1st Edition

Suburbia in the 21st Century From Dreamscape to Nightmare?

Edited By Paul Maginn, Katrin B. Anacker Copyright 2022
    332 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 59 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The majority of the world’s population now live in urban areas and the 21st century has been declared as the "urban age". However, closer inspection of where people live in cities, especially within so-called advanced liberal democracies such as Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, reveals that most people live in different types of suburban environments.

    Drawing together scholars from across the globe, this book provides a series of national, regional, and local case studies from Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States to exemplify the diverse and dynamic nature and importance of suburbia in 21st century urban studies, city-building, and urbanism.

    This book explores the evolving social, physical, and economic character of the suburbs and how structural processes, market dynamics, and government policies have shaped and transformed suburbia around the world. It highlights the continuing importance of the suburbs and the suburban dream, which lives on albeit under increasing challenges, such as the global financial crisis, structural racism, and the Covid-19 pandemic, which have given rise to various suburban nightmares.

    1. Suburbia in the 21st Century: From Dreamscape to Nightmare?  

    Paul J. Maginn and Katrin B. Anacker

    Part I: Representations of Suburbia

    2. Fixing Post-suburbia: Recalibrating the Way we Think, Speak, and Act Upon Toronto’s Periphery

    Roger Keil and Sean Hertel

    3. Master Planned and Active Lifestyles Developments in Australia: Gerotopian Dream or Dystopian Nightmare?  

    Caryl Bosman and Keith Jacobs  

    4. Suburban Shopping Malls in Melbourne, Australia: Changing Roles and Impacts as New Town Centres for Diverse Communities  

    Robin Goodman and Elizabeth Taylor

    5. Liminal Space, Film Noir, and the Production of the (American) Suburb  

    Mark Luccarelli and Per Gunnar Røe

    Part 2: To Suburbia and Beyond

    6. The Canadian Dream? Growth Trends in Canada’s Suburban and Urban Neighbourhoods  

    David L.A Gordon

    7. Place Attachment in Non-Place Spaces? Community, Belonging and Mobilities in ‘Post-Suburban’ South East England  

    David Allen and Paul Watt

    8. Does Galicia Experience Suburbanisation? (Sub)Urban Processes, Morphologies, and Planning on the Morrazo Peninsula  

    Martín Barreiro and Valerià Paül 

    9. Suburban Housing Estates in Finland: Historic Development and Contemporary Challenges  

    Mats Stjernberg  

    Part III: From Dreamscape to Nightmare?

    10. Worlds Away in Suburbia: The Changing Geography of High-Poverty Neighbourhoods in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area  

    Willow Lung-Amam, Katrin B. Anacker and Nicholas Finio  

    11. End of the (Sub)Urban Dream? The Foreclosure Crisis and Unmarried Partnered, Same-Sex Households in the United States  

    Katrin B. Anacker   

    12. Between the Suburbs and the Banlieue  

    Alex Schafran and Yohann Le Moigne  

    13.No Soft Landing for the Suburbs: Credit, Debt, and the Fracturing of the Suburban Dream in Ireland  

    Declan Redmond and Cian O’Callaghan 


    14. Covid-19 (Sub)Urbanisms: From Dreamscape to Nightmare?  

    Paul J. Maginn and Katrin B. Anacker


    Paul J. Maginn is Associate Professor in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Western Australia, Australia. He is Editor-in-Chief of Urban Policy and Research and was Co-Convenor of the Australasian Cities Research Network from 2018 to 2021. He is the author of Urban Regeneration, Community Power and the (In)Significance of 'Race' (Routledge, 2004). He is also co-editor of Disruptive Urbanism: Implication of the ‘Sharing Economy’ for Cities, Regions and Urban Policy (Routledge, 2020) and (Sub)Urban Sexscapes: Geographies and Regulation of the Sex Industry (Routledge, 2015), which won the 2016 Planning Institute of Australia National Award for Cutting Edge Research. 

