The suburb tends to be depicted (and also problematized) as serial spatializations in which the interior and exterior are mutually separate spaces, and also distinct types of spaces. That is, space is imagined to be divided serially into an interior and an exterior, which are discontinuous, mediated/separated by a boundary. These divided spaces are understood to be fundamentally different types or categories with each enacting, making possible, or precluding different, mutually exclusive meanings, orientations, attachments, behaviours, and more. Thus, while any number of different figures might be identified, two key sets of figures emerge as importantly marking the suburban imaginary. These are figures of exteriority and of interiority. Specifically, the interior is characterized by interiority and the exterior is marked by exteriority. These different qualities of serial spatialization, interiority and exteriority, are, in turn, imbued with dichotomous meanings. (…)
The suburban exterior figures as anaesthetic when it is imagined as numbing the capacity for emotional, affective, or aesthetic response through either a deprivation or an excess of the sensible (that which can be sensed and thereby made sense of). This renders the suburban exterior as marked by absence and excess and as a non-place, and effectively detaches the quality of exteriority from the spatialization of the exterior potentially allowing exteriority to be a floating quality. (…)
The suburban interior figures as offering a site for the creation and maintenance of the individual that is predicated on withdrawal and introversion. This renders the suburban interior as space marked by the individual and as (what I am calling) a "non-space” that is, by a sense of spacelessness; and, detaches the quality of interiority from the spatialization of the “interior” and renders it intimate.
Such a categorical rendering of space ultimately produces the suburban imaginary as paradoxical. In addition to the detachment of the qualities of space from their respective spaces, the suburb figures as paradoxical spatializations when its serially divided spaces are imagined as properly being distinct yet are experienced to be uncannily hybrid. (…) The spaces, their qualities, and their meanings are imagined as necessarily being categorically and mutually separate—they are divided by repulsive barriers and are otherwise imagined to be disconnected; and yet (…) they are found to be irrepressibly mutually permeable: Exteriority is displaced and interiority expands. 1
(T)he sense that neither the inside nor the outside feels safe sums up the problem and paradox of the construction of suburban spatial division. In attempting to maintain strict boundaries and separate functions, neither imaginary space reads as safe, or rather both alienated spaces read as risky because of the fundamental but ineffective division. 3
1 Park, O. (2014). The Suburban Imaginary: Ambivalence, Strangeness, and the Everyday in Contemporary Representations of the Suburb [PhD Thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta]. https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/40697516-8147-4953-988f-f7a133ecba8b, p. 11-12
2 Ibid., p. 269
3 Ibid., p. 270