A suburb is a mixed-use or residential area, existing either as part
of a city or urban area or as a separate residential community within
commuting distance of a city. In most English-speaking countries,
suburban areas are defined in contrast to central or inner-city areas,
Australian English and South African English, suburb has become
largely synonymous with what is called a "neighborhood" in other
countries and the term extends to inner-city areas. In some areas,
such as Australia, China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and a few
U.S. states, new suburbs are routinely annexed by adjacent cities. In
others, such as Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, and much of the United
States, many suburbs remain separate municipalities or are governed as
part of a larger local government area such as a county.
Suburbs first emerged on a large scale in the 19th and 20th centuries
as a result of improved rail and road transport, which led to an
increase in commuting. In general, they have lower population
densities than inner city neighborhoods within a metropolitan area,
and most residents commute to central cities or other business
districts; however, there are many exceptions, including industrial
suburbs, planned communities, and satellite cities. Suburbs tend to
proliferate around cities that have an abundance of adjacent flat
1 Etymology and usage
Australia and New Zealand
1.2 Britain and Ireland
1.3 North America
2.1 Early history
2.2 Origins of the modern suburb
2.3 Interwar suburban expansion in England
2.4 North America
2.4.1 Post-war suburban expansion
3 Suburbs worldwide
3.1 United States
3.2 Canadian suburbs
3.3 Other countries
4 Traffic flows
5 Academic study of suburbs
6 In popular culture
7 See also
11 External links
Etymology and usage
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The English word is derived from the
Old French subburbe, which is in
turn derived from the Latin suburbium, formed from sub (meaning
"under" or "below") and urbs ("city"). The first recorded usage of the
term in English, was made by
John Wycliffe in 1380, where the form
subarbis was used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand, suburbs (in the wider sense noted in the
lead paragraph) have become formalised as geographic subdivisions of a
city and are used by postal services in addressing. In rural areas in
both countries, their equivalents are called localities (see suburbs
and localities). The terms inner suburb and outer suburb are used to
differentiate between the higher-density areas in proximity to the
city center (which would not be referred to as 'suburbs' in most other
countries), and the lower-density suburbs on the outskirts of the
urban area. The term 'middle suburbs' is also used. Inner suburbs,
Te Aro in Wellington,
Mt Eden in Auckland, Prahran in
Melbourne and Ultimo in Sydney, are usually characterised by higher
density apartment housing and greater integration between commercial
and residential areas.
Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom and in Ireland, suburb merely refers to a
residential area outside the city centre, regardless of administrative
boundaries. Suburbs, in this sense, can range from areas that seem
more like residential areas of a city proper to areas separated by
open countryside from the city centre. In large cities such as London,
suburbs include formerly separate towns and villages that have been
gradually absorbed during a city's growth and expansion, such as
Ealing or Bromley.
United States and Canada, suburb can refer either to an
outlying residential area of a city or town or to a separate
municipality or unincorporated area outside a town or city.
The earliest appearance of suburbs coincided with the spread of the
first urban settlements. Large walled towns tended to be the focus
around which smaller villages grew up in a symbiotic relationship with
the market town. The word 'suburbani' was first used by the Roman
Cicero in reference to the large villas and estates built by
the wealthy patricians of
Rome on the city's outskirts.
Towards the end of the
Eastern Han Dynasty
Eastern Han Dynasty (up until 190 AD, when Dong
Zhuo razed the city), the capital, Luoyang, was mainly occupied by the
emperor and important officials; the city's people mostly lived in
small cities right outside Luoyang, which were suburbs in all but
As populations grew during the
Early Modern Period
Early Modern Period in Europe, urban
towns swelled with a steady influx of people from the countryside. In
some places, nearby settlements were swallowed up as the main city
expanded. The peripheral areas on the outskirts of the city were
generally inhabited by the very poorest.
Origins of the modern suburb
Due to the rapid migration of the rural poor to the industrialising
cities of England in the late 18th century, a trend in the opposite
direction began to develop; that is, newly rich members of the middle
classes began to purchase estates and villas on the outskirts of
London. This trend accelerated through the 19th century, especially in
Manchester that were experiencing tremendous
growth, and the first suburban districts sprung up around the city
centre to accommodate those who wanted to escape the squalid
conditions of the industrial town. Toward the end of the century, with
the development of public transit systems such as the underground
railways, trams and buses, it became possible for the majority of the
city's population to reside outside the city and to commute into the
center for work.
The cover of the
Metro-Land guide published in 1921
By the mid-19th century, the first major suburban areas were springing
London as the city (then the largest in the world) became
more overcrowded and unsanitary. A major catalyst in suburban growth
came from the opening of the
Metropolitan Railway in the 1860s. The
line joined the capital's financial heart in the
City to what were to
become the suburbs of Middlesex. Harrow was reached in 1880, and
the line eventually extended as far as Verney Junction in
Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Baker Street
and the centre of London.
