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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see City (disambiguation).
Night view of Taipei City.
The medieval section of Cairo.
Chicago from the air.A city is an urban area that is differentiated from a town, village, or hamlet by size, population density, importance, or legal status. In most parts of the world, cities are generally substantial and nearly always have an urban core, but in the United States many incorporated areas which have a very modest population, or a suburban or even mostly rural character, are designated as cities. City can also be a synonym for "downtown" or a "city centre".
A city usually consists of residential, industrial and business areas together with administrative functions which may relate to a wider geographical area. A large share of a city's area is primarily taken up by housing, which is then supported by infrastructure such as roads, streets and often public transport routes such as a rapid transit system. Lakes and rivers may be the only undeveloped areas within the city. The study of cities is covered extensively in human geography.
"The city is a human habitat that allows people to form relations with others at various levels of intimacy while remaining entirely anonymous." (This definition was the subject of an exhibition at the Israeli pavilion at the 2000 Venice Biennale of architecture)
2 History of cities
3 Environmental effects
4 The difference between towns and cities
4.1 United Kingdom
4.2 Australia and New Zealand
4.3 United States
5 Global cities
6 Inner city
7 See also
7.2 Social problems in the city
Map of Haarlem, the Netherlands, of around 1550. The city is completely surrounded by a city wall and defensive canal. The square shape is inspired by Jerusalem.The geographies of cities, both physical and human, are diverse. