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By Philip Langdon

Bringing up interviews with builders, planners, and citizens, the coauthor of This previous apartment explains the relationship among usual smooth suburban designs and the emotions of neighborhood delight, whereas mentioning the virtues of older designs.

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Extra resources for A better place to live: reshaping the American suburb

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They arrived home with several hours of the day still to enjoy. They had time to spend with their families. They had time to spend in what seems by today's standards a whirlwind of neighborhood and community activity. They had time to spend in other pursuits. Time outside of work Page 5 Even in 1953 a day at the office took a lot out of a person. But the commuters just off the 4:51 train from downtown Chicago to the new suburb of Park Forest still had plenty of time left in the day, and they spent much of it socializing with neighbors.

In Santa Ana, in Orange County, I visited Howard and Anne, who live with their twinsa boy and a girlin an attractive two-bedroom house in a neighborhood of tree-lined streets built in the 1950s. Howard is a lean, athletic man in his forties with a wry sense of humor. If his high school class in Pennsylvania had picked anyone as "most likely to succeed," Howard would have been the one. He excelled in both sports and academics, eventually getting a doctorate in economics after a stint as an aerospace engineer.

A sense of civic responsibility may spring from such exposure. As a consequence of my father's unexpected early death and my mother's remarriage, we left Greenville when I was eleven and I spent my high school years in Wesleyville, Pennsylvania, a compact little community near Lake Erie, next to the city of Erie, which then had a population of about 130,000. Wesleyville, organized by religious folk who in 1823 named the settlement for John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, evolved in the twentieth century into a suburb, but one that harbored its own distinct local spirit.

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