The Cultural Seven Attributes That Shaped The Social And Spatial Structure Of American Urban Areas

The Cultural Seven Attributes That Shaped The Social And Spatial Structure Of American Urban Areas

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Berry (1975) explains the cultural seven attributes that shaped the social and spatial structure of American urban areas in the twentieth century. First attribute is Americans’ love of new things. American economy has basically developed based on the introduction of innovations and inventions. In most product cases, new things are much better than old ones in function, style, and price. And this love of newness has also worked for a much bigger property: house. New products are always welcomed and older ones tend to be less desirable. To build new buildings, empty spaces are needed. As existing houses in the inner area of city got older, new houses were built in the outer spaces, and the rich moved following them. Then, houses left behind the rich’s movement lost the demand that they used to have and allowed lower rents. Now these more affordable houses were filled with the middle income group, and the same chain reaction ensued afterword. This process is called “filtering”. Second, Americans want to live near to nature. Traditionally, a central city is a place of congestion and pollution. Limited space in highly accessible points make people share places, so small residential units become a dominant housing type. In suburbs, much bigger lots with green spaces appeared, and they were successful attracting affluent households. Third, Americans have a freedom to move to wherever they want. Moving around according to a lifecycle is American people’s social norm. Fourth, individualism is a socially supported value in America, and the development of suburbs was proceeded by individual economic activities. Profit-seeking builders, land speculators, and large investors actively made a capital investment in the suburbs, and individual bu...


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...w immigrant groups bypass traditional central city enclaves and directly settles in suburbs (Skop and Li 2005). Today majority of all minority racial groups reside in suburbs, and Asians and Hispanics are leading the trend.
I think this rapidly increasing immigrants in suburbs can trigger the second boom of white flight. Of course there are movements that urge for people to move back to central cities such as smart growth. Gentrification in the central city also suggests better quality housing options to the rich. However, America has vast lands and Americans love lands. According to Voith (2000), if Americans has a ten percent increase in their income, they tend to spend sixteen percent more in their residential land purchase. Also with a tax treatment favoring suburban housing, I think outward urban expansion will be a dominant trend than moving back to the city.

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