Otherness 1 Hayden, D. (2004) A Field Guide to Sprawl. New York; London W.W. Norton & Co: 118-119. The image of Sun City. Arizona was selected for the presentation on the basis of its similarity to a photograph by Jim Wark in this book that was also featured in the New York Times on June 16 th , 2004. Sun City, Arizona: “A place growing even faster than a boomburb”. 1
Difficulties of suburban representation
Presented as passive, homogenised, undifferentiated space waiting to be ‘devoured’ by the city or erased as it become unsustainable.
Judged normatively in terms of culturally specific projections rather than taken seriously as a particularly successful (i.e. persistent and ubiquitous) kind of inhabited space.
Mythologised in terms of futurity or imagined (sometimes fetishised) as the mysterious ‘other’ (where other people live)
Some paradoxes of suburban space
Newness yet historical
Ephemeral yet persistent
Peripheral but centred
Static yet dynamic
Uniform yet diverse
‘ Other’ yet familiar
A more diachronic approach to suburban space is required which can articulate the multi-dimensional and differentiated nature of the suburban experience
3. The suburban as persistence of activity over time: the example of Surbiton
Persistence of socio-economic and community activity
Relating areas of activity to phases of suburban development Choice r-400m Buildings: 1820s
4. Next steps
Thinking about suburban space diachronically…
Multi-dimensional - do we tend to ‘deproblematise’ the suburbs?
Persistent - are suburbs key to the adaptability (sustainability) of built form?
Embedded - how is suburban space embedded in the pre-built-up topography?
Scaled - how is extended built environment scaled in terms of social practice?
Emergent - how do local scales of activity relate to larger ones?
Orientated - how is suburban space orientated in relation to large scale urban and rural structures (walls, ring-roads, super-grid, estates, field systems, small settlements)?
Differentiated - does the suburban articulate the possibility for the differentiation of built form and the persistence of different places over time?
The suburban as potential for adaptability in built form