Exurb | Worlds Away

Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes


Walker Art Center,
February 16 - August 17, 2008

Carnegie Museum of Art,
October 4, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Yale School of Architecture
March 2 - May 10, 2009

Because suburbia occupies a dominant presence in so many lives—a place of not only residence but also of work, commerce, worship, education, and leisure—it has become a focal point for competing interests and viewpoints. The suburbs have always been a fertile space for imagining both the best and the worst of modern social life. more

Exhibition Photos

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All essays are originally from the companion book for this exhibition, Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes. Some essays appear in excerpted form where noted.

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We asked people to make a video telling us about the suburbs and put it on YouTube. Selected videos are showing in the gallery at the Walker Art Center during the run of the exhibition.

Selected Videos

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Original Submission Call

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Do you live in a suburb? Do you work or go to school in one? What is your experience of the “burbs? ”…

Whether you love them or hate them we’re interested in your thoughts on the phenomenon of the American suburb. We invite you to make a 5-minute video about strip malls, cul-de-sacs, office parks, and green lawns or whatever suburbia means to you. A select number of videos will be chosen to screen as part of the exhibition Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes in the Target Gallery from February 15 to May 18, 2008.

To participate, upload your video to YouTube and add the tag “walkerworldsaway” or post it as a response to our video above. We’ll feature all videos on the Walker’s YouTube page. To be considered for gallery screening, entries must be 5 minutes or less and be online by January 18, 2008.

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A semirural suburban area, beyond densely settled subdivisions, where upper and upper-middle class residents have widely separated large, expensive homes usually surrounded by woods, creeks, and ponds. A. C. Spectorsky coined the term in 1955 in the satirical book The Exurbanites to describe displaced successful New Yorkers who move away from the city to establish an ideal home on a large plot of land.1 More recently, exurbanites have become a sought-after political demographic and the subject of many growth debates and census studies.2

For more on rings of suburban development see first ring- first tier?, inner ring, and leapfrog.


1 A.C. Spectorsky, with drawings by Robert Osborn. The Exurbanites. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1955. (↑)

2 One example is Alan Berube, Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson, and William H. Frey. “Finding Exurbia: America’s Fast-Growing Communities at the Metropolitan Fringe,” The Brookings Institution- Living Cities Census Series, October 2006. http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20061017_exurbia.htm (↑)


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