You are hereAn Upcoming Discussion with Joel: Are Our Suburbs the Future?

An Upcoming Discussion with Joel: Are Our Suburbs the Future?

The Globe and Mail
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

People − and lots of them − want to live in the suburbs, says author Joel Kotkin. Some estimates put the number of Canadians living in the ‘burbs at more than one in two.

Mr. Kotkin, a geographer, journalist and futurist, argues governments should invest primarily in the suburbs. It's there, he says, where most families want to settle, and not in the downtowns of our cities. As people continue migrate to the city's periphery in search of space and affordability, Mr. Kotkin says, we must strive to make suburbs more self-sufficient.

Promoting suburbs is controversial in our energy stretched age. But Mr. Kotkin, whose latest book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, follows his 2006 book, The City: A Global History, builds his argument on democracy, economics and efficiency.

The discussion on whether the suburbs are the future takes place on Wednesday, March 30th at 12 p.m. ET. Advance questions can be sent here. Mobile readers can follow the discussion here.

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Watch Joel in this feature on the role of central planning in Los Angeles. View large version.

Interview on

"Greenurbia is the suburbs of the future. The suburbs of the 1950s were bedroom communities for people who commuted into the city. Today, there’s much more employment in the suburbs, and the big change is the number of people working full-time or part-time at home. Having people commute from one computer screen to another doesn’t make sense."

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Praise for The Next Hundred Million

Kotkin has a striking ability to envision how global forces will shape daily family life, and his conclusions can be thought-provoking as well as counterintuitive. It's amazing there isn't more public discussion about the enormous changes ahead, and reassuring to have this talented thinker on the case. — Jennifer Ludden, NPR national desk correspondent

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