Suburbs that developed in metropolitan Canada post-World War II have historically been depicted as homogeneous landscapes of gendered domesticity, detached housing, White middle-class nuclear families, and heavy automobile use. We find that key features of this historical popular image do in fact persist across the nation’s contemporary metropolitan landscape, particularly at the expanding fringes and in mid-sized cities near the largest metropolitan areas. Th e findings reflect suburbanization into new areas, point to enduring social exclusion, and recall the negative environmental consequences arising from suburban ways of living such as widespread automobile use and continuing sprawl. However, the analysis also points to the internal diversity that marks suburbanization today and to the growing presence of suburban ways of living in central areas. Our results suggest that planning policies promoting intensification and targeting social equity objectives are likely to remain ineff ective if society fails to challenge directly the political, economic and socio-cultural drivers behind the kind of suburban ways of living that fit popular imaginings of post-World War II suburbs in central areas. Our results suggest that planning policies promoting intensification and targeting social equity objectives are likely to remain ineffective if society fails to challenge directly the political, economic and socio-cultural drivers behind the kind of suburban ways of living that fit popular imaginings of post-World War II suburbs.

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Journal Canadian Journal of Urban Research
Citation
Mendez, P, Moos, M., McGuire, Liam, Wyly, E.K. (Elvin K.), Kramer, Anna, Walter-Joseph, Robert, & Williamson, Mark. (2015). More Continuity than Change? Re-evaluating the Contemporary Socio-economic and Housing Characteristics of Suburbs. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 24(5), 64–90.