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Tracing the changing nature of suburban life

The current economic climate has changed the face of suburban living, according to Dr Nick Hubble, who was asked to provide expert comment on BBC Radio 4’s Start The Week.

Joining novelist Adam Thirlwell, talking about his latest ‘suburban noir’ book Lurid and Cute, graphic artist Richard McGuire and photographer Hannah Starkey, Dr Hubble argued that suburbia was no longer built on aspiration, but on protecting living standards.

The nature of suburban living, he said, changed over time, recounting that suburbia had its roots in Roman times, but had become much more visible following the Second World War, when two million homes were built around London.

Radio 4’s flagship conversation programme looked at how closely the concept of suburbia met the politics of 1997, with the New Labour party deliberately targeting the inhabitant of suburbia ‘Mondeo Man’.

Dr Hubble, a senior lecturer in English at Brunel University London, pointed out that these days movement in and out of suburbia was more difficult to identify because the label had changed to describe great swathes of the country, while people generally had been priced out of the suburban centre of London.

Listen to the programme here.