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[[caption-width-right:350:Where they cut down all the trees and name the streets after them.]]
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->''"Little boxes on the hillside,''
->''Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,''
->''Little boxes on the hillside,''
->''Little boxes all the same."''
-->-- '''Malvina Reynolds'''[[note]]Incidentally, the song ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Little Boxes"]]) was directly inspired by the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westlake,_Daly_City,_California Westlake District]] of Daly City, a suburb of UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco.[[/note]]

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The place where the DomCom usually lives.

People live in houses that, while not exactly palatial, are still a lot bigger than they ought to be. Most of the houses [[CutAndPasteSuburb look alike]], having been built according to the same two or three plans. Instead of a Main Street like most small towns, a suburb will have TheMall, be it a big, enclosed shopping center or a strip mall with a UsefulNotes/{{Walmart}}. You can walk or ride a bike to a few places, but not most of them, so plots involving the availability of a car (such as the VerySpecialEpisode about drunk driving) are possible.

A deep well of satire and ([[SnarkBait often not very affectionate]]) parody, especially from disaffected youth. The fact that we have an entire trope about this, StepfordSuburbia, speaks volumes about the way many Americans view the suburban lifestyle.

{{Suburbia}} in TV has three distinct flavors.
* '''UsefulNotes/{{California}}''', which is essentially TheCity, except that people have yards. Most people are college educated, middle-class, and at least slightly liberal. If not California, then the Northeast is readily available.
* '''[[EverytownAmerica The Midwest]]''', which is more rural. [[MoralGuardians Family Values]] often abound. Frequent forays into the QuirkyTown and the TownWithADarkSecret. Poorer and less educated than their coastal brethren, and somewhat more likely to be conservative. Often, these portrayals stray far from real life and enjoy an undercurrent of hypocrisy (the respectable church-goers are all sleeping with each other), partly to add color, but mostly because the Midwest is just slightly less alien than Mars to most of the folks who write TV.
* '''The gated community'''. Entrance to this neighborhood is restricted to residents, mail and delivery men, cops, and visitors, with a guard booth at the road in and out. Often shares the conservatism of Midwestern suburbs, with the residents of the community hoping to create a idyllic life for themselves, just like in those [[TheFifties Fifties]] {{sitcom}}s, free from "[[LowerClassLout those people]]" outside. There's also a big element of [[SlobsVersusSnobs snobbery and class warfare]] -- these people ''bought'' their way into Sunnyside Estates, thank you very much.

Now for the boring history lesson. While American cities have always had suburbs, it was not until TheRoaringTwenties when the rise of inexpensive streetcar, automobile, and rail transit services made living out of town and commuting feasible. The modern concept of suburbia didn't take off until after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII however, when the G.I. Bill[[note]]Short version -- a law passed near the end of the war that gave veterans access to higher education, as well as loans to buy homes and to start businesses.[[/note]], cheap gas, cheap land, the new Interstate Highway System, and the postwar baby boom created an enormous demand for housing that couldn't be met by the cities alone. As a result, cities began to expand outward rather than upward. Similar factors were in play in a few other countries, most importantly Canada and Australia, both of which also now have very large suburban populations. The quintessential American suburb as we understand it (lots of houses, big lawns, happy laughing white children, etc.) was more or less invented in UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}} around 1950. The first purpose-built suburb with this design was envisioned as a giant park, a huge relaxing playground that people happened to live in. Thus the open, rolling properties with no fences or walls between them.