Unlike other railway companies, which were required to dispose of
surplus land, the Met was allowed to retain such land that it believed
was necessary for future railway use.[a] Initially, the surplus land
was managed by the Land Committee, and, from the 1880s, the land
was developed and sold to domestic buyers in places like Willesden
Park Estate, Cecil Park, near
Pinner and at Wembley Park.
In 1912, it was suggested that a specially formed company should take
over from the Surplus Lands Committee and develop suburban estates
near the railway. However, World War I delayed these plans and it
was only in 1919, with expectation of a postwar housing boom, that
Metropolitan Railway Country Estates Limited (MRCE) was formed. MRCE
went on to develop estates at
Kingsbury Garden Village near Neasden,
Wembley Park, Cecil Park and Grange Estate at
Pinner and the Cedars
Rickmansworth and create places such as Harrow Garden
The term "Metro-land" was coined by the Met's marketing department in
1915 when the Guide to the Extension Line became the
priced at 1d. This promoted the land served by the Met for the walker,
visitor and later the house-hunter. Published annually until 1932,
the last full year of independence for the Met, the guide extolled the
benefits of "The good air of the Chilterns", using language such as
"Each lover of Metroland may well have his own favourite wood beech
and coppice — all tremulous green loveliness in Spring and
russet and gold in October". The dream promoted was of a modern
home in beautiful countryside with a fast railway service to central
London. By 1915, people from across
London had flocked to live the
new suburban dream in large newly built areas across North West
Interwar suburban expansion in England
Suburbanisation in the interwar period was heavily influenced by the
garden city movement of
Ebenezer Howard and the creation of the first
garden suburbs at the turn of the 20th century. The first garden
suburb was developed through the efforts of social reformer Henrietta
Barnett and her husband; inspired by
Ebenezer Howard and the model
housing development movement (then exemplified by
city), as well as the desire to protect part of
Hampstead Heath from
development, they established trusts in 1904 which bought 243 acres of
land along the newly opened Northern line extension to Golders Green
and created the Hampstead Garden Suburb. The suburb attracted the
talents of architects including
Raymond Unwin and Sir Edwin Lutyens,
and it ultimately grew to encompass over 800 acres.
Mock Tudor semi-detached cottages, built c.1870.
First World War
First World War the
Tudor Walters Committee
Tudor Walters Committee was
commissioned to make recommendations for the post war reconstruction
and housebuilding. In part, this was a response to the shocking lack
of fitness amongst many recruits during World War One, attributed to
poor living conditions; a belief summed up in a housing poster of the
period "you cannot expect to get an A1 population out of C3 homes" -
referring to military fitness classifications of the period.
The Committee's report of 1917 was taken up by the government, which
passed the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919, also known as the
Addison Act after Dr. Christopher Addison, the then Minister for
Housing. The Act allowed for the building of large new housing estates
in the suburbs after the First World War, and marked the start of
a long 20th century tradition of state-owned housing, which would
later evolve into council estates.
The Report also legislated on the required, minimum standards
necessary for further suburban construction; this included regulation
on the maximum housing density and their arrangement and it even made
recommendations on the ideal number of bedrooms and other rooms per
house. Although the semi-detached house was first designed by the
Shaws (a father and son architectural partnership) in the 19th
century, it was during the suburban housing boom of the interwar
period that the design first proliferated as a suburban icon, being
preferred by middle class home owners to the smaller terraced
houses. The design of many of these houses, highly characteristic
of the era, was heavily influenced by the
Art Deco movement, taking
influence from Tudor Revival, chalet style, and even ship design.
Within just a decade suburbs dramatically increased in size. Harrow
Weald went from just 1,500 to over 10,000 while
Pinner jumped from
3,000 to over 20,000. During the 1930s, over 4 million new suburban
houses were built, the 'suburban revolution' had made England the most
heavily suburbanized country in the world, by a considerable
View of housing development in
Richfield, Minnesota in 1954
Suburban Santa Fe, New Mexico
Suburban Dallas, Texas
Big box shopping centers in suburban New Orleans, Louisiana
Boston and New York spawned the first major suburbs. The streetcar
Boston and the rail lines in Manhattan made daily commutes
possible. No metropolitan area in the world was as well served by
railroad commuter lines at the turn of the twentieth century as New
York, and it was the rail lines to Westchester from the Grand Central
Terminal commuter hub that enabled its development. Westchester's true
importance in the history of American suburbanization derives from the
upper-middle class development of villages including Scarsdale, New
Rochelle and Rye serving thousands of businessmen and executives from
Post-war suburban expansion
The suburban population in North America exploded during the
post-World War II economic expansion. Returning veterans wishing to
start a settled life moved in masses to the suburbs. Levittown
developed as a major prototype of mass-produced housing.
