A neighbourhood (US English neighborhood) "is a geographically localised community within a larger city, town or suburb."  These may or may not have distinct boundaries, and may even overlap each other in some cases.
Housing subdivision, housing development, and residential community are related terms which typically refer to master planned areas of housing. These may be considered as a specialized case of a neighbourhood. Unlike the more general neighbourhood, subdivisions typically have very well defined boundaries that often align with property boundaries.
Current state of mapping
There is now a tag which has been approved via the wiki proposal process:
Other previous and related tags include:
- place=suburb or place=hamlet - these were not intended for use with neighbourhoods
- boundary=neighborhood - used 154 times as of 2011/04/14, though the vast majority were last edited by one user, NE2, in Orlando, FL, USA
- place=subdivision - used 638 times as of 2011/04/14, though the vast majority were last edited by one user in the Philippines, though also used in Cincinnati, OH, USA
In some cases there can be considerably discrepancies as to the boundaries of neighborhoods. While there may be general agreement about what constitutes the center or focal point of a neighborhood (e.g. Noe Valley, Castro) the edges are often unclear and subject to shifting interpretations. Because of this, there is little agreement on whether it is acceptable to map neighbourhoods with areas.
Please read and contribute to the discussions here or on the talk page.
- How to best map a master planned city down to a neighborhood - Discussion on forum
- How to tag Subdivisions - Villages ? - discussion on the talk-ph mailing list
- Boundaries for suburbs - discussion on the tagging mailing list
- How can I name subdivisions or neighborhoods (for better accuracy)? - not really a discussion, but someone asking about how to tag neighbourhoods