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The Economist: "America’s modern suburbs look like cities but feel like villages"

"Instant, ready-made downtowns bulldoze the distinction between city and suburb"

Link to web site

"American suburbs don't come much more ordinary than Sunrise. In street after street, modest single-storey houses sit behind grass yards dotted with bougainvillea bushes and palm trees. Each house has a mailbox on a pole, with a little red flag to signal when it is full. Sunrise is so similar to other Florida suburbs that when it was built, in the 1960s, the developer lured visitors with a gimmick: an upside-down house, with upside-down plants and an upside-down car in the driveway.

"What is being built now seems odder even than that. On the edge of Sunrise, next to the Florida Everglades, work has begun on a modernist 28-storey block of flats. Seven other tall towers will soon rise around it, along with offices, car parks and a shopping street including restaurants and a cinema. Erick Collazo of Metropica Holdings, the developer, says the idea is to build a downtown in suburbia. Metropica, as the 26-hectare complex is called, will not really be a downtown. Because of what it suggests about the future of cities and suburbs, it will be more interesting than that."

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