American suburbia changed drastically over the past century. Once home to wealthy white enclaves, suburbs opened to the masses after World War II through federal housing and infrastructure programs. A population shift from the American Rustbelt cities in the North and Midwest to the South and Southwest fueled the growth of new suburbs. The rise since the 1970s of global immigration from Central and South America as well as Asia helped diversify the country with the majority of this population relocating to suburbs rather than central cities. Located 20miles outside Atlanta, GA, Gwinnett County provides an opportunity to examine how these trends have manifested. Using this county as a case study, this chapter describes how Gwinnett has evolved over three periods of growth. From its founding in the 1820s to the 1960s, the area was dominated by small towns and an agricultural-based economy separated by elites and locals. The development of infrastructure led to the New Suburban phase from the 1970s to 1990s. A national migration of rustbelters coupled with regionals from the rural South made Gwinnett an upscale, white, upper middle class Republican area. As Gwinnett became one of the country's fasted growing counties, problems from urban sprawl appeared. In the third phase, Avoiding Slumburbia, Gwinnett wrestles with deteriorating older suburban corridors while adjusting to an influx of international migration. By 2009 Gwinnett became a majority minority county. This chapter looks at Gwinnett as a national example of a rapidly growing suburban area within a quickly expanding metropolitan area that is representative of current American suburbanization trends.
Grady Holt, W. (2010), "Gwinnett goes global: the changing image of American suburbia", Clapson, M. and Hutchison, R. (Ed.) Suburbanization in Global Society (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 51-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1047-0042(2010)0000010005Download as .RIS
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