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Urban area

Urban area

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An urban area is characterized by higher population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

, town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

s or conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s, but the term is not commonly extended to rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 settlements such as village
Village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

s and hamlets
Hamlet (place)
A hamlet is usually a rural settlement which is too small to be considered a village, though sometimes the word is used for a different sort of community. Historically, when a hamlet became large enough to justify building a church, it was then classified as a village...

.

Urban areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

. Measuring the extent of an urban area helps in analyzing population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 and urban sprawl
Urban sprawl
Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land, high segregation of uses Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a...

, and in determining urban and rural populations.

Unlike an urban area, a metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 includes not only the urban area, but also satellite
Satellite town
A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to smaller metropolitan areas which are located somewhat near to, but are mostly independent of, larger metropolitan areas.-Characteristics:...

 cities plus intervening rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 land that is socio-economically connected to the urban core city, typically by employment
Employment
Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. An employee may be defined as:- Employee :...

 ties through commuting
Commuting
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

, with the urban core city being the primary labor market. In fact, urbanized areas agglomerate and grow as the core population/economic activity center within a larger metropolitan area or envelope.

In the US, Metropolitan areas tend to be defined using counties or county sized political units as building blocks of much larger, albeit more condensed population units. Counties tend to be stable political boundaries; economists prefer to work with economic and social statistics based on metropolitan areas. Urbanized areas are a more relevant statistic for determining per capita land usage and densities.

Definitions


Definitions vary somewhat between nations. Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an countries define urbanized areas on the basis of urban-type land use
Land use
Land use is the human use of land. Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness into built environment such as fields, pastures, and settlements. It has also been defined as "the arrangements, activities and inputs people undertake in a certain land cover...

, not allowing any gaps of typically more than 200 m, and use satellite imagery
Satellite imagery
Satellite imagery consists of photographs of Earth or other planets made by means of artificial satellites.- History :The first images from space were taken on sub-orbital flights. The U.S-launched V-2 flight on October 24, 1946 took one image every 1.5 seconds...

 instead of census blocks to determine the boundaries of the urban area. In less developed countries, in addition to land use and density requirements, a requirement that a large majority of the population, typically 75%, is not engaged in agriculture and/or fishing is sometimes used.

Australia


In Australia, urban areas are referred to as "urban centres" and are defined as population clusters of 1000 or more people, with a density of at least 200/km2.

Canada



According to Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada is the Canadian federal government agency commissioned with producing statistics to help better understand Canada, its population, resources, economy, society, and culture. Its headquarters is in Ottawa....

, an urban area in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 is an area with a population of at least 1,000 people where the density is no fewer than 400 persons per square km2. If two or more urban areas are within 2 km (1.2 mi) of each other by road, they are merged into a single urban area, provided they do not cross census metropolitan area or census agglomeration boundaries.

China


In China, an urban area is an urban district, city and town with a population density higher than 1,500/km2. As for urban districts with a population density lower than that number, only the population that lives in streets, town sites, and adjacent villages is counted as urban population.

France


In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, an urban area is a zone (aire urbaine
Aire urbaine
The aire urbaine is a statistical region created by the INSEE that comprises a commuter belt surrounding a contiguous urban core...

) encompassing an area of built-up growth (called an "urban unit" (unité urbaine
Unité urbaine
In France an unité urbaine is a statistical area defined by INSEE, the French national statistics office, for the measurement of contiguously built-up areas...

) - close in definition to the North American urban area) and its commuter belt (couronne périurbaine
Couronne périurbaine
A couronne périurbaine, a statistical area devised by the French INSEE demographic statistics institution, describes a commuter belt area around an area of dense habitation ....

). Although the official INSEE
INSEE
INSEE is the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies. It collects and publishes information on the French economy and society, carrying out the periodic national census. Located in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat, European Statistical System...

 translation of aire urbaine
Aire urbaine
The aire urbaine is a statistical region created by the INSEE that comprises a commuter belt surrounding a contiguous urban core...

is "urban area", most North Americans would find the same as being similar in definition to their metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

.

Japan


In Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 urbanized areas are defined as contiguous areas of densely inhabited districts (DIDs) using census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 enumeration districts as units with a density requirement of 4000 PD/sqkm.

New Zealand


Statistics New Zealand
Statistics New Zealand
Statistics New Zealand is the national statistical office of New Zealand.-Organisation:New Zealand's Minister of Statistics is Maurice Williamson who serves as a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives and holds several other posts within government...

 defines New Zealand urban areas for statistical purposes as a settlement with a population of a thousand people or more.

