Many scholars discuss post-suburbia in terms of the urbanization of edge cities, an evolving built-up periphery, or as a broader trend of decline among older suburbs alongside new outer-ring suburban growth. This article explores the post-suburban thesis in the context of the older, inner suburb of Upper Arlington, Ohio, located in the Columbus metropolitan area. This suburb is shifting from a traditional residential community to a more complex mix of domiciliary and economic functions, a process of redevelopment we characterize as a shift from an old suburb to a post-suburb. Based on qualitative interviews and analysis, we find that the politics of redevelopment in the older, landlocked suburb of Upper Arlington is contentious, and driven in large part by this suburb's need to overcome fiscal stress and maintain its competitive edge in the new metropolitan economy. We suggest that New Urbanist suburbanization for older, inner suburbs is influenced by their desire to remain competitive in a highly fragmented metropolis.
In the essay “Conservatives and the New Urbanism”, the authors write:
At its simplest, New Urbanism
aims to build hamlets, neighborhoods, villages, towns, and
cities rather than subdivisions, shopping centers, and office
parks like those found in conventional suburban
developments … Maximizing walkability is essential.
What New Urbanism fails to esteem, we find present and future promise in. What New Urbanism frames as “in need of repair”, we frame as needing enhancement and evolution. The “middle metropolis” we call suburbia has been misunderstood for a long time. We are adopting a positive view of the suburbanized metropolis, the inner and outer belts of major cities, their special forms of landscape, architecture, commerce and amenity.
At its simplest, New Suburbanism
aims to plan intersections and avenues, neighborhoods, villages, towns centres, and communities of all sizes, including subdivisions, shopping centers, and office parks like those found in conventional suburban areas. Maximizing individual mobility is essential.
In areas that are substantially urban or dense, local improvement turns toward making landscapes walkable and pedestrianized. The inner and outer suburbs represent the newer, flatter, more distributed form of metropolis, and it’s often thought to be un-walkable or worse. Since this is the main charge against suburbia (from which many other critiques are made), and since many of today’s suburban areas fall short of our aspirations for accessible, equitable environments, we as New Suburbanists will focus on walkability within a newly-conceived regional framework that supports the renewal and re-imagining of all types of environments, a philosophy of metropolitan growth that we call “Integrated Mobility”.
Whereas New Urbanism focuses on the quality of new construction and the achievement of human-scaled neighbourhood design, New Suburbanism focuses on i) the spatial requirements of regional processes, ii) the forms of governance needed to undertake sustainable and integrative community planning, and iii) individual metropolitan movement.
Whereas New Urbanism has supported the re-emergence of traditional town planning practices, and whereas this school of New Urbanists has developed an “open orthodoxy” regarding the design of neighbourhoods and cities, and whereas despite best efforts the Congress for New Urbanism is unable to enact “Sprawl Repair” at the needed rate of renewal, New Suburbanism is an attempt to avoid design orthodoxy by focusing on the plurality of landscape design, and to support the mending of large and small environments across the “periferie” — through a new focus on integrated community planning and development.