The Freedoms of Suburbia

November 1, 2009

I’d like to recommend a new book that’s come out by Paul Barker: ‘The Freedoms of Suburbia‘. Many of the same themes that featured in Barker’s 1999 article Non-Plan Revisited: Or the Real Way Cities Grow feature here too: the inherent adaptability of suburban houses and the fact that suburbs are where most people want to live because they provide a balance between privacy and sociability. The “vociferousness” of suburbia enemies is also mentioned: many of them are architects and architecture commentators, who view suburbia with snobbery (despite of, or perhaps because of the fact they grew up in a suburb themselves). Indeed, the last two chapter’s argument for less planning echoes Barker’s 1999 article and it is interesting also to see that Barker sees a parallel between Jane Jacob’s desire to rescue the inner-city from “wrong-headed” improvements and his own desire to rescue suburbia from contemporary “condescension and hostility”. See also Barker’s interview along with Lynsey Hanley (author of  ‘Estates: An Intimate History’) on Laurie Taylor’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ programme on BBC Radio 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n8m2s.

See also: https://uclsstc.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/the-need-for-adaptability-in-suburban-fabric-the-inevitability-of-change/.

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