These are communities that grew as middle and outer-ring suburbs after 1970. Many of them are creatures of the Interstate Highway System, which accelerated the flight of middle class families from urban neighborhoods to the roomy and bucolic environs near the metropolitan edge. They are suburban in character and low in density.
- These communities have been the dominant development form in Minnesota for nearly 50 years.
- Homes tend to be single-family detached houses with prominent garages of two or three stalls protruding from the front. They are on roomy lots of ¼ acre to five acres, depending on zoning
- Commercial areas are segregated from homes and are often a half-hour’s drive away. These commercial zones (often office parks, regional malls, lifestyle centers or big-box corridors) contain very large expanses of surface parking
- Sidewalks are rare, whether near malls or homes
- Setbacks are 20 to 100 feet or more
- Streets are wide and often winding, sometimes ending in cul de sacs
- Neighborhood streets collect large volumes of traffic for the major arterials and freeways that serve as lifelines of these communities
- Transit service is sometimes available at malls and park-and-ride lots, but is rarely a factor in daily living
- Maple Grove
- Eden Prairie
- Apple Valley
- Forest Lake
- Newly developed areas around fast-growing cities like Rochester and St. Cloud also contain these communities.
- Exurban communities in Sherburne, Isanti, Chisago and Scott counties are similar in character, as are many developments in Pierce and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.
Challenges Facing Developing Suburbs
Heavy auto traffic; a glut of foreclosures since 2008; homes that are too big and too far away to match the emerging market; lack of density and “human scale” in commercial and residential areas; lack of town centers and a sense of “community.”