HERB JANICK: The suburbanization of commerce and industry
has in a way made it possible to spread this way of life over
more parts of Connecticut. You know, Litchfield County now that
a- nobody would ever think of a suburban area - thats
a rural area. Its suburban now because people are living
there and theyre working in other parts - they work at
the mall. They work at Union Carbide and they live there. I
think its extended the grip of that way of living
NARRATOR: Have we found the good life in the suburbs?
JAY GITLIN: This is a nice example, I think, of a high
end contemporary suburb. As you can see theres lots of
space all around. Its the ultimate in some ways of the
de-concentrated, decentralized place. These are very nice homes
plunked down smack dab in the middle of nature so that you are
really surrounded by lots of trees, streams. And you might notice
that the city is nowhere in sight. The other type of contemporary
upscale suburb, a- will look very different from this and in
fact will be a return to the idea of living in an older village.
A place thats a walking town where you have the texture
NARRATOR: Devonwood is an upper-class subdivision in
Farmington that for many represents the American Dream realized
to the fullest.
OTTO PAPARAZZO (Developer): It is what I like to think
of as almost an anti-subdivision subdivision. The sizes of the
lots would vary from as small as a third of an acre up to an
acre and a half. Price range runs from a $150,000 to $250,000
dollars. The houses in price range run from $400 to a million
two. The average house is in probably in the neighborhood of
$600,000 dollars, and the size of the lot is not nearly as important
as the setting. I think Devonwood is probably one of the most
successful residential communities in the State of Connecticut
right now. - we have sold 300 lots. We control the architecture
we control the design of your building, the color of your house,
the landscaping has to be approved, and so this strong pattern,
the protection of the strong control pattern really makes it.
Now this also can be done with inexpensive housing. Theres
no parking on the existing roads so then if there is a stranger
there hes gonna be very obvious to the neighbors. Theres
almost a mutual neighborhood protection. A sense of security
that is here even though there is no guards on the gates and
NARRATOR: Connecticuts embrace of the suburban
lifestyle has in many ways been a successful one.
JONI ZARKA (Farmington Resident): The day that we moved
in our neighbors came over and said, "Hi were your
new neighbors. It looks like youre moving in. Can we take
your children to McDonalds for you? Get them out of your
hair? "What can we do for you?" Very friendly. It
has been very friendly, yeah. Cant beat that.
LYNN LINDENGRASS (Farmington Resident): I agree. Its
been very friendly and we picked our neighborhood specifically
so that we had all age groups of people and a lot of children
around. I found the same thing the day we moved in they had
lemonade and cookies. Its us though.
NARRATOR: The benefits of suburban living are clear.
The costs are sometimes hidden. In many ways, the more avidly
we pursue the good life, the more it recedes before us.
Land development is at the heart of all suburban growth.
LAURA WIER CLARKE: When you fly out of Bradley Field
you look down at a state that seems wonderfully rural. The problem
with that is that a lot of that wooded land is owned by people
nearing retirement age, and its owned in smaller parcels
- that is 50 acres and smaller. What that means is that in the
next 20 years, those lands will be changing hands.
NARRATOR: The pursuit of the rural experience paradoxically
can lead to sprawl, congestion and loss of open space.
CATHERINE JOHNSON: About 40 years ago, after about a
mile or two you were in the country, literally farms. They still
exist, but more and more farmers whose children dont take
up the same occupation, theyre being left with no choice
but to sell the land for development. And then in a place where
you had this beautiful cultivated landscape, you now have four
gigantic houses with 3-car garages. So, that eventually if we
continue this pattern, theres gonna be no difference between
built and natural. And its all gonna be this in-between,
this other, neither urban nor rural.
PHILIP LANGDON (Author, A Better Place to Live): For
the last 30 years weve tended to concentrate all the retailing
on these broad highways. You just have to have a car. And thats
an expensive way to get around. And it also means that suburbs
which ostensibly are designed with the well-being of raising
kids in mind, in fact, are very much anti-youngster because
the kids really dont have that ability to just get around
on their own power.
LAURA WIER CLARKE: We have destroyed the scale of the
suburb. We have destroyed a scale that will make it come together
and work as a neighborhood because people arent- wont
walk in it. Theres no reason to walk in it. And when people
dont get out of their cars, the neighborhood wont