now live in "the suburbs," which means that just about every group and every phenomenon, including poverty, can be found there.  There is diversity out there.

In fact, it is silly to apply one term and one set of thoughts to so large a place. This is mostly the mind set of people who still worry that "the suburbs" represent an unfortunate and alien aberration.  These folks are not among the best informed.

I did not find it easy to read this essay by Jason Griffiths, but he and his colleague did get out there to have a look.  Here is what they conclude:
Our initial impression of suburbia devolved around an abstracted idea of repetition and serialization — a dehumanized world comprised of a form of nullified architecture. Eight years and thousands of miles later, this view has shifted into a multiplicity of facets describing a place that is far more difficult to define. Our once hermetic view of the supposedly hermetic suburban world has taken on a prismatic new form — and with it a far greater sense of omnipresence.
Not the simplest prose, but I think that they too discovered that it is not so easy to summarize a vast and complex country.  "The cities" would be a poor way to describe urban America and "the countryside" does not do justice to the many faces of rural America.