Beyond the core of every large urban area is a band of development called suburbs. What proportion of the metropolitan area is seen as suburban depends on how you define suburbs and such definitions are numerous. What is certain, however, is that over the next century, when the world’s population will grow by some billions, a substantial part of the increase in the human population will be housed in suburbs. However, the story of the next century is more complicated than merely a trajectory of growth. Toward the middle or end of this coming century the world’s total population is also likely to level off, increasing in some areas while declining in others, causing new challenges for a planet that has become accustomed to growth. This decline is already happening in some metropolitan areas.
In this transition century, suburbs are a key frontier in the quest for longer term sustainability at the global level with important implications for human and ecological health. This project will develop a book and articles exploring the implications of these trends.