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Robin Leichenko and William Solecki

Regional Studies, 2005, vol. 39, issue 2, 241-253

Abstract: Leichenko, R. M. and Solecki, W. D. (2005) Exporting the American dream: the globalization of suburban consumption landscapes, Regional Studies 39 , 241-253. This paper examines how cultural, economic and political aspects of globalization interact with processes of urbanization in less developed country (LDC) cities to create new landscapes of housing consumption. Drawing evidence from the current literature, the paper demonstrates that globalization processes influence the housing preferences and housing consumption decisions of a small yet growing, middle-income segment of LDC urban residents. These changes lead to patterns of urban resource use akin to those associated with suburbanization and suburban sprawl in more developed countries (MDC), particularly the USA. In effect, these changes amount to the manifest export of the American Dream - the ideal of homeownership of a single-family house in a suburban area - to LDC cities. A critical element of this process explored in the paper is how this suburban ideal is set down within each city context. This placement is presented as the result of global-, national- and local-level drivers. The emergence of consumption landscapes raises critical questions about the environmental and social sustainability of globalization, as LDC residents increasingly emulate the highly resource-consumptive, energy-intensive and exclusionary lifestyles currently practised by MDC suburbanites.

Keywords: Globalization; Suburbanization; Housing consumption; Environmental degradation; Mondialisation; Developpement des banlieues; Consommation de logements; Degradation ecologique; Globalisierung; Vervorstadterung; Wohnverbrauch; Umweltdegradierung; Globalizacion; Suburbanizacion; Consumo de vivienda; Degradacion ambiental; JEL classifications: O12; O21; R20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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DOI: 10.1080/003434005200060080

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