Norway


Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway is the Norwegian statistics bureau. It was established in 1876.Relying on a staff of about 1,000, Statistics Norway publish about 1,000 new statistical releases every year on its web site. All releases are published both in Norwegian and English...

 defines urban areas ("tettsteder") similarly to the other Nordic countries. Unlike in Denmark and Sweden, the distance between each building has to be of less than 50 m, although exceptions are made due to parks, industrial areas, rivers, and similar. Groups of houses less than 400 m from the main body of an urban area are included in the urban area.

Philippines


With an estimated population of 16.3 Mio. Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

 is the most populous metropolitan area in the Philippines and the 11th in the world. However, the greater urban area is the 5th largest in the world with a population of 20,654,307 people (2010 estimate). Including Metro Manila, the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 has twelve metropolitan areas as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Metro Angeles
Angeles City
The City of Angeles , located within the province of Pampanga in the Philippines, is locally classified as a first-class, highly-urbanized city. Its name is derived from El Pueblo de los Ángeles in honor of its patron saints, Los Santos Ángeles de los Custodios , and the name of its founder, Don...

, Metro Bacolod
Metro Bacolod
The Bacolod metropolitan area, also known as Metro Bacolod, is the 7th most populous out of the 12 metropolitan areas in the Philippines. This metropolitan area as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority has an estimated population of 716,306 as of 2007. Roughly 1 in 124...

, Metro Baguio
Metro Baguio
Metro Baguio or BLIST is an agglomeration of Baguio City and four surrounding Municipalities of Benguet namely: La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, and Tuba. It is a major metropolitan area in Northern Luzon...

, Metro Batangas
Batangas City
- Foreign Rule :The first Spanish missionaries arrived in Batangas City since 1572. Finally on 1581 Spanish authorities governing the Philippines created a pueblo in the area which included the hill where the present Provincial Capitol of Batangas stands after the formal end of the Coumintang...

, Metro Cagayan de Oro
Metro Cagayan de Oro
About 44% of the household population of Cagayan de Oro classify themselves as Visayan , 22.15% as Cebuano, and 4.38% as Boholano; while 28.07% are from other ethnic groups including Maranao and Bukidnon .-Climate:...

, Metro Cebu
Metro Cebu
Metro Cebu is the main urban center of the province of Cebu in the Philippines. Metro Cebu is located along the central eastern portion of the island including the nearby island of Mactan...

, Metro Dagupan
Dagupan
The City of Dagupan is a 1st class city in the Philippines. It is an independent component city of the province of Pangasinan. According to the latest census, Dagupan City has a population of 149,554 people in 25,921 households. Located on Lingayen Gulf on the island of Luzon, Dagupan is the...

, Metro Davao
Metro Davao
Metro Davao is an agglomeration of Davao City and four surrounding cities: Digos City in Davao del Sur, Tagum City, Panabo City and the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte...

, Metro Iloilo-Guimaras
Metro Iloilo-Guimaras
The Iloilo-Guimaras Metropolitan Area or Metro Iloilo-Guimaras is a metropolitan area encompassing the highly urbanized city of Iloilo City, the Regional Agro-Industrial Center of Pavia, Iloilo, the towns of Oton, Iloilo, Leganes, Iloilo, Santa Barbara, Iloilo and San Miguel, Iloilo and the...

, Metro Naga
Metro Naga
Metro Naga is a metropolitan area composed of 14 municipalities centered around Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines. The MNDC covers most of 2nd district of the province of Camarines Sur, and part of its 1st, 3rd and 4th districts.-History:...

, Metro Olongapo.

Poland


In Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, official "urban" population figures simply refer to those localities which have the status of towns (miasta). The "rural" population is that of all areas outside the boundaries of these towns. This distinction may give a misleading impression in some cases, since some localities with only village status may have acquired larger and denser populations than many smaller towns.

Russia


In Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, only the population residing in cities/towns and urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement ; , selyshche mis'koho typu ) is an official designation for a type of locality used in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union...

s is considered to be "urban". The city/town/urban-settlement designation means usually that the majority of the population is employed in areas other than agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, but the exact definitions vary from one federal subject
Federal subjects of Russia
Russia is a federation which, since March 1, 2008, consists of 83 federal subjects . In 1993, when the Constitution was adopted, there were 89 federal subjects listed...

 to another.

Sweden


Urban areas in Sweden
Urban areas in Sweden
Urban area is a common English translation of the Swedish term tätort. The official term in English, used by Statistics Sweden, is, however, locality. There are 1,940 localities in Sweden . They could be compared with census-designated places in the United States.A tätort in Sweden has a minimum of...

 (tätorter) are statistically defined localities, totally independent of the administrative subdivision of the country. There are 1956 such localities in Sweden, with a population ranging from 200 to 1,372,000 inhabitants.

