"European" Suburbia

Posted by Anonymous21 on 9 March 2022 in English (English).

I’m working on developing some cities in my country, Kåra. As far as cities go, I’m pulling some design ideas from RW Europe.

I’m curious what ideas you have as far as what European-style suburbs look like because I’m not really sure - I’m from the U.S. (and not a very populated state at that) and was born and raised in the suburbs - which look something like this extending for miles:

U.S. suburbs

But I’m pretty sure that European suburbs don’t look like your typical American suburbia. So what do they look like? Do most people live in single-family (detached) homes or row houses? Are residential and commercial areas thoroughly mixed (in the U.S., we like to cram all of the commercial stuff in one area and then just build out)?

I’d love to have a bit of feedback since American suburbs aren’t exactly… European 😂

Thanks :)

Comment from Intergan on 9 March 2022 at 07:39

Well it depends on where in Europe you want to portray, in the UK they range from neat lines at equal lengths apart or curvy estates which have weaving streets and gardens etc. Nottingham St Albans In the Netherlands they have some unique designs. Netherlands

Some Eastern European ones work more with straight lines, like this. Warsaw

So it all kind of depends on which type of suburbs you’re looking for

Hope this helps -Intergan

Comment from Eretra on 9 March 2022 at 10:51

Sorry for the broken english and for the long post

As Intergan said, depends on where you are. I’ll write about France because that’s what I’m familiar with. Most cities will have a city center, a ring around it called “banlieue”, and then multiple villages around it. So suburbia is kinda both theses zones, the first one is basically fully urbanised, and you got planned neighbourhoods with multiple small famillial houses, big affordable residential buildings, and some more high-end neighborhoods with houses with gardens and swimming pools (I’m obviously simplifying). You’ll have to add some commercial facilities as well, some big low rise buildings and parking lots as well as some more locally based ones on the floor levels of buildings for example. Here you got an example of one of such zone

Then you get more discontinued areas, with farmland dotted with villages where people went to live in, that grew to accommodate the population These villages often have a old part where you find olds buildings that were here before the car was invented, and housed farmers, mixed with new one housing people working on the city, and one or two shops. These areas will often stay low rise, with maybe some buildings going to 4 or 5 stories, and have some small scale planned neighbourhoods ressembling american suburbia ( 5 to 20 houses each) You’ll also find some places with big commercial areas, as well as some offices dotted around Obviously the different villages will have varying sizes, with the ones close to a railway line being often bigger than the others Here are some example near what’s considered a big city by French standards Here you go, good luck with it all

Comment from Anonymous21 on 9 March 2022 at 18:13

Thanks Intergan and Ereta!

Comment from Anonymous21 on 9 March 2022 at 19:53

Also, Eretra. As a native English speaker I think that you’re English is pretty natural-sounding. Not broken at all :)

Comment from Anonymous21 on 9 March 2022 at 19:53


Comment from SwissCrusader on 10 March 2022 at 08:16

Some Scandinavian suburbs, on the map, look a bit like American suburbs, except with way more footpaths or bicycle paths. Examples I’ve picked randomly:

Comment from Halvarda on 10 March 2022 at 19:35

Honestly, you should just study maps. Pick a country / region / city to base your mapping on - which is something OGF wiki recommends - and get influenced.

Think of history, too. Suburb style changes not just from culture to culture, but from decades to centuries, too.

Comment from antoon on 11 March 2022 at 18:11

For the Netherlands i know it’s true that over centuries and decaded there have been different kinds styles in urban planning. I’m not a city planner myself but i’ve been looking into this in the past and i hope to implement it sometime into my own country of Neberly, But that will not be for the near future with the slow progress i’ve been making.

But here are some styles/fashions in dutch cities:

  • 16/17th century, canals of Amsterdam or Leiden
  • late 19th century / early 20th century, dense residential areas with narrow streets of Amsterdam and Haarlem
  • early 20th century, dense residential area with wider streets and more green in Amsterdam
  • early 20th century, villa area in Hilversum
  • the 50s and 60s of the 20th century, stapled areas (repetition) in Leeuwarden and Eindhoven
  • the 70s and 80 of the 20th century, so called ‘bloemkoolwijken’ (cauliflower districts) in Eindhoven and Leiden
  • the 90s of the 20th century and into the 21th century, more line-like structures and other geometric shapes in Amersfoort and Tilburg

Especially the last three can be found in many Dutch cities and towns and over big areas.

Comment from Sarepava on 12 March 2022 at 13:00

In the UK, and I expect other countries, many suburbs are villages that were swallowed up by a larger city or town. You can see on maps what would have been the old roads from the 19th century or earlier that have been either widened or downgraded and replaced by new ones that bypass the housing.

Comment from Easky30 on 29 April 2022 at 10:25

I lived in Blanchardstown a suburb northwest of Dublin, Ireland. The housing estates that surround Dublin are similar to US suburbs but there is a higher density of people because the houses are usually smaller and closer together. What I like about Irish housing estates is the large number of green spaces or “greens” as they are called. Greens are maintained but they are not really a park or playground like in the US.

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