I grew up in small-city Iowa, where I figured I was living in a place somewhat similar to big-city suburbs. That is - not urban, single family detached houses with yards, safe neighborhoods with friendly people and nice schools. I figured that this would approximate the appeal of big city suburbs, but moving to the Twin Cities, and after thinking about it some more, it seems to me that what I would have thought would be the appeal of the suburbs are often the things absent from them. For example, it seems that suburbs aren't so safe these days with all the "troubled youth" with absent parents, and car accidents on the loud nearby highways that are necessary to maintain sprawl. The schools are often huge, but frequently lack the benefits of true cultural diversity, turning into cliquefest Littletons. You've got super-long commutes, high housing prices and cost-of-living in general. Also, I'm starting to see fields of clone apartments sprouting up in the burbs, which baffles me to no end. Contrast to the revival urban areas are experiencing, with urban neighborhood designs and traffic calming, less crime, and all that jazz that makes us feel warm and fuzzy. So why are sacrificing so much to live in McMansion wastelands when there are alternatives? I exaggerate and generalize of course, but seriously, what's the big deal with living in big city outer-ring burbs?