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Old 04-07-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Pismo Beach, CA
3,743 posts, read 6,058,992 times
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Default Urban vs. suburban vs. rural and what is considered inner city?

I have been trying to figure out what is considered urban, suburban, rural, and inner city.

When I think of urban I think of New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and tall buildings. Suburban makes me think of single family housing. Rural I think of a house next to a farm.

The US census bureau defines urban as an area with a population density over 1,000 ppl per square. 1,000 ppl per square mile is suburban to me. and what they say is rural is also suburban to me. below 1,000 ppl per square mile

And inner city I think of grid housing.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:39 PM
 
Location: hopefully NYC one day :D
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Hmm, I see what you mean. I think they may be lumping urban and suburban into one. I think they are basically distinguishing between whether the area is built up (at least somewhat) or if it is just wilderness or farmland.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:06 PM
 
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When I think of urban, NYC is the first to come to mind. Urban to me equals a heavily dense area with many businesses, recreation, and tall buildings, all shared by privately owned or rented residences. When I think suburban I see single family homes with front and backyards, and garages. I think, for the most part, it is a safe and easy place to raise a family, and everyone is dependant on cars. Rural is "middle of nowhere". Farms and homes with hundreds of acres of land, and there are more livestock than people. One thing that annoys me is when people that live in a city suburb swear they are urban LOL!
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Pismo Beach, CA
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Also, can a city be completely or mainly rural? I know cities are usually urban or suburban, and then i'm guessing inner city to be suburbs closest to downtown?

What is the borderline distinction from urban to suburban? If rural is less than 1,000 ppl per square mile, then how do you determine inner city suburban homes, suburban homes, and downtown tall buildings and that from each other?
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:14 PM
 
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Default Rural Urban Suburban can be subjective

The classification is based on how a government agency defines it (some agencies define the terms differently). Primarily there are three factors: population density (people per square mile), distance from nearest city, and/or size of the nearest city (urban and suburban areas extend farther for larger cities).

Early on, the Department of Defense had established the following designations for a ZIP Code:

- Urban: 3,000+ persons per square mile
- Suburban: 1,000 ‐ 3,000 persons per square mile
- Rural: less than 1,000 persons per square mile

Data for marketing and other uses should factor additional information such as population of adjoining city and distance from nearest major city, etc. because a lightly populated ZIP Code joining a major metropolitan area might be classified as “Rural” based on population counts alone.


Source: [url=http://greatdata.com/rural-urban-data]Rural, Urban, Suburban ZIP| Rural Urban Continuum[/url] (see More Detail tab at top)
[url]http://greatdata.com[/url]
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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"Suburban" is a form of "urban."

"Inner city": poor and/or nonwhite people live there
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
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To me textbook definitions got it all wrong. They way a textbook defines urban and suburban is very vague. A textbook says Atlanta or a place like Phoenix is urban, however they are the exact opposite. They might have urban blocks and pockets however 95% of the city is suburban.

This should strictly be the textbook definition.
Urban= Population density of 5,000 or more consisting of mostly multi-family housing
Suburban= Pop density of 5,000 or less consistion of mainly single family housing and sparsely located economic activity.
Rural= Pop density of 1,000 or less consisting of mainly wilderness and very little economic activity.
That should be textbook definitions. Just so it's easier to look at statistics and stuff.

I think urban and suburban are a lot of times blurred especially in America. Although Savannah has the fraction of Atlanta's population, it is more urban than Atlanta.
Evanston is a suburb of Chicago however, they are both just as urban.
And although Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix, it is more urban than it. The same with Santa Monica and L.A. SM is a suburb however more urban than L.A.


And for the poster who said the inner city is poor and/or nonwhite people Kind of stupid to say.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:53 PM
 
Location: The City
19,030 posts, read 15,782,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyurban View Post
To me textbook definitions got it all wrong. They way a textbook defines urban and suburban is very vague. A textbook says Atlanta or a place like Phoenix is urban, however they are the exact opposite. They might have urban blocks and pockets however 95% of the city is suburban.

This should strictly be the textbook definition.
Urban= Population density of 5,000 or more consisting of mostly multi-family housing
Suburban= Pop density of 5,000 or less consistion of mainly single family housing and sparsely located economic activity.
Rural= Pop density of 1,000 or less consisting of mainly wilderness and very little economic activity.
That should be textbook definitions. Just so it's easier to look at statistics and stuff.

I think urban and suburban are a lot of times blurred especially in America. Although Savannah has the fraction of Atlanta's population, it is more urban than Atlanta.
Evanston is a suburb of Chicago however, they are both just as urban.
And although Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix, it is more urban than it. The same with Santa Monica and L.A. SM is a suburb however more urban than L.A.


And for the poster who said the inner city is poor and/or nonwhite people Kind of stupid to say.

Makes some sense

to me and this population density which doesnt take into account developed density which may be more important on the categories


>15K inner city core
8 to 15K urban
3 to 8K suburban
1 to 3K exurban
<1K rural/lessor developed (as rural to me needs some continuity, there are more rural looking areas close in to exurbs or even small towns with 5K+ density all over)
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Denver
203 posts, read 307,182 times
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Is population density really the only defining factor?

I'm thinking of downtown Denver (zip code 80202) which has a population density of only 5,024 people per square mile. Yet, you would hardly want to call it suburban.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:14 PM
 
6,320 posts, read 4,847,879 times
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The terms vary according to who is defining them; for instance, the Census Bureau defines New Jersey as 100% urban, which would surprise anyone who has seen the cranberry-growing areas or the northwest part of the state. But the Census Bureau only distinguishes between urban and rural, so it's not useful for making finer distinctions.

The distinction between "urban" and "suburban" is often an "I know it when I see it" kind of thing; it's hard to make an objective definition that doesn't have glaring exceptions. And there's edge cases, like the many small towns you'll find with single-family homes on postage-stamp lots.

As for "inner city" -- I think wburg has it right. Generally it refers to parts of cities with high minority or immigrant population, poverty, and crime. If you want to refer to the central area of a city without that implication, it's "downtown" or "central business district" or (in Philadelphia) "Center City". Cities with multiple such areas will have them referred to by a local name.
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