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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
What attributes constitute an area as urban? When is a place no longer suburban but becomes urban?

Do you think some areas lying outside major cities are evolving to the point where it doesn't really make sense to call them suburbs? Is it fair to put them in the same category as tract housing or a large subdivision even though they essentially function like a city and are predominatly business oriented and dense, and car independent?
 

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When the focus is put on people and not vehicles.

-thryve
 

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I think much of it has to do with how the physical location effects lifestyle of the people who live there.

For example.
-Places where autombiles aren't the only convenient means of transportation: Walking, public transit, bikes all play a part in this.
-Not only mixed use buildings but mixed use neighborhoods too. Miles of subdivisions definitely aren't urban.
-Density makes a big difference.
 
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Living out in the country, such as West Texas for example, where you own acres of land and you drive on dirt roads is certainly not urban.

If you live on an island with many levels of subways below, surrounded by skyscrapers in every direction, crowds, gridlock, congestion, tourists, traffic lights, automobiles, busses, stop signs, one way, two way, thru way, highway, tunnels, bridges, construction, pollution, fashion, museums, parks, vendors, neon lights, skyway trams, shopping stores, boardwalk scene, everything - well then that's obviously urban.
 

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What attributes constitute an area as urban?
When there are more plants, trees, fish ponds, and square feet of grass sitting on suspended concrete slabs(*) than on actual ground? :)

(*) private terraces, roof gardens, above parking garages, etc. Developers in downtown Miami, have raised the creation of lush tropical parks with resort-sized pools above parking pedestal roofs to an art.







 

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To me, when you see sprawls of structures/buildings. Also a large concentration of people
 

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Urban is the more dense populated sector of a city. Where most or a higher ammount of tax money is paid. It usually means that certain, part of the city can be more developed then most of the surrounding land of that city in many ways.
...*_?
 

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There is certainly different cultural differences in the definition of "suburban" around the world. In many countries, suburban doesn't mean specifically something less urban than "urban", but the urban areas surrounding the main urban core. The "sub" mainly refers as a way of differentiating theses areas from the central areas. This is seen at it's greatest in Australia and New Zealand, where suburbs are ALL other urban communities directly outside downtown until the end of the urban belt - regardless if they are part of the core city proper, or other cities in their own rights, and no bearing is made on their densities - some of these suburbs maybe made up of midrise - highrise apartments whilst others fully detached homes.

In Europe, suburbs have a very different meaning, depending on the country you are referring to, but in many cases, even suburbs on the outskirts of the city can be as dense as the residential areas in the central. They are certainly as dense as the average American inner city residential population (NY excepted), so any perception that a suburban area in Europe maybe less dense than the core could be incorrect. Although, this differs greatly between countries. In Northern Europe, there are generally tight dense urban cores surrounded by greenbelts, where's in Southern Europe, in between tight dense urban cores, are urban/rural housing area's - but these do not follow zoning named after suburbs or urban definitions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Do you think some areas lying outside major cities are evolving to the point where it doesn't really make sense to call them suburbs? Is it fair to put them in the same category as tract housing or a large subdivision even though they essentially function like a city and are predominatly business oriented and dense, and car independent?
 

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miamicanes said:
When there are more plants, trees, fish ponds, and square feet of grass sitting on suspended concrete slabs(*) than on actual ground? :)

(*) private terraces, roof gardens, above parking garages, etc. Developers in downtown Miami, have raised the creation of lush tropical parks with resort-sized pools above parking pedestal roofs to an art.


I'm not sure that there can be an uglier version of "urban" than this. (aside from the weather, of course) The parking structure kills all street life, and all the cars it allows means that all the roads have to be able to accomodate the cars, which means that roads have to be bigger, which means that everyone has to sit in traffic to do anything at all.

A good urban place is a place that you can walk out of your front door and get to an interesting place within two minutes. The other side of your parking structure shouldn't count. There should be other adjectives for dense places like this, like "carban" or something. it'd be a nice pun on the fact that all those cars are gonna be the reason Miami will be covered by ocean in 100 years.

I've never understood why people think its so great to store so many cars that we have to walk a half mile between anything interesting. I'd bet if you live in a truly urban place like downtown boston or tokyo or london or somewhere, the only reason you'll ever want to go back to miami is for the weather.
 

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Speaking only towards a US version of Urban versus Suburban-

Everyone focuses on transportation and cars, yet there are urban areas without any really visible public transportation, and suburbs where more people take the bus or commuter lines than drive.

I think a real differential is that an Urban area has high density and a mix of uses. Suburban areas are dominated by residential use and have frequent and plentiful open soft-scaped spaces. It's a vague line, to be sure - many of the densly packed houing neighborhoods just outside downtown often are dense, but are primarily residential. They don't really fit either.

I don't think that Urban necessarily means that it is a city core, just as a suburb isn't necessarily a housing development.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think a lot of people think only major cities can be synonomous with urban, if it's not major and happens to be in the proximity of a major city then it is automatically a suburb and everything about it is suburban even though it is as dense as hell, has an unusual amount of mass transit modes and has a larger corporate\office prescene than some cities that are considered major.
 

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I believe that infastructure plays a major role when it comes to determining what is urban.
 

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The American definition; Urban, areas settled before WW2; Suburban, Areas settled after WW2.
 

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Examples of special cases in Philadelphia upper darby or Darby Borough which are considered suburbs but have a density of over 10k per sq. mi. and it looks it.

I see urban as a concrete jungle who knows what may come out of an alley. LOL. Density, Concrete, Vibrancy, etc.. South Philly is a great example at 30k per sq. mi. vibrancy, nightlife, etc.. If you included all of south philly the pop. would be 1+ million metro which contains wilmington, AC, Cape May, etc.. more suburban than urban. Suburbs beaches, boardwalks, layed back atmosphere. East Philly Metro Camden county 1.1 million, suburban cherry hill, big homes, Grass, some sidewalks but more cars. Camden city 9k urban dense.

Before I ramble on Concrete Jungle, high density, Vibrancy = Urban

Suburban = Lawns, Cars, no parking on the curbs, quiet at night, lots of trees, low density, etc..
 
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