Retired councillor and housing expert Simon Cooke writes a defence of suburbia, challenging the sneering elitism of NIMBYs and city dwellers alike. Suburbia represented the triumph of the middle-class – a place built in their image, containing the things that made their lives good, he argues. A good suburb has soft edges – it provides for community and allows space for football, dog walks and throwing frisbees. If we are to sort out our housing crisis and provide the homes people want, he argues, we need to win the argument for why suburbia isn’t simply second best to city living, but the sought-after ideal for most families in search of freedom.

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Simon Cooke is a former marketing professional and was a councillor in Bradford for 24 years, representing a ward entirely within West Yorkshire’s green belt. During this time, Simon spent six years as portfolio holder for Regeneration, a further six years as Conservative group leader as well as serving on the Local Government Association’s Housing, Transport and Environment Board and as a director of a large housing association, managing over 20,000 social homes.

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