United Kingdom



The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- Overview :...

 has produced census results from urban areas since 1951, since 1981 based upon the extent of irreversible urban development indicated on Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 maps. The definition is an extent of at least 20 ha and at least 1,500 census residents. Separate areas are linked if less than 200 m (220 yd) apart. Included are transportation features. The UK has five Urban Areas with a population over a million and a further sixty nine with a population over one hundred thousand.

United States




In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 there are two categories of urban area. The term urbanized area denotes an urban area of 50,000 or more people. Urban areas under 50,000 people are called urban clusters. Urbanized areas were first delineated in the United States in the 1950 census, while urban clusters were added in the 2000 census. There are 1,371 urban areas and urban clusters with more than 10,000 people.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines an urban area as: "Core census block groups or blocks
Census block
A census block is the smallest geographic unit used by the United States Census Bureau for tabulation of 100-percent data . Several blocks make up block groups, which again make up census tracts. There are on average about 39 blocks per block group, but there are variations...

 that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile (386 per square kilometer) and surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile (193 per square kilometer)."

The concept of Urbanized Areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau is often used as a more accurate gauge of the size of a city, since in different cities and states the lines between city borders and the urbanized area of that city are often not the same. For example, the city of Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
-Law and government:The city of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976.-History:The area was part of the Cherokee Nation's protected grounds after the Treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War. No White man was allowed to enter, though some families...

 has a city population under 60,000 and an urbanized area population of over 300,000, while Greensboro, North Carolina
Greensboro, North Carolina
Greensboro is a city in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is the third-largest city by population in North Carolina and the largest city in Guilford County and the surrounding Piedmont Triad metropolitan region. According to the 2010 U.S...

 has a city population over 200,000 and an urbanized area population of around 270,000 — meaning that Greenville is actually "larger" for some intents and purposes, but not for others, such as taxation, local elections, etc.

The largest urban area in the United States is that of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, with its city proper
City proper
City proper is defined as a "locality with legally fixed boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status that is usually characterized by some form of local government", or the area within the corporate limits. This definition has been consistently used since the United Nations...

 population exceeding 8 million and its metropolitan area population almost 19 million. The next five largest urban areas in the U.S. are those of Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Miami and Philadelphia and Buffalo. About 79 percent of the population of the United States lives within the boundaries of urbanized area as of April, 2000. Combined, these areas occupy about 2 percent of the United States. The majority of urbanized area residents are suburbanites; core central city residents make up about 30 percent of the urbanized area population (about 60 out of 210 million).

In the U.S. Department of Agriculture's natural resources inventory, urban areas are officially known as developed areas or urban and built-up areas. Such areas include cities, ethnic villages, other built-up areas of more than 10 ac (4 ha), industrial sites, railroad yards, cemeteries, airports, golf courses, shooting ranges, institutional and public administration sites, and similar areas. The 1997 national resources inventory placed over 98,000,000 ac (40,000,000 ha) in this category, an increase of 25,000,000 ac (10,000,000 ha) since 1982.

See also

  • Developed environments
    Developed environments
    Developed environments are environments in geography. Different kinds of developed lands are developed environments. The main developed environments are Urban, Suburban, Rural and Exurban communities....

    • Rural
      Rural
      Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

    • Suburb
      Suburb
      The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

      an
    • Exurban
    • Micro-urban
      Micro-urban
      Micro-urban is an informal term for smaller cities of 250,000 or less with certain urban characteristics normally found in large metropolitan centers...

  • Urban biosphere reserve
    Urban biosphere reserve
    An urban biosphere reserve is an attempt to apply the biosphere reserve concept to urban areas by the MAB Programme of UNESCO. Through urban planning and ecosystem management, an urban biosphere reserve is expected to support sustainable development and conservation...

  • Urban climatology
    Urban climatology
    Urban Climatology refers to a specific branch of climatology, it is the branch of climatology concerned with the interactions between urban areas and the atmosphere; the impacts they have on one another; and examines these processes at various scales see also: urban climate- History :Luke Howard...

  • Urban culture
    Urban culture
    Urban culture is the culture of towns and cities. In the United States, Urban culture may also sometimes be used as a euphemistic reference to contemporary African American culture.- African American culture :...

  • Urban decay
    Urban decay
    Urban decay is the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude...

  • Urban terrain
    Urban Terrain
    Urban Terrain is a military term for the representation of the urban environment within the context of urban warfare. Urban terrain includes buildings, roads, highways, ports, rails, airports, subways, and sewage lines....

  • Urban warfare
    Urban warfare
    Urban warfare is combat conducted in urban areas such as towns and cities. Urban combat is very different from combat in the open at both the operational and tactical level...



Lists:

External links