Friday, December 21, 2007

Suburban Tent Cities and the New Suburban Homeless

The housing downturn is leading to a 21st century version of "The Grapes of Wrath" in suburban quarters where what were once considered exclusively urban problems of blight, crime and homelessness are growing, according to Reuters. Because of the demands for rentals given the mortgage crisis, rent is too high for many struggling families to afford. So, in the suburban communities of Southern California, tent cities for the homeless are emerging.

The collapse of the housing market seems to be eviscerating the old distinctions between urban and suburban, and trends suggest that the real future crisis is to be faced in the suburbs rather than in the cities, which is rather ironic, given that suburbs have been historically rationalized as escape from urban crises. Not that abject poverty his spreading across middle America, we will see whether Americans start to rediscover the "we're-all-in-this-together" mentality that sprung out of the Great Depression and gave birth to the New Deal.

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