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Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 458; doi:10.3390/su9030458

Predictable Surprise: The Spatial and Social Morphology of Aging Suburbs in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas

1
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA; jaekyunglee@tamu.edu
2
Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, Sejong-si 30149, Korea
3
Community Planning Program, Department of Political Science, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA; ympark@auburn.edu
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tan Yigitcanlar
Received: 28 January 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Abstract

Elderburbs, defined as old suburban neighborhoods in terms of their ‘built environments’ and ‘demographic structures’, have emerged prominently in academic discussion due to the social vulnerability and outdated built environments of senior dominant neighborhoods that barely meet the needs of their aging populations. Even though previous literature has revealed concerns about suburban decline and the growing number of seniors, these two points of interest have largely been examined in isolation from one another. Thus, this paper attempts to unveil the spatial and social morphology of Elderburbs in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2010. Elderburbs were identified by two major criteria; built year (first-generation suburbs built between 1950 and 1970) and demographic aging (based on elderly, elderly-child, and elderly dependency ratios). The findings of this study indicate that Elderburbs have increased and expanded out to suburban areas, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. On the contrary, Elderburbs in the South have decreased and moved closer to core cities. Differing from our assumptions, both Elderburbs and Elderurbans were found to be less socially vulnerable than ordinary suburban and urban neighborhoods.
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Keywords: aging neighborhood; vulnerability; suburbs aging neighborhood; vulnerability; suburbs
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lee, J.; Hong, S.; Park, Y. Predictable Surprise: The Spatial and Social Morphology of Aging Suburbs in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas
. Sustainability 2017, 9, 458.

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