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suburbanization in america By Benjamin Limmer Limmer 1 AHousing is an outward expression of the inner human nature no society can be understood apart from the residences of its members That is a quote from the suburban historian Kenneth T Jackson from his magnificent piece on suburbanization Crabgrass Frontier Suburbanization has been probably the most significant factor of change in US cities over the last 50 years and began 150 years ago It represents Aa reliance upon the private automobile upward mobility the separation of the family into nuclear units the widening division between work and leisure and a tendency toward racial and economic exclusiveness Overall it may represent the change in attitude of the American people Suburbanization has been occurring for the last 150 years in this country and in Europe although the Europeans havent had the change that the United States has witnessed The causes of change on such a larger scale can be pointed at four aspects of metropolitan areas also pointed out in Jacksons work on suburbanization The first on is that Americans have such low density residential areas and often their is not a distinction between urban and rural Our cities were laid out over space with even New York City and Philadelphia not as densely populated as some cities in Europe The next distinguishing factor is a want to own a home At least two-thirds of all Americans own their own home with rates less than half of that present in cities in Europe Next is the average length that American travel to work also being much higher than in other countries Finally the last distinguishing factor is that social status and income correlate with suburbs the further away from the central business district the higher the income level It is believed that the average income in cities goes up 8 every mile away from the CBD with their being many exceptions Such an economic shift
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