Guess what: suburbs and cities are much more similar than you think they are, in a lot of ways.
While young people flock to cities searching for urban lifestyle, the suburbs themselves are changing. The author of the article, who has moved to many different places in her life, prepares to sell her house in Montclair, New Jersey and move back into New York City.
She concludes that the relationship between "who we are" and "where we're from" is blurring greatly these days.
Still, in significant ways, where you are is no longer synonymous with who you are, if it ever was. Our differences are growing blurrier, subsumed by our similarities.
As I prepare to downsize into an apartment, I've come to think that which side of the border we live on has more to do with phase of life and gross annual income than with some intrinsic identification with city or suburb. Many of us could live happily in either place, and we may get the chance.
The young and single will probably always flock disproportionately to the city. The daughter we raised in Park Slope West lives on the southern fringe of the actual Park Slope and feels so at home that she hopes she can afford to stay.
If you're a parent fretting about education, on the other hand, maybe you'd rather pay $15,000 in property taxes than $20,000 in private school tuition, and you won't have to carve a nursery out of the linen closet for your next child. There's already a fair amount of shuttling back and forth, and it will probably increase as we baby boomers empty our nests.
Further evidence that the dichotomy between city and suburb is just not what it was once chalked up to be. It's naive and nostalgic. I would hope that the more that people express similar sentiments, the more broadly cities and regions can acknowledge and evaluate themselves and their issues. This extends to design professionals and planners who condemn the suburbs while extolling city virtues; it's simply inaccurate to pit the two against each other.