Very little housing had been built during the Great Depression and
World War, except for emergency quarters near war industries.
Overcrowded and inadequate apartments was the common condition. Some
suburbs had developed around large cities where there was rail
transportation to the jobs downtown. However, the real growth in
suburbia depended on the availability of automobiles, highways, and
inexpensive housing. The population had grown, and the stock of family
savings had accumulated the money for down payments, automobiles and
appliances. The product was a great housing boom. Whereas, an average
of 316,000 new housing non-farm units should have been constructed
1930s through 1945, there were 1,450,000 annually from 1946 through
G.I. Bill guaranteed low cost loans for veterans, with
very low down payments, and low interest rates. With 16 million
eligible veterans, the opportunity to buy a house was suddenly at
hand. In 1947 alone, 540,000 veterans bought one; their average price
was $7300. The construction industry kept prices low by
standardization – for example standardizing sizes for kitchen
cabinets, refrigerators and stoves, allowed for mass production of
kitchen furnishings. Developers purchased empty land just outside the
city, installed tract houses based on a handful of designs, and
provided streets and utilities, or local public officials race to
build schools. The most famous development was Levittown, in Long
Island just east of New York City. It offered a new house for $1000
down, and $70 a month; it featured three bedrooms, fireplace, gas
range and gas furnace, and a landscaped lot of 75 by 100 feet, all for
a total price of $10,000. Veterans could get one with a much lower
At the same time, African Americans were rapidly moving north for
better jobs and educational opportunities than were available to them
in the segregated South. Their arrival in Northern cities en masse, in
addition to being followed by race riots in several large cities such
as Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, further
stimulated white suburban migration. The growth of the suburbs was
facilitated by the development of zoning laws, redlining and numerous
innovations in transport. After World War II availability of FHA loans
stimulated a housing boom in American suburbs. In the older cities of
the northeast U.S., streetcar suburbs originally developed along train
or trolley lines that could shuttle workers into and out of city
centers where the jobs were located. This practice gave rise to the
term "bedroom community", meaning that most daytime business activity
took place in the city, with the working population leaving the city
at night for the purpose of going home to sleep.
Economic growth in the
United States encouraged the suburbanization of
American cities that required massive investments for the new
infrastructure and homes. Consumer patterns were also shifting at this
time, as purchasing power was becoming stronger and more accessible to
a wider range of families. Suburban houses also brought about needs
for products that were not needed in urban neighborhoods, such as
lawnmowers and automobiles. During this time commercial shopping malls
were being developed near suburbs to satisfy consumers' needs and
their car–dependent lifestyle.
Zoning laws also contributed to the location of residential areas
outside of the city center by creating wide areas or "zones" where
only residential buildings were permitted. These suburban residences
are built on larger lots of land than in the central city. For
example, the lot size for a residence in
Chicago is usually 125 feet
(38 m) deep, while the width can vary from 14 feet
(4.3 m) wide for a row house to 45 feet (14 m) wide for a
large stand–alone house. In the suburbs, where
stand–alone houses are the rule, lots may be 85 feet (26 m)
wide by 115 feet (35 m) deep, as in the
Chicago suburb of
Naperville. Manufacturing and commercial buildings
were segregated in other areas of the city.
Alongside suburbanization, many companies began locating their offices
and other facilities in the outer areas of the cities, which resulted
in the increased density of older suburbs and the growth of lower
density suburbs even further from city centers. An alternative
strategy is the deliberate design of "new towns" and the protection of
green belts around cities. Some social reformers attempted to combine
the best of both concepts in the garden city movement.
In the U.S., 1950 was the first year that more people lived in suburbs
than elsewhere. In the U.S, the development of the skyscraper and
the sharp inflation of downtown real estate prices also led to
downtowns being more fully dedicated to businesses, thus pushing
residents outside the city center.
In the 20th century, many suburban areas, especially those not within
the political boundaries of the city containing the central business
area, began to see independence from the central city as an asset. In
some cases, suburbanites saw self-government as a means to keep out
people who could not afford the added suburban property maintenance
costs not needed in city living. Federal subsidies for suburban
development accelerated this process as did the practice of redlining
by banks and other lending institutions. In some cities such as
Miami and San Francisco, the main city is much smaller than the
surrounding suburban areas, leaving the city proper with a small
portion of the metro area's population and land area.
Virginia Beach and Mesa, Arizona, the two most populous suburbs in the
United States, are actually more populous than many of America's
largest cities, including Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Cleveland,
Tampa, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and others. Virginia Beach
has exceeded the population of its neighboring primary city, Norfolk.
