A measured appreciation of the boburb
The core question of this book is why do college-educated people, with a choice of where to live, divide in two on whether they want to live in the suburbs or the boburbs? The main draw of the suburbs has always been that they are a safe place to raise children, whereas the boburb is a more interesting place to be an adult. Exploring that dynamic at deeper levels, we see that some people want distance from other people, and some want to reap the benefits of Durkheim’s social density and Tocqueville’s democracy of voluntary associations. Bishop’s “big sort” increasing separates the conservative suburbs from the liberal boburbs. Bourdieu’s composition of capital clarifies why the money-heavy corporate class favors the suburbs, while the culture-laden knowledge class inhabits the boburb. At the deepest level, the two kinds of neighborhoods serve different worldviews: one type believes that the world is a dangerous place in which all interactions need to be controlled, while the other sees the world is an interesting place where interactions with its diversity are to be cherished.