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A city is a large
human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped together to the largest of cities wit ...
.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a permanent and densely settled place with administratively defined boundaries whose members work primarily on non-agricultural tasks. Cities generally have extensive systems for
housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford Eng ...

housing
,
transportation Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

transportation
,
sanitation Sanitation refers to public health Public health has been defined as "the science and art of preventing disease", prolonging life and improving quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The ...

sanitation
,
utilities A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a ...
,
land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all life, living and non-living things occurring nature, naturally, meaning in this case not Artificiality, artifi ...
, production of goods, and
communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

communication
. Their density facilitates interaction between people,
government organisations State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a clo ...
and
businesses Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...
, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process, such as improving efficiency of goods and service distribution. Historically, city-dwellers have been a small proportion of humanity overall, but following two centuries of unprecedented and rapid
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
, more than half of the
world population In demography, demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion people . It took over 2 million years of prehistory, human prehistory and human history, history fo ...

world population
now lives in cities, which has had profound consequences for global sustainability. Present-day cities usually form the core of larger
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...

metropolitan area
s and
urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cities, towns, conurbat ...
s—creating numerous
commuter
commuter
s traveling towards
city centre A city centre is the commercial, cultural and often the historical, political, and geographic heart of a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and ...

city centre
s for employment, entertainment, and education. However, in a world of intensifying
globalisation Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...
, all cities are to varying degrees also connected globally beyond these regions. This increased influence means that cities also have significant influences on global issues, such as
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
,
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
and
global health Global health is the health of the populations in the worldwide context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems ...
. Because of these major influences on global issues, the international community has prioritized investment in
sustainable cities The sustainable city, eco-city, or green city is a city designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact (commonly referred to as the triple bottom line The triple bottom line (or otherwise noted as TBL or 3BL) is an accou ...

sustainable cities
through
Sustainable Development Goal 11 Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11 or Global Goal 11), titled "sustainable cities and communities", is one of Sustainable Development Goals, 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The o ...

Sustainable Development Goal 11
. Due to the efficiency of transportation and the smaller
land consumption Land consumption as part of human resource consumption is the conversion of land with healthy soil and intact habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of ...
,
dense The density (more precisely, the volumetric mass density; also known as specific mass), of a substance is its mass Mass is both a property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or ...
cities hold the potential to have a smaller
ecological footprint The ecological footprint is a method promoted by the Global Footprint Network Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003, is an independent think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research ce ...
per inhabitant than more sparsely populated areas. Therefore, compact cities are often referred to as a crucial element of fighting climate change. However, this concentration can also have significant negative consequences, such as forming
urban heat island An urban heat island (UHI) is an urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized ...

urban heat island
s,
concentrating pollution
concentrating pollution
, and stressing water supplies and other resources. Other important traits of cities besides population include the capital status and relative continued occupation of the city. For example, country capitals such as
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
,
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
,
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...

Mexico City
,
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
,
Nairobi Nairobi ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Nairobi
,
New Delhi New Delhi (, ''Naī Dillī'') is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majusc ...

New Delhi
,
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
,
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
,
Seoul Seoul (, like ''soul''; ko, 서울 ; ), officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppe ...

Seoul
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
, and
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped ...
reflect the identity and apex of their respective nations. Some historic capitals, such as
Kyoto Kyoto (; Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Kyōto'' ), officially , is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in Japan. Located in the Kansai region on the island of Honshu, Kyoto forms a part of the Keihanshin, Keihanshin metropolitan area along w ...

Kyoto
, maintain their reflection of cultural identity even without modern capital status. Religious holy sites offer another example of capital status within a religion,
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
,
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah ( ) and commonly shortened to Makkah ( ),Quran 48:22 ' () is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland ...

Mecca
,
Varanasi Varanasi (; ), officially so revived after 1947, but still widely known as Banaras or Benares (; ), and in ancient times as Kashi, is a city on the Ganges river in North India, northern India that has a central place in pilgrimage, death ...

Varanasi
,
Ayodhya Ayodhya (; IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scienti ...

Ayodhya
,
Haridwar Haridwar (; ) is a city and municipal corporation in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. With a population of 228,832 in 2011, it is the second-largest city in the state and the largest in the district. The city is situated on the righ ...

Haridwar
and
Prayagraj Allahabad (), officially known as Prayagraj, also known as Ilahabad, is a metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolis in the background A metropolis ...

Prayagraj
each hold significance. The cities of
Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
,
Faiyum Faiyum ( ar, الفيوم ' , borrowed from cop,  ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ or Ⲫⲓⲱⲙ ' from egy, pꜣ ym "the Sea, Lake") is a city in Middle Egypt. Located southwest of Cairo, in the Faiyum Oasis, it is the capital of the modern Faiyum ...
,
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
,
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
and
Argos Argos usually refers to: * Argos, Peloponnese Argos (; Greek language, Greek: Άργος ; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος ) is a city in Argolis, the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese, Greece and is one of the List of oldest continuously inhabited ci ...
are among those laying claim to the longest continual inhabitation.


Meaning

A city can be distinguished from other human settlements by its relatively great size, but also by its functions and its special symbolic status, which may be conferred by a central authority. The term can also refer either to the physical streets and buildings of the city or to the collection of people who dwell there, and can be used in a general sense to mean
urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities. Urban may also refer to: General * Urban (name), a list of people ...
rather than rural territory.Kevin A. Lynch, "What Is the Form of a City, and How is It Made?"; in Marzluff et al. (2008), p. 678. "The city may be looked on as a story, a pattern of relations between human groups, a production and distribution space, a field of physical force, a set of linked decisions, or an arena of conflict. Values are embedded in these metaphors: historic continuity, stable equilibrium, productive efficiency, capable decision and management, maximum interaction, or the progress of political struggle. Certain actors become the decisive elements of transformation in each view: political leaders, families and ethnic groups, major investors, the technicians of transport, the decision elite, the revolutionary classes." National
census A census is the procedure of systematically calculating, acquiring and recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric. In ...

census
es use a variety of definitions - invoking factors such as
population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size of the resident population within their jurisdiction by a process called a ...

population
,
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
, number of
dwelling In law, a dwelling (also known as a residence or an abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling and share meals. It may also con ...

dwelling
s, economic function, and
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
- to classify populations as urban. Typical working definitions for small-city populations start at around 100,000 people. Common population definitions for an urban area (city or town) range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, with most
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...
states using a minimum between 1,500 and 5,000 inhabitants. Some jurisdictions set no such minima. In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, city status is awarded by the Crown and then remains permanently. (Historically, the qualifying factor was the presence of a
cathedral A cathedral is a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used ...

cathedral
, resulting in some very small cities such as
Wells Wells most commonly refers to: * Wells, Somerset, a cathedral city in Somerset, England * Well, an excavation or structure created in the ground * Wells (name) Wells may also refer to: Places ;Canada *Wells, British Columbia ;England * Wells ( ...
, with a population 12,000 and
St Davids St Davids or St David's ( cy, Tyddewi, ,  "David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Da ...
, with a population of 1,841 .) According to the "functional definition" a city is not distinguished by size alone, but also by the role it plays within a larger political context. Cities serve as administrative, commercial, religious, and cultural hubs for their larger surrounding areas.Marshall (1989), pp. 14–15. An example of a settlement with "city" in their names which may not meet any of the traditional criteria to be named such include Broad Top City, Pennsylvania (population 452). The presence of a literate elite is sometimes included in the definition. A typical city has professional
administrators Administrator or admin may refer to: Job roles Computing and internet * Database administrator, a person who is responsible for the environmental aspects of a database * Forum administrator, one who oversees discussions on an Internet forum * N ...
, regulations, and some form of
taxation A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
(food and other necessities or means to trade for them) to support the government workers. (This arrangement contrasts with the more typically horizontal relationships in a
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...

tribe
or
village A village is a clustered human settlement In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena ...

village
accomplishing common goals through informal agreements between neighbors, or through
leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and B ...

leadership
of a chief.) The governments may be based on heredity, religion, military power, work systems such as canal-building, food-distribution, land-ownership, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, finance, or a combination of these. Societies that live in cities are often called
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
s. The ''degree of urbanization'' is a modern metric to help define what comprises a city: "a population of at least 50,000 inhabitants in contiguous dense grid cells (>1,500 inhabitants per square kilometer)". This metric was "devised over years by the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
,
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
,
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
and others, and endorsed in March 021by the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
... largely for the purpose of international statistical comparison".


Etymology

The word ''city'' and the related ''
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
'' come from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
root ''
civitas In the history of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , ma ...
'', originally meaning 'citizenship' or 'community member' and eventually coming to correspond with '' urbs'', meaning 'city' in a more physical sense."city, n.", ''Oxford English Dictionary'', June 2014. The Roman ''civitas'' was closely linked with the Greek ''
polis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...

polis
''—another common root appearing in English words such as ''
metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural cen ...

metropolis
''. In
toponymic Toponymy, toponymics, or toponomastics (from grc, τόπος / , 'place', and / , 'name') is the study of ''wikt:toponym, toponyms'' (proper names of places, also known as ''place name'' or ''geographic name''), their origins and meanings, us ...
terminology, names of individual cities and towns are called ''astionyms'' (from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
ἄστυ 'city or town' and ὄνομα 'name').


Geography

Urban geography Urban geography is the subdiscipline of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
deals both with cities in their larger context and with their internal structure.


Site

Town siting has varied through history according to natural, technological, economic, and military contexts. Access to water has long been a major factor in city placement and growth, and despite exceptions enabled by the advent of
rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wagons, bicycles, motor veh ...

rail transport
in the nineteenth century, through the present most of the world's urban population lives near the coast or on a river. Urban areas as a rule cannot produce their own food and therefore must develop some
relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degre ...
with a
hinterland Hinterland is a German word meaning "the land behind" (a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclope ...

hinterland
which sustains them.Kaplan et al. (2004), pp. 155–156. Only in special cases such as
mining town 290px, Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, in 1957. A mining community, also known as a mining town or a mining camp, is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion Religion is ...
s which play a vital role in long-distance trade, are cities disconnected from the countryside which feeds them.Marshall (1989), p. 15. "The mutual interdependence of town and country has one consequence so obvious that it is easily overlooked: at the global scale, cities are generally confined to areas capable of supporting a permanent agricultural population. Moreover, within any area possessing a broadly uniform level of agricultural productivity, there is a rough but definite association between the density of the rural population and the average spacing of cities above any chosen minimum size." Thus, centrality within a productive region influences siting, as economic forces would in theory favor the creation of market places in optimal mutually reachable locations.


Center

The vast majority of cities have a central area containing buildings with special economic, political, and religious significance. Archaeologists refer to this area by the Greek term
temenos A ''temenos'' (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
or if fortified as a
citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brooke ...

citadel
. These spaces historically reflect and amplify the city's centrality and importance to its wider
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
.Latham et al. (2009), p. 18. "From the simplest forms of exchange, when peasant farmers literally brought their produce from the fields into the densest point of interaction—giving us market towns—the significance of central places to surrounding territories began to be asserted. As cities grew in complexity, the major civic institutions, from seats of government to religious buildings, would also come to dominate these points of convergence. Large central squares or open spaces reflected the importance of collective gatherings in city life, such as Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the Zócalo in Mexico City, the Piazza Navonae in Rome and Trafalgar Square in London. Today cities have a
city center A city centre is the commercial, cultural and often the historical, political, and geographic heart of a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and ...

city center
or
downtown ''Downtown'' is a term primarily used in North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up t ...

downtown
, sometimes coincident with a
central business district A central business district (CBD) is the commercial and business center of a city. It contains commercial space and offices. In larger cities, it is often synonymous with the city's "financial district". Geographically, it often coincides with ...
.


Public space

Cities typically have
public space A public space is a place that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads (including the pavement), public square A town square (or square, plaza, public square, city square, urban square, or piazza) is an open public space commonl ...
s where anyone can go. These include privately owned spaces open to the public as well as forms of public land such as
public domain The public domain consists of all the creative work A creative work is a manifestation of creativity, creative effort including Work of art, fine artwork (sculpture, paintings, drawing, Sketch (drawing), sketching, performance art), dance, wr ...
and the
commons The commons is the culture, cultural and nature, natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons c ...
.
Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality ...
since the time of the Greek
agora Image:TyreAlMinaAgora.jpg, upAgora of Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre The agora (; grc, ἀγορά ''agorá'') was a central public space in ancient Ancient Greece, Greek polis, city-states. It is the best representation of a city-state's response to accom ...

agora
has considered physical public space as the substrate of the symbolic
public sphere The public sphere (german: Öffentlichkeit) is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action. A "Public" is "of or concerning th ...
.
Public art Public art is art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligenc ...

Public art
adorns (or disfigures) public spaces.
Park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ...

Park
s and other natural sites within cities provide residents with relief from the hardness and regularity of typical
built environment In urban planning, architecture and civil engineering, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human impact on the environment, human-made environment that provides the setting for human behavior, human activity, including Home, ...
s.


Internal structure

Urban structure Urban structure is the arrangement of land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been sign ...
generally follows one or more basic patterns: geomorphic, radial, concentric, rectilinear, and curvilinear. Physical environment generally constrains the form in which a city is built. If located on a mountainside, urban structure may rely on terraces and winding roads. It may be adapted to its means of subsistence (e.g. agriculture or fishing). And it may be set up for optimal defense given the surrounding landscape. Beyond these "geomorphic" features, cities can develop internal patterns, due to natural growth or to
city planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of ...
. In a radial structure, main roads converge on a central point. This form could evolve from successive growth over a long time, with concentric traces of
town wall A defensive wall is a fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from La ...
s and
citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle in East Sussex East Sussex is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brooke ...

citadel
s marking older city boundaries. In more recent history, such forms were supplemented by
ring road A ring road (also known as circular road, beltline, beltway, circumferential (high)way, loop, bypass or orbital) is a road or a series of connected roads encircling a town, city, or country. The most common purpose of a ring road is to assist i ...
s moving traffic around the outskirts of a town. Dutch cities such as
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
and
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in ) is a and in the . It is the of the of . Haarlem is situated at the northern edge of the , one of the s in Europe; it is also part of the . Haarlem had a population of in . Haarlem was granted cit ...

Haarlem
are structured as a central square surrounded by concentric canals marking every expansion. In cities such as
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, this pattern is still clearly visible. A system of rectilinear city streets and land plots, known as the
grid plan In urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, ...
, has been used for millennia in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The
Indus Valley Civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other ear ...
built
Mohenjo-Daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
,
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit o ...

Harappa
and other cities on a grid pattern, using ancient principles described by
Kautilya Chanakya (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit and related Indic languages. It is bas ...

Kautilya
, and aligned with the
compass points The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of horizontal directions (or azimuth An azimuth (; from ar, اَلسُّمُوت, as-sumūt, the directions) is an angular measurement In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a ma ...
.Smith,
Earliest Cities
, in Gmelch & Zenner (2002).
The ancient Greek city of
Priene Priene ( grc, Πριήνη, Priēnē; tr, Prien) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city of Ionia (and member of the Ionian League) located at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about north of what was then the course of the Maeander River ...

Priene
exemplifies a grid plan with specialized districts used across the Hellenistic Mediterranean.


Urban areas

Urban-type settlement extends far beyond the traditional boundaries of the
city proper A city proper is the geographical area contained within city limits. The term ''proper'' is not exclusive to city, cities; it can describe the geographical area within the boundaries of any given locality. The United Nations defines the term as "t ...
in a form of development sometimes described critically as
urban sprawl Urban sprawl (also known as suburban sprawl or urban encroachment) is the unrestricted growth in many urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. ...
. Decentralization and dispersal of city functions (commercial, industrial, residential, cultural, political) has transformed the very meaning of the term and has challenged geographers seeking to classify territories according to an urban-rural binary.
Metropolitan areas A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories sharing Industry (economics), industries, commercial areas, transport infrastructure, transport net ...

Metropolitan areas
include
suburbs A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...

suburbs
and
exurbs Exurban development (left side) blends into suburban development (right side) in Loudoun County, Virginia, in the western part of the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. An exurb (alternately: exurban area) is an area outside the typically ...
organized around the needs of
commuters Commuting is periodically recurring travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations. Travel can be done by foot, bicycle, automobile A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for tr ...

commuters
, and sometimes edge cities characterized by a degree of economic and political independence. (In the US these are grouped into
metropolitan statistical areas In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washi ...
for purposes of
demography Demography (from prefix ''demo-'' from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period ...

demography
and
marketing Marketing is the process of intentionally stimulating demand for and purchases of goods and services; potentially including selection of a target audience; selection of certain attributes or themes to emphasize in advertising; operation of adv ...

marketing
.) Some cities are now part of a continuous urban landscape called
urban agglomeration An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as city, cities, towns, conurbat ...
,
conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for r ...
, or
megalopolis A megalopolis (), sometimes called a megapolis; also megaregion, city cluster or supercity, is a group of two or more roughly adjacent metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, ur ...

megalopolis
(exemplified by the
BosWash BosWash is a name coined by futurist Herman Kahn Herman Kahn (February 15, 1922 – July 7, 1983) was a founder of the Hudson Institute The Hudson Institute is a politically conservative American think tank A think tank, or policy institu ...
corridor of the
Northeastern United States The Northeastern United States (also referred to as the American Northeast, the Northeast, and the East Coast) is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), ...
.)


History

Cities, characterized by
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
,
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...

symbol
ic function, and
urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
, have existed for thousands of years. In the conventional view, civilization and the city both followed from the development of agriculture, which enabled production of surplus food, and thus a social
division of labour The division of labour is the separation of tasks in any economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an ...
(with concomitant
social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the human ability and activity of recognizing shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience Experience refers to conscious , an English ...
) and
trade Trade involves the transfer of goods from one person or entity to another, often in exchange for money. Economists refer to a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of r ...

trade
. Early cities often featured
granaries A granary is a storehouse or room in a barn in Lubbock, Texas, U.S., was used as a teaching facility until 1967. , Coggeshall, England, originally part of the Cistercian monastery of Coggeshall. Dendrochronologically dated from 1237–126 ...

granaries
, sometimes within a temple. A minority viewpoint considers that cities may have arisen without agriculture, due to alternative means of subsistence (fishing), to use as communal seasonal shelters,
Fredy Perlman Fredy Perlman (August 20, 1934 – July 26, 1985) was an American author, publisher, professor, and activist. His most popular work, the book '' Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!'', details the rise of state domination with a retelling of hist ...
, ''
Against His-Story, Against Leviathan ''Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!'' is a 1983 book by Fredy Perlman, for which he is best known. It is a personal critical perspective on contemporary civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is char ...
'', Detroit: Black & Red, 1983; p. 16.
to their value as bases for defensive and offensive military organization,Ashworth (1991), pp. 12–13. or to their inherent economic function. Cities played a crucial role in the establishment of political power over an area, and ancient leaders such as
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
founded and created them with zeal.


Ancient times

Jericho Jericho ( ; ar, أريحا ' ; he, יְרִיחוֹ ') is a city in the . It is located in the , with the to the east and to the west. It is the administrative seat of the and is governed by the . In 2007, it had a population of 18,346. ...

Jericho
and
Çatalhöyük Çatalhöyük (; also ''Çatal Höyük'' and ''Çatal Hüyük''; from ''çatal'' "fork" + ''höyük'' "") was a very large and settlement in southern , which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 6400 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. In J ...
, dated to the eighth millennium BC, are among the earliest proto-cities known to archaeologists. In the fourth and
third millennium BC Third or 3rd may refer to: Numbers * 3rd, the ordinal form of the cardinal number 3 *fraction (mathematics) A fraction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
, complex civilizations flourished in the river valleys of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. Excavations in these areas have found the
ruins Ruins () are the remains of a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additiona ...

ruins
of cities geared variously towards trade, politics, or religion. Some had large, dense populations, but others carried out urban activities in the realms of politics or religion without having large associated populations. Among the early Old World cities,
Mohenjo-daro Mohenjo-daro (; sd, موئن جو دڙو'', ''meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men';
of the Indus Valley Civilization in present-day
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
, existing from about 2600 BC, was one of the largest, with a population of 50,000 or more and a sophisticated sanitation system. China's planned cities were constructed according to sacred principles to act as celestial microcosms. The Ancient Egyptian cities known physically by archaeologists are not extensive. They include (known by their Arab names) El Lahun, a workers' town associated with the pyramid of
Senusret II Khakheperre Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt, Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. Pyramid of Senusret II, His pyramid was constructed at El-Lahun. Senusret II took a great deal of interest i ...

Senusret II
, and the religious city
Amarna Amarna (; ar, العمارنة, al-ʿamārnah) is an extensive Egyptian archaeology, archaeological site that represents the remains of the capital city newly established (1346 BC) and built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten of the late Eighteenth dynasty ...

Amarna
built by
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, Ikhnaton, and Khuenaten ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn, meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of the Ei ...

Akhenaten
and abandoned. These sites appear planned in a highly regimented and
stratified Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
fashion, with a minimalistic grid of rooms for the workers and increasingly more elaborate housing available for higher classes. In Mesopotamia, the civilization of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
, followed by
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
and
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
, gave rise to numerous cities, governed by kings and fostering multiple languages written in
cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the beginning of the Common Era. It is nam ...

cuneiform
. The
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n trading empire, flourishing around the turn of the
first millennium BC The 1st millennium BC was the period of time between from the year 1000 BC to 1 BC ( 10th to 1st First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best glob ...
, encompassed numerous cities extending from
Tyre Tyre may refer to: * Tire, the outer part of a wheel Places * Tyre, Lebanon, a city ** See of Tyre, a Christian diocese seated in Tyre, Lebanon ** Tyre Hippodrome, a UNESCO World Heritage site * Tyre District, Lebanon * Tyre, New York, a town in t ...
,
Cydon In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and Cosmology#Metaphysical cosmology, nature of th ...
, and
Byblos Byblos ( ar, جبيل ''Jubayl'', locally ''Jbeil''; gr, Βύβλος; phn, 𐤂𐤁𐤋 (GBL) , (probably ''Gubal'') is a city in the Mount Lebanon Governorate of Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic ...

Byblos
to
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
and
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

Cádiz
. In the following centuries, independent
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...
, especially
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
, developed the ''
polis ''Polis'' (, ; grc-gre, πόλις, ), plural ''poleis'' (, , ), literally means "city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (199 ...

polis
'', an association of male landowning
citizens Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and t ...

citizens
who collectively constituted the city. The
agora Image:TyreAlMinaAgora.jpg, upAgora of Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre The agora (; grc, ἀγορά ''agorá'') was a central public space in ancient Ancient Greece, Greek polis, city-states. It is the best representation of a city-state's response to accom ...

agora
, meaning "gathering place" or "assembly", was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the polis.
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
was the first city that surpassed one million inhabitants. Under the authority of , Rome transformed and
founded Founding may refer to: * The formation of a corporation, government, or other organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-is ...
many cities (''
coloniae A Roman colonia (plural ''coloniae'') was originally a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *' ...
''), and with them brought its principles of urban architecture, design, and society. In the ancient Americas, early urban traditions developed in the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
and
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
. In the Andes, the first urban centers developed in the
Norte Chico civilization Norte Chico (also known as Caral or Caral-Supe) was a complex pre-Columbian-era society that included as many as thirty major population centers in what is now the Caral region of north-central coastal Peru , , image_flag ...
, Chavin and Moche cultures, followed by major cities in the Huari,
Chimu Chimor (also Kingdom of Chimor or Chimú Empire) was the political grouping of the Chimú culture. The culture arose about 900 AD, succeeding the Moche culture The Moche civilization (; alternatively, the Mochica culture or the Early, Pre- or ...
and
Inca The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admin ...

