The Surprisingly Modest Start to McMansion Sprawl

Builders Like the Campanelli Brothers Helped Fuel Midcentury Suburban Desire, from Massachusetts to Moscow

After V-J Day—August 14, 1945—millions of World War II veterans came home and began to look for a place to live. New highways, cars, and government-sponsored mortgages encouraged them to dream big. Up until that point, Americans, especially immigrant Americans, had thought of the Land of Opportunity as the place where discipline and hard work would guarantee prosperity and upward social mobility. After the War, they believed they could have more. The American Dream now meant home ownership and spatial mobility, too. Young families emerging from the years of wartime …

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How California Got Broken to Pieces

The State’s Problem Is Not Big Government, but Too Many Small and Stupid Governments

Wherever you live in California, your county probably doesn’t fit you.

In mountainous and rural areas, your county may be too small to do the big things you need; 24 of …

You Can Thank the Suburbs for the Trendy Ramen Burritos Downtown

Growing Up on the Outskirts of L.A. and Marrying a Guy From the Outskirts of São Paulo Taught Me How the Urban Fringes Can Spice Up a City's Core

After I married a Brazilian, I learned the Brazilian concept of vira-lata: flipping over the can. Vira-lata (trash-can tipper) is the name for mixed-breed dogs without owners who knock over …

I Heart N.J.

Call It Smelly. Call It Sleazy. Call It the Armpit of America. To Me, It's Home.

I’m sitting in a circle during the second week of my freshman year of college, listening to everyone perform the introductions that have become comically commonplace: name, hometown, dorm. It’s …

Suburban Eclogue

Volgar succede … (Leopardi)

Again, the streets empty this early hour,
Sunday evening, except those two
Walking their pugs before the work week starts,
There in the middle of the widened …

Larry Sultan’s Visions of Suburbia

Finding Distorted Glamour Among California's Tract Homes and Strip Malls

Photographer Larry Sultan grew up in Los Angeles’ quintessentially suburban San Fernando Valley, surrounded by tract homes and strip malls. What might appear bland to others, though, was transformed through …