Next Article in Journal
An Economic Assessment of Local Farm Multi-Purpose Surface Water Retention Systems under Future Climate Uncertainty
Previous Article in Journal
The Diversification Benefits of Including Carbon Assets in Financial Portfolios
Article Menu
Issue 3 (March) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Predictable Surprise: The Spatial and Social Morphology of Aging Suburbs in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA; [email protected]
Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, Sejong-si 30149, Korea
Community Planning Program, Department of Political Science, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA; [email protected]
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 458;
Received: 28 January 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
PDF [1536 KB, uploaded 20 March 2017]


Elderburbs, defined as old suburban neighborhoods in terms of their ‘built environments’ and ‘demographic structures’, have emerged prominently in academic discussion due to the social vulnerability and outdated built environments of senior dominant neighborhoods that barely meet the needs of their aging populations. Even though previous literature has revealed concerns about suburban decline and the growing number of seniors, these two points of interest have largely been examined in isolation from one another. Thus, this paper attempts to unveil the spatial and social morphology of Elderburbs in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2010. Elderburbs were identified by two major criteria; built year (first-generation suburbs built between 1950 and 1970) and demographic aging (based on elderly, elderly-child, and elderly dependency ratios). The findings of this study indicate that Elderburbs have increased and expanded out to suburban areas, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. On the contrary, Elderburbs in the South have decreased and moved closer to core cities. Differing from our assumptions, both Elderburbs and Elderurbans were found to be less socially vulnerable than ordinary suburban and urban neighborhoods.
View Full-Text
Keywords: aging neighborhood; vulnerability; suburbs aging neighborhood; vulnerability; suburbs

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, J.; Hong, S.; Park, Y. Predictable Surprise: The Spatial and Social Morphology of Aging Suburbs in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas
. Sustainability 2017, 9, 458.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top