Barren American Suburbs

A Norwegian perspective on the problem with American suburbia. What makes it different from a Norwegian suburb.

Erik Engheim

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American suburbs is a study in endless repetition. Houses lined up after each other in repetitive patterns.

Some time ago I answered a question online about why us Nordics where not flocking to the USA. Why did we not go to the US to escape our oppressive taxes, enjoy a larger job market and international companies? Curious minds wanted to know.

I admit my response was perhaps a bit snarky. I do believe in being nice online, but having heard rants about how America is the greatest place on the planet for too many years, there are just times when a fuse blows in my head. I could write a whole story on the stuff people have told me over the years, but that is for another time.

Anyway this question caused me to write a point about why I preferred Nordic cities:

Cities are not massive subdivisions divided by multi-lane highways, where life only exists at the strip mall or in empty suburbia. There is actually a diverse urban culture, with nice walkable downtowns. And even if you live in the suburbs, there is something there. You may find train stations, subway stops. A square with stores and restaurants. Parks, playgrounds. Hiking areas etc.

The response I got made me realize, that what me and perhaps many other Europeans think…

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Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.