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TRANSPORTATION AND URBAN GEOGRAPHY

CITIES AND SUBURBS

What is a city?

In the United States, a city is a legal entity, delegated power by a state and county to govern and provide services to its citizens. Cities also have charters, which are somewhat akin to local constitutions, and have specific boundaries.

What was the first city to have more than one million people?

During ancient times, Rome was the world's first city to have a population larger than one million. Rome's population declined during the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, and a city with a population of one million wasn't again seen until the early nineteenth century in London.

What is an urban area?

An urban area consists of a central city and its surrounding suburbs. Urban areas are also known as metropolitan areas. In some cases, urban areas can spread dozens of miles beyond the central city.

How many people in the world are classified as urban dwellers?

Forty-eight percent of the world, approximately three billion people, live in urban areas today. Another 52 percent, or 3.3 billion people, live in rural areas.

Are there any new discoveries of cities that predate Mesopotamian urban areas?

Every year, scientists uncover evidence of cities, long ago flooded by the rising sea and reclamation of coast line, where archaeological evidence suggests cities even older than those in the Sumer Valley once existed. A recent marine archaeological expedition uncovered traces of a city beneath the sea off the coast of Gujarat, in northwestern India, and found pieces of carved wood that was carbon dated to 7500 b.c.e.

What are some of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world and when were they established?

Some of the oldest cities still inhabited today are Jericho, Palestine (founded 9000 b.c.e.); Byblos, Lebanon (founded 5000 b.c.e.); Damascus, Syria (founded 4300 b.c.e.); Allepo, Syria (founded 4300 b.c.e.); and Susa, Iran (founded 4200 b.c.e.).

Where did some of the first cities of the world begin?

Scientists generally believe that the Sumer Valley area of ancient Mesopotamia, located in modern-day Iraq in the Middle East, is the origin of the earliest cities.

What is the most populated urban area in the world?

The capital city of Tokyo, Japan, still reigns as the most populated urban area in the world, with over 35 million inhabitants. The next largest urban areas include Mexico City, Mexico (18.7 million), New York-Newark, United States (18.3 million), Sao Paulo, Brazil (17.9 million), and Mumbai, India (17.4 million).

What is a megalopolis?

Geographer Jean Gottmann developed the term megalopolis to describe the huge, interconnected metropolitan area from Boston to Washington, D.C. "Boswash," as this original megalopolis has been called, has been joined by such nascent megalopolis as "chi-Pitts" (from Chicago to Pittsburgh), the Ruhr area in Germany, Italy's Po Valley, and "San-San" (from San Francisco to San Diego).

Are mega-urban area populations growing?

Despite what we might think, of the top 20 large urban areas in the world, nearly half experience population growth of only 1.5 percent.

What are the largest metropolitan areas in the United States?

The New York metropolitan area is America's largest, with 20 million people. Los Angeles is second with 15 million; Chicago is third with 8.5 million; Washington, D.C., is fourth with 7 million; and San Francisco is fifth with 6.5 million.

How does the population of Tokyo change each day?

It is said that the population of Tokyo City changes each day as 22 million people commute by rail into the city, riding a combination of trains and buses for an average two hours per day.

What percentage of people live in the mega cities of the world?

Only four percent of the inhabitants of Earth live in gigantic urban areas. The rest live in areas with populations of less than 10 million people. Twenty-five percent of the world's inhabitants live in urban areas with fewer than 500,000 residents.

Large urban areas such as Tokyo, Japan, have made some efforts to add green space to make city living more comfortable for residents (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Large urban areas such as Tokyo, Japan, have made some efforts to add green space to make city living more comfortable for residents (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

What major American city loses more people than any other?

Detroit, Michigan, loses more than 25,000 people each year, three times as many people as any other metropolitan area. It leads all other cities in the United States in negative population growth. By comparison, the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, area continues to lead the United States in terms of population growth, adding more than 160,000 people each year.

What is a central business district?

A central business district (CBD) of a city is located downtown, often where the city began, and is the primary concentration of commercial buildings.

Who decides where houses can be built?

Almost all American city governments have a department that is responsible for planning the layout of the city. The planning department for each city enforces and delin-

Why do I need a ZIP Code?

ZIP (Zone Improvement Program) Codes were created by the U.S. Postal Service in 1963 to help sort and distribute mail more effectively. Each ZIP Code represents a specific geographic area, with each digit further pinpointing the recipient's address. For instance, the first digit (0—9) of each ZIP Code represents an area of the United States, from "0" in the Northeast to "9" in the West.

eates zoning, which regulates the location of homes, businesses, factories, and even nuclear power plants.

When did suburbs become fashionable?

Following World War II, the subsequent housing boom and construction of interstate highways led to the development of low-density housing surrounding cities. These areas of low-density housing are known as suburbs. Suburbs have been extremely popular since the 1950s.

What was Levittown?

The three Levittowns were large housing developments built from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s by William J. Levitt and his construction company. Levitt invented a process to mass-produce homes by making each home exactly the same. The first Levittown was located in New York and consisted of 17,000 homes. The subsequent Levittowns were built in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Levittowns were the forerunner of the suburb.

 
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