Boomburbs and Megaburbs

So, what happens to a “boomburb” or “edge city” as it ages? What becomes of a suburb when it matures? The first- and second-generation of booming suburbs — boomburbs — all across the U.S. are beginning to find out.

In the suburbs dotting Dallas-Ft. Worth, places such as Plano, Texas are wrestling with the very notion of what happens as a boomburb creeps into middle age, and begins facing challenges that once were known only to aging inner cities — rising crime, aging infrastructure and changing demographics.

Of course, Southern California is a metropolis of such places. In fact, the region has become what is known as the “megaburb” — multiple large suburban cities on the periphery of an existing major city. Long Beach, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Riverside, Anaheim, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga — all these Southern California cities are boomburbs in one aspect or another, together creating a Los Angeles megaburb. And, as elsewhere across the nation, each are facing the same challenges as newer growth and investment expand beyond even their own borders.

Fortunately, the changing American attitude toward preserving, maintaining and reinvigorating many of America’s downtown districts is helping to stem the outward flow to what can only be referred to as the “suburbs of the suburbs.” This change against constant sprawl — though, still not much more than a concept to many — is beginning to take affect. Enough numbers of the buying public are finally beginning to grow the “infill” and “mixed-use” markets, making developments that were unheard of even a few years ago, now a reality.

Sadly, this change in mindset has not been quite as dramatic locally within Southern California as it has been elsewhere across the nation. In the land of endless cars and endless freeways, mixed-use developments are still difficult for many to fathom. But, this change is finally beginning to take shape here as well.

Slowly, but surely.

Sources: Chicago Tribune

2024 PAGE UPDATE: Removed outdated links to newspaper article.

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