Miller Center

Primary Resources: Suburbia

Editor: Matt Lassiter

Metropolitan Policy and Census Data:

Sprawl and “Smart Growth”

  1. Urban Census Data Project
    Provides Demographic Census Data for Major Metropolitan Areas from 1970, 1980, and 1990.
  2. Metropolitan Area Research Corporation
    This non-profit group's website provides comprehensive regional studies of urban sprawl and detailed demographic information.
  3. University of Minnesota Institute on Race and Poverty
    The Institute explores income disparities in America's urban areas, including over forty studies of major U.S. urban centers and more detailed projects in Minnesota.


    1. Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse
      This website has an extensive collection of academic articles and studies about urban areas divided into categories such as economic, environmental, and housing.
    2. Smart Growth Network
      Smart Growth advocates planned community growth; learn about principles such as open spaces, mixed land uses, and land development regulations.
    3. Congress for New Urbanism
      This group advocates the "restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the restoration of existing urban centers and towns within coherent metropolitan regions."
    4. Sierra Club Challenge to Sprawl Campaign
      "The Challenge to Sprawl Campaign works to fight poorly planned runaway development and promotes smart growth communities."
    5. Sprawl City
      Sprawl City attempts to explain how consumption and population growth have contributed to urban sprawl. The website defines urban sprawl and its accompanying problems, gives extensive reports on particular cities, and contains a database of census information.
    6. State of Maryland Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Program
      Maryland's Department of Planning details how it has used smart growth to manage urban sprawl.
    7. Atlantic Monthly On-line: Sprawl Articles
      A list of articles from 1913 to the present on urban sprawl from the Atlantic Monthly archives.
    8. National Geographic Urban Sprawl Project
      The website includes a comprehensive article about urban sprawl in the United States, a pictorial documentary, a related links section, and a helpful bibliography.
    9. Cascade Policy Institute
      This Oregon-based research and educational non-profit focuses on state and local issues and provides useful alternatives to state-planned community growth. See how "Smart Growth" confronts principles such as "individual liberty, personal responsibility, and economic opportunity".
    10. Celebration, Florida
      Celebration is a new urbanist town built by Disney. The website details the creation of the community, commercial, residential, and town square areas.

      Popular Culture:

      1. Levittown: Documents of an Ideal American Suburb
        As a representative of the ideal American postwar suburb, Levittown offers insight into the history of American urban development.
      2. Levittown at Fifty
        This website documents the progress of Long Island beginning with its indigenous inhabitants to modern times.

        Family and “Middle America”

        1. Prelinger Archives
          This collection of advertising, educational, and industrial films from 1927 to 1987 gives insight into American culture.
        2. The Fifties Index
          This website chronicles life and pop culture in the 1950s with sections on slang, television, fashion, and music.
        3. San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb
          This blog chronicles the history of the San Fernando Valley, a suburban area outside of Los Angeles.

        4. The following articles appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. Currently, these articles are available only to subscribers.
          1. “The Captivity of Marriage” Atlantic Monthly (June, 1961).
          2. “The White Northerner: Pride and Prejudice” Atlantic Monthly (June, 1966).
          3. “Nixon and the Square Majority” Atlantic Monthly (February, 1972).
          4. “Who Speaks for the Middle Class?” Atlantic Monthly (May, 1994).
          5. “America's Forgotten Majority” Atlantic Monthly (June, 2000).