Do suburbs simply reflect our cultures and attitudes or do they create them? What kinds of ideas about environment, class, race and gender do suburbs embody, and how do they in turn structure our culture, consumption, environment and attitudes? Why does the United States have a unique pattern of urban/suburban development that contrasts with other nations?Is an American suburb a built environment that encourages sprawl and consumption, or is it an attempt to contact nature and create community? Do suburbs establish islands of privilege, rejecting urban complexity and diversity, or is their creation a democratic strategy to enable home ownership?What will be the changing face of suburbs as the baby boomers gray? This program will look critically at historical, sociological and environmental aspects of suburbs, including the role of the federal government and financial institutions in structuring our landscape and living environments. We’ll consider alternative forms of housing and community development put forward by urban planners and environmentalists and examine various models of development in the local community.
Credit will be awarded in environmental studies and U.S. history.