Inca
cultures. The Norte Chico civilization included as many as 30 major population centers in what is now the Norte Chico region of north-central coastal
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
. It is the oldest known civilization in the Americas, flourishing between the 30th century BC and the 18th century BC. Mesoamerica saw the rise of early urbanism in several cultural regions, beginning with the
Olmec The Olmecs () were the earliest known major Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characterist ...
and spreading to the
Preclassic Maya The Preclassic period in Maya Civilization, Maya history stretches from the beginning of permanent village life c. 1000 BC until the advent of the Classic Period c. 250 AD, and is subdivided into Early (prior to 1000 BC), Middle (1000–400 BC), an ...
, the
Zapotec Zapotec () or zapoteca may refer to: Cultures and languages * Zapotec civilization, a historical indigenous pre-Columbian civilization and archaeological culture of central Mexico * Zapotec languages, a group of closely related indigenous Mesoamer ...
of Oaxaca, and
Teotihuacan Teotihuacan (Spanish language, Spanish: ''Teotihuacán'') (; ) is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in a sub-valley of the Valley of Mexico, which is located in the State of Mexico, northeast of modern-day Mexico City. Teotihuacan is ...

Teotihuacan
in central Mexico. Later cultures such as the
Aztec The Aztecs () were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different Indigenous peoples of Mexico, ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those g ...

Aztec
,
Andean civilization The Andean civilizations were complex societies of many cultures and peoples mainly developed in the river valleys of the coastal deserts of Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacio ...
,
Mayan Mayan most commonly refers to: * Maya peoples, various indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and northern Central America * Maya civilization, pre-Columbian culture of Mesoamerica and northern Central America * Mayan languages, language family spoken i ...
, Mississippians, and
Pueblo In the Southwestern United States The southwestern United States, also known as the American Southwest or simply the Southwest, is a geographic and cultural region of the United States that generally includes Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, ...

Pueblo
peoples drew on these earlier urban traditions. Many of their ancient cities continue to be inhabited, including major metropolitan cities such as
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...

Mexico City
, in the same location as
Tenochtitlan Tenochtitlan ( nah, Tenōchtitlan ; es, Tenochtitlán), also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan ( nah, Mēxihco Tenōchtitlan ; es, México-Tenochtitlán), was a large Mexica ''altepetl'' in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The exact ...

Tenochtitlan
; while ancient continuously inhabited Pueblos are near modern urban areas in
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
, such as
Acoma Pueblo Acoma Pueblo () is a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigeno ...

Acoma Pueblo
near the
Albuquerque metropolitan area The Albuquerque Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban ar ...
and
Taos Pueblo Taos Pueblo (or Pueblo de Taos) is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking ( Tiwa) Native American tribe of Puebloan people. It lies about north of the modern city of Taos, New Mexico Taos is a town in Taos County in the north-cen ...

Taos Pueblo
near Taos; while others like
Lima Lima ( ; ) is the capital and the largest city of Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_t ...

Lima
are located nearby ancient
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = Seal (device), National seal , national_mott ...

Peru
vian sites such as
Pachacamac Pachacamac ( qu, Pachakamaq) is an archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but ...

Pachacamac
. Jenné-Jeno, located in present-day Mali and dating to the third century BC, lacked monumental architecture and a distinctive elite social class—but nevertheless had specialized production and relations with a hinterland. Pre-Arabic trade contacts probably existed between Jenné-Jeno and North Africa. Other early urban centers in sub-Saharan Africa, dated to around 500 AD, include Awdaghust, Kumbi-Saleh the ancient capital of Ghana, and Maranda a center located on a trade route between Egypt and Gao.


Middle Ages

In the remnants of the Roman Empire, cities of late antiquity gained independence but soon lost population and importance. The locus of power in the West shifted to
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
and to the ascendant Islamic civilization with its major cities
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, ...

Baghdad
,
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in E ...

Cairo
, and Córdoba. From the 9th through the end of the 12th century,
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
, capital of the
Eastern Roman Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Eastern Roman Empire
, was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, with a population approaching 1 million. The
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
gradually gained control over many cities in the Mediterranean area, including Constantinople in 1453. In the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, beginning in the 12th. century, free imperial cities such as
Nuremberg Nuremberg ( ; german: link=no, Nürnberg ; in the local East Franconian dialect: ''Nämberch'' ) is the second-largest city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Bavaria after its capital Munich, and its 518,370 (2019) inhabitants ...

Nuremberg
,
Strasbourg Strasbourg (, , ; german: Straßburg ; gsw, label=Bas Rhin Bas-Rhin (; Alsatian: ''Unterelsàss'', ' or '; traditional german: links=no, Niederrhein; en, Lower Rhine) is a department Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, divi ...

Strasbourg
,
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt
,
Basel , french: link=no, Bâlois(e), it, Basilese , neighboring_municipalities= Allschwil , neighboring_municipalities= Baselland (BL), Binningen, Switzerland, Binningen, Buschwiller (FR-68), Hégenheim (FR-68), Neuwiller (FR-68), Oberwil, Basel- ...

Basel
, ,
Nijmegen Nijmegen ( , ;; Spanish language, Spanish and it, Nimega. South Guelderish, Nijmeegs: ''Nimwèège'' ) is a city in the Dutch province of Gelderland, on the Waal (river), Waal river close to the Germany–Netherlands border, German border ...

Nijmegen
became a privileged elite among towns having won self-governance from their local lay or secular lord or having been granted self-governanace by the emperor and being placed under his immediate protection. By 1480, these cities, as far as still part of the empire, became part of the
Imperial Estates An Imperial State or Imperial Estate ( la, Status Imperii; german: Reichsstand, plural: ') was a part of the Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Imperium Romanum; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex o ...
governing the empire with the emperor through the
Imperial DietImperial Diet means the highest representative assembly in an empire, notably: * Imperial Diet (Holy Roman Empire), general assembly of the Imperial Estates of the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) * Diet of Japan, Has been going on since 1889 (1889 ...
. By the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, some cities become powerful states, taking surrounding areas under their control or establishing extensive maritime empires. In Italy
medieval commune Medieval communes in the Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded a ...
s developed into
city-states A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
including the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
and the
Republic of Genoa The Republic of Genoa ( lij, Repúbrica de Zêna ; it, Repubblica di Genova; la, Res Publica Ianuensis) was a medieval and early modern maritime republic The maritime republics ( it, repubbliche marinare), also called merchant republics ( it ...
. In Northern Europe, cities including
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
and
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ; ; german: Brügge ) is the capital and largest city of the Provinces of Belgium, province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country, and the seventh-largest city of the country b ...

Bruges
formed the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
for collective defense and commerce. Their power was later challenged and eclipsed by the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
commercial
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
of
Ghent Ghent ( ; Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Du ...

Ghent
,
Ypres Ypres ( , ; nl, Ieper ) is a Belgian municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional ...

Ypres
, and
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
. Similar phenomena existed elsewhere, as in the case of
Sakai is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be ...
, which enjoyed a considerable autonomy in late medieval Japan. In the first millennium AD, the capital of
Angkor Angkor ( km, អង្គរ , ''capital city''), also known as Yasodharapura ( km, យសោធរបុរៈ; )Headly, Robert K.; Chhor, Kylin; Lim, Lam Kheng; Kheang, Lim Hak; Chun, Chen. 1977. ''Cambodian-English Dictionary''. Bureau of ...

Angkor
in
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
grew into the most extensive preindustrial settlement in the world by area,Evans ''et al.''
A comprehensive archaeological map of the world's largest preindustrial settlement complex at Angkor, Cambodia
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the US, August 23, 2007.
Map reveals ancient urban sprawl
, ''BBC News'', 14 August 2007.
covering over 1,000
sq km Square kilometre The kilometre (SI symbol: km; or ), spelt kilometer in American English, is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one thousand metres (kilo- being the SI prefix for ). It is now the measurement unit used for express ...
and possibly supporting up to one million people.


Early modern

In the West, nation-states became the dominant unit of political organization following the
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
in the seventeenth century. Western Europe's larger capitals (London and Paris) benefited from the growth of commerce following the emergence of an trade. However, most towns remained small. During the Spanish colonization of the Americas the old Roman city concept was extensively used. Cities were founded in the middle of the newly conquered territories, and were bound to several laws regarding administration, finances and urbanism.


Industrial age

The growth of modern industry from the late 18th century onward led to massive
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
and the rise of new great cities, first in Europe and then in other regions, as new opportunities brought huge numbers of migrants from rural communities into urban areas. England led the way as
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
became the capital of a and cities across the country grew in locations strategic for
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector ...
. In the United States from 1860 to 1910, the introduction of railroads reduced transportation costs, and large manufacturing centers began to emerge, fueling migration from rural to city areas. Industrialized cities became deadly places to live, due to health problems resulting from
overcrowding Overcrowding or crowding is the condition where more people are located within a given space than is considered tolerable from a safety and health perspective. Safety and health perspectives depend on current environments and on Norm (social), loc ...
,
occupational hazard An occupational hazard is a hazard experienced in the workplace. Occupational hazards can encompass many types of hazards, including chemical hazards, biological hazards (biohazards), psychosocial hazards, and physical hazards. In the United ...
s of industry, contaminated water and air, poor sanitation, and communicable diseases such as
typhoid Typhoid fever, also known as typhoid, is a disease caused by ''Salmonella ''Salmonella'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living an ...
and
cholera Cholera is an infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body by , their multiplication, and the reaction of tissues to the infectious agents and the s they produce. An infectious disease, also known as a transmissible disea ...

cholera
.
Factories A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization ...
and
slum A slum is a highly populated urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities. Urban may also refer to: Ge ...

slum
s emerged as regular features of the urban landscape.


