This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, February 27, 2012

Re-Imagining American Suburbs

Since I'm in New York City, I went today to MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) to see a new exhibit that explores how suburbs can be rethought in the wake of the housing bust and the subsequent foreclosures that have pounded the suburbs. This is a project from a team at Columbia University.
Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream is an exploration of new architectural possibilities for cities and suburbs in the aftermath of the recent foreclosure crisis. During summer 2011, five interdisciplinary teams of architects, urban planners, ecologists, engineers, and landscape designers worked in public workshops at MoMA PS1 to envision new housing and transportation infrastructures that could catalyze urban transformation, particularly in the country’s suburbs. Responding to The Buell Hypothesis, a research report prepared by the Buell Center at Columbia University, teams—lead by MOS, Visible Weather, Studio Gang, WORKac, and Zago Architecture—focused on a specific location within one of five “megaregions” across the country to come up with inventive solutions for the future of American suburbs.
The ideas underlying the project are drawn from SMART growth strategies that have been developed to stem the tide of urban sprawl. But this project also dips into important issues related to the demographic change in the structure of neighborhoods that needs to be taken into account. For example, the case of Cicero, Illinois, emphasizes the role of immigration from Mexico in changing the sociodemographic structure of this Chicago suburb. In fact, they even name the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacan as being major sources of the area's residents. It's a complicated story, of course, but two things that I did not see in the exhibit (despite the apparent emphasis on their importance) were references to where jobs are and what transportation systems exist to get people from these re-imagined communities to their jobs--whatever and wherever they may be.

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