Listen to the experts and they'll tell you the suburbs are boring, stifling places to live, full of bad architecture. Well, more than half of all Americans now live in suburbia. Can so many people be wrong? In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, a defense of suburbs. Also, playwright Eric Bogosian's new novel about shopping malls.
City planner and urban historian Tom Martinson tells Steve Paulson why the suburbs are a great place to live. Martinson's spirited defense of suburbia is called "American Dreamscape: The Pursuit of Happiness in Postwar Suburbia."
Joel Kotkin is a senior fellow at Pepperdine University's Davenport Institute for Public Policy and author of "The New Geography." He tells Anne Strainchamps how the power of e-commerce is changing where and how we live. He says that knowledge workers choose to live in nerdistans - affluent, safe, clean communities with no industry or diversity, and valhallas — vacation spots at the shore or in the mountains. Also, playwright and actor Eric Bogosian has written a novel, "Mall." It's a satire about the suburbs involving the activities of several unappealing characters who interact at the local mall. Bogosian reads from the book, and tells Steve Paulson that he eats at Wendy's and buys his kids sneakers at the mall.
Ken Reardon now teaches city and regional planning at Cornell, and was one of the founders of the East St. Louis Action Research Project. He tells Jim Fleming how bad the situation was in East St. Louis, and how a group of neighborhood leaders and professors from the University of Illinois came together to rebuild the community. Find out more at http://www.eslarp.uiuc.edu/.
Last modified: May 17, 2002
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