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Public-images-osm logo.svg place = suburb
A part of a town or city with a well-known name and often a distinct identity. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Places
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto


Use place=suburb to identify a major area in a place=town or place=city with a distinct and recognised local name and identity. Suburbs may have uncertain boundaries, may overlap with other suburbs, and are often best mapped using a node.

For areas within a suburb, the tag place=neighbourhood will usually be used. If necessary, place=quarter may be used for an area of a large settlement which is smaller than a suburb and larger than a neighbourhood.


  • OSM's usage of 'suburb' is different than that used by North American English, where a suburb is "an area, often residential, outside of a central city". Often these suburbs are distinct settlements and will be tagged as place=village, place=town, or place=city, depending on factors such as population.
  • The classification of an area as a suburb is based on its size and situation rather than by any clues given in its name. For example, the Lake City area in Seattle (node 150938688) should be tagged as a 'suburb' and not as a 'city' since it is a large area within a major city.

How to Map

  • As a Node: Place a node at the centre of the suburb tagged with place=suburb and identify it with a name=*.
  • Alternatively a suburb can be identified with a closed way or relation if the boundary is clearly defined. In this case a type=boundary relation is often used. It is recommended to also map the center of the place=suburb with a node for use by routing applications.

Things to avoid

Some mappers are of the view that areas of a town/city should not be tagged with place=town, place=village or place=hamlet, and that these should only be used for distinct settlements. However, this is not universally accepted practice.

In circumstances where two towns run into each other it may be appropriate to tag each as a town if they have distinct and separate administrative structures.

See also

  • place=borough - a part in larger city grouped into administrative unit
  • place=neighbourhood - for a specific area within a place=suburb
  • place=quarter - for areas smaller than a suburb and larger than a neighbourhood
  • addr:suburb=* danger of confusion - part of an address: specification that is used to distinguish the street with the same names within the settlement (addr:* are more associated to the admin view, instead of place=suburb which belongs rather to the settlement topology)
  • is_in=* - describes a hierarchy where the suburb is located, the is_in concept is not needed if the city/town that the suburb is in has a defined boundary way (see Key:place). For a suburb, is_in can be useful to indicate that the suburb 'belongs to' a town/city that is not strictly the closest town/city. E.g. the suburb West Bank has is_in:town to indicate that it is a suburb of Widnes rather than the geographically closer Runcorn, which is across the river.