What are the 'Burbs?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

For a number of reasons, many workers have migrated from larger cities into ostensibly greener pastures considered to be less developed, or suburban. Residents informally call their communities the burbs. Life in these areas is often preferable to the crime-ridden inner city, although many original city planners envisioned a different type of planned communities within city limits. They were only supposed to function as bedroom communities for the city's workers, not necessarily a self-supporting miniature city.

A house in the suburbs.
A house in the suburbs.

Life in the burbs can be very interesting, especially if the community is located near a major metropolis such as New York City or San Francisco. Residents benefit from all of the economic growth of a major city, without the accompanying growing pains, traffic, or housing expense. Those in the community can choose to commute to the city for higher salaries, but live in an underdeveloped area with a lower cost of living.

A bedroom community is a suburb or neighborhood that mostly consists of single family homes.
A bedroom community is a suburb or neighborhood that mostly consists of single family homes.

The burbs also provide young married couples with better options for raising a family. Planned communities often provide recreational areas and easily accessible retail spaces for grocery stores and other needed services. Suburban schools may not face the same problems of discipline, funding or location as public schools in the city. A number of planned communities located in the burbs deliberately include school buildings as part of the growing process. When the population of the area becomes sufficient to sustain a school, the school usually appears.

People often live in the suburbs and commute to work in a city.
People often live in the suburbs and commute to work in a city.

Although the crime rate in most burbs is dramatically lower than the cities they serve, they are not crime-free. If the city begins to experience economic growth, its borders may spread further and further towards the suburban community. Some areas of the country which used to be considered burbs are now large cities, complete with large city governments and large city problems. Life in these communities can either remain the same for years, or it may change dramatically within a year.

Neighborhood barbecue parties are more likely to occur in a suburban area.
Neighborhood barbecue parties are more likely to occur in a suburban area.

As suburbs continue to develop into their own legal entities, some residents consider moving even farther away from the city limits. Semi-rural and rural plots of land have become hot ticket items for those who seek even more privacy than the burbs can supply. To control this exodus, many political leaders who live in these communities work very hard to control the threat of urban sprawl. People who work in the city relocate from the city for a reason, and many suburban governments resist the temptation to merge their identity with that of the city they help to feed.

The burbs provide young married couples with a great location for raising a family.
The burbs provide young married couples with a great location for raising a family.
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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