It’s not news that the suburbs are changing. Mom works, Dad may be at home, and kids, when they’re not strapped into their car seats, are scheduledÂ to the max.
But there are other changes as well, as documented in this Washington Post interactive map tracking racial changes in the ‘burbs. The map allows you to see the mix of people in the region as well as in various census tracts.
It also shows change since 1990, and not surprisingly, some places change very little. The quick pattern I see is that most tracts are less exclusively white than they used to be, but overall patterns in the region are the same.
As the Post points out, it’s still rare for whites to move into minority neighborhoods, but the acceptance of people who look different is widespread. Maybe the suburbs have the effect of evening out differences. Everyone is there for the good schools and the backyards.
Check out your zip code and meet the new neighbors.
Scientific Americanâ€™s special issue on citiesÂ covers nearly every urban topic you can think of, from the not so lost aromas of New Yorkâ€™s Fulton Fish Market to the history of the toilet and its influence on the growth of cities. From China to Saudi Arabia, from street markets to solar energy, the issue examines technological and social aspects of urban settlements.
Closer to home, one article asks â€śCan Suburbs be Designed to Do Away with the Car,â€ť using King Farm in Rockville as an example of the challenges inmaking suburbs and suburbanites transit-friendly. There are plenty of reader comments with the usual claims of elitism and happiness; see where your ideas fall.
â€śDo they park their cars there,â€ť they asked? Â â€śDo they grow food, do they sit there?â€ť
Â â€śNo, itâ€™s just grass,â€ť he said. â€śThey donâ€™t do anything with it.â€ť
And when our Greek uncle built a little villitsa by the seashore, in true lord of the manor style, he fronted it with a lawn. But he couldnâ€™t let the rectangular grass strip alone and planted shrubs right down the middle, a somewhat confused aesthetic.
Â In Edible Estates: An Attack on the Front Lawn , Fritz Haeg unpacks the front lawnâ€”why are we mowing instead of growing?
In various essays, landscapers, designers, and gardeners point out that lawns are holdovers from our manorial aspirations, but they make no sense. Lawns take up our time, they require water, pesticides, and cheap gas to maintain, and they could/should be turned over to gardens.
His proposal makes perfect sense, yet we canâ€™t seem to help ourselves.