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Suburbs and Suburbanization

  • By: André Sorensen
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In the sense of the ancient Roman term suburbium, which referred to areas outside the city but within a convenient daily traveling distance from it, suburbs have existed as long as there have been cities. Suburbs are still commonly defined as the area within commuting distance of a central city, but now they often include more than half the population and jobs of metropolitan areas, and many residents of suburbs no longer commute to or even go to the central city.

Since the 19th century, suburbs have grown to become one of the central facts of modern urban civilization. Processes of suburbanization not only have led to a vast increase in urban area and major changes in transportation and urban form but also have prompted intense ...

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