Post-industrial age

In the second half of the twentieth century,
deindustrialization The former decline_of_the_city's_once_vibrant_Automotive_industry_in_the_United_States.html" ;"title="Decline_of_Detroit.html" ;"title="Detroit.html" ;"title="Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit">Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit is one of the ...
(or "
economic restructuring Economic restructuring is used to indicate changes in the constituent parts of an economy in a very general sense. In the western world, it is usually used to refer to the phenomenon of urban areas shifting from a manufacturing to a service sect ...
") in the West led to
poverty Poverty is the state of having little material possessions or income In microeconomics, income is the Consumption (economics), consumption and saving opportunity gained by an entity within a specified timeframe, which is generally expresse ...

poverty
,
homelessness Homelessness is the condition of lacking stable, safe, and adequate housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to the construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, o ...

homelessness
, and
urban decay Urban decay (also known as urban rot, urban death and urban blight) is the sociological process by which a previously functioning city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Londo ...
in formerly prosperous cities. America's "Steel Belt" became a "
Rust Belt The Rust Belt is a region of the Northeastern The points of the compass are the Euclidean vector, vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, e ...
" and cities such as
Detroit (strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait in either direction. Mo ...
, Michigan, and
Gary, Indiana Gary is a city in Lake County, Indiana Lake County is a county (United States), county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. In 2020, its population was 498,700, making it Indiana's List of counties in Indiana, second-most populous county ...
began to shrink, contrary to the global trend of massive urban expansion. Such cities have shifted with varying success into the
service economy Service economy can refer to one or both of two recent economic developments: * The increased importance of the service sector The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic secto ...
and public-private partnerships, with concomitant
gentrification Gentrification is the process of changing the character of a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard ...

gentrification
, uneven revitalization efforts, and selective cultural development.Kaplan (2004), pp. 160–165. "Entrepreneurial leadership became manifest through growth coalitions made up of builders, realtors, developers, the media, government actors such as mayors, and dominant corporations. For example, in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch, Monsanto, and Ralston Purina played prominent roles. The leadership involved cooperation between public and private interests. The results were efforts at downtown revitalization; inner-city gentrification; the transformation of the CBD to advanced service employment; entertainment, museums, and cultural venues; the construction of sports stadiums and sport complexes; and waterfront development." Under the
Great Leap Forward The Great Leap Forward (Second Five Year Plan) of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, mo ...
and subsequent five-year plans continuing today, the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
has undergone concomitant
urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
and
industrialization Industrialisation ( alternatively spelled industrialization) is the period of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society An agrarian society, or agricultural society, is any community whose economy is b ...
and to become the world's leading
manufacturer Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector ...
. Amidst these economic changes,
high technology High technology (high tech) or frontier technology (frontier tech) is technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of Art techni ...
and instantaneous
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gr ...
enable select cities to become centers of the
knowledge economy The knowledge economy (or the knowledge-based economy) is an economic system in which the production of goods and services is based principally on knowledge-intensive activities that contribute to a rapid pace of advancement in Technology, te ...
. A new
smart city A smart city is a technologically modern urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorize ...
paradigm, supported by institutions such as the
RAND Corporation The RAND Corporation ("research and development") is an American nonprofit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and ope ...
and
IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
, is bringing computerized
surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, many activities, or information for the purpose of information gathering, influencing, managing Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or org ...
, data analysis, and
governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...
to bear on cities and city-dwellers. Some companies are building brand new masterplanned cities from scratch on greenfield sites.


Urbanization

Urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
is the process of migration from rural into urban areas, driven by various political, economic, and cultural factors. Until the 18th century, an equilibrium existed between the rural agricultural population and towns featuring
markets Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
and small-scale manufacturing.William H. Frey & Zachary Zimmer, "Defining the City"; in Paddison (2001). With the
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...
and
industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
revolutions urban population began its unprecedented growth, both through migration and through demographic expansion. In
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
the proportion of the population living in cities jumped from 17% in 1801 to 72% in 1891.Christopher Watson,
Trends in urbanization
",
Proceedings of the First International Conference on Urban Pests
'', ed. K.B. Wildey and William H. Robinson, 1993.
In 1900, 15% of the world population lived in cities. The cultural appeal of cities also plays a role in attracting residents. Urbanization rapidly spread across the Europe and the Americas and since the 1950s has taken hold in Asia and Africa as well. The Population Division of the
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) is part of the United Nations Secretariat The United Nations Secretariat (french: link=no, Secrétariat des Nations unies) is one of the six major organs of the United N ...
, reported in 2014 that for the first time more than half of the world population lives in cities.Somini Sengupta,
U.N. Finds Most People Now Live in Cities
; ''New York Times'', 10 July 2014. Referring to: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division;
World Urbanization Prospects: 2014 Revision
''; New York: United Nations, 2014.
Latin America is the most urban continent, with four fifths of its population living in cities, including one fifth of the population said to live in
shantytown A shanty town or squatter area is a settlement of improvised buildings known as shanties or shack A shack (or, less often, shanty) is a type of small, often primitive shelter or dwelling. Like huts, shacks are constructed by hand using availab ...
s (
favela A favela () is a type of slum A slum is a highly populated urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and ci ...

favela
s, poblaciones callampas, etc.).
Batam Batam is the largest city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routled ...

Batam
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
,
Mogadishu Mogadishu (, also ; so, Muqdisho or Xamar ; ar, مقديشو, Muqadīshū ; it, Mogadiscio ), locally known as Xamar or Hamar, is the capital city and most populous city The United Nations uses three definitions for what constitutes a city ...

Mogadishu
,
Somalia Somalia,, Osmanya script: 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒕𐒖; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of SomaliaThe ''Federal Republic of Somalia'' is the country's name per Article 1 of thProvisional Constitutio ...

Somalia
,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and
Niamey Niamey () is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Niger. Niamey lies on the Niger River, primarily situated on the east bank. Niamey's population was counted as 1,026,848 as of the 2012 census. As of 2017, population projections sho ...

Niamey
,
Niger ) , official_languages = French , languages_type = National language A national language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed languag ...

Niger
, are considered among the world's fastest-growing cities, with annual growth rates of 5–8%. In general, the more developed countries of the " Global North" remain more urbanized than the
less developed countries 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A developing country is a country with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, ...
of the "
Global South The Global South is a term often used to identify lower income countries on one side of the so-called global North–South divide, the other side being the countries of the Global North. As such the term does not inherently refer to a geogra ...
"—but the difference continues to shrink because urbanization is happening faster in the latter group. Asia is home to by far the greatest absolute number of city-dwellers: over two billion and counting. The UN predicts an additional 2.5 billion citydwellers (and 300 million fewer countrydwellers) worldwide by 2050, with 90% of urban population expansion occurring in Asia and Africa. Megacities, cities with population in the multi-millions, have proliferated into the dozens, arising especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Economic globalization fuels the growth of these cities, as new torrents of foreign
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
arrange for rapid industrialization, as well as relocation of major businesses from Europe and North America, attracting
immigrant Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship ...

immigrant
s from near and far. A deep gulf divides rich and poor in these cities, with usually contain a super-wealthy elite living in
gated communities In its modern form, a gated community (or walled community) is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of ...
and large masses of people living in substandard housing with inadequate infrastructure and otherwise poor conditions. Cities around the world have expanded physically as they grow in population, with increases in their surface extent, with the creation of high-rise buildings for residential and commercial use, and with development underground. Urbanization can create rapid demand for
water resources management Water resource management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources Water resources are natural resources of water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency an ...
, as formerly good sources of freshwater become overused and polluted, and the volume of
sewage Sewage (or domestic sewage, domestic wastewater, municipal wastewater) is a type of wastewater Wastewater is generated after the use of fresh water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...
begins to exceed manageable levels.


Government

Local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
of cities takes different forms including prominently the
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
(especially in England, in the United States, in India, and in other
British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administ ...
; legally, the
municipal corporation A municipal corporation is the legal term for a local governing body An Academy school in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west a ...
; ''
municipio ' (, ) and ' () are country subdivisions Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for ...

municipio
'' in
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
and in Portugal, and, along with ''
municipalidad ''Municipalidad'' () is a Spanish term for municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regio ...

municipalidad
'', in most former parts of the
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
empires) and the ''commune'' ( in France and in Chile; or ''
comune The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services: Civil registry, registry of births a ...
'' in Italy). The chief official of the city has the title of
mayor In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their ow ...

mayor
. Whatever their true degree of political authority, the mayor typically acts as the
figurehead In politics, a figurehead is a person who ''de jure In law and government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative ...

figurehead
or personification of their city. City governments have authority to make
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its bounda ...
s governing activity within cities, while its
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
is generally considered
subordinate A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...
(in ascending order) to state/provincial,
national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
, and perhaps
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of anal ...
. This hierarchy of law is not enforced rigidly in practice—for example in conflicts between municipal regulations and national principles such as
constitutional right A constitutional right can be a prerogative or a duty, a power or a restraint of power, recognized and established by a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of peopl ...
s and
property rights The right to property, or the right to own property (cf. ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be any asset, including an object, land or real estate, intellectual property, or until th ...
., "What Sort of a Legal Space is a City?" in Brighenti (2013), pp. 1–20. "Municipalities, within this frame, are understood as nested within the jurisdictional space of the provinces. Indeed, rather than freestanding legal sites, they are imagined as products (or 'creatures') of the provinces who may bring them into being or dissolve them as they choose. As with the provinces their powers are of a delegated form: they may only exercise jurisdiction over areas that have been expressly identified by enabling legislation. Municipal law may not conflict with provincial law, and may only be exercised within its defined territory.
Yet we are danger missing the reach of municipal law: ' en in highly constitutionalized regimes, it has remained possible for municipalities to micro-manage space, time, and activities through police regulations that infringe both on constitutional rights and private property in often extreme ways' (Vaverde 2009: 150). While liberalism fears the encroachments of the state, it seems less worried about those of the municipality. Thus if a national government proposed a statute forbidding public gatherings or sporting events, a revolution would occur. Yet municipalities routinely enact sweeping by-laws directed at open ended (and ill-defined) offences such as loitering and obstruction, requiring permits for protests or requiring residents and homeowners to remove snow from the city's sidewalks."
Legal conflicts and issues arise more frequently in cities than elsewhere due to the bare fact of their greater density. Modern city governments thoroughly
regulate Regulate may refer to: * Regulation * ''Regulate...G Funk Era'', an album from rapper Warren G ** Regulate (song), title song from the album See also

* * * Regulator (disambiguation) * Regulation (disambiguation) {{Disambiguation ...

regulate
everyday life Everyday life, daily life or routine life comprises the ways in which people typically act, think, and feel on a daily basis. Everyday life may be described as mundane, routine, natural, habitual, or normal. Human diurnality Diurnality is ...

everyday life
in many dimensions, including
public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Engli ...

public
and personal
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
,
transport Transport (in British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and ...

transport
,
burial Burial, also known as interment or inhumation, is a method of wherein a dead person or non-human animal is placed into the ground, sometimes with objects. This is usually accomplished by excavating a pit or trench, placing the deceased and ob ...

burial
,
resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable A renewable resource, also know ...

resource
use and extraction,
recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is spent away from , , , , and , as well as necessary activities such as and ing. Leisure as an experience usuall ...

recreation
, and the nature and use of
building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a ...

building
s. Technologies, techniques, and laws governing these areas—developed in cities—have become ubiquitous in many areas. Municipal officials may be appointed from a higher level of government or elected locally.


Municipal services

Cities typically provide
municipal services Municipal services or city services refer to basic services that residents of a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The S ...
such as
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
, through
school system State schools (in England, Wales, and New Zealand) or public schools (Scottish English Scottish English ( gd, Beurla Albannach) is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language spoken in Scotland. The transregional, ...
s;
policing The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic ...

policing
, through police departments; and
firefighting Firefighting is the act of attempting to prevent the spread of and extinguish significant unwanted fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various r ...

firefighting
, through
fire department A fire department (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United Sta ...

fire department
s; as well as the city's basic infrastructure. These are provided more or less routinely, in a more or less equal fashion.Bryan D. Jones, Saadia R. Greenbeg, Clifford Kaufman, & Joseph Drew, "Service Delivery Rules and the Distribution of Local Government Services: Three Detroit Bureaucracies"; in Hahn & Levine (1980). "Local government bureaucracies more or less explicitly accept the goal of implementing rational criteria for the delivery of services to citizens, even though compromises may have to be made in the establishment of these criteria. These production oriented criteria often give rise to "service deliver rules", regularized procedures for the delivery of services, which are attempts to codify the productivity goals of urban service bureaucracies. These rules have distinct, definable distributional consequences which often go unrecognized. That is, the decisions of governments to adopt rational service delivery rules can (and usually do) differentially benefit citizens."Robert L. Lineberry, "Mandating Urban Equality: The Distribution of Municipal Public Services"; in Hahn & Levine (1980). See: Hawkins v. Town of Shaw (1971). Responsibility for administration usually falls on the city government, though some services may be operated by a higher level of government, while others may be privately run. Armies may assume responsibility for policing cities in states of domestic turmoil such as America's
King assassination riots The King-assassination riots, also known as the Holy Week Uprising, was a wave of civil disturbance which swept the United States following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Many believe it to be the greatest wave of ...
of 1968.


Finance

The traditional basis for municipal finance is local
property tax A property tax or millage rate is an ad valorem tax An ''ad valorem'' tax (Latin language, Latin for "according to value") is a tax whose amount is based on the value of a transaction or of property. It is typically imposed at the time of a ...
levied on
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more genera ...

real estate
within the city. Local government can also collect revenue for services, or by leasing land that it owns. However, financing municipal services, as well as
urban renewal Urban renewal (also called urban regeneration in the United Kingdom and urban redevelopment in the United States) is a program of land redevelopment often used to address urban decay in cities. Urban renewal is the clearing out of blighted area ...
and other development projects, is a perennial problem, which cities address through appeals to higher governments, arrangements with the private sector, and techniques such as
privatization Privatization (or privatisation in British English) can mean several different things, most commonly referring to moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heav ...
(selling services into the
private sector The private sector is the part of the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of indust ...
),
corporatization Corporatization is the process of transforming and restructuring state assets, government agencies, public organizations, or municipally owned corporation, municipal organizations into corporations. It involves the adoption and application of bu ...
(formation of quasi-private municipally-owned corporations), and
financialization Financialization (or financialisation in British English) is a term sometimes used to describe the development of financial capitalism during the period from 1980 to present, in which Financial leverage, debt-to-equity ratios increased and finan ...
(packaging city assets into tradable financial public contracts and other related rights. This situation has become acute in deindustrialized cities and in cases where businesses and wealthier citizens have moved outside of
city limits City limits or city boundaries refer to the defined boundary Boundary or Boundaries may refer to: * Border, in political geography Entertainment *Boundaries (2016 film), ''Boundaries'' (2016 film), a 2016 Canadian film *Boundaries (2018 film), ...
and therefore beyond the reach of taxation. Cities in search of ready cash increasingly resort to the
municipal bond A municipal bond, commonly known as a muni, is a bond Bond or bonds may refer to: Common meanings * Bond (finance) In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial sys ...
, essentially a loan with
interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they operate within the financial system. It is concerned with the creation and management of money and investments. Savers and investors have money availa ...
and a repayment date. City governments have also begun to use tax increment financing, in which a development project is financed by loans based on future tax revenues which it is expected to yield.Rachel Weber, "Selling City Futures: The Financialization of Urban Redevelopment Policy"; ''Economic Geography'' 86(3), 2010; . "TIF is an increasingly popular local redevelopment policy that allows municipalities to designate a 'blighted' area for redevelopment and use the expected increase in property (and occasionally sales) taxes there to pay for initial and ongoing redevelopment expenditures, such as land acquisition, demolition, construction, and project financing. Because developers require cash up-front, cities transform promises of future tax revenues into securities that far-flung buyers and sellers exchange through local markets." Under these circumstances, creditors and consequently city governments place a high importance on city
credit ratingA credit rating is an evaluation of the credit risk of a prospective debtor (an individual, a business, company or a government), predicting their ability to pay back the debt, and an implicit forecast of the likelihood of the debtor Default (financ ...

credit rating
s.


Governance

Governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity ...

Governance
includes government but refers to a wider domain of
social control Social control is a concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas or general notions that occur in the mind, in speech, or in thought. They are understood to be the fundamental building blocks of thoughts and belief A belief is an Attitud ...
functions implemented by many actors including
nongovernmental organization upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), which aims to increase ...
s. The impact of globalization and the role of
multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whethe ...
s in local governments worldwide, has led to a shift in perspective on urban governance, away from the "urban regime theory" in which a coalition of local interests functionally govern, toward a theory of outside economic control, widely associated in academics with the philosophy of
neoliberalism Neoliberalism, or neo-liberalism, is a term used to describe the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with free-market In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with valu ...

neoliberalism
. In the neoliberal model of governance, public utilities are
privatized Privatization (or privatisation in British English) can mean different things including moving something from the public sector into the private sector. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for deregulation when a heavily regulated private compa ...
, industry is
deregulatedDeregulation is the process of removing or reducing state regulations, typically in the economic sphere. It is the repeal of governmental Economic regulation, regulation of the economy. It became common in advanced industrial economies in the 1970s ...
, and
corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the State (polity), state to act as a single entity (a legal entity recognized by private and public law "born out of statute"; a legal person in legal ...

corporation
s gain the status of governing actors—as indicated by the power they wield in public-private partnerships and over business improvement districts, and in the expectation of self-regulation through
corporate social responsibility Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of international private business self-regulation which aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically- ...
. The biggest
investor An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through this allocated capital most of the time the investor purchases some species of property. Type ...
s and
real estate developer Real estate development, or property development, is a business process, encompassing activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the purchase of raw Real Estate, land and the sale of developed land or parcel ...
s act as the city's
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
urban planners. The related concept of
good governance Good governance is the process of measuring how public institution conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regard for the ...
places more emphasis on the state, with the purpose of assessing urban governments for their suitability for
development assistance Development aid is aid In international relations, aid (also known as international aid, overseas aid, foreign aid, economic aid or foreign assistance) is – from the perspective of governments – a voluntary transfer of resources from on ...
.Gupta, Verrest, and Jaffe, "Theorizing Governance", in Gupta et al. (2015), pp. 31–33. "The concept of good governance itself was developed in the 1980s, primarily to guide donors in development aid (Doonbos 2001:93). It has been used both as a condition for aid and a development goal in its own right. Key terms in definitions of good governance include participation, accountability, transparency, equity, efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness, and rule of law (e.g. Ginther and de Waart 1995; UNDP 1997; Woods 1999; Weiss 2000). At the urban level, this normative model has been articulated through the idea of good urban governance, promoted by agencies such as UN Habitat. The Colombian city of Bogotá has sometimes been presented as a model city, given its rapid improvements in fiscal responsibility, provision of public services and infrastructure, public behavior, honesty of the administration, and civic pride." The concepts of governance and good governance are especially invoked in the emergent megacities, where international organizations consider existing governments inadequate for their large populations.


Urban planning

Urban planning Urban planning, also known as regional planning, town planning, city planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design A design is a plan or specification for the construction o ...
, the application of forethought to city design, involves optimizing land use, transportation, utilities, and other basic systems, in order to achieve certain objectives. Urban planners and scholars have proposed overlapping theories of urban planning, theories as ideals for how plans should be formed. Planning tools, beyond the original design of the city itself, include public capital investment in infrastructure and Land-use planning, land-use controls such as zoning. The continuous process of comprehensive planning involves identifying general objectives as well as collecting data to evaluate progress and inform future decisions. Government is legally the final authority on planning but in practice the process involves both public and private elements. The legal principle of eminent domain is used by government to divest citizens of their property in cases where its use is required for a project.McQuillin (1937/1987), §§1.75–179. "Zoning, a relatively recent development in the administration of local governmental units, concerns itself with the control of the use of land and structures, the size of buildings, and the use-intensity of building sites. Zoning being an exercise of the police power, it must be justified by such considerations as the protection of public health and safety, the preservation of taxable property values, and the enhancement of community welfare. Municipal powers to implement and effectuate city plans are usually ample. Among these is the power of eminent domain, which has been used effectively in connection with slum clearance and the rehabilitation of blighted areas. Also available to cities in their implementation of planning objectives are municipal powers of zoning, subdivision control and the regulation of building, housing and sanitation principles." Planning often involves tradeoffs—decisions in which some stand to gain and some to lose—and thus is closely connected to the prevailing political situation. The history of urban planning dates to some of the earliest known cities, especially in the Indus Valley and Mesoamerican civilizations, which built their cities on grids and apparently zoned different areas for different purposes. The effects of planning, ubiquitous in today's world, can be seen most clearly in the layout of planned community, planned communities, fully designed prior to construction, often with consideration for interlocking physical, economic, and cultural systems.


Society


Social structure

Urban sociology, Urban society is typically
stratified Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
. Spatially, cities are formally or informally Geographical segregation, segregated along ethnic, economic and racial lines. People living relatively close together may live, work, and play, in separate areas, and associate with different people, forming ethnic enclave, ethnic or lifestyle enclave, lifestyle enclaves or, in areas of concentrated poverty, ghettoes. While in the US and elsewhere poverty became associated with the inner city, in France it has become associated with the ''banlieues'', areas of urban development which surround the city proper. Meanwhile, across Europe and North America, the racially white people, white majority is empirically the most segregated group. Suburbs in the west, and, increasingly, Gated community, gated communities and other forms of "privatopia" around the world, allow local elites to self-segregate into secure and exclusive neighborhoods. Landless urban workers, contrasted with peasants and known as the proletariat, form a growing stratum of society in the age of urbanization. In Marxism, Marxist doctrine, the proletariat will inevitably proletarian revolution, revolt against the bourgeoisie as their ranks swell with disenfranchised and disaffected people lacking all stake in the status quo. The global urban proletariat of today, however, generally lacks the status as factory workers which in the nineteenth century provided access to the means of production.Mike Davis, "The Urbanization of Empire: Megacities and the Laws of Chaos"; ''Social Text'' 22(4), Winter 2004. "Although studies of the so-called urban informal economy have shown myriad secret liaisons with outsourced multinational production systems, the larger fact is that hundreds of millions of new urbanites must further subdivide the peripheral economic niches of personal service, casual labor, street vending, rag picking, begging, and crime.
This outcast proletariat—perhaps 1.5 billion people today, 2.5 billion by 2030—is the fastest-growing and most novel social class on the planet. By and large, the urban informal working class is not a labor reserve army in the nineteenth-century sense: a backlog of strikebreakers during booms; to be expelled during busts; then reabsorbed again in the next expansion. On the contrary, this is a mass of humanity structurally and biologically redundant to the global accumulation and the corporate matrix.
It is ontologically both similar and dissimilar to the historical agency described in the ''Communist Manifesto''. Like the traditional working classes, it has radical chains in the sense of having little vested interest in the reproduction of private property. But it is not a socialized collectivity of labor and it lacks significant power to disrupt or seize the means of production. It does possess, however, yet unmeasured powers of subverting urban order."


Economics

Historically, cities rely on rural areas for intensive farming to crop yield, yield surplus crops, in exchange for which they provide money, political administration, manufactured goods, and culture. Urban economics tends to analyze larger agglomerations, stretching beyond city limits, in order to reach a more complete understanding of the local labor market. As hubs of trade cities have long been home to retail commerce and Consumption (economics), consumption through the interface of shopping. In the 20th century, department stores using new techniques of advertising, public relations, decorative arts, decoration, and design, transformed urban shopping areas into fantasy worlds encouraging self-expression and escape through consumerism. In general, the density of cities expedites commerce and facilitates knowledge spillovers, helping people and firms exchange information and generate new ideas.Kent E. Calder & Mariko de Freytas,
Global Political Cities as Actors in Twenty-First Century International Affairs
"SAIS Review of International Affairs" 29(1), Winter-Spring 2009; . "Beneath state-to-state dealings, a flurry of activity occurs, with interpersonal networks forming policy communities involving embassies, think tanks, academic institutions, lobbying firms, politicians, congressional staff, research centers, NGOs, and intelligence agencies. This interaction at the level of 'technostructure'—heavily oriented toward information gathering and incremental policy modification—is too complex and voluminous to be monitored by top leadership, yet nevertheless often has important implications for policy."
A thicker labor market allows for better skill matching between firms and individuals. Population density enables also sharing of common infrastructure and production facilities, however in very dense cities, increased crowding and waiting times may lead to some negative effects. Although
manufacturing Manufacturing is the creation or Production (economics), production of goods with the help of equipment, Work (human activity), labor, machines, tools, and chemical or biological processing or formulation. It is the essence of secondary sector ...
fueled the growth of cities, many now rely on a Tertiary sector of the economy, tertiary or
service economy Service economy can refer to one or both of two recent economic developments: * The increased importance of the service sector The tertiary sector of the economy, generally known as the service sector, is the third of the three economic secto ...
. The services in question range from tourism, hospitality industry, hospitality, entertainment, housekeeping and prostitution to grey-collar work in legal outsourcing, law, financial services, finance, and management, administration.


