EPISODE Eight: In defense (kind of) of the suburbs: An interview with writer Amanda Kolson Hurley



For many, the suburbs are an easy target. For good reason. Many of the homes are ugly and out of scale. They promote sprawl and auto dependence thereby increasing obesity. They use tons of energy and are a huge drain on a city’s infrastructure. They wipe out farmland. And to many, they’re just boring.

I love the back to the city movement. I love that cities are thriving, reemerging and have found new life – coming back from the abandonment following the decades after World War 2 when the burbs were created.

However, with urbanists declaring the suburbs as dead, where are many young families living these days? That’s right. The suburbs. One report will say DOA, while other research will say thriving. So, did the suburbs ever really go away? Are they better? Can they be fixed? And what, really is considered a suburb?

An article by writer Amanda Kolson Hurley caught my attention, revealing that a famous architect was building a new project in a Northern California suburb. The project? A shopping mall of all things.

Amanda has written for Architect magazine, Architectural Record, The Atlantic, Washington City Paper among many others and has written numerous articles on the challenges of living in the suburbs and where the suburbs are headed.

In this episode we talk defining the suburbs, how suburbs can reinvent themselves, and city dwellers vs the burb dweller. Enjoy the episode.

Helpful links

Strong Towns

Suburbs Outstrip Cities in Population Growth, Study Finds

The American suburbs are the next fertile ground for architectural and urban experimentation

James Howard Kunstler: The old American dream is a nightmare (Also read his Geography of Nowhere if you have not yet read it.) 



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