See also: City (homonymy)
A city is a urban Unité extended and strongly populated (in opposition to the Village S) in which concentrate the majority of the human activities: habitat, Trade, Industry, education, Political, Culture. The principles which control the structure and the organization of the city are studied by the urban Sociologie and the Urbanisme.
In Belgium, city is an official honorary title which is given by royal decree to the communes having had a historical importance, in particular since the Moyen-âge. With the Canada, it is also about an official statute for the Municipalité S. In France, where the municipal organization became uniform, INSEE defines the city according to the criterion of the importance of the settlement and the continuity of the habitat.
Appearance of the cities
The cities appear between 3500 and 1500 before J-C in the fertile areas of Syria, of Egypt, of Mésopotamie, the valley of the the Jordan, the valley of Indus and the Yangzi Jiang. According to the biblical tradition , in fact the descendants of Caïn founded the first cities, and oldest would be Jericho. The first cities appear in High-Antiquity with the age of the palates in the four large fertile alluvial plains of Mésopotamie, of the Nile, of the Yellow River and Gange. The appearance of cities coincides with the emergence of the Agriculture during the period of the Neolithic . At that time, the city is characterized by 3 elements:
- the monumental enclosing wall,
- surface (the mésopotamienne city of Uruk extends on 400 ha),
- population (the population of Xi' year is estimated at a million inhabitants 1000 years before the Christian era).
The reasons of the appearance of the cities are probably related on the richnesses of rural civilizations able to release from the surpluses of production, but especially to the development of a division of the labor. The relatively intensive cultures support the specialization of the people in other fields that agriculture, and particularly in the functions religious, artisanal then administrative and military. The buildings rel
Definitions of the city
The difficulty of the definition of the city is due to its own characteristics: a size, but also of the various functions and especially a political autonomy. For the contemporary geographers like Pierre George, a city is defined as a grouping of agglomerated populations characterized by a manpower of population and a form of economic and social organization”.
One also often makes the distinction between city and village with the dominant activities, by taking account of the population: the city does not have an agricultural activity primarily or artisanal, contrary to the village, it has also a commercial activity, Politique, intellectual. With this definition, a city could be smaller than an agglomeration strongly populated starting from a communication network.
Historical origin of the administrative distinction
In France, the difference between a city (more exactly a borough ) and a village are historical. It is not a question of population or form, but of political statute. A village usually indicates a parish or part of parish whose local lord ensures the safety, justice and the administration, either directly, or by means of a tax prosecutor who applies the local habit. With the rebirth of the cities, starting from the Xe century, in the parishes having the title of borough , the inhabitants carry the title of Bourgeois and have the collective right to manage themselves and to defend themselves. They are equipped, by a municipal chartre last with the lord High-dispenser of justice on which they depend, of a legal Personality collective, of a Sceau, a Trésor; they have the right to élir a Municipal council, to deliberate, hold a Marché, to form communities of trades, of raising taxes, a militia and closing walls to ensure their defense.
The municipal rights of the cities vary considerably according to their seniority and their importance: most ordinary have only the low one and average justice, i.e. the roadway system and the police force, while the old cities, which have the title of quoted , have high justice, i.e. the statute of a baronnie or a Viscount. Owing to the fact that their aldermen, consuls or capitouls exert the noble functions of the high justice and the war by providing a quota of men-at-arms, owing to the fact that they depend directly on the count or the king and that they send deputies to the General states, the loads of consul or aldermen of these cities are often anoblissantes.
The name of city rests consequently on the existence of a Municipalité of which the origin is either a use preserved since the Antiquity, or an act written at the time of their foundation by the higher lord which grants to all its inhabitants present and to come from the habits , Liberté S or of the Franchise S , i.e. a payment of public administration which comes to supplement the local habit.
This administrative distinction between village, borough and city was removed with all the others Privilège S of the nobility under the French revolution. All old the Parish S of the boroughs and the countryside, 36.000, is transformed into as many Municipalité S for which is promulgated a uniform Code of the communes. With this reform, and the sale like national Goods of all their municipal buildings (colleges, hospital, real estate…) the old boroughs lose most of their richness, of their autonomy and their capacities, in particular for the taxation, the social affairs, the instruction, the culture or the town planning, which are centralized on the level of the departmental or central administration.
