The South Suburbs make up a region of Chicagoland, in Illinois. The region is generally defined as the area south of I-55 and the Chicago Skyway. Many of the communities immediately near Chicago continue to have an urban character while many of the southernmost communities are suburban and exurban.
Much like Chicago's Northwestern Suburbs, the Southern group emerged after World War II as returning vets increasingly moved to new suburban communities. In fact, Park Forest was Chicago's answer to New York's Levittown, one of the first planned communities in the US. As a result, these two areas have a significant amount in common, and it's not uncommon for 1950s-era homes to stand alongside modern developments. The southern group also shares attributes with the Far North Suburbs in that it has one anchor (Joliet) that served as the economic engine for the area until more connections were made to Chicago.
While the area has always been growing, it significantly lagged behind other areas for a number of years. Areas such as Orland Park, Frankfort and Homer Glen, however, have developed into significant suburbs. Much of this has to do with the fact that renewed discussion of regional enhancements, such as the Peotone Airport (proposed as a third international airport for Chicago) and the Illiana Tollway, began in the past few years. Though the area is now thoroughly suburban, much of its future growth depends on these projects.