FORMER Ealing deputy mayoress Dr Rupa Huq has launched her new book at the House of Commons.
People squashed in the aisles and all three Ealing MPs were present showing their support on February 4.
'On the Edge: The Contested Cultures of English Suburbia,' tells a story of the suburbs, which this writer believes is a greatly neglected subject in our country.
Dr Huq, whose younger sister Konnie is a TV presenter, said: "Suburbs are seen as just there, they are not even considered as a sociological subject and politicians do not take it seriously. Suburbs were made to be the ideal compromise between country and city but they have suffered and people need to take notice of their concerns."
The book begins with the Ealing riots which Dr Huq said was a jolt to the suburban dream.
She said: "Often we know what a suburb is because of what it isn’t. We think it’s boring and nothing ever happens but 80 percent of us now live in suburbia and there are a unique set of challenges we face.
"Southall is a good example of an atypical suburb because people come from all over the country to do shopping there."
The book contains a lot of content from interviews, including quotes from the borough’s MPs Angie Bray and Stephen Pound.
Dr Huq, who lives in South Ealing and grew up near Hanger Lane, said she has a chapter looking at extremism in suburbia, two words not normally put together.
She mentioned decaying infrastructure, transport challenges, housing and the age of a first time buyer as some of the many issues facing suburbia.
The author, who spent around five years working for Ealing council leisure services in the mid 90s, said she spent a couple of years on the book but has been writing it unthinkingly all her life.
Dr Huq’s parents have been in Ealing since the 60s and one sister lives in the Pitzhanger area.
Dr Huq said: “You can take the girl out of Ealing but you can’t take Ealing out of the girl. As a borough we have enormous diversity. We have lots of different types of suburban homes and I think it’s great that Ealing council are building 500 more council houses.”
Ms Huq wrote her book whilst juggling the commitments of having an eight year old son and being a senior lecturer in Sociology at Kingston university.
She has a second book coming out in June about pop culture.