City From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigationJump to search For other uses, see City (disambiguation). Population tables of world cities Tokyo skyline World's largest cities World's largest cities proper World's largest conurbations World's largest urban areas World megacities World megalopolises vte The waterfront of Alexandria, a modern city with at least 23 centuries of history. A satellite view of East Asia at night shows urbanization as illumination. Here the Taiheiyō Belt, which includes Tokyo, demonstrates how megalopolises can produce light pollution. This 1908 map of Piraeus, the port of Athens, shows the city's grid plan, credited by Aristotle to Hippodamus of Miletus. A city is a large human settlement. Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, utilities, land use, and communication. Their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process. Historically, city-dwellers have been a small proportion of humanity overall, but following two centuries of unprecedented and rapid urbanization, roughly half of the world population now lives in cities, which has had profound consequences for global sustainability. Present-day cities usually form the core of larger metropolitan areas and urban areas—creating numerous commuters traveling towards city centers for employment, entertainment, and edification. However, in a world of intensifying globalization, all cities are in different degree also connected globally beyond these regions. The most populated city proper is Chongqing while the most populous metropolitan areas are the Greater Tokyo Area, the Shanghai area, and Jabodetabek (Jakarta). The cities of Faiyum, Damascus, and Varanasi are among those laying claim to longest continual inhabitation. Contents 1 Meaning 2 Geography 2.1 Site 2.2 Center 2.3 Public space 2.4 Internal structure 2.5 Urban areas 3 History 3.1 Ancient times 3.2 Middle Ages 3.3 Early modern 3.4 Industrial age 3.5 Post-industrial age 4 Urbanization 5 Government 5.1 Municipal services 5.2 Finance 5.3 Governance 5.4 Urban planning 6 Society 6.1 Social structure 6.2 Economics 6.3 Culture and communications 6.4 Warfare 7 Infrastructure 7.1 Utilities 7.2 Transportation 7.3 Housing 8 Ecology 9 World city system 9.1 Global city 9.2 Transnational activity 9.3 Global governance 9.4 United Nations System 10 Representation in culture 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 External links Meaning Palitana represents the city's symbolic function in the extreme, devoted as it is to Jain temples. A city is 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 rather than rural territory. A variety of definitions, invoking population, population density, number of dwellings, economic function, and infrastructure, are used in national censuses to classify populations as urban. Common population definitions for a city range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, with most U.S. states using a minimum between 1,500 and 5,000 inhabitants. However, some jurisdictions set no such minimums. In the United Kingdom, city status is awarded by the government and then remains permanently, resulting in some very small cities, such as Wells and St Davids. 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. Examples of settlements called city which may not meet any of the traditional criteria to be named such include Broad Top City, Pennsylvania (pop 452), and City Dulas, Anglesey, a hamlet. The presence of a literate elite is sometimes included in the definition. A typical city has professional administrators, regulations, and some form of taxation (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 or village accomplishing common goals through informal agreements between neighbors, or through leadership of a chief.) The governments may be based on heredity, religion, military power, work projects 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 civilizations. The word city and the related civilization come, via Old French, from the Latin root civitas, originally meaning citizenship or community member and eventually coming to correspond with urbs, meaning city in a more physical sense. The Roman civitas was closely linked with the Greek "polis"—another common root appearing in English words such as metropolis. Geography Hillside housing and graveyard in Kabul. Panoramic view of Tirana, Albania from Mount Dajt in 2004. Downtown Pittsburgh sits at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers, which become the Ohio. The L'Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., inspired by the design of Versailles, combines a utilitarian grid pattern with diagonal avenues and a symbolic focus on monumental architecture. This aerial view of the Gush Dan metropolitan area in Israel shows the geometrically planned city of Tel Aviv proper (upper left) as well as Givatayim to the east and some of Bat Yam to the south. Tel Aviv's population is 433,000; the total population of its metropolitan area is 3,785,000. Urban geography 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 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 with a hinterland which sustains them. Only in special cases such as mining towns which play a vital role in long-distance trade, are cities disconnected from the countryside which feeds them. 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 Main article: City centre 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 or if fortified as a citadel. These spaces historically reflect and amplify the city's centrality and importance to its wider sphere of influence. Today cities have a city center or downtown, sometimes coincident with a central business district. Public space Cities typically have public spaces where anyone can go. These include privately owned spaces open to the public as well as forms of public land such as public domain and the commons. Western philosophy since the time of the Greek agora has considered physical public space as the substrate of the symbolic public sphere. Public art adorns (or disfigures) public spaces. Parks and other natural sites within cities provide residents with relief from the hardness and regularity of typical built environments. Internal structure Urban structure 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.