Culture and communications

Cities are typically hubs for
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion ...

education
and the arts, supporting university, universities, museums, temples, and other cultural institutions. They feature impressive displays of architecture ranging from small to enormous and ornate to Brutalist architecture, brutal; skyscrapers, providing thousands of offices or homes within a small footprint, and visible from miles away, have become iconic urban features. Cultural elites tend to live in cities, bound together by shared cultural capital, and themselves playing some role in governance. By virtue of their status as centers of culture and literacy, cities can be described as the locus of
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
, history of the world, world history, and social change. Density makes for effective mass communication and transmission of news, through heralds, printed proclamations, newspapers, and digital media. These communication networks, though still using cities as hubs, penetrate extensively into all populated areas. In the age of rapid communication and transportation, commentators have described urban culture as nearly ubiquitous or as no longer meaningful. Today, a city's promotion of its cultural activities dovetails with place branding and city marketing, public diplomacy techniques used to inform development strategy; to attract businesses, investors, residents, and tourists; and to create a collective identity, shared identity and sense of place within the metropolitan area.Greg Kerr & Jessica Oliver, "Rethinking Place Identities", in Kavaratzis, Warnaby, & Ashworth (2015). Physical inscriptions, Historical marker, plaques, and monuments on display physically transmit a historical context for urban places. Some cities, such as
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
,
Mecca Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah ( ) and commonly shortened to Makkah ( ),Quran 48:22 ' () is a city and administrative center of the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia, and the Holiest sites in Islam, holiest city in Islam. It is inland ...

Mecca
, and
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
have indelible religious status and for hundreds of years have attracted pilgrims. Patriotic tourists visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal, or New York City to visit the World Trade Center (2001–present), World Trade Center. Elvis lovers visit Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis to pay their respects at Graceland. Place brands (which include place satisfaction and place loyalty) have great economic value (comparable to the value of commodity brands) because of their influence on the decision-making process of people thinking about doing business in—"purchasing" (the brand of)—a city. Bread and circuses among other forms of cultural appeal, attract and entertain commoner, the masses.Moholy-Nagy (1968), pp. 136–137. "Why do anonymous people—the poor, the underprivileged, the unconnected—frequently prefer life under miserable conditions in tenements to the healthy order and tranquility of small towns or the sanitary subdivisions of semirural developments? The imperial planners and architects knew the answer, which is as valid today as it was 2,000 years ago. Big cities were created as power images of a competitive society, conscious of its achievement potential. Those who came to live in them did so in order to participate and compete on any attainable level. Their aim was to share in public life, and they were willing to pay for this share with personal discomfort. 'Bread and games' was a cry for opportunity and entertainment still ranking foremost among urban objectives. Sports also play a major role in city branding and local Identity (social science), identity formation. Cities go to considerable lengths in competing to host the Olympic Games, which bring global attention and tourism.Stephen V. Ward, "Promoting the Olympic City"; in John R. Gold & Margaret M. Gold, eds., ''Olympic Cities: City Agendas, Planning and the World's Games'', 1896–2016; London & New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2008/2011; . "All this media exposure, provided it is reasonably positive, influences many tourist decisions at the time of the Games. This tourism impact will focus on, but extend beyond, the city to the country and the wider global region. More importantly, there is also huge long term potential for both tourism and investment (Kasimati, 2003).
No other city marketing opportunity achieves this global exposure. At the same time, provided it is carefully managed at the local level, it also gives a tremendous opportunity to heighten and mobilize the commitment of citizens to their own city. The competitive nature of sport and its unrivalled capacity to be enjoyed as a mass cultural activity gives it many advantages from the marketing point of view (S.V. Ward, 1998, pp. 231–232). In a more subtle way it also becomes a metaphor for the notion of cities having to compete in a global marketplace, a way of reconciling citizens and local institutions to the wider economic realities of the world."


Warfare

Cities play a crucial strategic role in warfare due to their economic, demographic, symbolic, and political centrality. For the same reasons, they are targets in asymmetric warfare. Many cities throughout history were founded under military auspices, a great many have incorporated fortifications, and military principles continue to military urbanism, influence urban design. Indeed, war may have served as the social rationale and economic basis for the very earliest cities.Mumford (1961), pp. 39–46. "As the physical means increased, this one-sided power mythology, sterile, indeed hostile to life, pushed its way into every corner of the urban scene and found, in the ''new'' institution of organized war, its completest expression. Thus both the physical form and the institutional life of the city, from the very beginning to the urban implosion, were shaped in no small measure by the irrational and magical purposes of war. From this source sprang the elaborate system of fortifications, with walls, ramparts, towers, canals, ditches, that continued to characterize the chief historic cities, apart from certain special cases—as during the Pax Romana—down to the eighteenth century. War brought concentration of social leadership and political power in the hands of a weapons-bearing minority, abetted by a priesthood exercising sacred powers and possessing secret but valuable scientific and magical knowledge." Powers engaged in geopolitics, geopolitical conflict have established fortified settlements as part of military strategies, as in the case of garrison towns, America's Strategic Hamlet Program during the Vietnam War, and Israeli settlements in Palestine. While Philippine–American War, occupying the Philippines, the US Army ordered local people concentrated into cities and towns, in order to isolate committed insurgents and battle freely against them in the countryside. During World War II, national governments on occasion declared certain cities open city, open, effectively surrender (military), surrendering them to an advancing enemy in order to avoid damage and bloodshed. Urban warfare proved decisive, however, in the Battle of Stalingrad, where Soviet forces repulsed German occupiers, with extreme casualties and destruction. In an era of low-intensity conflict and rapid urbanization, cities have become sites of long-term conflict waged both by foreign occupiers and by local governments against insurgency. Such warfare, known as counterinsurgency, involves techniques of surveillance and psychological warfare as well as close combat, functionally extends modern urban crime prevention, which already uses concepts such as defensible space theory, defensible space. Although capture is the more common objective, warfare has in some cases spelt complete destruction for a city. Mesopotamian Cuneiform script#List of major cuneiform tablet discoveries, tablets and
ruins Ruins () are the remains of a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additiona ...

ruins
attest to such destruction, as does the Latin motto ''Carthago delenda est''. Since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and throughout the Cold War, Nuclear strategy, nuclear strategists continued to contemplate the use of "countervalue" targeting: crippling an enemy by annihilating its valuable cities, rather than counterforce, aiming primarily at its military forces.


Climate change


Infrastructure

Urban
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An ec ...

infrastructure
involves various physical networks and spaces necessary for transportation, water use, energy, recreation, and public functions.Joel A. Tarr, "The Evolution of the Urban Infrastructure in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries"; in Hanson (1984). Infrastructure carries a high initial cost in fixed capital (pipes, wires, plants, vehicles, etc.) but lower marginal costs and thus positive economies of scale.Wellman & Spiller, "Introduction", in Wellman & Spiller (2012). Because of the higher barriers to entry, these networks have been classified as natural monopoly, natural monopolies, meaning that economic logic favors control of each network by a single organization, public or private. Infrastructure in general (if not every infrastructure project) plays a vital role in a city's capacity for economic activity and expansion, underpinning the very survival of the city's inhabitants, as well as technological, commercial, industrial, and social activities. Structurally, many infrastructure systems take the form of network theory, networks with redundant links and multiple pathways, so that the system as a whole continue to operate even if parts of it fail.Kath Wellman & Frederik Pretorius, "Urban Infrastructure: Productivity, Project Evaluation, and Finance"; in Wellman & Spiller (2012). The particulars of a city's infrastructure systems have historical path dependence because new development must build from what exists already. Megaprojects such as the construction of airports, power plants, and railways require large upfront investments and thus tend to require funding from national government or the private sector. Privatization may also extend to all levels of infrastructure construction and maintenance. Urban infrastructure ideally serves all residents equally but in practice may prove uneven—with, in some cities, clear first-class and second-class alternatives.


Utilities

Public utility, Public utilities (literally, useful things with general availability) include basic and essential infrastructure networks, chiefly concerned with the supply of water, electricity, and telecommunications capability to the populace. Sanitation, necessary for good health in crowded conditions, requires water supply and waste management as well as individual hygiene. Urban water systems include principally a water supply network and a network (Sewerage, sewerage system) for
sewage Sewage (or domestic sewage, domestic wastewater, municipal wastewater) is a type of wastewater Wastewater is generated after the use of fresh water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and n ...
and stormwater. History of water supply and sanitation, Historically, either local governments or private companies have administered urban water supply, with a tendency toward government water supply in the 20th century and a tendency toward private operation at the turn of the twenty-first. The market for private water services is dominated by two French companies, Veolia Water (formerly Vivendi) and Engie (formerly Suez (company), Suez), said to hold 70% of all water contracts worldwide.Karen Bakker, "Archipelagos and networks: urbanization and water privatization in the South"; ''The Geographical Journal'' 169(4), December 2003; . "The diversity of water supply management systems worldwide—which operate along a continuum between fully public and fully private—bear witness to repeated shifts back and forth between private and public ownership and management of water systems." Modern urban life relies heavily on the energy transmitted through electricity for the operation of electric machines (from household Home appliance, appliances to outline of industrial machinery, industrial machines to now-ubiquitous electronics, electronic systems used in communications, business, and government) and for traffic lights, streetlights and indoor lighting. Cities rely to a lesser extent on hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and natural gas for transportation, heating, and cooking. Telecommunications infrastructure such as telephone lines and coaxial cables also traverse cities, forming dense networks for mass communication, mass and point-to-point (telecommunications), point-to-point communications.


Transportation

Because cities rely on specialization and an economic system based on wage labour, their inhabitants must have the ability to regularly travel between home, work, commerce, and entertainment. Citydwellers travel foot or by wheel on roads and walkways, or use special rapid transit systems based on tunnel, underground, light rail, overground, and Elevated railway, elevated rail. Cities also rely on long-distance transportation (truck, rail transport, rail, and airplane) for economic connections with other cities and rural areas.Tom Hart, "Transport and the City"; in Paddison (2001). Historically, city streets were the domain of horses and their riders and pedestrians, who only sometimes had sidewalks and transit mall, special walking areas reserved for them. In the west, bicycles or (velocipedes), efficient human-powered machines for short- and medium-distance travel, enjoyed a period of popularity at the beginning of the twentieth century before the rise of automobiles. Soon after, they gained a more lasting foothold in Asian and African cities under European influence. In western cities, industrializing, expanding, and electrification, electrifying at this time, public transit systems and especially streetcars enabled urban expansion as new residential neighborhoods sprung up along transit lines and workers rode to and from work downtown.J. Allen Whitt & Glenn Yago, "Corporate Strategies and the Decline of Transit in U.S. Cities"; ''Urban Affairs Quarterly'' 21(1), September 1985. Since the mid-twentieth century, cities have relied heavily on motor vehicle transportation, with major effects of the car on societies, implications for their layout, environment, and aesthetics.Iain Borden, "Automobile Interstices: Driving and the In-Between Spaces of the City"; in Brighenti (2013). (This transformation occurred most dramatically in the US—where corporate and governmental policies favored automobile transport systems—and to a lesser extent in Europe.) The rise of personal cars accompanied the expansion of urban economic areas into much larger
metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolis in the background A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural cen ...

metropolis
es, subsequently creating ubiquitous traffic issues with accompanying construction of new highways, wider streets, and alternative walkways for pedestrians.. However, severe traffic jams still occur regularly in cities around the world, as private car ownership and urbanization continue to increase, overwhelming existing urban street networks.. The urban Public transport bus service, bus system, the world's most common form of public transport, uses a network of scheduled bus route, routes to move people through the city, alongside cars, on the roads. Economic function itself also became more decentralized as concentration became impractical and employers relocated to more car-friendly locations (including edge cities). Some cities have introduced bus rapid transit systems which include exclusive bus lanes and other methods for prioritizing bus traffic over private cars. Many big American cities still operate conventional public transit by rail, as exemplified by the ever-popular New York City Subway system. Rapid transit is widely used in Europe and has increased in Latin America and Asia. Walking and cycling ("non-motorized transport") enjoy increasing favor (more pedestrian zones and bike lanes) in American and Asian urban transportation planning, under the influence of such trends as the healthy city, Healthy Cities movement, the drive for
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
, and the idea of a carfree city. Techniques such as road space rationing and road pricing, road use charges have been introduced to limit urban car traffic.


