Urban Renewal or Suburban Sprawl ?

English for Architecture & Civil Engineering I
Prepared by Indra Tj-2004
I. Reading
Urban Renewal or Suburban Sprawl ?
A few years ago, Ann and Walter thought it might be the time' to move out their
New York City apartment to the suburbs. They had one young son and another
child on the way. But after months of looking, they became discouraged and
decided to buy an old townhouse right in the middle of Brooklyn, which is a part
of New York City.
To their delight, they discovered that they weren't the only young couple to have
made such decision. In fact, their entire area in Brooklyn had been settled by
young families, and as result, the neighborhood, which had been declining for
years, was now being restored.
Brooklyn isn't the only city in the United States to experience this kind of renewal.
So, are Philadelphia and St. Louis. And Charleston, South Carolina has so
successfully rebuilt its old central area that it now ranks as one of America's most
charming cities. The restoration of the old port city of Savannah, Georgia is also
living proof that downtown areas do not need to die. But encouraging as these
developments may be, they are among the few bright spots in a mass of
difficulties that today's cities face. Indeed, their woes are so many that it is fair to
ask whether or not the inner city- the core of most urban areas- will manage to
survive at all.
In the, 1940s, urban Americans began a mass move to the suburbs in search
of fresh air, elbowroom, and privacy. Suburbs began to sprawl out across the
countryside. Since most of those making the move were middle-class, they
took with them the tax money the city needed to maintain the neighborhood in
which they had lived.
The people left in the cities were often those who were too old or too poor to
move, thus, many cities began to fall into disrepair. Crime began to soar, and
public transportation was neglected. (In the past sixty years San Francisco is
the only city in the United States to have completed a new mass transit
system.) Meanwhile, housing construction costs continued to rise higher and
higher. Middle-class housing was allowed to decay, and little new housing was
Given these circumstances, some business executives began asking, "Why
bother with going downtown at all ? Why not move the offices to the suburbs
so that we can live and work in the same area ?” gradually, some of the larger
companies began moving out of the cities, with the result that urban centers
declined even further and the suburbs expanded still more.
English for Architecture & Civil Engineering I
Prepared by Indra Tj-2004
This movement of businesses to the suburbs is not confined to the United
States businesses have also been moving to the suburbs in Stockholm,
Sweden, in Bonn, Germany and in Brussels, Belgium as well.
But it may well be that this movement to the suburbs has reached its peak. Some
people may be tired of spending long hours commuting, and they may have
begun to miss the advantages of culture and companionship provided by the city
life. Perhaps the decision made by the Taylors is a sign that people will return to
the cities and begin to restore them. It begins to look as if suburban sprawl may
not have been the answer to the man's need to create an ideal environment in
which to live and work.
II.Vocabulary Preview
= pembaharuan
= daerah pinggiran kota
= di pinggiran kota
= yang berkenaan dengan kota
III. Answer the following questions.
1. When middle-class Americans moved out to the suburbs, what did they take
with them that the inner city needed ?
2. What was the effect of the move to suburbia on the downtown business
districts ? Therefore, what did some businesses decide to do ?
3. What was the result of this decision on urban centers ? What was the result on
the suburbs?
4. What may cause some people to decide to return to the cities or, like the
Taylors, to remain in them?
5. What effect has the decision to return to the cities had on some city
IV. Vocabulary Expansion
Find the synonym for each of the following words.
1. soar
2. peak
3. elbow room
4. settle
5. eventually.
6. move
7. confine
8. gradually
9. thus