I’ve been an ass about suburban development, I apologize

I have held very strong views, for decades now, about the damage suburbs, particularly exurbs, do to human communities. These views are largely based on books I read in the mid-90s, Suburban Nation and Metropolitics.

Recently I’ve been reading articles in various news outlets discussing the collapse of the service economy and how this is harming people who live in suburbs. I’ve been publicly pleased about the suburban collapse, and I’ve been an ass to friends over this. (My apologies, again, you know who you are.)

The thing is, it’s been two decades since I formed those anti-suburban views. I believe they were valid at the time, and I still hold to some tenants of urban development I learned then.

But real people live in suburban spaces. Actual humans, with families, with goals, with hopes and struggles. And I’ve been ignoring that. I’ve even, if I’m being honest with myself, sometimes mentally blamed people in exurbs for choosing their situation.

This is a dick move. I shouldn’t do it. I’m sorry.

Moreover, it’s been two decades. The more I read in articles and think-pieces, the more I am coming to understand that my comprehension of community life in suburbs is, frankly, wrong. I read portions of the Twin Cities Housing report last month (I didn’t finish, but I read a great deal) and my internal view of the Twin Cities is woefully out of date. I need to learn more, to change my thinking, before I contribute to the public conversation.

I’m going to try to do that. I care, passionately, about urban and community development. But I need to listen a lot more before I voice my views.

So, again, I’m sorry I was an ass. I’ll try to do better in the future.

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