MIKE GRAZIANO: (Newington Resident): We live on the
end of a cul de sac. In spite of the fact that on TV you normally
see suburbia people, you know, a lot of camaraderie so to speak
- I really don't find that at all in the suburban area at least
where we live. Everybody's so busy maintaining their big homes
and cutting their lawns and taking the kids to ballet or tap
dancing or whatever, that there really is very little camaraderie
among the neighbors in spite of the fact that we do live reasonably
RAY WIEDERHOLD (Branford Resident): They just revitalized
our center of town and there's a lot of activity where people
are physically close together and you can talk to them. I know
a lot of those people but the people up here I don't know. I
may drive through in a police cruiser but they're really not
out here. I mean, we've been out here quite bit. Have you really
seen anybody walking around or - you
know, it's the summertime, where are the kids? I don't know,
maybe they're off in summer camp. I don't know where they are.
HERB JANICK: People focus in on their own immediate
family, their own immediate needs, the needs of their own town
at the widest a- reach and I think that that is a a- fragmenting
kind of way to think. We dont sense that we have a wider
set of obligations and opportunities
HERB JANICK: And I think thats whats dangerous.
If were trying to promote a state where we all realize
we have a stake in - in the common good of this society, I think
we have to break that down. And I think the suburb in some ways
makes it harder to break down.
JOSH MAMIS: Your life becomes one of getting in your
car, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, putting the
kids to bed, watching TV. There's no real opportunities for
mixing like there is in cities or in communities. I realized
a lot of the politics of today are an off-shoot of this; why
do I have to pay taxes so that somebody else can go to the public
school, my kid's not going to a public school, my taxes shouldn't
go to support the public school; they're not good enough for
my kid or they're not safe or whatever it is, why should I do
that? That's easier to say when you don't know your neighbor.
NARRATOR: The growth of the Connecticut suburbs reflects
a long-held idea that our most cherished ideals can best be
realized in small groupsthe family, the congregation,
the neighborhood, the town.
BUD BRAY (Niantic Resident): Weve worked hard,
weve gotten where weve gotten, we have these beautiful
homes, we love our neighborhoods. Suburban people are wonderful
people. They do great things all the time with their little
leagues, their PTAs, all kind of functions community service.
LEE DELLERT & CAROL BROWN (Glastonbury Residents):
We love it so much.
CB: We've been here for how long?
IN UNISON: 35 years.
LD: Very cohesive group of people. Our children all
grew up together.
CB: Even though these guys grownup.
LD: We took care of everybody's children, you know how
things should be happening now which are not happening? That's
what we did in those days.
CB: Right. We were all a family.
LD: We were a big family. If Chippy was doing something
wrong in my yard, Chippy was in big trouble.
CHIP: She'd tell on me.
LD: I would tell on him!
BART RUSSELL (Exec. Dir., CT Council of Small Towns):
I think there is a desire for a sense of belonging, a sense
of connection. You can participate in the affairs of a small
town. Youre not, a small fish in a big pond. And for some
people, including myself, thats an appealing virtue.
MIKE SWIFT (Staff Writer, The Hartford Courant): The
whole sense of volunteerism is really incredibly strong and
identifying with a small community is a pretty neat thing. A
real kind of unique facet to Connecticut life I think.
And yet at the same time, when you see things like,
you know, zoning regulations, NIMBYism, you wonder whether the
real flow/push of these communities is to maintain the status
quo and keep out things that are different or dangerous. So,
its almost like 2 sides of a coin or something. I think
there are these 2 characters of life of excluding as well as
contributing that are both run very strong in Connecticut communities.
BART RUSSELL: I think its pretty clear that the
smaller towns believe very much that local issues ought to be
decided locally and that state mandates are a thing of the past
or ought to be a thing of the past.
LYNN FETTER (Farmington Resident): Everything in Connecticut
seems very separate. Each town has their own tax base, their
own fire department, their own school system. Its so separate
and-and heaven forbid that somebody from Avon would use a Farmington
whatever the heck, I mean I was at a town meeting and they were
talking about putting in a (and this was like 2 weeks ago),
they were talking about putting a sidewalk in by U-Conn. And
this man, very angry man, stood up and said, "Well I just
want to know whos gonna be using this sidewalk around
UConn? I mean, how many Farmington people work at U-Conn?"
I thought, "Oh my God!"
