Inurb

n. An older, close-in suburb

Walking home in the rain in Riverdale, I was already in a bad mood.  The scenery made it worse.  Having spent last weekend in Philadelphia, I missed the excitement and activity of large city streets.  Ever since I lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, however, I have missed the charm and peacefulness of small towns.  The streets I walked now had neither excitement nor charm.  It lacked the sublimity of a city skyline, or the beauty of from lawns and porches.

What do you call these inner city sections?  Neither city nor suburb, they have no other name to me, as a New Yorker, other than the boroughs.  The exist where ever cities do, however.  Usually, the started as separate cities and where absorbed into the growing metropolis.  As a result, they have lost the independent feel of a separate town (e.g. city buses still cruise by blowing smog), but they do not have the vitality of downtown.

I went to my latin – urb means city and sub means at the foot of.  Exurb is another interesting phrase for a particular type of suburb, the commuting town.  The answer seemed obvious.  I did a search of “inurb.”  It does not show in any dictionary, but I did find a reference in the Double-Tongued Dictionary.

Double-Tongued Dictionary “records undocumented or under-documented words from the fringes of English, with a focus on slang, jargon, and new words. This site strives to record terms and expressions that are absent from, or are poorly covered in, mainstream dictionaries.”  Looks pretty good, but you can imagine that many of the words recorded are rather offensive.

Back to the point: inurb was used in the Weekly Standard in 2006 by Fred Barnes.  He wrote “Older, close—in, inner suburbs-or “inurbs,” as Kirk calls them-began to vote Democratic in the 1990s, and the trend has continued into the new century.”  I’m not sure if that is exactly what I want, but it will do.  Start using it

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