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WPS No.14 | Tzaninis, Y. (2015) | Building sand castles in the suburbs: from new-frontier suburban pioneering to diversifying aspirations

During the heydays of suburbanization, housing pathways reflected an escape from urban environments commonly perceived as run-down. Currently however the middle classes are attracted by inner-cities, while suburbs are transforming to heterogeneous and diverse settlements. The contradiction between the continued suburban growth vis-a-vis the resurgence of urbanization raises questions about the kind of aspirations that have been and continue to be relevant to the new migration to suburban settlements. What are the aspirations of old and new movers to the new town Almere?

This paper addresses the suburbanization process diachronically, comparing the aspirations of old and new movers to the new town Almere. Based on a survey conducted among 295 inhabitants, this paper focuses on aspirations of moving and the lived experience of urban vis-a-vis suburban environments. It shows that ideas about pioneering, communitarianism and utopias have shifted towards pragmatic and individualistic aspirations such as employment opportunities and better housing space-to-price rates, reflecting the shift from western prosperity of the 1960s and 1970s to the current precariousness of neoliberal, global city competition.

This Working Paper is no longer available. The published version is available in Built Environment, Volume 41, Number 4, Winter 2015, pp. 550-566(17)‚Äč.