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edge cities

edge cities, term designating commercial complexes that have grown up on the margins of large American cities, a development that dates mainly from the 1970s. The term was coined by Joel Garreau in his book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier (1991). Sometimes called "technoburbs," edge cities typically develop at the intersection of major highways and feature the amenities that serve large suburban populations in such locations—shopping malls, entertainment centers, hospitals, schools, regional airports, and the like. These settings have proved attractive to businesses for corporate headquarters, which are often sited on appealingly sylvan "campuses," and for office buildings that can house smaller companies. With convenient access and pleasant surroundings, edge cities avoid many inner-city problems. However, critics have noted in them marked class segregation and a diminished sense of community as well as, increasingly, such traditional urban ills as congestion and crime. Representative edge cities include Tysons Corner, Va., Edison Township, N.J., Irvine, Calif., and Plano, Tex.

See study by J. Garreau (1991).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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