RA 3


In City of Rhetoric by David Flemming, Flemming aims to convey to the readers that all built environments influence the way people interact with each other. These interactions can be through conversation, public discourse or language. In part two of the book, Flemming provides commentary on different types of subcultures and societies within cities. In this section, he focuses on the suburbs. Fleming talks about why academics have a “thinly veiled disdain” for suburbia as well as talks about the history of suburbia and the suburbs effect of society and vice versa. A man by the name of Gautreaux implemented the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program in the late 70’s. This was a private, non profit housing program that moved family out of the main city of Chicago and put them in affluent, mainly white, neighborhoods. This new conglomeration of housing soon became the  definition suburbs that we picture today. Fleming gives the definition of what this new housing program turns into. “makes low-density density housing (2) possible, while the fear of urban heterogeneity (3) makes it attractive. As Dolores Hayden has put it, suburbia is the physical expression of the middle-class desire for living in a detached house (2) with like-minded neighbors (3) in a quasi-pastoral setting (1)” ( Fleming pt. 2). The result is a very homogenous group of homes where the look and the personality of the people living in these homes are similar and alike, this negates all types of diversity for the most part, given that a majority of the people living in these homes were alike in race and socioeconomic status. This is a perfect example of how society can be shaped by history. This also exemplifies how long the effects of these subcultures, such as the suburbs, can last.


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