Peri-urban versus sub-urban: Why I use two different words to refer to the same space?
Without having read any books or articles on human ecology, millions of Americans have sensed the overall deterioration of modern urban life. They have turned to the suburbs and "exurbs" as a refuge from the burdens of the metropolitan milieu.
It would be wise to stop ridiculing this exodus to the suburbs and to try to understand what lies behind the phenomenon. The modern city has reached its limits. Megalopolitan life is breaking down-psychically, economically, and biologically.
From all accounts of suburban life, many of the [urban] burdens have followed them into the countryside. Suburbanites have not adapted to the land; they have merely adapted a metropolitan manner of life to semirural surroundings. The metropolis remains the axis around which their lives turn.
If they have not been able to sever their connections with the metropolis, at least they have tried. As a social symptom, the effort is significant.
Despite its many shortcomings, this trend reflects a basically sound orientation. The average American is making an attempt, however confusedly, to reduce his environment to a human scale.
He is trying to recreate a world that he can cope with as an individual ... [which is] important not only because it reflects the basic needs of man but because it also reflects the basic needs of the things with which he is working: The human scale is also the natural scale.
The reconciliation of man with the natural world is no longer merely desirable; it has become a necessity.
Murray Bookchin 1962 "Decentralization" in Our Synthetic Environment
Peri- prefix means: enclosing, encircling, or around
Unlike Bookchin who's Marxist orientation made him afraid of all things other than barren calculating rationality, I see cultural value in the prefix as it equally alludes to mythology:
- A mythical superhuman being, originally represented as evil but subsequently as a good or graceful
- Mischievous beings that have been denied entry to paradise until they have completed penance for atonement