Monday, August 10, 2009

What Words Can We Use?

A commenter at MY's place says:

Can we stop with this false-dichotomy suburb/city thing?

Obviously there is a false dichotomy, but it's difficult in "good enough for a short blog post" terms to write about things without using simplifications. Not all suburbs are the same, and not all cities are either. Some cities just suck for the various reasons we think of cities as sucking, some big cities are, in large part, quite suburban in character, and some suburbs, particularly older ones, have plenty of urban characteristics while still being identifiably suburban.

But, roughly, "city" and "urban" places are more dense and have greater walkability/less car dependency, while "suburban" places are less dense and are more car-centric. The former can include everything from Manhattan to the small towns of yore or college/resort towns of today, while the latter includes everything from Long Island to various "exurban" spots.