chapter  4
Sprawl South of the Border: From Mexico City to Tijuana
Pages 40

By the beginning of the twenty-fi rst century, while US suburbs were struggling environmentally, their basic lifestyle and fl awed design features were spreading across the planet. Today, one can speak of a globalization of suburbs, and the formation of what I am calling a “global suburb,” 1 an elite or middle class community on the periphery of cities across the Americas, as well as on other continents. ese developments were partially infl uenced by the American suburb of the 1950s, though they took on diff erent forms and evolved in diff erent contexts in Latin America. e profi le of the American suburb, as we see it in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, consists of low density, single family, detached housing, often on the outskirts of an urban core, and relies on the automobile to move people around. Similar versions have been built on the urban periphery in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. And now, for the fi rst time, they are also becoming an important part of the sprawling urban landscape that stretches from the Mexican border to the southern cone of South America. ese new suburbs blanketing the outskirts of Mexican cities display the same troubling ecological fl aws and public health challenges we fi nd in U.S. suburbs.