Living in the Sprawl

I can be harsh on the suburbs.  Perhaps unfairly so.  Is it a teenage angst that burrowed deep in my mind and never shook?  Possible.

My hatred does not necessarily reflect specific cities, more the idea of a suburb: the stereotypical suburb.

Cleveland has some good cities surrounding it.  These suburbs have fun restaurants or shops to check out and a unique flavor their own.  Not every city falls in this stereotype.

But opinions are colored by personal experiences, my own from one of the worst offenders.  Brunswick.  The model example of boomtown suburb.

Thirty, forty, fifty years ago, the area was empty, still farm land.  When the sprawl crept over the Cuyahoga/Medina County line, the city took off.  Development has been rampant since.

Brunswick tried to outrun its small town image through more building.  Brunstucky no more.  And in losing its farming image, it had no image to build on.  So it tried to be what the other cities were.  Copy a clock tower from Strongsville.  Create an “historic” town square like Medina.  It became watered down versions of the surrounding communities instead of its own entity.

There is little in Brunswick to make it distinct.  Mapleside Farms, full of history and tradition, is the only site that sets Brunswick apart.  (Disclosure: I have some personal ties to Mapleside that may bias my opinion…but it’s still the only unique thing in Brunswick)

A tongue in cheek “tourism” video popped up on YouTube last week.  It pokes fun at the city and its “sites”.  While the city’s Chamber of Commerce may disagree, the video is dead on with some of Brunswick’s absurdities.

So when I say I hate the suburbs, you now know what I mean.  The cookie-cutter, mass produced, chain store infested, lifeless sprawl.

Go ahead, Strongsville, and take your shots.

But realize you aren’t much different.


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