The end of the suburbs? - Maxicours

The end of the suburbs?

Objectif
  • Connaitre les raisons d'un retour vers les centres-villes.
Points clés
  • Alors qu’il y a 40 ou 50 ans, les Américains fuyaient les centres-villes pour s’installer en banlieue, on observe aujourd’hui le mouvement inverse.
  • Les centres-villes redeviennent attractifs car tout le nécessaire se trouve à proximité et les actes criminels ont diminué.
  • Ce changement invite à repenser la vie quotidienne et les déplacements en ville.
1. Introduction

In the past years, studies have noticed that more and more Americans have left the suburbs to move into town : this is exactly the contrary of what was happening 40 or 50 years ago, when they fled the city centers to find accommodation a little further.
Why such a change of situation ? How can it be explained ? This is what we are going to analyze here.

2. The reasons

There are different reasons which encourage people to leave the suburbs – the first time for ages – in favour of city centers, and one of them is the price of suburban flats and houses which has considerably increased while their size was shrinking. Consequently, more and more couples want to have their house built downtown.

Crime has decreased in the city centers, and so has poverty, so they have become safer places and their inhabitants do not feel as much in danger as they used to. They do not hesitate to go out at night or walk through the streets on their own because they know that crime has moved away. Unfortunately it has settled in the suburbs.

If you live in the suburbs, costs are prohibitive because you have to take your car or the public transports and with the significant rise in energy costs, driving is more and more expensive. The costs of commuting to and from the suburbs have doubled in thirty years.

City centers are very attractive and the Millenials or Z-gens prefer living there rather than in the suburbs because they have everything they need on site : cinemas, discos, shops, museums... Contrary to what happened a few years ago, cities are cool again. There are lots of pedestrian streets and as more and more stores are to be found a good distance away, fewer and fewer cars or shoppers gather there.

3. The role of urban planners

Urban planners tend to encourage the situation. They extend the city centers as much as they can and give the surrounding areas a center where everything can be found. No need to take a car and drive for miles on to do the shopping or find a restaurant. They would like the car culture to disappear to the benefit of cheaper and less polluting means of transport. If everything is close by, why not walk or cycle instead of driving ? And it is very good for the environment ! Moreover, they want to attract the Millenials and they look at ways to improve nightlife. They also want to give them the opportunity of finding a job there and stay in the area.

Such changes have proved fruitful since downtown areas are growing faster than the suburbs for the first time in generations.

4. Conclusion

We must admit that the suburbs are no longer attractive. In the past, people liked to commute because they wanted to live and work in two different places so as to dissociate them clearly but today, and for lots of reasons, people have abandoned this idea. They find it more convenient and of course cheaper to reduce the number of kilometers and they do not waste time coming and going anymore. Everything is planned to feel more comfortable in the city centers and people like the idea of returning to the city centers.

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