Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

DetNews uncritically examines life "beyond the suburbs"

24. July 2005 • Murph
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The Detroit News today runs two stories on life “Beyond the Suburbs”, entitled Paradise found beyond sprawl and Detroit: Out of sight, mind. The News seems to mean the first headline unironically, and presents statements like the following with no analysis:

Today, as the conveniences she once longed for—a 24-hour grocery and a sit-down chain restaurant—come to Hartland, Donna Rogers is apprehensive. She left suburbia. She doesn’t want it following her.
“I was trying to get away from this” development, Rogers said. “Enough is enough.”
. . .
From the pasture, past their grazing horses, past the kidney-shaped pool, past their imposing home, Lisa and Howard Glazer see trouble brewing. Five years ago, there was nothing but trees and grass around them. Now, a half-dozen homes are within eyesight.
“We didn’t move far enough out,” Lisa Glazer said. “You can see the suburbs lurking.”
“If someone were smart,” Howard Glazer said, “they’d buy 100 acres in Fowlerville.”

The News even manages to quote UM history professor Matt Lassiter and make it sound bland.



  1. Prof. Lassiter’s quote sounds bland because what he’s talking about – the future of Southeastern Michigan – is bland. And if Donna Rogers is “apprehensive” watching exurbia catch up to her… well, she’s also an idiot. She didn’t leave suburbia. She IS suburbia. People like the ones quoted in the articles deserve what they get.
       —Jeff D.    Jul. 24 '05 - 10:43PM    #
  2. Way to go, DetNews—you’ve discovered a phenomenon Robert Fishman described 20 years ago.
       —Dale    Jul. 24 '05 - 11:52PM    #
  3. You have to wonder at what point does it all break down (and maybe it already has)? With the very low growth rates in SE Michigan from a regional perspective (we just shift people around, we don’t add them), how many businesses, industrial and commercial developments are there going to be to provide the tax base to sustain the growth in these Exurban communities? Are those new residents going to be willing to forego the services and the road improvements that surely will be needed from the growth? There are only so many employers to go around and the diffusion of the regional tax base can’t be a good thing for any of our communities.
       —John Q    Jul. 25 '05 - 09:58AM    #
  4. [smacks head on forehead, once again dumbfounded]
       —Brandon    Jul. 25 '05 - 01:24PM    #
  5. Well in my defense I did tell the reporter that instead of remaining stuck in the urban-suburban-exurban dialogue, it would be best if we thought of southeastern Michigan as an interconnected region rather than every locality for itself. And that while in technical academic terms these neighborhoods are not suburbs of anywhere in particular, the ambience is suburban to the core. Talk for an hour on the phone, and not everything makes it into the article.

    Thanks for the backhanded defense, Murph, I think. But maybe I just was bland. After all, not all of us get featured on the business page of the AA News.
       —mdl    Jul. 25 '05 - 01:50PM    #
  6. and how do you smack your head on your forehead?
       —mdl    Jul. 25 '05 - 01:51PM    #
  7. Brandon is talented. He’ll find a way.
       —Murph.    Jul. 25 '05 - 04:52PM    #
  8. oops. Hand, man, hand.
       —Brandon    Jul. 25 '05 - 10:43PM    #