“The Death of Suburbia”

That’s the title of a very interesting series of articles in Business Insider.  It looks at changing patterns of American urban and suburban living, and draws some startling conclusions.  Here are a few excerpts from an introductory article to the series.

Look no further than the suburbs to see how American ideals of success are transforming.

People in US suburbs are changing the way they shop, where they eat, and what they want in their homes.

Malls are shutting down as e-commerce continues to take over, and the casual-dining chains that fed shoppers after a day of hoofing it through the mall are struggling to cope.

Business Insider reporters from the consumer, transportation, news, graphics, video, and innovation teams have explored this idea in a series of stories.

We’re calling it the Death of Suburbia — because if the trends that they identified continue, the suburbs as we know them could be forever changed.

There’s a lot more at the link.  Very worthwhile reading, IMHO.

There’s a lot of independent confirmation that Business Insider is on the right track with these articles.  Just yesterday, for example, I read about shopping malls that are now being used to accommodate schools and medical offices.  I’ve seen several others over the past year or so that confirm BI’s conclusions.

I’ve also been informed by a friend in law enforcement that in some states, there appears to be a deliberate effort by many people, particularly those close to retirement, to move out of bigger cities, with their crime, pollution and dependency culture, to smaller towns and rural areas, where self-reliance is prized, community spirit is much stronger, and crime is considerably lower.  (Regular readers will recall that Miss D. and I did that, a little over a year ago, when we moved from Tennessee to Texas.)  This is contrary to the thrust of Business Insider’s series, but it’s part of the same phenomenon.  People are no longer satisfied with things as they are, and they’re seeking to change how they live.  In the process, they’re changing our suburbs.



  1. Hey Peter;

    As soon as my son graduates High School, I want to "pop" smoke and get away from where I am at. the crime is increasing and so is traffic. I do a lot of shopping via Amazon or Ebay so the need to go to the store is lessened….And Texas sounds good to me or some place with temperate weather and a small town feel.

  2. It's just not suburbia that is changing. The whole mind-set of the average working stiff is changing. There is a revolution, if you will, going on. The status quo isn't working, options are being explored, which is the reason Mr. Trump was elected. Judy

  3. There is also the cost issue of 'suburbia'… People can't afford to continue living there after retirement due to taxes, local taxes and other costs. Also many want to get away from the 'commute' to be able to do anything, from shopping to entertainment. NOVA being the classic example, it was roughly 1-2 hours of travel time to get to anything and that was assuming there wasn't a (insert sports here) game. Just to run out to the gun show at Dulles was a minimum of an hour round trip at best.

  4. 1) Ecommerce is changing the way people shop. Why deal with the mall rats and parking when you can point and click.
    2) +1 Old NFO. Commuter suburbs tend to price themselves out growth in the NE corridor and around LA. Very few people salaries can keep up with increased cost of living unless both members of the household are working. My old home taxes just topped $12K a year.
    3) My little KY town has seen suburban sprawl over the last 10 years.
    The job creation has led to young families buying starter home on new developments that were farm land when I moved here.

    Of course I live in fly over country so what does BI care about things here.


  5. Old NFO nailed it: Cost. Taxes are so high that I was forced to sell out and move. I now live in a condo in the city. It's a nice life, but it doesn't beat the isolation I enjoyed at the old family homestead.

    Many people are looking for change, and to get away from crime. Having been house hunting recently, I tend to look around the neighborhood. If I see a broken window, or graffiti, or hear a boom car, it's time to look somewhere else.

  6. Traffic getting unbearable, and government officials who look at people as milch cows (absurd tax rates). Who needs it? Time to find a small town where some of America is still available. Also, when the debt-ridden economy finally comes crashing down, you don't want to be anywhere near a big city.

  7. Pauk Bonneau hits the nail on the head:

    "Also, when the debt-ridden economy finally comes crashing down, you don't want to be anywhere near a big city."

    I am now some 30 plus miles east of Dallas, on a county road, and a small house on a fenced acre. We chose this area precisely because of its distance from Dallas, especially South Dallas, and it has a super Wal-Mart less than three miles away. handy for grocery shopping.

    When the crash occurs, we are too far away from Dallas for the thugs to reach, since they will already be out of gasoline (from running around the hood looting) and with no gas stations open they'll be afoot, so all we have to watch out for is the motorcycle gangs.

  8. Hell with that, they need to wall those turds in with the cities they think they need to live close to so they don't spread their lazyness and leftist filth out to real America.

  9. I can go to a British mall and typically find a Boots or Superdrug (health care goods), a shop for my mobile carrier (whichever one I've chosen), some kind of grocer, a book shop (often Waterstone's), a music shop of some kind, a WH Smith's (for books, office supplies, sweets, what have you), and anchors that actually sell goods I tend to need (such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, etc) …

    Try finding most of those kinds of things in most American malls.

    They're full of Apple stores, full of pretentious couture shops, full of anchors offering goods that are over-priced and not selling very well (apparently) …

    An interesting effect of convergence between the Internet and near-universal heavy goods transport is that you don't actually need the big box to be located anywhere near you.

    Think of the Internet as making the suburbs obsolete by taking the car-centric metaphor to its most extreme and logical conclusion.

  10. Trends never continue to the logical ends, there are always new factors that show up.

    Remember the predictions that New York would be buried in manure from the horses if it kept growing?

    but the general anti-business attitude by governments (the idea that businesses have lots of money, so they can just keep taxing them) is going to need to change or governments will end up without the businesses in their area

  11. The reason why the middle class is abandoning suburbia are the same reasons they've had to abandon shopping malls, Chuck e cheese, red lobster, golden corral, the freaking zoo and the iowa state fucking fair of all places. Here a hint: It ain't the Amish.

  12. Come out to flyover country if you can handle the law-abiding lifestyle and paying your own way. Wife and kids recommended, so the locals know you're okay…

  13. Exactly why I am where I am in TN–but then, I live in the hills. I can't abide city limits, & I abhor big cities.
    –Tennessee Budd

  14. From Anonymous:

    Here a hint: It ain't the Amish.

    Well, you sure got that one right. Here's a hat tip and a hoist of the afternoon bourbon glass to you, Sir. Good health!

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