Suburban Spaces: Rethinking the U.S. Dream

Author: Judith A. Briggs (Illinois State University)

  • Suburban Spaces: Rethinking the U.S. Dream


    Suburban Spaces: Rethinking the U.S. Dream



When asked to create two-dimensional paper model communities without adequate analysis of the US lifestyles and architectural development, elementary education teacher candidates (TCs) in the Mid-west created residential areas with very little civic architecture, public transportation or amenities. The communities emulated suburban sprawl and reflected the students’ memories and lifestyles. A redesigned project included in-depth class discussion of social, economic, and ecological issues, along with a critical review of suburban history. Through democratic action TCs designed and created more socially and environmentally equitable model environments. Within the study the author reflects on the initial practice and pedagogy that she employed and then revised to enable TCs to think and organize civically, rather than materialistically. The author recommends built environment education within the pre-service education classroom to prepare students to be critically knowledgeable citizens. The practice can be extended to the public school classroom.

Keywords: suburbs, sprawl, subdivision, built environment, art education

How to Cite:

Briggs, J. A., (2014) “Suburban Spaces: Rethinking the U.S. Dream”, Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education 31(1), 135-151. doi:

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Published on
25 Aug 2014
Peer Reviewed