    Katrin B. Anacker is a Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, USA. She is the editor of The New American Suburb: Poverty, Race and the Economic Crisis (Routledge, 2015) and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Housing Policy and Planning (Routledge, 2019) and Introduction to Housing (Second Edition, University of Georgia Press, 2018). Her work has been published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Affairs Review, Urban Geography, the Journal of Urban Affairs, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Housing Policy Debate, and Housing Studies. She is the Editor of Housing and Society and a Senior Associate Editor of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

    'Though urban studies has long been preoccupied with the inner city, suburbanisation continues to be the dominant form of urban development, with COVID accelerating the demand for suburbs regarded as more spacious and salubrious than their inner city counterparts. Recognising this, Suburbia in the 21st Century questions the privileging of suburbia, and explores the underside of the suburban dream, taking us into a non-place realm that is often debt-ridden, alienating and environmentally damaging. The wide range of international case studies in this collection nonetheless highlights the diversity of suburban forms, and deftly avoids dystopian stereotypes to provide a more nuanced and balanced analysis. An important and timely book that represents the state-of-the-art in critical urban scholarship.'

    Phil Hubbard, Professor of Urban Studies, King’s College London, UK


    'This definitive collection provides a rich compendium of research and writing on the suburbs by leading scholars in the field. Challenging reductionist views of the suburb as subordinate to the city, the contributions in this book present suburbia as diverse, complex and dynamic. Theoretically informed but empirically detailed, the chapters offer broad ranging insights into the nature, character and transformations taking place within suburban environments across the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada as well as a number of European nations. An essential reference for urban geographers, planners, and sociologists, Suburbia in the 21stCentury: From Dreamscape to Nightmare? is an important and timely volume which demands to be widely read.'

    Nicole Gurran, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Director of the Henry Halloran Trust, The University of Sydney, Australia   


    'The edges of our cities have become central to discussions about how and where we will live in the future. Suburbia in the 21st Century assembles a cutting-edge collection that injects evidence to these deliberations. In a series of critical essays leading analysts take the pulse of these new urban heartlands, variously diagnosing spaces of opportunity and despair, spotting signs of policy failure and social utopia. These investigations help to correct popular ideas of the suburbs as simply sterile or affluent spaces, highlighting instead their variability of form, myriad lifestyles, resident groups, problems and potential. This exciting and timely collection brings insight, energy and critique to a subject that concerns us all. In the post-pandemic context and as these centres of increasing urban gravity continue to grow this collection helps us to understand the problems and possibilities of our new (sub)urban condition.'

    Rowland Atkinson, Chair in Inclusive Societies, University of Sheffield, UK


    'A remarkable book that makes a compelling case for urban studies and planning to reconsider the suburbs. This outstanding edited collection is accessible reading for scholars, students, and practitioners alike. Its contributors mount clear and persuasive arguments about why we ought to take the suburbs seriously, exploring myriad issues including suburban diversity and disadvantage. The book demolishes a longstanding fallacy that the suburbs are banal 'blandscapes'. Using international case examples, its contributors convincingly illustrate how the suburbs are places characterised by ethno-racial, sexual and socio-economic diversity. Overturning the cartoonish caricatures of low-density housing, golf courses and shopping malls that occupy the imaginary of some urban theorists, this book shows how suburbs are heterogeneous spaces of social (re)production. The book masterfully redresses a longstanding asymmetry in (sub)urban writing, research, and theorising.'

    Jason Byrne, Professor of Human Geography and Planning, University of Tasmania, Australia


    ‘This fine collection presents a wide-ranging assessment of Suburbia in the 21st Century. In the wake of recent economic, ecological and social disruptions, most recently the Covid pandemic, this re-evaluation of the ‘suburban project’ is timely and challenging. Long considered a haven from the rigours of city life, the suburb has not escaped the many injuries visited on the wider global patterns of urbanisation in recent years. It bears witness to human dreams and nightmares. This book brings together analyses from leading contributors to suburban scholarship who make sense of these harms, as well as the continuing meaning and gratification that many people find in the suburban setting. The editors are to be congratulated for the wide international sweep of the book which takes us beyond the more familiar urban terrains of the anglosphere.’

    Brendan Gleeson FASSA, Professor of Urban Policy Studies and Director of the Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia


    ‘Maginn and Anacker provide us with a fascinating contribution to the burgeoning and much-needed scholarly work on suburbs across the globe. With chapters from leading suburban scholars, this volume takes us to countries such as Australia, Finland, Ireland and France, to name a few, to demonstrate the varied and dynamic processes of suburbanization and the suburban experience. Engaging theory and undergoing empirical analyses of the dreamscape and discord that is suburbia, Maginn and Anacker achieve their goal of rightly placing these places at metaphorical center of urban scholarship. This book is a necessary read for real engagement beyond the current city focus of urban studies.’

    Bernadette Hanlon, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning, Ohio State University, USA