Can the suburbs be fixed? What does sustainability look like in a land of three car garages, shopping malls, single use zoning and houses on steroids?
This week, Action Speaks takes a look at Levittown, the birthplace of suburban utopia. In just over 50 years, the American suburbs have physically transformed the landscape of our country, redefined the middle class and helped to both fuel and bring down our nation’s economy. Is this the American dream we were looking for? Will the suburbs, built on a seemingly inexhaustible supply of oil, be able to turn ‘green’ and can bastions of ‘white flight’ and individualism reflect our nation’s demographic diversity and its needs for community?
V. Elaine Gross is the president of ERASE Racism, a regional not-for-profit organization based on Long Island, New York that promotes racial equity through research, policy advocacy and education in areas such as housing, public school education and health. The Racial Equity Report Card: Fair Housing on Long Island is a revealing report published in March 2009.
Alyssa Katz is a freelance journalist who teaches at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. The former editor-in-chief of City Limits, an award-winning magazine about urban policy in New York City, she is currently an editorial consultant for the Pratt Center for Community Development and the author of Our Lot: How Real Estate Came to Own Us.
Paul Lukez is a Boston based architect and the founding principal of his own firm, Paul Lukez Architecture. His designs and competition entries have earned him numerous awards with the NE / AIA and BSA. With over 15 years of teaching experience, he has taught at MIT, Tsinghua University , TU Delft and is currently teaching at Washington University. He is the author of Suburban Transformations, a book which proposes theories and tools for planning suburbs and edge cities.
The New Metropolis
This relevant two part documentary was aired on RIPBS as part of Action Speaks’ programming during the Fall 2009 recording season.