Defining Suburbs: How Definitions Shape the Suburban Landscape

A new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University looks at how definitions shape how we study and think about the suburbs.

"Recent calls for a deeper understanding of suburban space challenge existing definitions and, at a minimum, demand considering them more broadly. Roger Keil and his colleagues have been at the forefront of this movement as part of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative project on Global Suburbanisms. Hamel & Keil (2015), for example, developed a framework around suburban governance that invites scholars to examine the universality of suburbanization as a process while simultaneously identifying the particular forces that shape suburbanization across the globe.

Each author throughout Hamel & Keil’s (2015) edited volume describes the range of formal and informal types of suburban development that emerge from variations in suburban governance, including the role of the state, private capital, and private governance. The framing requires scholars to consider how similar processes of urban expansion produce different types of suburbs, expanding the notion of what a suburb is."

Read a full copy of Defining Suburbs: How Definitions Shape the Suburban Landscape here.