New Suburbanism | 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

Related Events


Drawn Here: Sean Griffiths of FAT
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, March 6 7:00 pm

Family Program

Escape to the Suburbs!
Free First Saturday
Saturday, April 5 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


Next Exit: The Shifting Landscape of Suburbia
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, April 24 7:00 pm

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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

See YouTube video call

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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New Suburbanism


An architectural and city planning movement that describes an approach to developing suburban communities based on the principles of Smart Growth and New Urbanism The basic concepts of New Suburbanism predate the Smart Growth and New Urbanism movements, as exemplified in older suburbs such as the Woodlands, outside of Houston, Texas; Irvine, California; Columbia, Maryland; and Reston, Virginia.1 This term came into broad use through urban scholar and author Joel Kotkin, who wrote a report titled “The New Suburbanism: A Realist’s Guide to the American Future” (The Planning Center, 2005). Kotkin credits Randall Jackson, the president of the Planning Center, with coining the name.2 However, the term probably surfaced in 1999 with Bob Lembke, then-managing partner of Bromley Cos. LLC, developers of Bromley Park, a 16,000-acre master-planned community in Brighton, Colorado. Lembke spoke about his plans to combine the amenities of suburban life with the principles of New Urbanism in order to create a development that didn’t shun the car, but still offered ways for people to connect as a community as they would in denser environments.3

A principal idea of New Suburbanism is “suburban villages,” which behave more like small towns and are less reliant on central cities: “In contrast to New Urbanism, new suburbanism tries to work within sprawl rather than fight it. Promoters seek not a return to the dense urban paradigm of Jane Jacobs but instead the creation of an archipelago of villages connected not only by roads (and sometimes trains) but also by new communications technology. While it may sometimes follow the design principles created by New Urbanists, the suburban village embraces the reality of dispersion and encourages less dependence on long-range commuting, including to the urban core. It looks less to the urban past of the industrial era and more to the postindustrial future of a new village-dominated epoch.”4

See also: New Urbanism.


1 Joel Kotkin, “What Is the New Suburbanism?,” (April 24, 2006). (↑)

2 Kotkin, “The New Suburbanism,” Architecture (June 2005). (↑)

3 Pete Lewis, “The New Suburbanism,” ColoradoBiz (January 1999). (↑)

4 Kotkin, “What Is the New Suburbanism?,” 2006. (↑)


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