Suburbanization is the process in which people shift from central urbanized areas to suburbs, which results in the formation of (sub)urban sprawl. The suburbs will continue to exist which creates the need to design and organize them. Increasing urbanization results in over densely populated urban areas. People nowadays prefer suburbs more than urbanized areas. The suburbs will have to density somehow in order to be livable. The dispute is how to outline or frame it. The people who move to the suburbs prefer to live in peace, but the urbanization might take that away from them. To successfully design a suburb in a sustainable manner, we need to contemplate on not eliminating the tranquility of the suburbs, while also maintaining the quality of living. Think of the suburbs as new urban centers that need to be connected to each other and to the prime part.
Proximity over density:
People prefer proximity over density. We don’t need a psychologist to help us understand this. It’s all about perception. Density means living in a 250 Sqft apartment on the 25th floor. Proximity means walking down the block to the grocery store to get some eggs and bread for breakfast. Density is overpopulation, pollution, traffic jam. Proximity means a park is never more than half a mile away. We can have the beauty of proximity without the exaggeration of urban density.
Designing a proper grid:
“Streets moderate the form and structure and comfort of the communities. Their size and arrangements afford or deny light and shade. They may have the effect of focusing attention and activities on one or many centers, at the edges, along with a line. The street is a place to be seen.” This quote from the ‘Great Streets’ by Allan B Jacobs describes the importance of a well-designed street and sets a prototype on how streets should be designed. In many suburbs, the density is merely fine, but the transportation dependence remains the same as densely populated areas because of the poorly designed street grids. People living half a mile away from their children’s school have to drive over two miles to pick them up because of lack of proper street grid designs. The easy fix is to reconnect the streets or designing the streets according to the traditional street grid. No traffic light system by MIT might be a solution to traffic jams.
Using extra space effectively:
Wide streets, low density, separate uses of streets are a disappointment. But fixing this in the suburban areas can be easier than doing the same in cities that are already built-up to its maximum capacity. A suburb is an effective place to build a bicycle network. In a suburb, most transportation distances don’t exceed 5 miles. It is an easy distance to cover by bikes if the infrastructure is properly built. Using the extra space for necessary transit centers should not be a trouble.
The town center:
The suburbs will need to establish traditional town centers, for commerce and community. Even some small towns urbanized by Metropolitan sprawl will have traces of traditional old centers, other suburb towns have to create new town centers. Developing successful town centers results in the development of successful towns. It is highly recommended to read Ellen Dunham-Jones and watch Ellen’s TED Talk.