Suburb

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Suburb mostly refers to a residential area. They may be the residential areas of a city, or separate residential communities within commuting distance of a city. Some suburbs have a degree of political autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods. Modern suburbs grew in the 20th century as a result of improved road and rail transport and an increase in commuting. Suburbs tend to proliferate around cities that have an abundance of adjacent flat land.[1] Any particular suburban area is referred to as a suburb, while suburban areas on the whole are referred to as the suburbs or suburbia, with the demonym being a suburbanite. Colloquial usage sometimes shortens the term to burb.

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Etymology and usage

The word is derived from the Old French subburbe and ultimately from the Latin suburbium, formed from sub, meaning "under", and urbs, meaning "city". In Rome, important people tended to live within the city hills. "Under" in later usage sometimes referred variously to lesser wealth, political power, population, or population density. The first recorded usage, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, comes from Wycliffe in 1380, where the form subarbis is used.

The word suburb is used a variety of ways around the world.

In the United States and Canada, suburb can refer either to an outlying residential area of a city or town or to a separate municipality, borough, or unincorporated area outside a town or city. The latter definition is evident in the title of David Rusk's book Cities Without Suburbs (ISBN 0-943875-73-0), which promotes metropolitan government. Note, however, that this definition is not universal. In fact, many of the classic streetcar suburbs are within the political boundaries of their respective cities, such as West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a part of which has is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the West Philadelphia Streetcar Suburb Historic District. American journalist and social commentator Joel Garreau criticized the common use of the term solely to areas outside the political boundaries of major cities in his 1991 book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier when he discussed the phenomenon of edge cities in Atlanta (emphasis added):

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