1st Edition

Suburbia Reimagined Ageing and Increasing Populations in the Low-Rise City

By Leon van Schaik, Nigel Bertram Copyright 2018
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    Worldwide, more and more people are living in cities, with suburbs conceived as appendages to the city, rather than being part of the city system, which is densely populated and offers a full range of services. But suburbs are not the city spread too thin, and in fact hold potential for a lived complexity as satisfying as that assumed to be available in inner cities. Just as the ecological function of wetlands was ignored by modernist planning, and swamps once-drained are now recognised as vital to water cycles, suburbs are increasingly recognised as part of a city’s wellbeing with their own alternative ideology and opportunities for urbanity and ecological sustainability. Suburbia Reimagined shows how such subdivision structures can offer new possibilities for sustainably integrating living between generations and between established and arriving migrant communities.

    The authors worked locally and internationally with university campuses, shopping centres, hospitals, airports, and other large entities spread through suburbia, to identify a broad range of suburban situations that have been modified to ensure that residents have a full access to amenities and services. The book addresses the history and design of suburbia, from the post-war soldier settlements of the 40s and 50s to the university hinterlands of Silicon Valley in order to reappraise the locked potential within such subdivision patterns. The authors propose a new model forward, examining case studies ranging from repurposed malls and railways for ecological sustainability to cul-de-sacs as social units and post-industrial factory conversions, ultimately showing the nascent patterns in suburbia that have the potential to support a rich life for all age groups.

    Introduction Part 1: Living Together Chapter 1. Ideas of the suburb chapter 2. Ideas of the House Part 2: Parts and Pieces of Suburbia Chapter 3. Renovations Chapter 4. Single Houses Chapter 5. Small Groups Chapter 6. Larger Ensembles Chapter 7. Streets and Cul-de-Sacs Part 3: Conflations and Combinations Chapter 8. The Missing Middle Chapter 9. Suburban Engines Conclusion Epilogue


    Leon van Schaik is a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology professor of architecture holding a design practice research chair. His publications include: Practical Poetics in Architecture (2015); Meaning in Space (2012); Procuring Innovative Architecture (2010); and Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture (2008).

    Nigel Bertram is a director of NMBW Architecture Studio and practice professor of architecture, Monash University. NMBW’s architectural work has been published and awarded across categories including urban design, housing, small public works and adaptive reuse of existing buildings. His previous publications include Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure (2013).

    "An essential book for urban policy-makers and architects interested in the future of housing and the suburbs.  It demonstrates, through a long line of research and astute design propositions, the reimagining of life in the suburbs, enabling a future the authors see as ‘republics of pleasure’ coming together to form ‘commonwealths of enhanced living.’"

    Geoffrey London, Professor of Architecture, School of Design, The University of Western Australia


    "Bertram and van Schaik cast a much-needed light on an often-overlooked part of our cities. Their sharp analysis is an insightful guide to the suburban condition. The design proposals offer intriguing, hopeful strategies for reshaping suburbia’s future, particularly for today’s rapidly ageing population. Suburbia Reimagined should be required reading - not just for architects and urban designers, but also legislators, developers, and all those who care about building a better city."

    John L. Brown, Dean, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary


    "Before deciding you know everything about the much-maligned suburb and the suburban, you must read this engrossing gift from Leon van Schaik and Nigel Bertram! A fresh and detailed insight into the evolution of the concept, Suburbia Reimagined blends together compelling research with a wealth of unrealised opportunities and wonderfully resourceful possibilities for generational integration and ecological sustainability – from the role of furniture and the dwelling to the composition of age-friendly precincts."

    C.J. Lim, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, The Bartlett, University College London