A city is a populous community that may include structures, buildings and landmarks.
A city has many buildings and streets. It has houses or apartments for many people to live, shops where they may buy things, places for people to work and a government to run the city, and to keep law and order in the city. People live in cities because it is easy for them to find and do the things they want there. A city usually has a "city centre" where government and business take place, and places called suburbs where people live around the outside of the centre.
Definition[change | change source]
There is no rule that is used all over the world to decide why some places are called "city" and other places are called "town".
Some things that make a city are:
- A long history. Although many cities today have only been around for tens or hundreds of years, there are a few which have been so for thousands of years. For example, Athens, Greece was founded in 1000 BC and Rome, Italy has existed since 700 BC.
- A large population. Cities can have millions of people living in and around them. Among them is Tokyo, Japan, and the Tokyo Metropolis around it, which includes Yokohama and Chiba.
- In Japan, population of a city (市) is at least over 50,000 persons. And among cities, there are various grades according to laws, which are governed by the central government of Japan.
- A centre where business and government takes place. The first case is often described as the financial capital, such as Frankfurt in Germany. The second case is true for different levels of government, whether they are local or part of a larger region (for example, Atlanta, Georgia, or an entire country (for example, Washington, D.C.). Cities which contain the government of the region it is in are called capitals. Almost every country has its own capital.
- Special powers called town privileges which have been given by the government of the country, or its ruler. This was done especially in Europe during the Middle Ages.
- Having a cathedral or a university. This rule is found in the United Kingdom. The smallest "cathedral cities" are St. David's and St Asaph's which are both in Wales, and Ripon and Wells which are in England.
In American English, people often call all places where many people live cities. (See below: Size of cities)
Size of cities[change | change source]
The sizes of cities can be very different. This depends on the type of city that it is. Cities that were built hundreds of years ago and which have not changed much, are very much smaller than modern cities. There are two main reasons. One reason is that old cities often have a city wall, and most of the city is inside it. Another important reason is that the streets in old cities are often narrow. If the city got too big, it was hard for a cart carrying food to get to the market place. People in cities need food, and the food always has to come from outside the city. Cities that were on a river like London could grow much bigger than cities that were on a mountain like Sienna in Italy, because the river made a transport route for carrying food and other goods, as well as for transporting people. London has been changing continually for hundreds of years, while Siena, which was a very important city in the 1300s has changed very little in 700 years. Modern cities with modern transport systems can grow very large, because the streets are wide enough for cars, buses and trucks, and there are often railway lines as well.
In the US, the word city is often used for towns that are not very big. When the first European people went to America, they gave the name "city" to new places. They hoped the places would be great cities in the future. For example, Salt Lake City was the name given to a village of 148 people. When they started building the town they made street plans and called it Great Salt Lake City (for the nearby Great Salt Lake). Now, 150 years later, it really is a big city.
In modern times many cities have grown bigger and bigger. The whole area is often called a "metropolis" and can sometimes includes several small ancient towns and villages. The metropolis of London includes the City of London, the City of Westminster and many old villages such as Notting Hill, Southwark, Richmond, Greenwich and etc. The part that is officially known as the "City of London" only takes up one square mile. The rest is known as "Greater London". Many other cities have grown in the same way.
These giant cities can be exciting places to live, and many people can find good jobs there, but modern cities also have many problems. Many people cannot find jobs in the cities and have to get money by begging or by crime. Cars, factories, and waste create a lot of pollution that makes people sick.
Urban history[change | change source]
Urban history is history of civilization. The first cities were made in ancient times, as soon as people began to create civilization. Famous ancient cities which fell to ruins included Babylon, Troy, Mycenae and Mohenjo-daro.
Benares in northern India is one among the ancient cities which has a history of more 3000 years. Other cities that have existed since ancient times are Athens in Greece, Rome and Volterra in Italy, Alexandria in Egypt and York in England.
In Europe, in the Middle Ages, being a city was a special privilege, granted by nobility. Cities that fall into this category, usually had (or still have) city walls. The people who lived in the city were privileged over those who did not. Medieval cities that still have walls include Carcassonne in France, Tehran in Iran, Toledo in Spain and Canterbury in England.
