The End of the Suburbs
Where the American Dream is Moving
Narrated by Jessica Geffen / 7 hours 33 minutes
"The government in the past created one American Dream at the expense of almost all others: the dream of a house, a lawn, a picket fence, two children, and a car. But there is no single American Dream anymore."
For nearly 70 years, the suburbs were as American as apple pie. As the middle class ballooned and single-family homes and cars became more affordable, we flocked to pre-fabricated communities in the suburbs, where open air and solitude offered a retreat from dense, polluted cities. Soon, success became synonymous with a private home in a bedroom community complete with a yard, a two-car garage and a commute to the office, and subdivisions quickly blanketed our landscape.
In recent years things have started to change. An epic housing crisis revealed existing problems with this unique pattern of development, while the steady pull of long-simmering economic, societal and demographic forces has culminated in a Perfect Storm that has led to a profound shift in the way we desire to live.
Now, journalist Leigh Gallagher traces the rise and fall of American suburbia from the stately railroad suburbs of the 19th and early 20th centuries to current-day sprawling exurbs where residents spend as much as four hours each day commuting. Along the way she shows why suburbia was unsustainable from the start and explores the hundreds of new, alternative communities that are springing up around the country and promise to reshape our way of life for the better.
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