The comparative evolution of suburbanization

Pelosi, Aaron
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Guelph

Since the end of the 19th century, the world has experienced a dynamic shift from traditional living arrangements to a more modern approach, regional habitation - the rise of suburbanization. Suburbanization allowed, for the first time in history, the general population to comfortably relocate their families and lifestyles to the threshold of developed areas (cities, metropolitan areas) while maintaining moderate accessibility to local amenities and a sense of personal space (suburbanization). Prior to this phenomenon, the majority of people lived outside of the city cores, typically in rural areas with farming and agriculture as a means of income and survival (Harris, R., 2004). This lifestyle was demanding and tedious, but an integral part of development. Though there is no specific start point suburban development was an inevitable outcome of the influx of population and industrial technologies. This new concept does have many points of origin ranging from the North American expansion during the industrial revolution to the European exodus due to famine or governmental regimes. The summation of these conditions brought Canada the United States and other developed countries to a pivotal point in history that would continue to today. The purpose of this report is to provide a detailed understanding about the timeline of the suburbanization movement and accurately depict the relevant events. The common misperception is that the suburban lifestyle is typically viewed as the 1950's answer to a modern lifestyle catering to automobile ownership and independence. However this perception while partially correct is actually the aftermath of century long regional development immigration and industry's effect on the social and economic environments. The objective then is to document depict and compare the various aspects that influenced the suburbanization movement and define the specific events that shaped the course of both countries positively and negatively. When taking into account the amount of historical documentation there are many aspects to consider when trying to define the suburbanization movement: What it is? How did it come to be so prevalent? What where the significant moments? Why was it so important to national development? To understand the movement and in the interest of relatability there are two countries in particular that share mutual backgrounds and historical commonality: Canada and the United States. These two countries shared similar views and developed concurrently during the late 1800's through to post World War II. Key political and social aspects surrounding suburbanization will be reviewed in a common time period mutual to both nations. Thus this report shall examine the period from the middle of the 19th century through to the post war 'baby boom' era during the early 1950's where each country demonstrated substantial regional development hardships and unintentional outcomes arising from the concept of suburbanization.

suburbanization, suburbanization movement, regional development, planning legislation, policy