Suburbanism is a movement towards living in the "suburbs", or "suburbia", an environment intended to combine the conveniences of the city with the pleasantness of the countryside. The "convenience" aspect, however, relies heavily (or entirely) on personal ownership of automotive transportation, as the distance between houses (low "population density", leading to "suburban sprawl") makes it impossible for amenities to be located within walking distance of most residents. Indeed, the areas with residences are kept carefully separated at non-walkable distances from the shopping areas; businesses are not permitted within residential zones.
The movement started in post-WWII America, apparently in response to the unpleasantness of city life during the height of the industrial revolution as well as the sudden need to house new families formed by returning US servicemen.
There has been growing recognition that the movement may have been a mistake, due to a number of factors:
- oil dependence: the suburban lifestyle depends almost entirely on automobiles, which depend on non-renewable fuel
- isolation: although it keeps kids "safe" from the "dangers" of the city, it also isolates them from any meaningful work
To the extent that suburbanism is encouraged as part of a calculated effort to prevent people from forming lasting communities and personal bonds, it is part of the war on community and the war on individuality.