Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City (Paperback)

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"Radical Suburbs is a revelation. Amanda Kolson Hurley will open your eyes to the wide diversity and rich history of our ongoing suburban experiment."--Richard Florida

America's suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today's suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of broad lawns and white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising. Rather than bland, sprawling cookie-cutter developments, some American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially conscious design, and integrated housing. In Radical Suburbs, Amanda Kolson Hurley, an editor at Bloomberg Businessweek, takes us on a tour of some of these radical communities, including:

- the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania

- a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey

- a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland

- a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania

- experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts

- and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.

Here you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. It's a timely reminder, as NPR put it, that "any place, even a suburb, can be radical if you approach it the right way."

An insightful study that will make you rethink your assumptions about suburbia and possibly remake its future.

About the Author


Amanda Kolson Hurley is a writer who specializes in architecture and urban planning and a senior editor at CityLab. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Architect magazine, The American Scholar, and many other publications. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781948742368
ISBN-10: 1948742365
Publisher: Belt Publishing
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Pages: 160
Language: English