The Suburban Myth and its application to the San Fernando Valley

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012


The suburban reality in the San Fernando Valley valued ownership, individualism and stability in the time when most residents were beginning to assume the role of middle class. After World War II there existed many social expectations associated with the suburban middle class. Influenced by the exclusive and suburban communities emerging throughout the East Coast, the suburban ideal began to play a crucial role in shaping the development of the San Fernando Valley. Working class whites, often migrating from the Midwest, began to perceive the formerly rural periphery of Los Angels as a stable location in which they could attain an identity inherently linked to what would become middle-class. Yet, by examining why and how Angelenos in the San Fernando Valley this created a suburban reality; specifically through the study of the subdivisions developed in the Post World War II era, I will show that the particular institutional and structural aspects of the American cultural and political landscape perpetuated an atomized but shared suburban middle-class experience. By using extensive analysis of Oral Histories, memoirs and newspaper articles I argue that the shared-atomized experience, though highly problematic, at the time fulfilled the need that many seeking refuge within the suburbs were content to subscribe to.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Jeremiah Axelrod




Ford Research Mentors Endowment

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