Jack FrevertPUP 190Assignment 2.1 Urban Sustainability1/17/18Suburban America: Problems and Promises Suburban America: Problems & Promise is a documentary by Ron Rudaitis filmed in a wide range of suburban areas around the United States focused primarily in the Long Island area.
The film shows the genesis and history, political evolution, and developmental challenges in Suburban America. The documentary aims to ensure society that the suburbs are a better place to live. It displays both the positive and negative changes in the evolution of the American Suburb and how they adapt to different challenges they are faced with. Due to the documentary being focused on exposing both the positive and negative changes of the suburban community and how to create a better suburb, I believe that the film targets our society as a whole. It especially targets those who currently live or plan to live in an American Suburb.
The main purpose of the documentary is to inform viewers about everyday life in suburban communities. The film also goes more in depth on how life can be made better in these societies, and what the problems that people who live in these areas face are. I believe that the director’s main message that he wanted to get across to the audience is that a suburb is a fantastic place to live, but the society must be careful to not follow mistakes that other American Suburbs have made in the past in order to create better communities in the future. He does this by exposing mistakes that suburban communities have made in the past, and gives information on how other communities can avoid making these same mistakes in the future.
I grew up in a typical suburban town in northern California, so I was aware of both the issues and benefits of living in such a society. I lived in that community in the time span of when I was born till when I left to come to Arizona for college. I was not aware of how other communities worked.
I was lucky to live in a suburb that did not struggle from many of the problems faced by other communities in the documentary. I did not see any abandoned shopping districts or low income areas. This is very lucky and unusual but, I believe that this was due to zoning laws that were set in my town. These laws spread out low income housing among wealthy neighborhoods so that no school districts were poorer than the others. For every certain number of middle class homes that were built, a certain number of affordable housing had to be built as well in the same area. This helped prevent any specific area or school district from becoming poor which helped reduce crime in these areas as well.
The main subject of the documentary is the American suburb itself. The film addresses the way individuals live their lives in the suburbs, and dabbles in both the problems and opportunities that are offered in these areas. It also offers solutions to common problems that are seen in other suburban communities. The documentary features interviews of high profile individuals such as politicians in the suburban regions. Many interesting factors are addressed in the interviews such as sustainability, the economy, and evolution of politics. A majority of the film was shot in Long Island, but there are many interviews shown in the film which take place in American Suburbs all over the country. My favorite part of the documentary is in the beginning of the film where we analyse how politics evolve and influence the suburb.
It’s interesting to see the evolution of the suburban landscapes and how political beliefs grow with it. In the film, we follow a group of voters who were conservative in the past, but decided to become independent and see both sides. After watching one of the political interviews in the documentary, I learned that when it comes to politics, the suburbs play a huge role in the outcomes of the election. The population of these areas are half of the total population of the United States.
This means that in most cases, whoever wins over the suburbs, wins over the election. This really surprised me because I did not realize how much of the population resides in suburban areas. It’s interesting how suburbs can determine the outcomes of the elections and sway our country’s political beliefs. Overall, the documentary contained a considerable amount of information. However, a drawback to the documentary is that it was too sprawled out when it came to shooting location. The subject is very complicated and is hard to be covered within the hour that the film is. It would have been more beneficial if the film was confined to a single location (Long Island).
I learned a lot of information from the film and because of this, I would absolutely recommend this for future students taking the class. It is a very elaborate and interesting topic that furthers our understanding of the suburban culture.