The dictionary isn’t kind to Britain’s suburbs: The Oxford English Dictionary describes a suburb simply as ‘an outlying district of a city especially a residential one’: A fairly neutral definition.
But it goes on less kindly to describe ‘suburban’ as ‘contemptibly dull and ordinary’ – yet many people today would happily admit to a feeling of relief as they board their train out of our bustling, noisy, crowded capital and head to the peace and tranquillity of suburbia.
But it’s not just peace and tranquillity that’s on offer.
In the 20th and 21st centuries the suburbs have become a dynamic mix of ethnic cultures and a surprisingly active hotbed of creativity.
As MP and sociologist Dr Rupa Huq points out, far from being cultural deserts…
“…suburbs have been a fertile breeding ground for artistic movements. It is from the nation's Acacia Avenues that almost all post-war pop has emerged, even if its artists would rather make out that they hailed from high-rise hell and so appear more edgy.”
She points out that John Lennon was raised “in his Aunt Mimi's semi in Liverpool's sedate Menlove Avenue”.
And who could have missed – in the many, many tributes to the late, great David Bowie – the fact that he grew up in Bromley, leading an archetypal suburban lifestyle before bursting onto world stage?
In terms of logistics, let’s face it, in 2016 we can be – in a matter of minutes - out of the heart of London and into, somewhere like Mill Hill, formerly a quaint village that is now one of the city’s sought after suburbs, surrounded by green fields and woodlands.
Living in the suburbs – very generally speaking of course – you have more space, larger homes (relatively cheaper homes too), better schools, you’re closer to nature and yes, you have a bit of peace and quiet.
If you’re hesitating to make that move to suburbia - afraid of becoming ‘contemptibly dull and ordinary’, then you need only to think of David Bowie… a suburban boy who was anything but.
Media can contact Emma Cox at Remarkable on 01962 893893 for more information, images and interviews with Linden Homes.
04 March 2016
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