World of Suburbs
Routledge – 2013 – 208 pages
Series: The Metropolis and Modern Life
There has never been a better time to take stock of suburban development worldwide. And yet, hardly anyone – academics, writers, or policy-makers – recognizes the size and significance of the world-wide suburban tsunami. Its very existence remains hidden in plain sight. Of course, commentators have said and written an enormous amount about suburbs in the developed world. Lately some observers have predicted their demise, whether because of energy shortages or because the decentralisation of jobs has taken the ‘sub-urb’ out of the suburb. Arguably, both claims are overstated. Meanwhile, the nature, extent, and significance of suburban growth in the Global South have barely been considered. The main reason is clear: fringe development around the rapidly-growing urban centres of China, India, Latin America, and Africa does not look like suburban growth as we know it. Typically, it is either more informal, or denser, than what we expect. It is neither Surbiton nor Levittown, nor any obvious mutation thereof. Nonetheless, it is part of the modern suburban scene; indeed, it is one of its most plausible futures. The world’s suburbs, then, are diverse: a World of Suburbs. The purpose of the proposed book would be to put this world on our mental map.
1. Introduction: A World of Suburbs 2. What does it mean to be suburban? 3. Agents, markets, and the state: how suburbs happen 4. Why suburbanization is happening 5. Why suburbanisation matters 6. Suburban Prospects