Cities

Cities

A type of settlement that has central functions.

Geography

Keywords

big city, settlement, features, population, social services, structure, settlement structure, place of residence, city, catchment area, geography, society, human geography

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City

The first cities were formed thousands of years ago, due to the separation of handicrafts from agriculture. Much later, the Industrial Revolution resulted in a boom in the development of cities.

A city is a type of human settlement that plays a central role. Therefore it has a 'pulling effect' on the surrounding smaller settlements. A city extends over a large area, is densely populated and composed of industrial, commercial and residential areas.

Functions

  • business district - banks, insurance companies, office buildings
  • political, administrative buildings
  • scientific research institutions, education, museums
  • commercial district - department stores, shopping centres, small businesses (clothes, luxury goods, salons, services)
  • religious facility
  • park
  • cultural institutions - theatres, concert halls, cinemas, entertainment venues
  • healthcare
  • bus station
  • railway station
  • residential area (high income) - detached houses
  • residential area (medium income) - detached houses
  • residential area (medium income) - apartment buildings
  • residential area (low income) - apartment buildings
  • residential area (low income) - working-class district
  • sports facilities
  • light industrial buildings
  • wholesale buildings

The city centre is the hub of its economic life, the scene of business and trade activities. All avenues lead to the centre, where the offices of the town administration, educational, cultural and financial institutions, shops, and most tourist attractions are found. Workers from the suburbs and the agglomeration commute every day to the centre. Cities are also the centres for education within the agglomeration, offering medium and high level (university) education.

Healthcare and commercial facilities fulfil a central function too, that is, the population of the surrounding region uses them too.

Establishing industrial parks in geographically confined areas is supported in many countries, since they have many advantages concerning job creation, cheap infrastructure, and more efficient control of environmental harm.

City structure

  • main road
  • main railway line

A common property of cities is that they have a centre that serves administrative, commercial and financial functions. Around the city centre there are residential areas of various social classes, and there is a transitional zone that includes industrial plants, railway and bus stations and hospitals. Often a second residential area emerges beyond the transitional zone.

Urbanisation in the world

  • Proportion of urban population in countries around the world

Urban population has been constantly growing since the Industrial Revolution. In the 1800s, only a few 10 million people lived in cities, while today urban population numbers billions. The rate of urban population in most developed countries is over 60%. The ratio of urban population is also higher worldwide: while approximately 45% of the population lives in rural areas, the ratio of urban population is about 55%. Most people live in cities that have less than 500,000 residents, but more than 8% of the Earth’s population lives in metropolises that have more than 10 million inhabitants.

Other types of settlements

  • Metropolises
  • Cities
  • Villages

In the common sense of the word, a settlement is an inhabited area. It includes any man-made constructions and the inhabitants within a particular natural environment modified by human activity. That is, it provides residence for a group of people and plays at least one other role that can be economic, social or infrastructural.

Settlements can be classified by their layout, functions, population or their connection to other settlements. According to their size, four types of settlements are usually distinguished: villages, cities, metropolises and metropolitan areas (megalopolis) consisting of multiple metropolises.

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Cities of the world

This animation demonstrates the geographical locations of the Earth's major cities.

Metropolises

A metropolis is a large city with a population of over 1 million people.

Villages

Villages were the first permanent human settlements

The countries of Africa

Learning about the geographic location, capitals and flags of African countries through exercises in three levels of difficulty.

The countries of Asia

Learning about the geographic location, capitals and flags of Asian countries through exercises with three levels of difficulty.

The countries of Europe

Learning about the geographic location, capitals and flags of European countries through exercises in three levels of difficulty.

The countries of the Americas

Learning about the geographic location, capitals and flags of American countries through exercises in three levels of difficulty.

Bus

Buses play an important role in public transport.

Electric surface transport

Trolleybuses and trams are environment-friendly means of public transport

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