Urban thinkers often dismiss the suburbs for various reasons -- they're too far away, they require too much driving, they're too cookie cutter -- but it may be time to rethink those stereotypes, argues the Kinder Institute's Dr. Kyle Shelton.
He thinks those communities may offer new insights for planners, and in a region like Houston -- where the overwhelming majority of the population lives outside the dense, urban core -- he argues it's important to study those communities.
In the latest episode of the Institute's Urban Edge Podcast, Shelton discusses his new study, "Building Stronger Suburbs," and highlights suburban communities that offer intersting lessons for public officials and planners alike.
In other words: If you think you know the suburbs, think again.
"It's no longer accurate to think of those development as separate from the city," Shelton said of Houston's suburbs. "If we really want to think about how a metropolitan region is growing and changing, we really have to increasingly think of those two usually divided spaces -- the city and the suburbs -- as one space."
"The suburbs ... are home to employment centers, to places that look like downtown," Shelton continued. "So it is important to start thinking about the way we're developing those communities in the same way we're developing cities."