Retrofitting Suburbia

by Handsome Matt

YouTube – Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia.

Interesting video, and for once it appears that suburbia isn’t theĀ villain. Ms. Dunham-Jones highlights the opportunities available to suburban communities to redevelop and retrofit themselves to become more sustainable, and nicer looking.

While watching this video I remembered that many city neighborhoods were pre-runners to suburbs, and they came into existence because of: trolleys!


We talk about redeveloping our urban spaces and our suburbs, but what about our neighborhoods?

Our whole building system needs to be reworked. Let’s change zoning laws to allow better integration of businesses and commercial enterprises. Many people don’t walk to work because they can’t!

Mass transit isn’t used because there is no real added benefit. Many times it’s more of a hassle, more inefficient and more inconvenient to take the bus, then it is to drive a car.

Psychologists lament the loss of real community (even Men’s Health talks about it), and one of the reasons I believe this has happened is the lack of “third spaces.” There is no neighborhood diner, coffee shop, bar, or grocery store anymore. Not really.

Applebee’s, Meijers, and others attempt it. But a person still has to drive 30 minutes to get there. I can’t walk out of my house and in a reasonable amount of time walk to a restaurant or grocery store.

Let’s re-design our communities in a more intelligent way!