The Suburbs

1. Where people sleep when they don't work close to where they sleep.

2. Where people live when they don't want to define their lives by work.


There are some fascinating observations to be made in suburbia. In the suburbs of many UK cities the houses are built as "semi"s, two separate dwellings, but with a shared load-bearing wall between them. It's usual to see the down-pipe from the roof edge guttering running down the centre of the building's facade, in line with the shared wall. Often, the occupiers will have differing ideas about what colour the fittings on their sides of the semi should be painted. This leads to strenuous efforts to paint exactly one half of the down-pipe one colour, and the other another. I've not seen that.

No offence meant to any suburbanites out there, but many people think that this syndrome neatly summarizes the petty mind-set they perceive to be synonymous with suburban living. VivStanshall? evokes the repressed frustration of the semi-dweller in the excellent Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band track My Pink Half of the Drainpipe.


Part of a Geographic Pattern, a large-scale Architectural Pattern (see ArchitecturalDesignPatterns), along with TheCity and ThePeriphery. (Or possibly a Geographic AntiPattern.)
There are places where the suburban/urban distinction has ceased to exist - Suburban Metastasis? Long Island and New York might be good examples. There are few places on Long Island where a "city"/"country" distinction exists; it's just one big suburb of several hundred square miles. As you head west, it gradually fades into NewYorkCity; as you head east, it gently blurs into The Hamptons and Montauk etc. The combination of local congestion and decent (not great, but decent) island-spanning highways means that it takes about 30 to 45 minutes to get just about anywhere, be it five miles away or twenty. -- MikeSmith

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