I grew up on a street to nowhere, lined with starter homes for young families like ours. It was 1980s Arlington, and this was our American dream.
Twenty years later, the dream had faded. Empty strip malls floated in oceans of asphalt. Weeds grew like they were reclaiming suburbia to nature. Our neighborhood was bought, used and thrown away in a single generation. A disposable suburb.
Still, the North Texas growth machine rumbles on, churning out exurban subdivisions that now lie closer to the Red River than to downtown Dallas. Meanwhile, the suburbs in between have exploded in size. Plano's population doubled and then doubled again since 1980; now nearly every square inch of its 72 square miles is built out.
Suburbs either grow up or die — except they don't die, not really. Many stagger on, zombielike, as bills pile up for their aging roads and malls. Neighborhoods with names like Hearthstone Manor are filled with homes that were never built to last.
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