Special Issue "Sustaining Suburbia: Reassessing the Policies, Systems, and Form of Decentralized Growth"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017)
The impulse to decentralize has always existed as a logical response to the limitations of the spatially contained city. Historically, it fueled the creation of suburbs, which in turn provided an invaluable mechanism to accommodate people and programs that did not fit conveniently within the enclosed city. Suburbs appear across a range of cultures, spanning the ancient cities of Ur and Babylon, classical Rome, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century London, and nineteenth-century New York . During the second half of the twentieth century, the cumulative impact of the automobile catalyzed an unprecedented dispersion of population away from historical urban centers and towards the suburban periphery. This trend, seen most acutely in the United States, provoked a spirited and sustained critique that begins with Lewis Mumford and endures today in the wide-ranging efforts of the Congress of New Urbanism. This robust discourse, which focuses on the well-established shortcomings of post-war suburbs, has nonetheless done little to stem the continued proliferation of these environments throughout the world.
Recently, a series of counter-narratives have emerged from a variety of sources that include authors Joel Kotkin, Robert Bruegmann and architect Judith De Jong. These arguments, which might be broadly grouped under the rubric of “New Suburbanism”, are united by two characteristics: First, a rejection of the premise that suburban processes are inherently problematic; and second, a willingness to engage suburban models as a legitimate and even desirable strategy for growth.
This Special Issue seeks to advance the evolving suburban discourse by addressing two fundamental questions:
- To what extent are the policies, systems and forms of suburban development sustainable? The term sustainable in this context is understood to mean the effective and long-term maintenance of environmental, spatial, financial and social systems.
- If we assume that suburban processes and forms will continue to proliferate, what critical interventions or evolutions will be required to ensure that they develop on a sustainable trajectory?
The Special Issue invites submissions that address one or both of these questions, either directly or indirectly, while pursuing one or more of the following topics:
- Policy. The Special Issue will explore political structures that facilitate the process of suburbanization. Relevant inquiries might concentrate on the local scale, examining issues like zoning regulations or development practices; at the regional scale, exploring topics such as transportation or environmental policy; or at the national scale, investigating federal instruments that drive the production of suburbia such as housing or banking regulations.
- Systems. The Special Issue will explore the larger networks within which the production of suburban fabric occurs. Potential topics could include ecological, infrastructural, financial or social systems.
- Form. The Special Issue will examine the three-dimensional realization of suburban fabric. Relevant topics here are broad and might include shifting street and block patterns, emerging housing typologies, architectural strategies for infill development, or the changing spatial character of civic life.
The editors specifically welcome submissions that advance new theoretical frameworks, test innovative research methodologies, and develop empirical case-studies.
 Bruegmann, R. Sprawl: A Compact History; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, USA, 2005.
Mr. Ian Caine
Dr. Rebecca Walter
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- suburban growth
- metropolitan growth
- New Suburbanism