While Virginia Beach has slowly been taking on the characteristics of
an urban city, it will not likely achieve the population density and
urban characteristics of Norfolk. It is generally assumed that the
population of Chesapeake, another suburb of Norfolk, will also exceed
Norfolk in 2018 if its current growth rate continues at its same pace.
Cleveland, Ohio is typical of many American central cities; its
municipal borders have changed little since 1922, even though the
Cleveland urbanized area has grown many times over.
Several layers of suburban municipalities now surround cities like
Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver,
Houston, New York City, San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, Miami,
Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Roanoke, St. Louis, Salt
Lake City, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C..
Suburbs in the
United States have a prevalence of usually detached
They are characterized by:
Lower densities than central cities, dominated by single-family homes
on small plots of land – anywhere from 0.1 acres and up –
surrounded at close quarters by very similar dwellings.
Zoning patterns that separate residential and commercial development,
as well as different intensities and densities of development. Daily
needs are not within walking distance of most homes.
A greater percentage of whites and lesser percentage of citizens of
other ethnic groups than in urban areas. However, Black
suburbanization grew between 1970 and 1980 by 2.6% as a result of
central city neighborhoods expanding into older neighborhoods vacated
Subdivisions carved from previously rural land into multiple-home
developments built by a single real estate company. These subdivisions
are often segregated by minute differences in home value, creating
entire communities where family incomes and demographics are almost
completely homogeneous..
Shopping malls and strip malls behind large parking lots instead of a
classic downtown shopping district.
A road network designed to conform to a hierarchy, including
cul-de-sac, leading to larger residential streets, in turn leading to
large collector roads, in place of the grid pattern common to most
central cities and pre-World War II suburbs.
A greater percentage of one-story administrative buildings than in
Compared to rural areas, suburbs usually have greater population
density, higher standards of living, more complex road systems, more
franchised stores and restaurants, and less farmland and wildlife.
By 2010, suburbs increasingly gained people in racial minority groups,
as many members of minority groups became better educated, more
affluent, and sought more favorable living conditions compared to
inner city areas.
Conversely, many white Americans also moved back to city centers.
Nearly all major city downtowns (such as
Downtown Miami, Downtown
Downtown Roanoke, or
Angeles) are experiencing a renewal, with large population growth,
residential apartment construction, and increased social, cultural,
and infrastructural investments, as have suburban neighborhoods close
to city centers. Better public transit, proximity to work and cultural
attractions, and frustration with suburban life and gridlock have
attracted young Americans to the city centers.
Lower-density Canadian suburban development on the fringe of the
Higher-Density Development in
Mississauga as seen from the Pearson
Compared to the American counterpart, Canadian suburbs are more dense
(mostly in major cities), with the
Toronto suburb of Mississauga
itself being Canada's 6th largest city. Land use patterns in Canadian
suburbs are often more mixed-use. There are often high- or mid-rise
developments interspersed with low-rise housing tracts and in many
suburban areas, there are numerous slab-style residential highrises
that were constructed in the 1970s and onward. In Canada, densities
are generally slightly higher than in Australia, but below typical
European values. Often, Canadian suburbs are less automobile-centred
and public transit use is encouraged but can be notably unused.
Throughout Canada, especially in
Toronto and Vancouver, there are
comprehensive plans in place to curb sprawl, such as Ontario's Places
to Grow act. This act is intended to manage growth in Toronto's
suburbs, including Pickering and Ajax, Markham, Richmond Hill,
Thornhill, Vaughan, Bolton/Caledon, Brampton, Mississauga, and
Oakville, among others.
Canada is an urbanized nation where over 80% of the population live in
urban areas (loosely defined), and roughly two-thirds live in one of
Canada's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with a population of over
100,000. However, of this metropolitan population, in 2001 nearly half
lived in low-density neighborhoods, with only one in five living in a
typical "urban" neighborhood. The percentage living in low-density
neighborhoods varied from a high of nearly two-thirds of
residents (67%), to a low of about one-third of
Population and income growth in Canadian suburbs had tended to outpace
growth in core urban or rural areas, but in many areas this trend has
now reversed. The suburban population increased 87% between 1981 and
2001, well ahead of urban growth. The majority of recent
population growth in Canada's three largest metropolitan areas
(Greater Toronto, Greater Montréal, and Greater Vancouver) has
occurred in non-core municipalities, although this trend has already
reversed itself in Toronto, where a building boom has begun to take
place. This trend is also beginning to take effect in Vancouver, and
to a lesser extent, Montréal. In certain cities, particularly
Edmonton and Calgary, suburban growth takes place within the city
boundaries as opposed to in bedroom communities. This is due to
annexation and large geographic footprint within the city borders.
