The Invention of Suburbia

Who Invented Suburbia? is the first nationwide description of the history of suburban neighbourhoods and its residents from 1900-1960, which are found in all Danish cities.

The book is based on 30 years for work on Danish urban history and field work in 25 Danish towns from Hjørring and Esbjerg in the west to Elsinore (Helsingør) and Nykøbing F. in the east.

Who Invented Suburbia? explores urban planning, buildings and houses in the suburbs of Denmark. The book answers questions such as: 

  • Who invented modern urban planning?
  • Do we have garden suburbs in Denmark?
  • Why is it called 'villa' and 'parcelhus'?
  • How did working class districts evolve into social housing?
  • Who created the suburbs: the bourgeoisie or the working class?
  • Who won the struggle for the suburbs?

And: Why don't anyone like the suburbs?


Reviews in the press

”Peter Dragsbo provides an impressive and exemplary overview of the urban planning reality in Denmark...”


”The great strength of the book is its academic weight, overview and hundreds of stories, which provide every reader with inspiration for modern tourism."


”The history of the modernized suburban Dane is actually interesting..."  

Read the review in Danish here.



Hvem opfandt parcelhuskvarteret? Forstaden har en historie (The Invention of Suburbia)

Skrifter om dansk byhistorie 6 (Writings on Danish Urban History 6)

Written by Peter Dragsbo

Museum Sønderjylland and Danish Centre for Urban History, 2008

300 p., ill.
ISBN  978-87-88376-09-8