This description of the changing American suburbs includes McMansions:
The demand for something like urban living is real. Even at the outer edges of growing metro areas, mixed-use walkable developments pop up alongside familiar subdivisions and McMansions. “Mixed-use centers—often in suburban locations—continue to be built from the ground up in many communities across the US,” wrote the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2019.
As more immigrants and millennials become suburbanites, and as Covid and remote work give the suburbs another growth spurt, they are evolving into something different. Between 2019 and 2020, the share of millennials who live in suburbs increased by 4 percentage points; and in 2014, more than 60 percent of immigrants lived in suburbs, up from just over half in 2000.
Many communities that were once white, exclusionary, and car-dependent are today diverse and evolving places, still distinct from the big city but just as distinct from their own “first draft” more than a half-century ago…
If a “second draft” of the suburbs is now being written — at least in some of America’s growing and expensive metro areas — what might it actually look like?
This is part of the complex suburbia we have today. Where do McMansions fit into this? The selection above suggests “mixed-use walkable developments” are near McMansions. But, what happens to the McMansions in the long run? Here are a few options:
- The McMansions continue in their neighborhoods for those that want them. Even amid proclamations that McMansions are dead, there are some homebuyers and suburbanites that want such homes.
- McMansions themselves are altered in ways to fit the new landscape. Perhaps they are subdivided into multiple units for more affordable housing. They could be added to. Their properties could host accessory dwelling units.
- McMansions are demolished and replaced with something else. This could be because the quality of the homes does not stand the test of time or the land is more valuable used another way (some of the teardowns become teardowns).
- Some McMansions live on through historic preservation marking a particular era of housing and American life.
For some, McMansions represent the peak of an undesirable suburban sprawl and excess. For others, they are homes that provide a lot for a decent price. Their long-term fate is to be determined both by those who like them and those who detest them as the suburbs continue to change.