Our vacant suburbs.

In the NYT, Allison Arieff ponders what to do with the vast swaths of vacant suburbia the housing bubble has left us with. Try to turn them into apartments? De-construct them and reuse the materials? Attempt to convert whole streets into proper, mixed-use areas?

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

8 replies on “Our vacant suburbs.”

  1. Can’t think of any price that would make it right, for me. But then, that’s just me and there are certainly lots of other people for whom tract housing with strict HOAs and long commutes doesn’t sound a lot like hell on earth. But I do wonder if there are a lot less of them than people thought.

  2. Heck — small plot of land, no HOA, and a long commute works just as well for me.

    You raise a great point though: HOA covenants, poor land use designs, the impact of cheap gasoline, etc.

    Suburban blight?

  3. The whole issue is framed incorrectly, Waldo. The suburbs aren’t what’s even being discussed here. In Virginia, neither Loudoun or Prince William – even with our foreclosure rate being high and the economy being crap – are in any danger of losing population. That’s cause Loudoun and Prince William are suburban counties.

    Now, exurban counties (think Culpeper, Fauquier, Clarke, Frederick, Caroline) where new on-the-fringe-developments sprung up overnight without much thought – that’s what they’re really talking about. And there’s a real point there. But let’s not be delusional and think Gainesville or Ashburn are empty, or even in trouble.

    To recap: they’re talking about the exurbs, not the suburbs.

  4. To recap: they’re talking about the exurbs, not the suburbs

    What are the exurbs of Charlottesville (if any)?

  5. What are the exurbs of Charlottesville (if any)?

    Madison, Orange, Louisa, Buckingham, Nelson, Augusta and southern Albemarle all have wide swaths of C’ville exurbs.

    Those places, though, aren’t in nearly as bad of shape as some of the NOVA and Tidewater exurbs.

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