The War on Suburbs is real

The War on Suburbs is real
October 19 14:56 2020 Print This Article

President Donald Trump has used the phrase “war on suburbs” on several stops during his 2020 re-election campaign. The war is very real. The book The End of the Suburbs by Leigh Gallagher is required reading for urban planning students. The book is guided by the philosophy that people who live in single-family homes and drive cars (typical of suburban communities) have an excessive “carbon footprint” and are contributing to climate change.

The goal of the New Urbanism planning philosophy is to change suburban zoning regulations to encourage high-density apartment developments. Developers like the change because they make more money per acre building apartments than they do for single-family neighborhoods. The problem is, the high-density suburban development harms the quality of life for surrounding neighborhoods by increasing traffic congestion and adding fewer parking spaces to new developments. They are trying to discourage people from driving. The ultimate goal is to have everyone walk, bike, or take the bus to their location. Americans love their cars and want the freedom to go where they want.

My wife and I experienced the effects of New Urbanism while living in the suburbs outside of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. By allowing high-density apartment complexes in the suburbs, there was increased traffic congestion, road rage, and people running red lights out of frustration and causing accidents. We witnessed types of bad behavior in our community that we had never seen before. There is also a movement to seize property using eminent domain and using the land for expensive bicycle paths. New Urbanists use the phrase, “We need to get people out of their cars.”

Frustrated by the declining quality of life in Charleston, we chose to move to Knox County, Tennessee. We live in a 17-home subdivision that backs up to a farm outside of the suburban town of Farragut. We observed that the new construction in the area is focused on single-family homes. If people want to live in apartments, use bicycles as transportation, or take the bus, they need to live in the city of Knoxville.

Living in the suburbs is really about freedom and privacy. We love our landscaped backyards, bird feeders and privacy fences. We love the freedom to travel in our cars without being in bumper-to-bumper traffic and arrive at locations with abundant and free parking. In suburban Knox County, we have not witnessed any examples of road rage. The people here are very friendly and happy. Preserving the suburban lifestyle will enable it to remain that way. The War on Suburbs is worth fighting and winning!