According to Malik (2015), a city is a large metropolitan area. Cities have a complex social structure. They are composed of individuals from different social backgrounds. Geographically, they occupy larger regions compared to towns and urban centers. Cities have complex political and administrative systems. Mayors usually head a majority of them. There are various types of cities depending on their functions. There are divided cities, closed cities, capitals, city-states, port cities among others. According to the National Geographic Society (2012), an urban area is a place that is close to a city. The National Geographic Society (2012) goes on to add that people in urban areas mostly engage in non-agricultural activities. The subjective definition of an urban area is a place where many people reside and work. The two definitions do not fully account for every function that takes place in an urban area.
Urbanized areas are areas that have more than 50,000 people. They also have a population density of at least 1000 people per square mile. A core-based statistical area consists of at least one county. A metropolitan statistical area is a large geographical area with a dense population. A micropolitan statistical area, on the other hand, is an area with at least 10, 00 residents. (Demographia, 2001). An urban system is a place around major cities or towns where commuters engage in their daily activities. Positivism is an attempt at explaining social phenomena scientifically. Through the use of positivist philosophies, urbanization and urban studies were looked at as an art and science. Scientific principles were applied in the construction and design of cities. Environmental determinism is the view that the environment influences human actions. Area differentiation is a type of geography that is focused in one area. Spatial analysis is a method of studying geographical data. Using the behavioral perspective, cities and urban centers are constructed with respect to factors such as cultural sensitivity and behavior analysis.
The phenomenology perspective is usually applied in the construction of cities and urban centers where structures are built with respect to human living conditions. Factors such as overcrowding and privacy are usually considered while putting up structures (Ebeling, 2016). Using the structuralism perspective, urban centers and cities are constructed to be beneficial to individuals from different backgrounds. Urban planners usually strive to ensure that cities or structures take care of every person's interests. According to Childe and Davies, there are various factors which affect the evolution of cities. Population is a major factor affecting the evolution of cities. Many cities grew because of the increasing population that was experienced. Specialization was also a factor which contributed to the evolution. As different specialists concentrated in specific regions, urban centers developed in those regions. Public monuments also contributed to the evolution of cities. Many cities and urban centers were started when many people settled around public monuments. Some of these public monuments included buildings.
Urbanization refers to a situation where a country's population grows, and most of the citizens decide to move into urban areas. Urbanization is used to refer to the percentage of people living in urban areas. Urban growth, on the other hand, refers to an increase in the number of people living in cities and towns. Urbanization has specific characteristics. Most urban centers are characterized by dense populations, economic development, and industrialization. Urbanization has also been linked to issues such as overcrowding, the disintegration of family units, increased costs of living, increased levels of pollution and an increase in the rates of crime. Urbanization has been shown to create more economic opportunities for the urban population. The increased number of people living in urban centers creates demand in different fields. There are various factors linked to urbanization.
Natural population growth is one factor of urbanization. When populations increase, it is normal for some of the people to move into urban centers and become permanent residents there. The other factor is rural to urban migration. As different people migrate to urban centers in pursuit of different goals and ambitions, they increase the percentage of people living in cities and towns. The other factors of urbanization are push and pull factors. The push factors entail the various reasons why people leave rural areas and seek better living conditions in cities while the pull factors entail the different attractive features of urban centers or cities which make people leave rural areas to go and stay in the cities. The earliest towns and cities developed in different regions of the world. There were cities in places such as Mesopotamia, Asia, and even America. However, the very first cities were established in Mesopotamia.
The Neolithic Revolution mainly influenced the establishment and growth of these cities. Mesopotamian cities included Eridu, Ur, and Uruk. The Indus valley had one of the oldest cities. The city of Mohenjo-Daro was located in the Indus valley presently known as Pakistan. In America, early cities were founded in the Andes while others were established in Mesoamerica. The Renaissance, which was a period of great changes in culture and style saw the emergence of different powerful cities in Italy. During that time, Italy was being administered and controlled by powerful cities. Some of the cities included Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and even Rome. The Long waves affect the nature and pace of development. It is said that the waves take approximately forty to sixty years. During such a period, there is usually growth or economic decline. During the growth phase, urbanization and urban systems usually grow by large multitudes. The rate of urban growth also usually declines during periods of slow growth. During the period of frontier mercantilism, cities were considered as properties of kings and they could do whatever they pleased with them.
During the early industrial capitalism, cities were mostly divided into classes. During the national industrial capitalism, cities grew mainly because of the industrial activities that were taking place in the cities. During the mature industrial capitalism phase, cities were less concentrated than they had been during the previous periods. There was a lot of suburbanization. Cities in the global capitalism phase are inclusive and sensitive to various needs. The social, political, cultural and economic aspects of cities in this phase are inclusive of the needs of people from different backgrounds. Citizens developed during this period have a global outlook. The Central Place theory is a theory founded by Walter Christaller who was a geographer of German descent. The theory gives different explanation regarding how human beings should live and settle in different places. He argued that human settlements were simply central regions where individuals could easily get any supplies they needed. The theory attempts to explain the arrangement, size and number of different settlements. All the patterns that affect the development of cities and towns can be explained using the theory.
Demographia. (2001). US Urbanized Areas: 1950-2000: Contents. Retrieved from http://www.demographia.com/dm-uaix.htm
Ebeling, R. M. (2016, October 26). Mercantilism Was Monarchy's Planned Economy | Richard M. Ebeling. Retrieved from https://fee.org/articles/mercantilism-was-monarchys-planned-economy/
Malik, A. A. (2015, October 12). What defines a 'city?? Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/what-defines-city
National Geographic Society. (2012, October 9). urban area. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/urban-area/
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