Urban | Definition of Urban by Webster's Online Dictionary
The definition of urban modernity surely includes ecology too. Theability of a city to function without overexploiting natural resources andrespecting the environments is a crucial stake for contemporary urban areas. Freiburgim Breisgau, in Germany, has made tremendous steps towards these standards. Inthe late nineties, the city built entire sustainable neighborhoods and thusearned to be known as an eco-city. In Freiburg in Breisgau, Vauban andRiesefeld neighborhood are exclusively composed of solar powered"passive-houses" -- meaning houses that are highly energy efficient and needsvery low amounts of energy to run --. In those neighborhoods, car traffic is alsosubmitted to special restriction such as a generalized 5km/h speed limit. Thus,the whole life of Vauban and Riesefeld is organized to reduce the ecologicalfootprint of those neighborhoods.
Definition of urban: Pertaining to a large city
Notice that the definition of urban doesn’t have anything to do with the boundaries of incorporated places. Some territory inside an incorporated city or town can be rural instead of urban. In fact, urban and rural are delineated independently of any other geographic entity. That is, cities, towns, census tracts, counties, metropolitan areas, and the territory outside metropolitan areas often are split between urban and rural territory. The population and housing units in these geographic units often are partly classified as urban and partly classified as rural. Rural territory can be inside or outside city limits. Urban territory can be unincorporated.
Put another way, an urban or rural classification cuts across other geographic entities. For another example, there is generally both urban and rural territory within both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. For this reason, metro and non-metro areas cannot be used as a proxy for urban and rural.
In summary, rural is any territory that is not urban. The Census Bureau’s use of the word rural is what is left over after urban has been defined.
Definition of urban modernity can be debated and such a concept continuouslyevolves. Cities like New York and London used to be widely acceptedrepresentations of modernity because of their tremendous economic, politic andcultural achievement. However, newly developed cities are nowadays competingwith historic leaders and tend to promote new standards of living and modernity:the openness to the world, the quality of the urban planning, the ability touse advanced technology to respect the environment... and many others. Citieslike Singapore, Curitiba or Doha do illustrate how rich the characteristics ofa modern city could be. Nevertheless, one of them seems to be commonly shared:modern cities take advantage of their environment but also simultaneously trynot to damage it. This characteristic is most definitely the starting point of amodern urban model.