Boomburbs: The Rise of Americas Accidental Cities

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Some are now more populated than traditional big cities. The population of the biggest boomburb—Mesa, Arizona—recently surpassed that of Minneapolis and Miami. Typically large and sprawling, boomburbs are "accidental cities," but not because they lack planning. Many are made up of master-planned communities that have grown into one another. Few anticipated becoming big cities and unintentionally arrived at their status. Although boomburbs possess elements found in cities such as housing, retailing, offices, and entertainment, they lack large downtowns.

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But they can contain high-profile industries and entertainment venues: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Arizona Cardinals are among over a dozen major-league sports teams who play in the boomburbs. Urban in fact but not in feel, these drive-by cities of highways, office parks, and shopping malls are much more horizontally built and less pedestrian friendly than most older suburbs. And, contrary to common perceptions of suburbia, they are not rich and elitist.

Poverty is often seen in boomburb communities of small single-family homes, neighborhoods that once represented the American dream.

‘Burbia is Booming

Boomburbs are a quintessential American landscape, embodying much of the nation's complexity, expansiveness, and ambiguity. This fascinating look at the often contradictory world of boomburbs examines why America's suburbs are thriving and how they are shaping the lives of millions of residents.


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Robert E. Jennifer B.

LeFurgy is a writer and consultant in Alexandria, Virginia. Many are made up of master-planned communities that have grown into one another.

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Few anticipated becoming big cities and unintentionally arrived at their status. Although boomburbs possess elements found in cities such as housing, retailing, offices, and entertainment, they lack large downtowns. But they can contain high-profile industries and entertainment venues: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Arizona Cardinals are among over a dozen major-league sports teams who play in the boomburbs. Urban in fact but not in feel, these drive-by cities of highways, office parks, and shopping malls are much more horizontally built and less pedestrian friendly than most older suburbs.

And, contrary to common perceptions of suburbia, they are not rich and elitist. Poverty is often seen in boomburb communities of small single-family homes, neighborhoods that once.

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Poverty is often seen in boomburb communities of small single-family homes, neighborhoods that once represented the American dream. Boomburbs are a quintessential American landscape, embodying much of the nation's complexity, expansiveness, and ambiguity. This fascinating look at the often contradictory world of boomburbs examines why America's suburbs are thriving and how they are shaping the lives of millions of residents. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason.

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Boomburbs: The Rise of America’s Accidental Cities | CNU

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Dynamic American City, The (ca 1956)

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