The suburbs, in both arts and pop-social science, are frequently portrayed as veritable graveyards for meaningful, authentic life and valuable social interactions. Now some new social science research comes to praise their effects on sociability, finding, according to this account on the Canada.com site, that
people who live in sprawling suburban areas have more friends, better community involvement and more frequent contact with their neighbours than urbanites who are wedged in side-by-side. The results challenge the accepted idea that suburban life is socially alienating a notion that's inspired everything from the Academy Award-winning American Beauty to Harvard professor Robert Putnam's book Bowling Alone.
The study, released by the University of California at Irvine, found that for every 10 per cent decrease in population density, the chances of people talking to their neighbours weekly increases by 10 per cent, and the likelihood they belong to hobby-based clubs jumps by 15 per cent.
"We found that interaction goes down as population density goes up. So, turning it around, it says that interaction is higher where densities are lower," says Jan Brueckner, an economics professor at UC Irvine who led the study. "What that means is suburban living promotes more interaction than living in the central city."
Here's the full paper by Brueckner and Ann G. Largey the article is about.
Here's Nick Gillespie on how the burbs don't make you fat, either.
[Link via Marginal Revolution.]