Public Square

Is Suburbia Bad for American Community?

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Photo courtesy of Andrew Reid Wildman

Is suburbia destroying America?

Will Seath in FareForward notes,

Suburban sprawl, characterized by enormous houses, big-box stores, massive parking lots, and high-traffic multi-lane roads, is in conflict with the traditional wisdom about the connection between the built environment and the moral order.

And yet, the suburban lifestyle is part of American culture. People are free to live in traditional small towns or urban centers. But many people are choosing to buy homes in the suburbs.

Are these individuals necessarily compromising their social lives and destroying community in America through their economic choices and subjective preferences? Should we be afraid of what economic freedom is doing to American culture?

Seath notes that,

The revival of communities requires institutions and individuals oriented towards lives of moral and intellectual virtues with the patience and fortitude to endure and confront a society lacking those habits.

Perhaps these qualities that Seath describes can transcend location and lifestyle, whether rural, urban, or suburban. It’s helpful to recognize the potential dangers in the suburban trend in the United States. But it might also be useful to note that individuals can make the choice to prioritize and invest in institutions and community wherever they are, just as they can choose where they want to buy a house.

Are people’s economic choices destroying American culture? Read Seath’s thoughts and then leave your comments here.

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