I can sympathise with your thoughts exactly, although I lived the other side of the Hawthorn Road shops, where the semi's were all mortgaged rather than rented. I went to Dulwich Road Infants in 1938 - 41, and got to know many of the families who had only lived round there for a few years. I never really fancied our immediate area as there was hardly anything there, and certainly no character. I always loved to visit my grandparents in Handsworth, relatives in Ellen St, my dad's school at Loxton St, or my nan's school at All Saints' Hockley. Thgose were real ploaces.
Carl Chinn has written a nice short piece about Kingstanding in Vol 2 of his "Streets of Brum".
An excellent book about a very similar subject, called "Semi-detached London" was written a fellow tram fancier, Alan Jackson, about 40 years ago, which became quite a classic. It discusses the way people moved out of the inner suburbs, in a very personal way, rather than the clinical way that so many planners and academic historians have done.