Urban is related to cities and towns. It is opposite of rural. Urban is an agglomerated settlement whose inhabitants are primarily engaged in non-agricultural occupations.
The urban units are not of a single type. The common characteristic feature of urban units is that these are compact, nucleated, non-agricultural settlements.
In size, they vary from urban hamlet (purva) to mega cities. The word ‘urban’ is often used in place of such terms as town, city, suburb, metropolitan area, megalopolis, urban agglomeration and so on. It is of great relevance to define the various terms used in the context of the urban places.
The term ‘city’ is generally applied to large urban places, with no strict definitions to separate it from smaller town. In India, an urban place with more than one lakh population is considered as a city.
In some countries, the title ‘city’ implies a particular status in an administrative hierarchy. City is a nucleated settlement which is multifunctional in character, including an established central business district and both residential and non-residential land uses.
Town is a general name for an urban place, usually a settlement meeting a prescribed minimum population threshold. No specific size range, to distinguish a town from a city, is generally accepted.
In some countries such as USA, UK, Italy, Spain, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, a town occupies a particular position within the administrative framework for local government.
Generally, towns have smaller size and less functional complexity than cities, but still have a nuclear business concentration.
A functionally specialized segment of a large urban complex located outside the boundaries of the central city: usually a relatively homogeneous residential community separately incorporated and administered.
Suburbs may be dominantly or exclusively residential, industrial, or commercial, but by the specialization of their land use and functions, they are not individually self-sufficient. They are part of and correlated with urbanized areas outside their boundaries.
They can, however, be independent political entities. For large cities having many suburbs, it is common to call that part of the urban area contained within the official boundaries of the main city around which the suburbs have been built the central city. When separately incorporated, urban places of all types are often referred to as legal cities.
A continuously built up urban landscape defined by building and population densities with no reference to the political boundaries of the city. It may contain a central city and unincorporated areas. It may be viewed as the physical city and may contain a central city and many contiguous cities, towns, suburbs and other urban tracts.
Metropolitan area refers to a large-scale functional entity, containing several urbanized areas, discontinuously built up but nonetheless operating as a coherent and integrated economic whole.
A city or urban agglomeration having 8 million or more population at present cities with more than 8 million of population is termed as mega cities. Mexico, Tokyo, London, Paris, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Cairo, etc., are some of the examples of mega cities.
A ranking of cities based on their size and functional complexity
The term was coined by Patrick Geddes. A continuous, extended urban area formed by the growing together of several formerly separate, expanding cities. The term has largely been replaced by 338 Human Settlements metropolitan area.
There are several conurbations in UK, USA, France, and Germany. In India, the Trivandrum-Kanyakumari settlement is an example of a growing conurbation.
A new conurbation is likely to emerge from Agra, Mathura, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Delhi, Panipat, Karnal, and Ambala to Chandigarh. A similar conurbation is developing along Delhi, Modinagar, Meerut, Muzzaffarnagar, and Roorkee to Hardwar.
A word (derived from the Greek for ‘great’ and ‘city’) used by Jean Gottmann to describe the urban pattern of the north-eastern seaboard of the USA He identified a large conurbation like mass of linked built up areas (and yet containing much open land) extending over 960 kms (600 miles) from north of Boston in New Hampshire to Norfolk in Virginia.
This concept was developed by an American geographer, Mark Jefferson in 1939, who noted that in many countries the ratio of the population of the three largest cities approximated the sequence 100:30:20 (i.e., the, third largest is one-fifth the size of the largest).
The city of Mexico, Lagos, Peru, Caracas, and Quito, Kuwait are some of the typical examples of primate cities. At the state level in India, Srinagar (Kashmir Valley), Shillong (Meghalaya) are some of the examples of primate cities.
Mark Jefferson associated this with the pre-eminence of the largest cities in economic, social and political affairs.
The particular ratio sequence is now largely ignored but the terms primate city and primacy are widely used. Attempts to account for such primacy usually stress the small size of the country and its expart orientation (Jefferson, 1939).
The nucleus of the urban area, containing the major concentration of commercial land uses (shops, offices and some warehouses).
This concentration is associated (as both cause and effect) with both the most accessible point in the city and its peak land value.
The CBD has the most intensive land use and the tallest buildings in the city; its restricted area often displays considerable areal differentiation of separate land uses, the segregation of which reflects the search for external economies. The cost of land and rent of shops and buildings are very high.
Around the core of the CBD is a frame of slightly less intensive uses, generally including certain industrial (usually small firms) and warehousing functions. With urban sprawl and associated decentralization, most CBDs are now in the process of decline.