American suburbia was subject to ''de facto'' (and sometimes ''de jure'') segregation in both the North and the South, with real estate agencies often barring their realtors from letting black families see homes in the nicest neighborhoods (a process known as redlining), black veterans often having trouble getting their G.I. Bill benefits, and contracts frequently prohibiting white homeowners from selling their property to black families. While these shady tactics were outlawed in TheSixties, by this point the predominant whiteness of suburbia was well-entrenched. By the late '60s, TheSeventies and beyond, this made it attractive for people upset with the more far-reaching forms of [[UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement desegregation]] (especially [[UsefulNotes/AmericanEducationalSystem busing]]), leading to a phenomenon known as "white flight" in which middle-class white families moved out to the suburbs, taking their tax dollars with them and leaving the cities behind to decay. Eventually, even those who had elected to "stay and fight" for desegregation (including, ironically, much of the nascent ''black'' middle and upper classes) saw themselves forced to flee to the suburbs out of economic necessity due to the resulting collapse of the inner cities. This booming suburban voting bloc was a key component in the "[[UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan Reagan]] coalition" that rose to power in TheEighties.

Since TheNineties the suburban trend has mostly retreated, with a plethora of young people, typically college-aged or in their twenties, migrating back into the inner cities, leading to increased gentrification in those areas. A few likely causes of this movement include frustration with the suburban lifestyle, economic opportunity, the lower cost of renting an apartment in the city versus owning a house in the suburbs, the perception that automobile-dependent suburbia is environmentally wasteful, and a desire to "transform" what are viewed as needy communities. [[TheNewTens One generation later]], the first of this wave's kids are starting to send their kids to {{Inner City School}}s. Interestingly, in many metropolitan areas, stagnation of the suburbs tends to be restricted to the inner suburbs, with many of the newer outer suburbs still growing. The reasons are simple- the rich and people with children are chasing space and low taxes, the working class and educated childless are either staying put or moving to cities which have more social services and a nightlife.

Traditional suburbia experienced a last gasp of growth in TheAughts with the rise of the so-called [=McMansions=], but the 2008 housing crisis killed the very notion of it. Soon, scores of formerly bustling suburban areas became literal {{Ghost Town}}s. However, some have survived by means of gentrification, becoming "pocket cities" of sorts.

Note that, in much of Europe, the suburbs have ''very'' different connotations, and are often depicted as ghettoes and housing projects where the chronically poor and recent immigrants find themselves in -- not unlike how the inner city is depicted in American media. Compare, say, the British trope of the UsefulNotes/CouncilEstate, which is, superficially and functionally, similar to suburbia (they're both cheap housing built after the war on the outskirts of the city), but is associated with poverty and crime rather than safety and prosperity. American-style suburbia, with single-family homes occupied by middle-class families, does exist in Europe[[note]]Again, a British example -- the Dursleys in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' live in such an area.[[/note]], but it's uncommon due to much tougher land use and zoning laws necessitated by Europe's relative lack of space.[[note]]The population density of the US is 32 per square km, while the EU has 112 per square km; put another way, Europe fits 1.5 times as many people as America in under half the amount of land. Now you know why Europe has stricter land-use laws and less sprawl: there's less land to go around. This is because Europe has supported large cities for far longer than the US--the Native Americans of what is now the US had some occasional proto-cities, but Europeans showed up around the time the most recent native North American urbanization had petered out--arguably causing it to peter out, by introducing plagues--and in any case urban civilization in the future USA never got close to where it did in Mexico and the Andes.[[/note]] These connotations are more in line with how suburbs have traditionally been viewed -- "suburbs" translates from Latin as "under-city", or the red-light district. That's the meaning Creator/WilliamShakespeare would have had in mind when, in ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'', he has Mistress Overdone keeping a bawdy house in the suburbs. Even North American suburbs are prone to the same thing: for example, some suburbs of Toronto, Canada are notorious for gangs and recent shootings, namely around Scarborough and Jane & Finch (named for the two streets forming the intersection)[[note]]technically no longer suburbs [[MegaCity since the 1998 amalgamation]] but still considered to be by many locals[[/note]], and the Chicago suburb of Harvey, Illinois (which itself is similarly unsafe) was home to the Dixie Square Mall[[note]]opened in 1966, closed in 1978, finally demolished in 2012 after several false starts[[/note]], as featured in ''Film/TheBluesBrothers''.

For examples in fiction where all of the houses look basically alike, see CutAndPasteSuburb.