I'm looking for a word that can describe the differentiation between urban and suburban localities.

Wikipedia lists them as "different types of developed settlements" so I thought about calling it settlement type but I'm hoping there might be something more straightforward and accessible.

If possible, a single word would be ideal. Otherwise, two words is fine, as long as they're not too long. It's going to be part of a title for a PowerPoint slide.

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    Density is what differentiates the two. Jul 13, 2017 at 16:01
  • Locale? District? Region? ("Type of" etc).
    – Ricky
    Jul 13, 2017 at 16:07
  • @YosefBaskin I think population density might be perfect. Thanks! Jul 13, 2017 at 16:12
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    @AffableAmbler do be aware though that not all heavily built up urban areas have high populations. Think about a city's central business district, lots of buildings and lots of people in the day, but not at night. That would have a pretty low population density if you are talking about residential rather than transitory population. I'd probably talk about 'urban form' rtpi.org.uk/media/1360966/…
    – Spagirl
    Jul 13, 2017 at 16:29
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    City centre ... more urban ... suburban ... rural/isolated are the headings I use for settlements in a folder I've made. Note that (a) 'population density' isn't really a serious contender for a synonym (of regions) here; (b) population density is possibly lower in many city centres than in the corresponding outskirts. Jul 13, 2017 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Perhaps you could use the term 'zoning', since the type and application of building in each zone depends on the zoning regulations. An urban area would include living areas, such as apartments, but it would not include residential areas, defined by single-family houses. A suburban area would not have buildings over a certain height, and would have few or no buildings for professional offices. It seems a bit clumsy, since I don't think you can use 'zone', only 'zoning'.

  • That is exactly what we ended up going with. I'm glad to get a concurring opinion. Jul 17, 2017 at 18:18

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