I am writing tourist information for a city that has areas known for similar shops (fabric, jewelry, musical instruments), similar services (spas, funeral, automotive), and similar industries (textile, software, manufacturing).

I am currently referring to all of these areas as districts (e.g. the fabric district, the funeral district, the manufacturing district). Unfortunately, this usage could potentially cause confusion because this city also has a number of governmental districts (similar to "boroughs" in NYC). Also, there is some ambiguity between places where things are made and where they are sold. For example, the fabric district could be easily confused with the textile district.

Two questions:

  1. Is there a better general term than districts for areas that known for similar things?
  2. Are there better specific terms in the case that those areas are known for stores, services, or industries?
  • I think you've got a problem - and you spell it out well! This confusing overlap of usages occurs quite frequently in English (especially when discussing syntax - but also in other specialist areas such as your example). I can only suggest you spell out the different usages in the intro, and perhaps use your own terminology (MD = Manufacturing District, FabD, FD (not FunD) ...) - but make sure the reader realises that this is the style only 'in this guidebook'. Though perhaps it will be commonly accepted by the time the second edition comes out. Oct 5, 2013 at 9:25
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    Zone is sometimes used with a similar meaning. Oct 5, 2013 at 11:58
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    @Bradd Szonye The 'Funeral Zone' will probably increase tourism tenfold, but I would imagine the locals wouldn't appreciate the term. 'Funeral District' doesn't sound much better. And on rereading OP's OP, I'm intrigued that he classes spas, funeral parlours, and automotive services as 'similar services' - I'll be avoiding all of them. Oct 5, 2013 at 13:20
  • Heh, I don't think those are supposed to be similar services in a single district, but rather a spa district, funeral district, etc. Oct 5, 2013 at 13:33
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    Funeral Zone: We put the fun in funeral. Oct 5, 2013 at 14:44

4 Answers 4


I often hear the word belt used to describe a grouping of something in a region and row used to group something in a smaller area.

If you had 50 farms across a few counties then you can say that is a farm belt. Or maybe they grow strawberries so it is the Strawberry Belt.

And then maybe you have a bunch of funeral home within a few blocks of each other. Maybe you can call it the funeral belt but more likely funeral row.


Terms such as district, area, region, street, zone, and shops prefaced by a noun that particularizes them are sometimes used as the question asks, but none of them will serve in every context. A more-general word (offered for completeness, as it probably isn't what the question requests, a better general term) is ghetto in sense 3, “An area in which people who are distinguished by sharing something other than ethnicity concentrate or are concentrated”. However, many people will miss that sense because of the dominance of senses 1 and 2, “An (often walled) area of a city in which Jews are concentrated by force and law [used] particularly of areas in medieval Italy and in Nazi-controlled Europe” and “An (often impoverished) area of a city inhabited predominantly by members of a specific nationality, ethnicity or race”.


You are looking for "zone"

"Sir, you need to go to the textile zone to find that product"

Check the geography part of this link.



How about "neighborhood?"

That said, I don't think a reader would confused "the textile district," especially when the name is not capitalized, with an official political subdivision (e.g., "The Nishitama District" of Tokyo).

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