Housing

Housing of residents presents one of the major challenges every city must face. Adequate housing entails not only physical Shelter (building), shelters but also the physical systems necessary to sustain life and economic activity. Owner-occupancy, Home ownership represents status and a modicum of economic security, compared to renting which may consume much of the income of low-wage urban workers. Homelessness, or lack of housing, is a challenge currently faced by millions of people in countries rich and poor.


Ecology

Urban ecosystems, influenced as they are by the density of human buildings and activities differ considerably from those of their rural surroundings. Anthropogenic buildings and waste, as well as Agriculture, cultivation in gardens, create physical and chemical environments which have no equivalents in wilderness, in some cases enabling exceptional biodiversity. They provide homes not only for immigrant humans but also for introduced species, immigrant plants, bringing about interactions between species which never previously encountered each other. They introduce frequent disturbance (ecology), disturbances (construction, walking) to plant and animal habitats, creating opportunities for Secondary succession, recolonization and thus favoring ecological succession, young ecosystems with r/K selection theory, r-selected species dominant. On the whole, urban ecosystems are less complex and productive than others, due to the diminished absolute amount of biological interactions.S.T.A. Pickett, M.L. Cadenasso, J.M. Grove, C.H. Nilon, R.V. Pouyat, W.C. Zipperer, & R. Costanza, "Urban Ecological Systems: Linking Terrestrial Ecological, Physical, and Socioeconomic Components of Metropolitan Areas"; in Marzluff et al. (2008). Typical urban fauna include insects (especially ants), rodents (mouse, mice, rats), and birds, as well as cats and dogs (domestication, domesticated and feral). Large predators are scarce. Cities generate considerable
ecological footprint The ecological footprint is a method promoted by the Global Footprint Network Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003, is an independent think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research ce ...
s, locally and at longer distances, due to concentrated populations and technological activities. From one perspective, cities are not ecologically sustainable due to their resource needs. From another, proper management may be able to ameliorate a city's ill effects. Air pollution arises from various forms of combustion, including fireplaces, wood or coal-burning stoves, other heating systems, and internal combustion engines. Industrialized cities, and today third-world megacities, are notorious for veils of smog (industrial haze) which envelop them, posing a chronic threat to the health of their millions of inhabitants.Peter Adey, "Coming up for Air: Comfort, Conflict and the Air of the Megacity"; in Brighenti (2013), p. 103. Urban soil contains higher concentrations of heavy metals (especially lead, copper, and nickel) and has lower pH than soil in comparable wilderness. Modern cities are known for creating their own microclimates, due to concrete, asphalt, and other artificial surfaces, which heat up in sunlight and channel rainwater into storm sewer, underground ducts. The Geography of New York City#Climate, temperature in New York City exceeds Climate of New York, nearby rural temperatures by an average of 2–3 °C and at times 5–10 °C differences have been recorded. This effect varies nonlinearly with population changes (independently of the city's physical size). Aerial particulates increase rainfall by 5–10%. Thus, urban areas experience unique climates, with earlier flowering and later leaf dropping than in nearby country. Poor and working-class people face disproportionate exposure to environmental risks (known as environmental racism when intersecting also with racial segregation). For example, within the urban microclimate, less-vegetated poor neighborhoods bear more of the heat (but have fewer means of coping with it). One of the main methods of improving the urban ecology is including in the cities more natural areas:
Park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure Leisure has often been defined as a quality of experience or as free time. Free time is ...

Park
s, Gardens, Lawns, and Trees. These areas improve the health, the well-being of the human, animal, and plant population of the cities. Generally they are called Urban open space (although this word does not always mean green space), Green space, Urban greening. Well-maintained urban trees can provide many social, ecological, and physical benefits to the residents of the city. A study published in Nature's Scientific Reports journal in 2019 found that people who spent at least two hours per week in nature, were 23 percent more likely to be satisfied with their life and were 59 percent more likely to be in good health than those who had zero exposure. The study used data from almost 20,000 people in the UK. Benefits increased for up to 300 minutes of exposure. The benefits applied to men and women of all ages, as well as across different ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and even those with long-term illnesses and disabilities. People who did not get at least two hours — even if they surpassed an hour per week — did not get the benefits. The study is the latest addition to a compelling body of evidence for the health benefits of nature. Many doctors already give nature prescriptions to their patients. The study didn't count time spent in a person's own yard or garden as time in nature, but the majority of nature visits in the study took place within two miles from home. "Even visiting local urban green spaces seems to be a good thing," Dr. White said in a press release. "Two hours a week is hopefully a realistic target for many people, especially given that it can be spread over an entire week to get the benefit."


World city system

As the world becomes more closely linked through economics, politics, technology, and culture (a process called globalization), cities have come to play a leading role in transnational affairs, exceeding the limitations of international relations conducted by national governments.Gupta et al. (2015), 5–11. "Current globalization, characterized by hyper capitalism and technological revolutions, is understood as the growing intensity of economic, demographic, social, political, cultural and environmental interactions worldwide, leading to increasing interdependence and homogenization of ideologies, production and consumption patterns and lifestyles (Pieterse 1994; Sassen 1998). Decentralization processes have increased city-level capacities of city authorities to develop and implement local social and developmental policies. Cities as homes of the rich, and of powerful businesses, banks, stock markets, UN agencies and NGOs, are the location from which global to local decision-making occurs (e.g. New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, São Paulo)." This phenomenon, resurgent today, can be traced back to the Silk Road,
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
, and the Greek city-states, through the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
and other alliances of cities. Today the information economy based on high-speed internet infrastructure enables instantaneous
telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of information by various types of technologies over wire A wire is a single usually cylindrical A cylinder (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gr ...
around the world, effectively eliminating the distance between cities for the purposes of the international markets and other high-level elements of the world economy, as well as personal communications and mass media.


Global city

A global city, also known as a world city, is a prominent centre of trade, banking, finance, innovation, and markets. Saskia Sassen used the term "global city" in her 1991 work, ''The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo'' to refer to a city's Power (social and political), power, status, and cosmopolitanism, rather than to its size. Following this view of cities, it is possible to Global city#GaWC study, rank the world's cities hierarchically.John Friedmann and Goetz Wolff, "World City Formation: An Agenda for Research and Action," ''International Journal of Urban and Regional Research'', 6, no. 3 (1982): 319 Global cities form the capstone of the global hierarchy, exerting command and control through their economic and political influence. Global cities may have reached their status due to early transition to post-industrial society, post-industrialism or through inertia which has enabled them to maintain their dominance from the industrial era. This type of ranking exemplifies an emerging discourse in which cities, considered variations on the same ideal type, ''must'' compete with each other globally to achieve prosperity. Critics of the notion point to the different realms of power and interchange. The term "global city" is heavily influenced by economic factors and, thus, may not account for places that are otherwise significant. Paul James (academic), Paul James, for example argues that the term is "reductive and skewed" in its focus on financial systems. Multinational corporations and banks make their headquarters in global cities and conduct much of their business within this context. American firms dominate the international markets for law firm, law and engineering and maintain branches in the biggest foreign global cities. Global cities feature concentrations of extremely wealthy and extremely poor people. Their economies are lubricated by their capacity (limited by the national government's immigration policy, which functionally defines the supply side of the labor market) to recruit low- and high-skilled immigrant workers from poorer areas. More and more cities today draw on this globally available labor force.


Transnational activity

Cities increasingly participate in world political activities independently of their enclosing nation-states. Early examples of this phenomenon are the sister city relationship and the promotion of multi-level governance within the European Union as a technique for European integration.Herrschel & Newman (2017), pp. 3–4. "Instead, the picture is becoming more detailed and differentiated, with a growing number of sub-national entities, cities, city-regions and regions, becoming more visible in their own right, either individually, or collectively as networks, by, more or less tentatively, stepping out of the territorial canvas and hierarchical institutional hegemony of the state. Prominent and well-known cities, and those regions with a strong sense of identity and often a quest for more autonomy, have been the most enthusiastic, as they began to be represented beyond state borders by high-profile city mayors and some regional leaders with political courage and agency. This, then, became part of the much bigger political project of the European Union (EU), which has offered a particularly supportive environment for international engagement by—and among—subnational governments as part of its inherent integrationist agenda." Cities including Hamburg, Prague,
Amsterdam Amsterdam (, , ) is the Capital of the Netherlands, capital and Municipalities of the Netherlands, most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680 within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the City Region of Amsterdam, urban ar ...

Amsterdam
, The Hague, and City of London maintain their own embassies to Brussels and the European Union, the European Union at Brussels. New urban dwellers may increasingly not simply as immigrants but as transmigrants, keeping one foot each (through telecommunications if not travel) in their old and their new homes.


Global governance

Cities participate in global governance by various means including membership in global networks which transmit norms and regulations. At the general, global level, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) is a significant umbrella organization for cities; regionally and nationally, Eurocities, Asian Network of Major Cities 21, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities the National League of Cities, and the United States Conference of Mayors play similar roles.Sofie Bouteligier,
Inequality in new global governance arrangements: the North–South divide in transnational municipal networks
; ''Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research'' 26(3), 2013; . "City networks are not a new phenomenon, but it was the 1990s that saw an explosion of such initiatives, especially in the environmental domain. This is mostly ascribed to (chapter 28 of) Agenda 21, which recognizes the role of local authorities in the promotion of sustainable development and stimulates exchange and cooperation between them."
Herrschel & Newman (2017), p. 82. UCLG took responsibility for creating Agenda 21 for culture, a program for cultural policy, cultural policies promoting sustainable development, and has organized various conferences and reports for its furtherance.Nancy Duxbury & Sharon Jeannotte,
Global Cultural Governance Policy
; Chapter 21 in ''The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning and Culture''; London: Ashgate, 2013.
Networks have become especially prevalent in the arena of environmentalism and specifically climate change following the adoption of Agenda 21. Environmental city networks include the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, World Association of Major Metropolises ("Metropolis"), the United Nations Global Compact#UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme, the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA), the Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors, ICLEI, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Transition Towns (network), Transition Towns network. Cities with world political status as meeting places for advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, lobbyists, educational institutions, intelligence agencies, military contractors, information technology firms, and other groups with a stake in world policymaking. They are consequently also sites for symbolic protest.