Sydney city centre from the city's western suburbs.
Suburban street in Nuñez, a Middle-class neighborhood of Buenos
A neighbourhood in Amman, Jordan.
In many parts of the developed world, suburbs can be economically
distressed areas, inhabited by higher proportions of recent
immigrants, with higher delinquency rates and social problems.
Sometimes the notion of suburb may even refer to people in real
misery, who are kept at the limit of the city borders for economic,
social, and sometimes ethnic reasons. An example in the developed
world would be the banlieues of France, or the concrete suburbs of
Sweden, even if the suburbs of these countries also include
middle-class and upper-class neighborhoods that often consist of
single-family houses. Thus some of the suburbs of most of the
developed world are comparable to several inner cities of the U.S. and
The growth in the use of trains, and later automobiles and highways,
increased the ease with which workers could have a job in the city
while commuting in from the suburbs. In the United Kingdom, as
mentioned above, railways stimulated the first mass exodus to the
suburbs. The Metropolitan Railway, for example, was active in building
and promoting its own housing estates in the north-west of London,
consisting mostly of detached houses on large plots, which it then
marketed as "Metro-land". The Australian and
New Zealand usage
came about as outer areas were quickly surrounded in fast-growing
cities, but retained the appellation suburb; the term was eventually
applied to the original core as well. In Australia, Sydney's urban
sprawl has occurred predominantly in the Western Suburbs. The locality
of Olympic Park was designated an official suburb in 2009.
In the UK, the government is seeking to impose minimum densities on
newly approved housing schemes in parts of South East England. The
goal is to "build sustainable communities" rather than housing
estates. However, commercial concerns tend to delay the opening of
services until a large number of residents have occupied the new
In Mexico, suburbs are generally similar to their United States
counterparts. Houses are made in many different architectural styles
which may be of European, American and International architecture and
which vary in size. Suburbs can be found in Guadalajara, Mexico City,
Monterrey, and most major cities.
Lomas de Chapultepec
Lomas de Chapultepec is an example
of an affluent suburb, although it is located inside the city and by
no means is today a suburb in the strict sense of the word. In the
rest of Latin America, the situation is similar to that of Mexico,
with many suburbs being built, most notably in
Argentina and Chile,
which have experienced a boom in the construction of suburbs since the
late 1970s and early 80s. As the growth of middle-class and
upper-class suburbs increased, low-class squatter areas have
increased, most notably "lost cities" in Mexico, campamentos in Chile,
barriadas in Peru, villa miserias in Argentina, asentamientos in
Guatemala and favelas of Brazil.
Brazilian affluent suburbs are generally denser, more vertical and
mixed in use inner suburbs. They concentrate infrastructure,
investment and attention from the municipal seat and the best offer of
mass transit. True sprawling towards neighboring municipalities is
typically empoverished – periferia (the periphery, in the sense of
it dealing with spatial marginalization) –, with a very noticeable
example being the rail suburbs of
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro – the North Zone,
the Baixada Fluminense, the part of the West Zone associated with
SuperVia's Ramal de Santa Cruz. These, in comparison with the inner
suburbs, often prove to be remote, violent food deserts with
inadequate sewer structure coverage, saturated mass transit, more
precarious running water, electricity and communication services, and
lack of urban planning and landscaping, while also not necessarily
qualifying as actual favelas or slums. They often are former
agricultural land or wild areas settled through squatting, and grew in
amount particularly due to mass rural exodus during the years of the
military dictatorship. This is particularly true to São Paulo, Rio de
Janeiro and Brasília, which grew with migration from more distant and
empoverished parts of the country and dealt with overpopulation as a
Slums in Soweto, suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa.
In Africa, since the beginning of the 1990s, the development of
middle-class suburbs boomed. Due to the industrialization of many
African countries, particularly in cities such as Cairo, Johannesburg
and Lagos, the middle class has grown. In an illustrative case of
South Africa, RDP housing has been built. In much of Soweto, many
houses are American in appearance, but are smaller, and often consist
of a kitchen and living room, two or three bedrooms, and a bathroom.
However, there are more affluent neighborhoods, more comparable to
American suburbs, particularly east of the FNB Stadium. In Cape Town
there is a distinct European style which is due to the European
influence during the mid-1600s when the Dutch conquered the area.
Houses like these are called Cape Dutch Houses and can be found in the
affluent suburbs of Constantia and Bishopscourt.
In the illustrative case of Rome, Italy, in the 1920s and 1930s,
suburbs were intentionally created ex novo in order to give lower
classes a destination, in consideration of the actual and foreseen
massive arrival of poor people from other areas of the country. Many
critics have seen in this development pattern (which was circularly
distributed in every direction) also a quick solution to a problem of
public order (keeping the unwelcome poorest classes together with the
criminals, in this way better controlled, comfortably remote from the
elegant "official" town). On the other hand, the expected huge
expansion of the town soon effectively covered the distance from the
central town, and now those suburbs are completely engulfed by the
main territory of the town. Other newer suburbs (called exurbs) were
created at a further distance from them.
In Russia, the term suburb refers to high-rise residential apartments
which usually consist of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen and a
living room. These suburbs, however are usually not in poor
neighborhoods, unlike the banlieuees.
Apartments in suburban Beijing, China
In China, the term suburb is new, although suburbs are already being
constructed rapidly. Chinese suburbs mostly consist of rows upon rows
of apartment blocks and condos that end abruptly into the
countryside. Also new town developments are extremely common.
Single family suburban homes tend to be similar to their Western
equivalents; although primarily outside Beijing and Shanghai, also
mimic Spanish and Italian architecture. In Hong Kong, however,
suburbs are mostly government-planned new towns containing numerous
public housing estates. New Towns such as
Tin Shui Wai
Tin Shui Wai may gain
notoriety as a slum. However, other new towns also contain private
housing estates and low density developments for the upper classes.
In Japan, the construction of suburbs has boomed since the end of
World War II and many cities are experiencing the urban sprawl effect.
Bangsar, a suburb outside of downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In Malaysia, suburbs are common, especially in areas surrounding the
Klang Valley, which is the largest conurbation in the country. These
suburbs also serve as major housing areas and commuter towns. Terraced
houses, semi-detached houses and shophouses are common concepts in
suburbs. In certain areas such as Klang,
Subang Jaya and Petaling
Jaya, suburbs form the core of these places. The latter one has been
turned into a satellite city of Kuala Lumpur. Suburbs are also evident
in other major conurbations in the country including
Ipoh (e.g. Bercham),
Johor Bahru (e.g. Tebrau), Kota
Kinabalu (e.g. Likas),
Kuching (e.g. Stampin), Melaka
City (e.g. Batu
Alor Setar (e.g. Anak Bukit).
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the
United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
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Suburbs typically have longer travel times to work than traditional
neighborhoods. Only the traffic within the short streets
themselves is less. This is due to three factors:
almost-mandatory automobile ownership due to poor suburban bus
systems, longer travel distances and the hierarchy system, which is
less efficient at distributing traffic than the traditional grid of
In the suburban system, most trips from one component to another
component requires that cars enter a collector road,
no matter how short or long the distance is. This is compounded by the
hierarchy of streets, where entire neighborhoods and subdivisions are
dependent on one or two collector roads. Because all traffic is forced
onto these roads, they are often heavy with traffic all day. If a
traffic crash occurs on a collector road, or if road construction
inhibits the flow, then the entire road system may be rendered useless
until the blockage is cleared. The traditional "grown" grid, in turn,
allows for a larger number of choices and alternate routes.
Suburban systems of the sprawl type are also quite inefficient for
cyclists or pedestrians, as the direct route is usually not available
for them either. This encourages car trips even for
distances as low as several hundreds of yards or meters (which may
have become up to several miles or kilometers due to the road
network). Improved sprawl systems, though retaining the car detours,
possess cycle paths and footpaths connecting across the arms of the
sprawl system, allowing a more direct route while still keeping the
cars out of the residential and side streets.
According to Governing, Cities and Localities section More commonly,
central cities seek ways to tax nonresidents working downtown –
known as commuter taxes – as property tax bases dwindle. Taken
together, these two groups of taxpayers represent a largely untapped
source of potential revenue that cities may begin to target more
aggressively, particularly if they're struggling. According to
struggling cities, this will help bring in a substantial revenue for
the city which is a great way to tax the people who make the most use
of the highways and repairs.
Today more companies settle down in suburbs because of low property
Academic study of suburbs
The history of suburbia is part of the study of urban history, which
focuses on the origins, growth, diverse typologies, culture, and
politics of suburbs, as well as on the gendered and family-oriented
nature of suburban space. Many people have assumed that
early-20th-century suburbs were enclaves for middle-class whites, a
concept that carries tremendous cultural influence yet is actually
stereotypical. Many suburbs are based on a heterogeneous society of
working-class and minority residents, many of whom want to own their
own house. Mary Corbin Sies argues that it is necessary to examine how
"suburb" is defined as well as the distinction made between cities and
suburbs, geography, economic circumstances, and the interaction of
numerous factors that move research beyond acceptance of stereotyping
and its influence on scholarly assumptions.
In popular culture
Suburbs and suburban living have been the subject for a wide variety
of films, books, television shows and songs.
