Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Oss0212
  • Sociology
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    Understand suburbs, exurbs and concentric zones


    OER Text Material


    At this subsection, a suburb is defined as the communities surrounding cities which are close enough to the cities for a daily commute in and out of the city, but far enough away to allow for more space than city living affords. As the suburbs became more crowded and lost their charm, those who could afford it turned to the exurbs which is defined as communities that exist outside the ring of suburbs and are typically populated by even wealthier families who want more space and have the resources to lengthen their commute. Together, the suburbs, exurbs, and metropolitan areas all combine to form a metropolis. Apart from the definitions, suburbs and exurbs are explained in the chapter. Under the subheading, “Theoretical Perspectives on Urbanization,” the concentric zone model is explained.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    Exurbs (Video)

    The presenter notes that from 1900 to 1950, many people moved from the rural areas to the cities; and from 1950 to 2000, many people moved from the cities to the suburbs, and presently, many people especially the retirees are moving to the exurbs. The exurbs are attractive rural places with lower costs of living and slower pace lifestyle. He uses a map to show the major attractive exurbs in the US.

    Burgess' Concentric Zone Model (Video)

    This video explains urban growth from the Central Business District (CBD) using concentric zones. It is about how cities expand from the center. CBD is full of industries, and attract workers who do industry work – working class. It is also the financial district. The second ring is called the transition zone which contains industries as well as housing. The third ring contains older houses accommodating poor workers who are close enough to the industrial jobs they do at the CBD. The fourth ring is the zone of better residences comprising of upper/middle class housing – the suburbs. Finally, the fifth ring is almost rural with large houses. The presenter talks about criticism against the Burgess' Concentric Zone Model.

    Urban, Suburban, and Rural (Video)

    This video is about the differences between urban, suburban, and rural areas. The differences are based on population, land use, amount of space, and transportation. Thus, the presenter uses different characteristics to explain and differentiate between urban, suburban, and rural areas.

    Population Growth Shifts to Suburban America: Suburban Counties are Once Again Gaining Population at the Expense of the Cities Around Them. What Does That Mean for Urban Areas?

    Using Hays County as an example, this article notes that migration to the suburban is accelerating fasters. Thus, the suburban is growing faster than the urban areas. Lured by affordable housing and reasonable commute times, thousands are relocating to the suburban county each year.

    Levittown: A Living History (Video)

    As the soldiers were returning home after WWII, Levitt and Sons decided to build mass-produced rental homes in Island Trees specifically for returning soldiers. The town constructed by Levitt became known as Levittown. This video is the story of some people who moved to Levittown.

    Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay, The Social Disorganization Theory

    Among other topics, the authors use Park and Burgess’s work to introduce an ecological analysis of general social problems and examined area characteristics instead of criminals for their explanations of high crime. They developed the idea of natural urban areas, which consisted of concentric zones, each with its own structure, organization, characteristics, and  unique inhabitants. The zones extended out from downtown central business district to the commuter zone at the fringes of the city.