One of the most significant trends in American history has been the mass migration from urban centers to the suburbs. The wave of returning World War II veterans armed with their VA home loans in the 1950s fueled one of the most significant shifts in population in America. The suburbs created as part of that move were the embodiment of the American Dream.
Over the years, this continued suburban migration has resulted in much larger, less densely populated metropolitan areas, where new development occurs on the outskirts of our regions. Meanwhile, the urban core and early suburbs are left to fend for themselves.
Recently, first suburbs have been facing a range of issues once thought to afflict only urban cores: shrinking populations, abandonment, a dwindling tax base, and limited resources to maintain a good quality of life both for the people who live there and for attracting new residents. There are few or no resources to help these older suburbs rebuild themselves.
THE NEW METROPOLIS is a pair of films that document some of the implications of our suburban migration. Both films illustrate how the plight of first suburbs is critical to the overall health of our metropolitan areas.