French songs like La Zone by
Fréhel (1933), Aux quatre coins de la
banlieue by Damia (1936), Ma banlieue by
Reda Caire (1937), or
Robert Lamoureux (1953), evoke the suburbs of Paris
explicitly since the 1930s. Those singers give a sunny festive,
almost bucolic, image of the suburbs, yet still few urbanized. During
the fifties and the sixties, French singer-songwriter Léo Ferré
evokes in his songs popular and proletarian suburbs of Paris, to
oppose them to the city, considered by comparison as a bourgeois and
French cinema was although soon interested in urban changes in the
suburbs, with such movies as
Mon oncle by
Jacques Tati (1958), L'Amour
Maurice Pialat (1961) or Two or Three Things I Know About
Jean-Luc Godard (1967).
In his one-act opera
Trouble in Tahiti
Trouble in Tahiti (1952), Leonard Bernstein
skewers American suburbia, which produces misery instead of happiness.
The American photojournalist Bill Owens documented the culture of
suburbia in the 1970s, most notably in his book Suburbia. The 1962
song "Little Boxes" by
Malvina Reynolds lampoons the development of
suburbia and its perceived bourgeois and conformist values, while
the 1982 song Subdivisions by the Canadian band Rush also discusses
suburbia, as does
Rocking the Suburbs
Rocking the Suburbs by Ben Folds. The 2010 album The
Suburbs by the Canadian-based alternative band
Arcade Fire dealt with
aspects of growing up in suburbia, suggesting aimlessness, apathy and
endless rushing are ingrained into the suburban culture and mentality.
Suburb The Musical, was written by Robert S. Cohen and David
Over the Hedge
Over the Hedge is a syndicated comic strip written and
drawn by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. It tells the story of a raccoon,
turtle, a squirrel, and their friends who come to terms with their
woodlands being taken over by suburbia, trying to survive the
increasing flow of humanity and technology while becoming enticed by
it at the same time. A film adaptation of
Over the Hedge
Over the Hedge was produced
British television series such as The Good Life, Butterflies and The
Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin have depicted suburbia as
well-manicured but relentlessly boring, and its residents as either
overly conforming or prone to going stir crazy. Contrastingly, U.S.
shows – such as Knots Landing,
Desperate Housewives and Weeds –
portray the suburbs as concealing darker secrets behind a façade of
perfectly manicured lawns, friendly people, and beautifully up-kept
houses. Films such as The 'Burbs, Disturbia and Hot Fuzz, have brought
this theme to the cinema. This trope was also used in the episode of
The X-Files "Arcadia" and on one level of the video game Psychonauts.
Bibliography of suburbs
List of largest suburbs by population
London commuter belt
Urban rural fringe
^ Hemakumara, GPTS, & Rainis, Ruslan. (2015). Geo-statistical
modeling to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of households in the
context of low-lying areas conversion in Colombo metropolitan
region-Sri Lanka. Paper presented at the AIP Conference Proceedings.
^ a b Hollow, Matthew (2011). "Suburban Ideals on England's Interwar
Council Estates". Retrieved 2012-12-29.
^ The Fractured Metropolis: Improving the New City, Restoring the Old
City, Reshaping the Region by Jonathan Barnett, via Google Books.
Luoyang and the Northern Army". Scholars of Shen Zhou.
^ a b "History of Suburbs". Retrieved 2012-12-17.
^ Edwards, Dennis; Pigram, Ron (1988). The Golden Years of the
Metropolitan Railway and the
Metro-land Dream. Bloomsbury. p. 32.
^ Jackson 1986, p. 134.
^ Jackson 1986, pp. 134, 137.
^ a b Jackson 1986, p. 240.
^ a b Green 1987, p. 43.
^ Jackson 1986, pp. 241–242.
^ Rowley 2006, pp. 206, 207.
^ Green 2004, introduction.
^ "History of
Metro-Land and London's Suburbs". History.co.uk.
Retrieved 2 January 2018.
^ "The suburban aspiration in England since 1919". Contemporary
British History. 14: 151–174. doi:10.1080/13619460008581576.
^ "The History of the Suburb". Hgstrust.org. Retrieved 2 January
^ "Outcomes of the War: Britain". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2 January
^ Lofthouse, Pamela (2012). "The Development of English Semi-detached
Dwellings During the Nineteenth Century". Papers from the Institute of
Archaeology. Ubiquity Press. 22: 83–98. doi:10.5334/pia.404.
Retrieved 17 March 2013.
^ "Suburban Ideals on England's Interwar Council Estates". Retrieved
^ Ward David (1964). "A Comparative Historical Geography of Streetcar
Suburbs in Boston, Massachusetts and Leeds, England: 1850–1920".
Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 54 (4): 477–489.
