n. An exurb with decentralized, city-quality infrastructure, industries, and services; an exurb that contains a disproportionate number of technology-based businesses.
Other Forms
Suburbs are often stereotyped as selfish and soulless, but the communities highlighted here could teach towns everywhere a thing or two about civic spirit and livability. …

9. Markham, Ontario (Toronto)
Toronto has been described by some wags as "Vienna surrounded by Houston." But this booming technoburb defies the sprawling, ticky-tacky, no-there-there image of the region’s suburbs. Municipal officials in Markham have embraced New Urbanism more sincerely than almost anywhere else, working hard to instill a vibrant, bustling feeling to new developments.
—Peter Katz & Jay Walljasper, “10 Most Enlightened Suburbs,” Utne, March 01, 2003
1987 (earliest)
The most important feature of postwar American development has been the almost simultaneous decentralization of housing, industry, specialized services and office jobs; the consequent breakaway of the urban periphery from a central city it no longer needs, and the creation of a decentralized environment that nevertheless possesses all the economic and technological dynamism we associate with the city. This phenomenon is not suburbanization but the creation of a new city.

Unfortunately, we lack a convenient name for this new city. Some have used the terms "exurbia" or "outer city." I suggest, with apologies, the "technoburb" … By "technoburb" I mean a peripheral zone that has emerged as a viable socioeconomic unit. Spread out along its highway growth corridors are shopping malls, industrial parks, campus-like office complexes, hospitals, schools and a full range of housing types. Its residents look to their immediate surroundings rather than to the city for their jobs and other needs, and its industries find not only the employees they need but also the specialized services.
—Robert Fishman, Bourgeois Utopias: The Rise and Fall of Suburbia, Basic Books, October 01, 1987
An exurb (1955) is a community that lies just outside of a city's suburbs, and the collection of these communities is called exurbia (1955). A technoburb is an example of an accidental city, an exurb that, over time and without design, morphs into a true city, although with its amenities and services decentralized and spread throughout the community. Technoburbs form part of what some call the middle landscape, the area between where a large city's suburbs end and the rural regions begin.

Technoburb is just one of a long line of synonyms for these emerging exurban cityscapes. Others that I've seen are edge city, outer city, satellite city, post-urban city, centerless city, urban village, suburban downtown, and diversified regional center. For the second sense of the word, other terms bouncing around are ideopolis and technopolis. Technoburb was coined by history professor Robert Fishman in his 1987 book Bourgeois Utopias (see the earliest citation). Why the techno- prefix for the city-like exurb? Because, as Fishman writes, "the real basis of the new city is the invisible web of advanced technology and telecommunications that has been substituted for the face-to-face contact and physical movement of older cities."
Filed Under