RACE & CLASS
DECRESCENZO: If you look at some of the zoning
decisions that the outer ring suburbs have made and some of
the land use decisions and some of the ways that they portray
themselves, I think there is a very active effort to keep certain
groups out of those towns and I dont think theres
any mystery about that and its not overt and no ones
ever gonna say that, but if you look at the composition of those
towns it doesnt happen by accident that some of these
outer ring suburbs are 99.8% White and I think theyre
making a very big mistake.
NARRATOR: The strong link behind suburban living patterns
and widespread racial isolation is a relatively recent one.
HERB JANICK: The suburbanization hold on Connecticut
goes back much further than the race issue in Connecticut. And
people were striving to live this decentralized way long before
Connecticut had a great diversity of population. And the whole
issue of race, ethnicity, is kind of superimposed on that pattern.
Race didnt get involved until the middle of the 20th century
when large numbers of migrants (new types of migrants) - from
the south, from New York City, from the Caribbean area - came
into Connecticut during World War II and were followed by large
numbers of Hispanic migrants, Puerto Ricans particularly. That
movement into Connecticut coincided with the biggest outward
migration of Connecticut urban dwellers to the suburbs that
came after World War II and it did for a lot of people provide
an extra motive for moving to the suburbs. And thats when
in the 1950s and 60s that race became superimposed
on the suburban exodus pattern.
NARRATOR: Despite exclusionary racial and religious
covenants long-written into deeds, African-Americans have always
lived in the suburbs.
ROBERT GILL (Branford Deputy Chief of Police): I was
born here and I married here and I brought my family up here.
And um, I don't remember a time when I thought that Branford
was not a great place to live. There wasn't much to do in the
community socially, but we had each other and that was a lot
of fun, and of course we had the church.
This is Evergreen Place and it's a parcel of land that
the owner of the Malleable Iron Fittings Company made available
so that minorities would be able to buy and build homes. And
it's adjacent to another street that minorities had lived on
for many years and they were all employees of the foundry. And
the owner of the MIF made these houses possible and it stayed
an all black community for a number of years. Well into the
late 70's and early 80's it remained entirely minority.
NARRATOR: Although the move to the suburbs from the
cities has historically excluded racial minorities -- that is
now changing. The inner ring suburbs around Hartford -- Bloomfield,
E. Hartford, Manchester, W. Hartford and Windsor -- are now
at least 20 percent minority
JOHN BRITTAIN: I think the suburban dream has both tended
to increase racial and ethnic isolation as well as class divisions
and I think it also has transcended those race and class divisions,
too. As many people of color who can afford to, as the expression
goes, vote with their feet and they too are moving.
MIKE SWIFT: The most integrated places in Connecticut
now are ironically some of the suburbs; places like Windsor,
Bloomfield, now in West Hartford more so too. Windsor -- the
school system is over 1/3 minority. Bloomfield its close
SANDY KLEBANOFF (Deputy Mayor, West Hartford): West
Hartford is becoming diverse not only ethnically and racially,
but economically. You have some of the largest concentrations
of wealth in West Hartford, and you have a very large middle
income population, but you have a very significant poor population.
MIKE SWIFT: Blacks generally are moving into towns like
Windsor and Bloomfield which historically have been more welcoming.
You dont see that type of migration in Newington and Wethersfield.
Yet, you do see a strong migration of Hispanics to towns like
You definitely have a different character for every
town and thats something thats really neat. But
you also see that in the character of the migration that different
towns are welcoming in different degrees of , you know, different
minority groups and theres no question that racial bias,
preference, plays a role in that somehow.
I think there is, you know, "White flight"
from some of the older inner ring suburbs and those people are
being replaced by in many cases, minority groups that are, you
know, seeing the suburban dream as well moving to places like
West Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor and you even see that more
so in towns that have a reputation for being all White like
Glastonbury youre seeing some of those trends as well.
Almost always theyre employed, often 2-income families.
Theyre parents that care about quality of education for
their kids and its kind of the old quintessential American
Dream there I think.
JACK HASAGAWA (Consultant, CT Dept. of Education): One
of the things to note here is that this is not occurring, however,
across class lines. So if you're looking at black and Hispanic
families moving out of New Haven into Woodbridge, you're looking
at black and Hispanic doctors, lawyers and business executives.
NARRATOR: Some suburbs are beginning to experience problems
historically associated with urban ills, prompting residents
to move to towns farther out in the country.
TOM LEWIS (Geography Professor, MCC): Those that now
see the inner suburbs as negative environments will leave like
the rings on a pond, you know, when you throw a stone. They'll
continue to move out to places like Hebron and Sterling and
places further and further out. So the trend will continue.
NARRATOR: The fastest population growth is in the small
towns and then in the farther out suburbs.