^ Roger G. Panetta, Westchester: the American suburb (2006)
^ U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United
States (1976) series H-156
^ Joseph Goulden, The Best Years, 1945-1950 (1976) pp 135-39.
^ Barbara Mae Kelly, Expanding the American Dream: Building and
Rebuilding Levittown (SUNY Press, 1993).
^ Beauregard, Robert A. When America Became Suburban. Minneapolis, MN:
University of Minnesota Press, 2006.
Zoning Requirements for Standard Lot in RS3 District". 47th Ward
Public Service website. Archived from the original on 14 August 2014.
Retrieved 27 April 2017.
^ Garden Cities of To-Morrow. Library.cornell.edu. Retrieved on
^ England, Robert E. and David R. Morgan. Managing Urban America,
^ Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban
Neighborhood Revival By Paul
S. Grogan, Tony Proscio. ISBN 0-8133-3952-9. Published 2002. Page
142. "Perhaps suburbanization was a 'natural' phenomenon—rising
incomes allowing formerly huddled masses in city neighborhoods to
breathe free on green lawn and leafy culs-de-sac. But, we will never
know how natural it was, because of the massive federal subsidy that
eased and accelerated it, in the form of tax, transportation and
^ Land Development Calculations 2001 Walter Martin Hosack.
"single-family detached housing" = "suburb houses" p133
^ "Housing Unit Characteristics by Type of Housing Unit, 2005" Energy
^ a b Jackson, Kenneth T. (1985), Crabgrass Frontier: The
Suburbanization of the United States, New York: Oxford University
Press, ISBN 0-19-504983-7
^ Barlow, Andrew L. (2003). Between fear and hope: globalization and
race in the United States. Lanham, Maryland (Prince George's County):
Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-1619-9.
^ Noguera, Pedro (2003).
City schools and the American dream:
reclaiming the promise of public education. New York: Teachers College
Press. ISBN 0-8077-4381-X.
^ Naylor, Larry L. (1999). Problems and issues of diversity in the
United States. Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey.
^ Yen, Hope. "White flight? Suburbs lose young whites to cities."
Associated Press at Yahoo! News. Sunday May 9, 2010. Retrieved on May
^ "Dependence on cars in urban neighbourhoods". Statistics Canada.
Government of Canada. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016.
Retrieved 27 April 2017.
^ The Wealthy Suburbs of Canada. Planetizen. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
^ London's metroland. Transportdiversions.com. Retrieved on
^ "(Mis)understanding China's Suburbs".
China Urban Development Blog.
2011-02-23. Retrieved 2013-02-25.
^ "Is This Beijing's Suburban Future?". The Atlantic. 2011-02-10.
^ Nasser, Haya El. (2008-04-18) Modern suburbia not just in America
anymore. Usatoday.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
^ Why adding lanes makes traffic worse. Bicycleuniverse.info.
Retrieved on 2011-11-22.
^ Ruth McManus, and Philip J. Ethington (2007). "Suburbs in
transition: new approaches to suburban history". Urban History. 34
(2): 317–337. doi:10.1017/S096392680700466X.
^ Mary Corbin Sies (2001). "North American Suburbs, 1880–1950".
Journal of Urban History. 27 (3): 313–46.
^ "Chanson francaise La banlieue 1931-1953 Anthologie". Fremeaux.com.
Retrieved 2 January 2018.
^ Keil, Rob (2006). Little Boxes: The Architecture of a Classic
Midcentury Suburb. Daly City, CA: Advection Media.
^ The Land Clauses Consolidation Act 1845 required railways to sell
off surplus lands within ten years of the time given for completion of
the work in the line's enabling Act.
Main article: Bibliography of suburbs
Archer, John; Paul J.P. Sandul, and Katherine Solomonson (eds.),
Making Suburbia: New Histories of Everyday America. Minneapolis, MN:
University of Minnesota Press, 2015.
Baxandall, Rosalyn and Elizabeth Ewen. Picture Windows: How the
Suburbs Happened. New York: Basic Books, 2000.
Beauregard, Robert A. When America Became Suburban. University of
Minnesota Press, 2006.
Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia.
Basic Books, 1987; in U.S.
Galinou, Mireille. Cottages and Villas: The Birth of the Garden Suburb
(2011), in England
Harris, Richard. Creeping Conformity: How
Canada Became Suburban,
Hayden, Dolores. Building Suburbia: Green Fields and Urban Growth,
1820–2000. Vintage Books, 2003.
Jackson, Kenneth T. (1985), Crabgrass Frontier: The
the United States, New York: Oxford University Press,
Stilgoe, John R. Borderland: Origins of the American Suburb,
1820–1939. Yale University Press, 1989.
Teaford, Jon C. The American Suburb: The Basics. Routledge, 2008.
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