The following chapters, which form Part III of this book, are concerned with the broad possibilities for and the directions of change in the suburban land conversion process. They present neither a detailed plan nor a program for legislation or other action, public or private. A basic assumption is that substantial improvement in suburban land conversion is both urgently necessary and possible. The major problem is to agree on policy issues and directions for change. If agreement can be reached on these points, then specific steps can be taken, though they may be farreaching and difficult.
As noted in the opening pages of this book and many times since, the primary focus here is on land use at the expanding edge of the city -- its suburbs -- the process, actors, and results of the process. Of necessity some attention is given to the problems of the city as well as its suburbs. But the suburbs are an important part of the city, land use is an important part of suburban growth and change, and the process of suburban land conversion is significant in its own right.
The primary concern in Part III is to outline ways in which the process of land conversion at the suburban growing edge of the city might be different in the future in order to remedy or to reduce some of the shortcomings of the process and to produce results which seem more desirable for society. Consideration of this central topic involves getting into problems of urban renewal in the older city, for what is done there -- or not done -- greatly affects the demand for land in the suburbs. Likewise there is some discussion of poverty, for a great deal of suburban land conversion has rested, directly or indirectly, on the inability of the poor to afford new housing or good housing in good neighborhoods. And the possibilities for reorganization of local government are considered, since efforts to reshape suburban land conversion will quickly come up against the deficiencies of local government as an enabling mechanism. All of these forces, and others discussed in these chapters, will help to shape the future of the suburbs which are now so important a part of American life.