Traditionally, the people of North America have chosen the single family dwelling as their preferred form of housing. this was the prevailing mode in the early decades of the growth of the city, even in the central area. The large fine homes of the early affluent families in many instances, through the passage of time, became the rooming houses and the tenements of the poor in what developed into the fringe area of the Downtown.

As the city's population grew, the universal preference for the single family dwelling a home of one's own simply could not be satisfied in the Downtown: there was not enough space to accommodate any substantial numbers of such dwellings in the central area, and the cost of land became too high to permit its use for this purpose. Moreover, the lack of amenities parks, playgrounds, recreation areas of all kinds, schools and other residential neighborhood facilities, coupled with the traffic and the general "non-residential" character, turned those who could afford it away from the Downtown and into the suburbs. In the suburbs it was possible for families of even fairly modest incomes to find a home in an environment which was closer to the amenities of nature than was possible in the central area of the city. The widespread ownership of the private automobile made it possible for people to live in the suburbs and work or shop or find their entertainment in the Downtown, and this is exactly what has been happening now for thirty or forty years in the cities of North America. There has been a steady growth of the suburban population while the central city's population has either remained static, or together with the resident population of the Downtown has steadily declined. In general terms, those families who moved to the suburbs were the young families of average income and higher, and those who remained behind were the single people, the older people, and the poor.

Winnipeg's experience has not been significantly different from that of other cities, and falls within the general terms of the description given above.