Planning the New Suburbia: Flexibility by Design


195 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-0858-6
DDC 307.74





Reviewed by James A. Love

James A. Love is a professor of architecture in the Faculty of
Environmental Design and an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering
at the University of Calgary. His latest publication is the Illuminating
Engineering Society’s Recommended Practice of


Vast areas of North American cities take the form of suburban
development, which is criticized for being wasteful of land and other
resources, culturally sterile, and a transportation nightmare. Yet, the
idea of the detached dwelling as home has been especially potent in
North America. Avi Friedman, a professor at the McGill University School
of Architecture, is known for his work in affordable housing. In this
book, he proposes a set of principles for more sustainable community
design and then illustrates the application of these principles through
a theoretical design for a site on the island of Montreal.

A brief history of suburban development, from the theoretical model
communities proposed during the Industrial Revolution to the visually
expressed building requirements for Seaside (the runaway success of
“new urbanism”) in the 1990s, provides the context for this
exploration. This is supplemented by a consideration of requirements for
adaptability as communities age, and a discussion of ways these
requirements might be addressed in the design of new developments. The
analysis is leavened by a discussion of opposing views regarding the
potential for vibrant communities in suburban development.


Friedman, Avi., “Planning the New Suburbia: Flexibility by Design,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024,