As suburbia expands around the world, 150 experts from different disciplines contributed research that explores this the rise of the suburbs. On April 1st their work was showcased at the MIT Media Lab for the Future of Suburbia conference, wrote Newgeography's Alicia Kurimska and Charlie Stephens.
The conference started by moving away from the idea that cities and suburbs were separate places and acknowledging the importance of the burbs..
The urban-suburban dichotomy is highly debated (in fact, urbanists and planners themselves use 200 different terms to describe suburbia), but the Future of Suburbia conference tried to stay above the fray, instead describing the two camps as one evolving continuum. Throughout the day points were made that the suburb and urban can and should learn from one another. Traditionally, we have failed to recognize just how important suburbia is in this country and globally. By polarizing the suburb and the city we ignore how the making of peripheries can greatly contribute to urban centers, and vice-versa. However, this conference did not focus on trying to define suburbia, but on how we should think of urbanization’s holistic impact.
In the future, the line between city and suburb will continue to blur.
As population grows and technology improves, the researchers predict that the urban-suburban divide will disintegrate, resulting in a continuum of urbanity, one that takes form as a poly-nodal fabric of different hubs of innovation, living and sustainability.