path for a sustainable future

Suburban Neighborhoods

Suburban Neighborhoods are reflective of the growing availability and dependence on the automobile. The evolution of the auto-dependant suburban neighborhood parallels the affluence and ability of the American family. These areas provide residents with greater privacy and sense of openess due to lower densities commonly in the range of one to two dwelling units per acre.

Suburban Neighborhoods include residential areas built after World War II outside the City of Syracuse, incorporated villages and first ring suburban towns.


As automobile use increased, changes in the amount of public and private space necessary to accommodate vehicles has also increased. Road widths increased, lots became larger and the garage became the prominent feature on many newer homes. The street system is commonly curvilinear with cul-de-sacs that minimize connectivity and reduce speeds, while increasing the sense of privacy and space. Sidewalks are generally not present. The strict separation of uses means that Suburban Neighborhoods are rarely in close proximity to stores or services and when they are, they typically do not include connective pedestrian systems to these amenities.


Suburban Neighborhoods provide an important choice for families and individuals looking for larger lots and newer housing stock. Recent housing trends and an aging population, combined with rising fuel prices, may require these areas to evolve to maintain their desirablity for future generations. Improving pedestrian and bicycling connectivity to commercial areas and enhancing the availability of safe, out-the-door recreational opportunities will likely be important. Other planning challenges in the future may include strategies for increasing densities, the potential for infill and mixed-use development and, in some instances, planned footprint reduction.

Sample Strategies

  • At the regional level, evaluate the demand for this type of development and ensure that new development is part of an integrated and connected master planned community.
  • Support pedestrian friendly environments through sustainable streetscape design (e.g., Complete Streets) and, when feasible, require pedestrian accommodations between residential and commercial development areas.
  • Identify infill and retrofitting opportunities to encourage mixed-uses and housing diversity and to increase density to levels that are supportive of public transit.