But in my dreams we’re still screamin’ and runnin’ through the yard
And all of the walls that they built in the seventies finally fall
And all of the houses they built in the seventies finally fall…
— From Arcade Fire and The Suburbs
A large alternative/independent newspaper in Sacramento has published a fascinating blog post about Sacramento’s developing suburban ghetto, What will happen to the neighborhoods the Baby Boomers leave behind? The article cites an important white paper recently released by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Here is an excerpt:
[Researchers] conclude that there will be an oversupply of homes offered for sale by aging baby boomers – many of which may not be of the housing type that young buyers want…Where decline once occurred as housing moved from the central city to the suburbs, it may now be reversed as the suburbs will see surpluses of large-lot single-family housing.
In May 2010, I blogged about Generation X’s disillusionment with suburban environments in a post titled, This authentic life: I dream of the city; my kids dream of the farm. There was also an interesting post published on Loan Safe in February 2010, The McMansion Ghetto.
During my college years (1985-90) I babysat for a lot of Baby Boomers who lived in the far northwest quadrant of Oklahoma City. The prevailing opinion at the time was that their homes were among the nicest in Oklahoma City. Many of my Gen X friends aspired to buy them and many did. But, by 2000, these neighborhood developments were starting to show a lot of wear and tear.
Rise of the Suburban Ghetto
More than 20 years after their initial development, they still lacked trees and landscaping and the already-narrow streets were further diminished by the sheer volume of cars parked on the byways. I remember navigating through one such neighborhood on my way to a birthday party for one of Juliette’s friends. I was overwhelmed by the thought that I was witnessing the coming of Oklahoma City’s first suburban ghetto. I was certain that anybody with half an opportunity would find a way out of that neighborhood fast.
Today, that neighborhood looks even worse and it’s future dimmer than ever. Just like in Sacramento, some of the most highly-coveted suburban environments in Oklahoma City are falling victim to low home values and crime. Blight is the impending doom.