In the United Kingdom, a city is a town which people have always called a city, or which has got the name "city" status by royal charter (a special paper from the king or queen). Cities usually get this because they have a special number of people or are important. In the past, cities got that name if they had a cathedral or a university. Some cathedral cities, for example St David's, are small, and people do not normally think of them as cities. Cities that became cities because of their university generally grow because more people move there to be educated at the university colleges. The university cities of Oxford and Cambridge are famous throughout the world. The largest city is Shanghai, while the fastest growing is Dubai. The smallest city in the UK is Wells.
Features[change | change source]
Infrastructure[change | change source]
People in a city live close together, so they cannot grow all their own food, or gather their own water or energy. People also create waste and need a place to put it. Modern cities have infrastructure to solve these problems. Pipes carry running water and power lines carry electricity. Sewers take away dirty water and human waste. Most cities collect garbage, so they can take it to a landfill, burn it, or recycle it.
Transport is any way of getting from one place to another. Cities have roads which are used by automobiles (including trucks), buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians (people walking). Some cities have trains and larger cities have airports. Many people in cities travel to work each day, which is called commuting.
Buildings and design[change | change source]
Houses and apartments are common places to live in cities. Great numbers of people in developing countries (and developed countries, in the past) live in slums. A slum is poorly built housing, without clean water, where people live very close together. Buildings are usually taller in the city centre, and some cities have skyscrapers.
City streets can be shaped as a grid, or as a "wheel and spokes": a set of rings and lines coming out from the centre. Streets in some older cities like London are arranged at random, without a pattern. The design of cities is a subject called urban planning. One area of the city might have only shops, and another area might have only factories. Cities have parks, and other public areas like city squares.
Politics[change | change source]
In the United States[change | change source]
Cities in the US are usually very-left leaning. The best examples of these would be New York, New York, and Washington. In the state of Louisiana, for example, the only Democratic delegate in US Congress who is a Democrat was elected from a district comprising in New Orleans. Below is a list of states, and the major city/cities that provide much of the liberal support in them:
- Atlanta, Georgia: 5 of the 16 delegates representing Georgia in US Congress are Democrats. All hail from districts in Atlanta.
- New Orleans, Louisiana: the only Democratic delgate from Louisiana in the US Congress was elected from a New Orleans district.
- Kansas City, Kansas: the only Democratic congressman from Kansas was elected from a district in Kansas City.
- Las Vegas, Nevada: all of the Democrats in the US House who represent Nevada are from Las Vegas.
- Salt Lake City, Utah: the only Democrat representing Utah in the US Congress was elected from a Salt Lake City district.
- Chicago, Illinois: if it weren´t for Chicago, the state of Illinois would be as conservative as Indiana.
- Louisville, Kentucky: the only Democrat representing Kentucky in the US Congress was elected from a Louisville district.
World's largest cities[change | change source]
These cities have more than 10 million people and can be called megacities:
- Tokyo, Japan - 37+ million
- Mexico City, Mexico - 21 million
- Mumbai, India - 20 million
- São Paulo, Brazil - 18 million
- Lagos, Nigeria - 13 million
- Calcutta, India - 13 million
- Buenos Aires, Argentina - 12 million
- Seoul, South Korea - 12 million
- Beijing, China - 12 million
- Karachi, Pakistan - 12 million
- Dhaka, Bangladesh - 11 million
- Manila, Philippines - 11 million
- Cairo, Egypt - 11 million
- Osaka, Japan - 11 million
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11 million
- Tianjin, China - 10 million
- Moscow, Russia - 10 million
- Lahore, Pakistan - 10 million
Gallery of cities[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- "総務省｜地方自治制度｜地方公共団体の区分". 総務省 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- In the USA, on forms (papers asking for information), the word "City" is generally used for the place where a person lives, even if the person who wants to write in the form might live in a city, a town, or a village or hamlet (a very small village).