South Burlington

Contemporary Landscape

In the decade between 1950 and 1960, South Burlington grew a surprising 11%, surpassing even neighboring Burlington’s growth rate of 7% during the same time due to the number of farmers who found it profitable to cut up their acreage into building lots which still sold for far less than building lots in Burlington (The Chittenden County Historical Society 1975). In 1940, Vermont census records show a total population of 1,736 residents in South Burlington. This number had nearly quadrupled by the 1960 census which reported 6,903 residents.

Aerial view of the southwestern area of South Burlington - Click to see larger image.
The town eventually scaled back on their construction boom, but growth continued, with an estimated 40% of the population under 14 years of age as of the 1970’s when total population measured just over ten thousand (The Chittenden County Historical Society 1975). It was right around this time, in 1971 that South Burlington became incorporated as Vermont’s ninth city. In the coming years, multiple schools were built in response to the population spurt and the town started its first discussion about forming a true a town center and sense of identity all its own, calling for a committee on the creation of a South Burlington downtown in 1985 (Netzel 2004).

Today’s city planners continue to struggle with the challenge of creating a city center for this city which has lacked a true geographic center since it separated from Burlington in 1865 (P. Conner, personal communication, January 12, 2009) as the city’s growth has continued at a steady pace. The population of South Burlington in 2007 measured 17,445 residents.