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Not Your Mother's Suburb: Remaking Communities for a More Diverse Population

Not Your Mother's Suburb: Remaking Communities for a More Diverse Population

Urban Lawyer 46(4): 729-751

The United States is a suburban nation with a majority of Americans living and working in this landscape. But the suburb is more than a physical location; it is also a social production. Built upon a middle class, white, nuclear family ideal, the suburb is now diversifying demographically and economically, yet zoning ordinances and the built environment continue to reflect this outdated ideal. Today's suburb is not your mother's suburb. We argue that these demographic changes create both a point of rupture that challenges traditional land use regulations and actual uses of space, and an opening for communities to embrace and plan for new residents. In order to respond to the needs of a diversifying suburban population, communities need to challenge the underlying assumptions of traditional zoning ordinances - the separation of uses and preference for single-family housing. We present an agenda for the future that includes planning responses that rethink the zoning hierarchy, promote new forms of densification, move beyond restrictive family definitions, and experiment with new forms of service delivery.

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Accession: 058427554

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PMID: 26366018

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