Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whatever Happened To The New Suburbia?

Where Sustainability Translates Into Status Quo

For many of us who have been suburbanites, calling Long Island home, for more than a quarter of a century, the walk -- or drive, as is typically the case -- "downtown" via "Main Street" reveals, much to our collective dismay, that little has changed to improve the myriad debilitating ills from which the suburban landscape suffers.

Blight. Neglect. Brownfields. The asphalt assault against every last spec of green space.

There is a stagnation, moved, if ever so slowly, by a creeping paralysis, into the vast void of suburban abyss.

Renewal plans come and go, as do the ever-enduring artists' renderings of what could be, should be. Hopes, but ephemeral, are dashed, time and time again. Years, nay, decades pass. Nothing.

There is visioning aplenty, if not a vision beyond the myopia that pervades both public and private spheres.

Vision Long Island. Sustainable Long Island. Civic and community groups, all vying for that look forward.

Smart Growth initiatives abound, and yet, beyond the talk of sustainability, most Long Island communities have little or nothing to show for it.

From rejuvenating a tired and aging infrastructure to the infusion of affordable housing, it would seem, from all indications, that Long Island is, at best, mired in quicksand. Almost imperceptibly, we are sinking, as sure as that suburban dream is fleeting.

If the trend is toward the new urbanism -- and it is -- where does that leave America's first suburb? Do we not need a competing, or better still, coexisting, new suburbanism?

Overtaxed. Built out. Sprawled. Gnarled. Listing and listless. Generation Next on the move -- off Long Island. Generation Last, indifferent, at best.

Is our suburban backyard a bastion of "exurban decay", as some suggest? Is there truly a "war against suburbia"? Or is there hope for a brighter, greener, more prosperous suburban dream?

In the coming weeks, The Community Alliance blog will begin to explore the prospects of Long Island as Mecca of the new suburban dream, unveiling Long Island 2020. More foresight than hindsight, visionary pursuit over mere visioning, we will, with the help of community leaders and elected representatives, formulate a viable, doable, ennobling, enabling game plan for the second-coming of America's first, and best, suburb.

We will put heads together and, from time to time, butt them. We will tackle the tough and seemingly intractable issues that have tarnished Long Island's crown. We will discuss, debate, and decide the best course for our suburban habitat. More than this, we will act.

Ideas? Thoughts? Plans of action? Want to get involved? Write to The Community Alliance at

Be a very real and integral part of Long Island's renaissance. Embrace our philosophy that the status quo is never good enough. End the stagnation so we can move Long Island forward again!

A Project of The Community Alliance
A New Era for America's First Suburb

1 comment:

  1. I had a dream but it turned into a nightmare. The vision has gone along with my hearing, but I still see Kate and I still hear those taxing districts asking for more money. The schools are now using false assessment numbers and lower tax rates. Is this the Island I remember; and we expect our educated children to live here?