Monday, December 22, 2008

The Coffee House Test of a Crunchy Suburb

David Brooks introduces the useful concept of the "crunchy suburb" in On Paradise Road. This is an inner suburb of a big city. It has more of the people he called "bobos" (bourgeois bohemians) in an earlier book. Among suburbs, it is likely to have more professionals, better schools, and more sophisticated consumer goods.

We are in Mt. Lebanon, a Pittsburgh suburb where my sister is hosting Christmas this year. It meets these criteria. Mt. Lebanon has, I think, been more corporate and Republican in the past, but is shifting in the professional and Democratic direction that many good-schools inner suburbs are.

Danville, KY, is too much of a small town to have such nuances among the various sections of town. The coffee houses are in the middle of town and serve everyone from all the neighborhoods and "suburbs." We needed to come to a larger city to see a crunchy suburb in action.

We are sitting in a coffee house in Mt. Lebanon. It filled up just after school drop-off. Mrs. G. suggested that this is a measure of a crunchy suburb. The first necessity of a weekday morning is to get the kids to school. The second necessity is espresso.

1 comment:

Erik Dahl said...

Hi Beau,
I didn't realize your sister lives in Mt Lebanon. We've been living in Lebo for about 4 years now. Our son isn't school age yet, so I'm not as familiar with the post school drop off happenings. Its interesting to get your brief take on my current place of residence. From what I've seen, I'd say that Lebo is very early in the stages of moving towards a crunchy suburb.

If I'm in town next time you come to Lebo, it would be great to get together for a chat.
- Erik Dahl (Centre '98)