United Nations System

The United Nations System has been involved in a series of events and declarations dealing with the development of cities during this period of rapid urbanization. * The Habitat I conference in 1976 adopted the "Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements" which identifies urban management as a fundamental aspect of economic development, development and establishes various principles for maintaining urban habitats. * Citing the Vancouver Declaration, the UN General Assembly in December 1977 authorized the United Nations Commission Human Settlements and the HABITAT Centre for Human Settlements, intended to coordinate UN activities related to housing and settlements.Peter R. Walker, "Human Settlements and Urban Life: A United Nations Perspective"; ''Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless'' 14, 2005; . * The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro resulted in a set of international agreements including Agenda 21 which establishes principles and plans for
sustainable development Sustainable development is the organizing principle for meeting human development goals while simultaneously sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services Social forestry in India, Social ...

sustainable development
. * The Habitat II conference in 1996 called for cities to play a leading role in this program, which subsequently advanced the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. * In January 2002 the UN Commission on Human Settlements became an umbrella agency called the United Nations Human Settlements Programme or UN-Habitat, a member of the United Nations Development Group. * The Habitat III conference of 2016 focused on implementing these goals under the banner of a "New Urban Agenda". The four mechanisms envisioned for effecting the New Urban Agenda are (1) national policies promoting integrated sustainable development, (2) stronger urban governance, (3) long-term integrated urban and territorial planning, and (4) effective financing frameworks. Just before this conference, the European Union concurrently approved an "Urban Agenda for the European Union" known as the Pact of Amsterdam.Vanessa Watson, "Locating planning in the New Urban Agenda of the urban sustainable development goal"; ''Planning Theory'' 15(4), 2016; . UN-Habitat coordinates the UN urban agenda, working with the UN Environmental Programme, the UN Development Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization, and the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
, a United Nations List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency, has been a primary force in promoting the Habitat conferences, and since the first Habitat conference has used their declarations as a framework for issuing loans for urban infrastructure.Susan Parnell, "Defining a Global Urban Development Agenda"; ''World Development'' 78, 2015; ; pp. 531–532: "Garnered by its interest in the urban poor the Bank, along with other international donors, became an active and influential participant in the Habitat deliberations, confirming both Habitat I and Habitat II's focus on 'development in cities' instead of the role of 'cities in development'." The bank's structural adjustment programs contributed to urbanization in the Third World by creating incentives to move to cities. The World Bank and UN-Habitat in 1999 jointly established the Cities Alliance (based at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.) to guide policymaking, knowledge sharing, and Grant (money), grant distribution around the issue of urban poverty. (UN-Habitat plays an advisory role in evaluating the quality of a locality's governance.) The Bank's policies have tended to focus on bolstering
real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real property, (more genera ...

real estate
markets through credit and technical assistance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO has increasingly focused on cities as key sites for influencing cultural governance. It has developed various city networks including the International Coalition of Cities against Racism and the Creative Cities Network. UNESCO's capacity to select World Heritage Sites gives the organization significant influence over cultural capital, tourism, and historic preservation funding.


Representation in culture

Cities figure prominently in traditional Western culture, appearing in the Bible in both evil and holy forms, symbolized by
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Babil'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bavel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babili'' *Kassite The Kassites ...

Babylon
and
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. Cain and Nimrod are the first city builders in the Book of Genesis. In Sumerian mythology Gilgamesh built the walls of Uruk. Cities can be perceived in terms of extremes or opposites: at once liberating and oppressive, wealthy and poor, organized and chaotic. The name anti-urbanism refers to various types of ideological opposition to cities, whether because of their culture or their political relationship with Rural area, the country. Such opposition may result from identification of cities with oppression and the ruling elite. This and other political ideologies strongly influence narratives and themes in discourse about cities. In turn, cities symbolize their home societies. Writers, painters, and filmmakers have produced innumerable works of art concerning the urban experience. Classical and medieval literature includes a genre of ''List of literary descriptions of cities (before 1550), descriptiones'' which treat of city features and history. Modern authors such as Charles Dickens and James Joyce are famous for evocative descriptions of their home cities. Fritz Lang conceived the idea for his influential 1927 film ''Metropolis (1927 film), Metropolis'' while visiting Times Square and marveling at the nighttime neon lighting. Other early cinematic representations of cities in the twentieth century generally depicted them as technologically efficient spaces with smoothly functioning systems of automobile transport. By the 1960s, however, traffic congestion began to appear in such films as ''The Fast Lady'' (1962) and ''Playtime'' (1967). Literature, film, and other forms of popular culture have supplied visions of future cities both utopian and dystopian. The prospect of expanding, communicating, and increasingly interdependent world cities has given rise to images such as Nylonkong (New York, London, Hong Kong) and visions of a single world-encompassing ecumenopolis.Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis,
Ecumenopolis: Tomorrow's City
'; Britannica Book of the Year, 1968. Chapter V: Ecumenopolis, the Real City of Man. "Ecumenopolis, which mankind will have built 150 years from now, can be the real city of man because, for the first time in history, man will have one city rather than many cities belonging to different national, racial, religious, or local groups, each ready to protect its own members but also ready to fight those from other cities, large and small, interconnected into a system of cities. Ecumenopolis, the unique city of man, will form a continuous, differentiated, but also unified texture consisting of many cells, the human communities."


See also

* Lists of cities * List of adjectivals and demonyms for cities * Lost city * Metropolis * Compact City * Megacity * Settlement hierarchy *
Urbanization Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from rural File:Rural landscape in Finland.jpg, A rural landscape in Lappeenranta, South Karelia, Finland. 15 July 2000. In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographi ...
* ''''


Notes


References

Bibliography * Abrahamson, Mark (2004). ''Global Cities''. Oxford University Press. * Ashworth, G.J. ''War and the City''. London & New York: Routledge, 1991. . * * Bridge, Gary, and Sophie Watson, eds. (2000). ''A Companion to the City''. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000/2003. * Brighenti, Andrea Mubi, ed. (2013). ''Urban Interstices: The Aesthetics and the Politics of the In-between.'' Farnham: Ashgate Publishing. . * Carter, Harold (1995). ''The Study of Urban Geography''. Fourth edition. London: Arnold. * Curtis, Simon (2016). ''Global Cities and Global Order''. Oxford University Press. * Jacques Ellul, Ellul, Jacques (1970). ''The Meaning of the City''. Translated by Dennis Pardee. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1970. ; French original (written earlier, published later as): :fr:Sans feu ni lieu : Signification biblique de la Grande Ville, Sans feu ni lieu : Signification biblique de la Grande Ville; Paris: Gallimard, 1975. Republished 2003 with * Gupta, Joyetta, Karin Pfeffer, Hebe Verrest, & Mirjam Ros-Tonen, eds. (2015). ''Geographies of Urban Governance: Advanced Theories, Methods and Practices''. Springer, 2015. . * Hahn, Harlan, & Charles Levine (1980). ''Urban Politics: Past, Present, & Future''. New York & London: Longman. * Hanson, Royce (ed.).
Perspectives on Urban Infrastructure
'. Committee on National Urban Policy, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. Washington: National Academy Press, 1984. * Herrschel, Tassilo & Peter Newman (2017). ''Cities as International Actors: Urban and Regional Governance Beyond the Nation State''. Palgrave Macmillan (Springer Nature). * * Grava, Sigurd (2003). ''Urban Transportation Systems: Choices for Communities''. McGraw Hill, e-book. * * Kaplan, David H.; James O. Wheeler; Steven R. Holloway; & Thomas W. Hodler, cartographer (2004). ''Urban Geography''. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. * Kavaratzis, Mihalis, Gary Warnaby, & Gregory J. Ashworth, eds. (2015). ''Rethinking Place Branding: Comprehensive Brand Development for Cities and Regions''. Springer. . * Kraas, Frauke, Surinder Aggarwal, Martin Coy, & Günter Mertins, eds. (2014). ''Megacities: Our Global Urban Future''. United Nations "International Year of Planet Earth" book series. Springer. . * Latham, Alan, Derek McCormack, Kim McNamara, & Donald McNeil (2009). ''Key Concepts in Urban Geography''. London: SAGE. . * Leach, William (1993). ''Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture''. New York: Vintage Books (Random House), 1994. . * Levy, John M. (2017). ''Contemporary Urban Planning''. 11th Edition. New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis). * Magnusson, Warren. ''Politics of Urbanism: Seeing like a city''. London & New York: Routledge, 2011. . * Marshall, John U. (1989). ''The Structure of Urban Systems''. University of Toronto Press. . * Marzluff, John M., Eric Schulenberger, Wilfried Endlicher, Marina Alberti, Gordon Bradley, Clre Ryan, Craig ZumBrunne, & Ute Simon (2008). ''Urban Ecology: An International Perspective on the Interaction Between Humans and Nature''. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. . * McQuillan, Eugene (1937/1987). ''The Law of Municipal Corporations: Third Edition.'' 1987 revised volume by Charles R.P. Keating, Esq. Wilmette, Illinois: Callaghan & Company. * Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl (1968). ''Matrix of Man: An Illustrated History of Urban Environment.'' New York: Frederick A Praeger. * Lewis Mumford, Mumford, Lewis (1961). ''The City in History, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects''. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. * * * Paddison, Ronan, ed. (2001). ''Handbook of Urban Studies''. London; Thousand Oaks, California; and New Delhi: SAGE Publications. . * * Witold Rybczynski, Rybczynski, W., ''City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World'', (1995) * Smith, Michael E. (2002
''The Earliest Cities. In Urban Life: Readings in Urban Anthropology, edited by George Gmelch and Walter Zenner''
pp. 3–19. 4th ed. Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, IL. * Aidan Southall, Southall, Aidan (1998). ''The City in Time and Space''. Cambridge University Press. * Wellman, Kath & Marcus Spiller, eds. (2012). ''Urban Infrastructure: Finance and Management''. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. . Further reading * Berger, Alan S.
''The City: Urban Communities and Their Problems''
Dubuque, Iowa : William C. Brown, 1978. * Chandler, T. ''Four Thousand Years of Urban Growth: An Historical Census''. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1987. * Patrick Geddes, Geddes, Patrick, ''City Development'' (1904) * * Kemp, Roger L. '' Managing America's Cities: A Handbook for Local Government Productivity'', McFarland and Company, Inc., Publisher, Jefferson, North Carolina and London, 2007. (). * Kemp, Roger L. ''How American Governments Work: A Handbook of City, County, Regional, State, and Federal Operations'', McFarland and Company, Inc., Publisher, Jefferson, North Carolina and London. (). * Kemp, Roger L. "City and Gown Relations: A Handbook of Best Practices," McFarland and Company, Inc., Publisher, Jefferson, North Carolina, US, and London, (2013). (). * Monti, Daniel J., Jr., ''The American City: A Social and Cultural History''. Oxford, England and Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999. 391 pp. . * Reader, John (2005) Cities. Vintage, New York. * Robson, W.A., and Regan, D.E., ed., ''Great Cities of the World'', (3d ed., 2 vol., 1972) * Smethurst, Paul (2015). ''The Bicycle – Towards a Global History''. Palgrave Macmillan. . * Thernstrom, S., and Sennett, R., ed., ''Nineteenth-Century Cities'' (1969) * Arnold J. Toynbee, Toynbee, Arnold J. (ed), ''Cities of Destiny'', New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Pan historical/geographical essays, many images. Starts with "Athens", ends with "The Coming World City-Ecumenopolis". * Max Weber, Weber, Max, ''The City (Weber book), The City'', 1921. (tr. 1958)


External links


World Urbanization Prospects
Website of the United Nations Population Division *
Urban population (% of total)
– World Bank website based on UN data.
Degree of urbanization (percentage of urban population in total population) by continent in 2016
– Statista, based on Population Reference Bureau data. * * {{Authority control City, Cities Urban geography Populated places by type Types of populated places