What is a city?

We explain what a city is and some of its characteristics. In addition, the main cities of the world and information about them.

  1. What is a city?

A city is the name given to the urban settlements of the human population of a nation, that is, the densely populated and artificially modified urban spaces to house human communities , endowed with both political, economic and administrative functions and attributions.

Every city distinguishes itself from rural centers in, fundamentally, the presence of industrial, economic and bureaucratic activities other than agriculture, of urbanizations where vertical buildings (buildings or skyscrapers) predominate, and especially of the administrative centers of political power (like the capitals).

There is no single criterion to define what a city is and what is not, at least from the number of inhabitants. A city can have hundreds of inhabitants, or millions of them , like the great American megacities with more than 20 million resident citizens.

In many cases, in addition, cities encompass a more or less similar urban ring (the metropolitan area) of logistic, administrative and urbanistically integrated “dormitory” populations to the “heart” of the  city.

In fact, large cities have had to organize based on smaller geographical and political units, in order to be governed. Reason why they are divided into municipalities or municipalities , endowed with mayors and local or neighborhood representatives.

This classification also had its impact on the constitution of republican democracy , since the inhabitants had to be censored and organized to be able to exercise the vote in an orderly manner.

Another characteristic of cities is their permanence in time, that is, they do not change location . Instead, they tend to expand, encompassing more and more territory as its population grows, a phenomenon known as the  expansion of urban slick .

The phenomenon of urban march expansion  began centuries ago, when the end of the Middle Ages (approximately 15th century) brought about the emergence of urban life as a dominant model, above the life in agriculture, causing a considerable exodus from the countryside to The different western cities. This coincided with the emergence of the bourgeoisie as a new ruling class, instead of the feudal lords (landowners).

Currently, the highest percentage (54%) of the world’s population is located in the different existing cities. Paradoxically, such an urban population requires food production, coming from the increasingly large agricultural world, since in the cities there is usually the primary sector of the industry , but the secondary, the transport sector and the services sector.

  1. The main cities of the world

Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and has more than 13 million inhabitants.

The largest and most important cities in the world today are capitals (historical or economic) and usually house millions of people. Some of the most renowned and of economic and population importance are:

  • Tokyo . The capital of Japan, has a population of more than 13 million inhabitants (37 million counting the metropolitan area) in a total area of ​​2187 km2. It is densely populated (6300.89 inhabitants / km2) and is the main city in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
  • New York . The famous “capital of the world” in the United States is the most populous city in the country and the second most populous on the continent (after Mexico City). It has a total population of more than 22 million people counting its metropolitan area, in a total area of ​​1214 km2.
  • Seoul . The capital of South Korea since its creation in 1948 (after the Korean War), is the fourth largest metropolitan economy in the world according to its GDP and has 24.5 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. Its surface area of ​​605.25 km2 is crossed by the Han River, where there are important global economic ports.
  • London . Founded by the Roman Empire almost two millennia ago with the name of  Londinium , the capital of England is a city of enormous historical and cultural background, home to important museums and the oldest underground in the world. In its area of ​​1572 km2 inhabit 13,879,757 inhabitants (counting the metropolitan area) and is the largest financial center in the world.
  • Paris . The capital and most populous city of France, was also founded by the Romans in the 52nd century BC Its surface area of ​​105.4 km2 is home to almost 13 million people (counting its metropolitan area). Together with London, it was during the nineteenth and part of the twentieth century an important city in the technological and industrial development of Europe, being the host of numerous scientific and technological exhibitions. It is considered an epicenter of fashion, gastronomy and luxury.
  • Shanghai . It is the most populous city in China and one of the largest in the world, with more than 23 million people in an area of ​​6340 km2. Located in East China, in the Yangtze River Delta, it is an important tourist center given its temples and monuments, as well as being the star of the development of the People’s Republic of China, which is why it is considered its economic capital.

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