Irvington: The "Sub-Suburban" Experience

People ask me where I live and I am proud to say that I live in "the City". I get this shocked look all the time from people who assume these cities are like the crime-ridden cities of the 70's or something horrific. As a city planner, we are taught that the best and ultimate design is the dense, mixed-use, and busy neighborhoods. What planners and people alike need to realize that the Utopian society isn’t going to happen. Ever.

Suburbia lacks the mixed-uses intertwined inside of the neighborhoods.I love the small communities that have the old homes closer together but with a small yard. We live in a neighborhood in Indianapolis that has 2 business districts within a block of my house. THIS is what the ideal city planning design should be. There is a great mix of single family homes, duplex housing, and a quite a few apartment buildings that all sustain a main business district of a brewery, 4 coffee shops, multiple local food options, a theater, and some health services. The drag is going to be along a new Bus Rapid Transit line that will only help the area and the city. I call this the “Sub-Suburb” (there may actually be a true name to this but this is what I’ve got).

I have the joys of living in a mix between an urbanized and a suburban neighborhood. Every time my neighborhood has an event, flocks of suburbanites come in and always remark “I could live here” or “I love this place. It would be nice to stay down here”. Well they can and it would only help the education system, tax base, diversity, and cheaper living when it comes to mobility and safety. Millennials and Empty-Nesters alike are moving to the cities for these reasons; this can be the middle ground where communities can grow families and relationships.Now we just have to get everyone to love each other and accept that changes are coming...

Easier said than done.

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