Congested roads. Crumbling parking lots. Vacant strip malls. These are some of the challenges that suburbs across the country are facing today. What to do with the vacant retail and office space? How do you make people less dependent on cars and more active? Architect June Williamson is a proponent of mixed-use developments that create more efficient suburbia. This vision creates a 15-minute suburb where basic amenities and activities are walkable, and spaces bring people together rather than dividing them with large, empty lawns, lots and physical structures.
Cookie cutter houses, large backyards and shopping centers took hold during the rapid rise of suburbia during the second half of the 20th century. Now, towns across the U.S. are facing a new set of challenges from climate change to shifting demographics that require a different landscape than what was first constructed. We speak with two experts about the current state of suburbia and potential solutions.