How to Build A Suburb

How to Build A Suburb

WITOLD RYBCZYNSKI

Even its defenders concede that the modern American suburb has many
shortcomings. An antidote may be found in the ideas of the nation's earliest suburban pioneers.

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When the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier visited New York City in 1935, he found it strange that many of the academics, professionals, and businesspeople he met did not live in the city but in the suburbs. This was unheard of in Paris, where most people who worked in the city lived in the city. There were outlying towns such as Auteuil, Boulogne-sur-Seine, and Neuilly where some rich Parisians built villas, including a few designed by Le Corbusier himself, but in the 1930s not many middle-class people owned the cars needed to commute to such distant locations. To most Parisians, les banlieues (the suburbs) referred chiefly to the dreary industrial districts that ringed the city like a sooty pall. Only workers who manned the factories lived there.

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