Do the Suburbs Have Sacred Spaces?

“Suburbia’s Sacred Spaces”

Joel Kotkin is an Orange County Register opinion columnist, a Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and is the executive editor of  He has written about public policy and development of the Southern California suburbs and an interesting column article “Suburbia’s Sacred Spaces” – which was published June 21, 2013, by the Orange County Register.

Suburbia's sacred spaces

Kotkin said in part:  “From the earliest times, cities have revolved around three basic concepts – security, the marketplace and what I call ‘the sacred space.’  In contemporary America, everyone wants safe streets and a thriving economy, but what about the ethereal side, the places that makes us take note of a place and feel, in some way, a connection with its history?”

Urban planners have criticized the suburbs for years on the basis that there was what they called a “lack of permanent establishments” or sacred spaces.

Kotkin suggests that we should look in other places than the old grand and now empty church buildings and synagogues in the cities for sacred spaces – and suggest that such sacred spaces can be where children play, where people gather to recreate, parks and rec centers where we meet and greet each other, and said that these spaces can be defined by “what animates peoples feelings about place and their connections to it” and that “these places also constitute the connective tissue of suburbia.”

He argues that “sacred space in the current context is basically about home – those places where one has lived, children have played, pets have lived out their lives and where holidays, religious or not, are shared with neighbors.  Suburbia not only does not negate this kind of sacred space but, in a surprising way, nurtures it.”


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About Harrison K. Long

Real estate and business attorney. CA State Bar Association attorney member #69137. Professional real estate representative, REALTOR®, GRI, Real estate broker, CALBRE #01410855. Broker associate, HomeSmart Evergreen Realty, Irvine, CA. Providing real estate legal information and services for property owners, estate trustees, executors and administrators, fiduciaries, bankers, investor group managers, with their best decisions about homes and real estate. Orange County REALTORs® (member and prior service on its board of directors). "Realtor of the Year 2016" award by the Orange County REALTORs®. California Association of REALTORs® (now serving on its board of directors). National Association of REALTORs® member. Contact by cell or or text at 949-701-2515.
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