The Transformation of Cities – A Suburban World

20141206_LDP003_0The Economist 12.04.14
In the West, suburbs could hardly be less fashionable. Singers and film-makers lampoon them as the haunts of bored teenagers and desperate housewives. Ferguson, Missouri, torched by its residents following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager, epitomises the failure of many American suburbs. Mayors like boasting about their downtown trams or metrosexual loft dwellers not their suburbs.
But the planet as a whole is fast becoming suburban. In the emerging world almost every metropolis is growing in size faster than in population. Having bought their Gucci handbags and Volkswagens, the new Asian middle class is buying living space, resulting in colossal sprawl. Many of the new suburbs are high-rise, though still car-oriented; others are straight clones of American suburbs (take a look at Orange County, outside Beijing). What should governments do about it?

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