Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb – Opinionator Blog – NYTimes.com
That the Murphys, the couple recently arrested for spying for the Russians from Montclair, N.J., were described by a flabbergasted neighbor as “suburbia personified” is telling, an observation that perfectly sums up our collective notion that the suburbs are chock full of white, middle-class families, both nuclear and normal.
But that prevailing vision contradicts the reality of suburbia today. There may be white picket fences and home owners associations in common, but beyond that, “suburb” has outlived its usefulness as a descriptive term — and as a model for future planning, at least in its current incarnation. Suburbs continue to be designed for homogeneity even though they’re no longer homogeneous at all, and in fact have become increasingly varied in type, density, infrastructure and demographics.