As from this time, names of city, borough and village specialize to distinguish the urban centres according to their size, the boroughs being small towns or large villages established in the countryside.
Definition by the criterion of the minimum of population
The threshold is an indicator of the design of the city and raises the question of the representations of the city according to the countries.
This criterion varies much according to the countries. The statistics of the the United Nations on this question show the differences in threshold between the national institutes of statistics (there are almost 200 throughout the world).
In France, the threshold is of 2 000 agglomerated inhabitants, in Swiss Spain and of 10 000, with the Denmark of 250, the the United States of 2 500, in Iceland of 300, with the Canada of 1.000, the Japan from 30.000 to 50.000… The United Nations refer as for them with the threshold of 20 000 inhabitants.
Still let us note that an international statistical definition of the Urban population was given at the time of the Conference of Prague in 1966).
Varieties of cities
There exist cities on all the continents and since good a long time. At the wire of the centuries and the cities were not built in the same way, that also depended on the place where they were.
The first cities date since good a long time before the Christian era. They were formerly a regrouping of people. In fact small villages became populated around a cultivable place. Generally a river or the sea was the best places to live.
In North America, the cities had only very few inhabitants at the beginning. The density was low, one thus built a house for each family. Then gradually these cities started to be industrialized by becoming populated modern buildings.
In spite of the diversity of the situations, it is possible to draw up a typology of the cities:
- industrial town: the secondary industry occupies a big part of the population; examples: cities of the the Ruhr, Wolfsburg (: 50000 industrial employment on: 123000 inhabitants
- administrative city: national capitals or of the federate states; examples: Brussels, Berlin, Washington DC, Brasilia, tourist etc
- city: living cultural tourism (Paris, New York), balneal (Nice), thermal (Aix-the-Baths, Évian-the-Baths), winter (Morzine, Courchevel) etc
- port city: who developed thanks to his port (Marseilles, Singapore, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Hong-Kong)
- university town: examples: Chicago, Heidelberg, Oxford, Toulouse, Leuwen-the-New, Marburg (: 20000 students on: 70000 inhabitants), Boston, etc
See also: urban Surface
The big cities are the product of urban spreading out as well as concentration of the strategic capacities of commands in multiple fields (policy, administrative, economic, cultural, military…). The term of " is generally used; Metropolis " to indicate them. However, of new expressions allow to distinguish them, in particular according to their radiation on a world level:
the mégapoles, cities of more than 5 million inhabitants
- the megalopoles and the network of the world archipelago mégalopolitain
- total cities ( Total Cities ) or world cities, according to the expression of Saskia Sassen (1996), centers of universalization.
- 4 total metropolises
- the métapolis, according to the expression of François Ascher (1995), indicating very the big cities in which one observes a hyper-concentration of the capacities of command and his primacy in the hierarchy of the networks.
downtown is opposed to the world Rural - one uses the town adjective to indicate what is relating to the city;
- downtown area indicates the heart of the city, in opposition to the Banlieue;
- the Ville of the dukes is one of the nicknames of Nancy;
- the City with the seven hills and the Eternal City are nicknames of Rome;
- the Ville of the winds is one of the nicknames of Chicago
- the City of Light is one of the nicknames of Paris;
- the small Plus of the large Capitals is one of the nicknames of Geneva;
- the Ville queen is one of the nicknames of Toronto;
- the pink Ville is one of the nicknames of Toulouse;
- the Ville with the hundred bell-towers is one of the nicknames of Rouen, Caen, Prague, Poitiers or Montreal
- the Grosse Apple is one of the nicknames of New York
- the Sérénissime is one of the nicknames of Venice
- the Burning Cité is the nickname given to the town of Liege
- the Capitale of the Alps is the nickname given to the town of Grenoble
“The cities are stone bibles. This one does not have a dome, not a roof, not a paving stone which does not have something to say in the direction of alliance and the union, and which does not give a lesson, an example or a council. That the people come in this extraordinary alphabet from monuments, tombs and trophies to spell peace and désapprendre hatred. (…)
Mankind has two books, two registers, two wills, masonry and printing works, the bible of stone and the paper bible. ” Victor Hugo, Paris
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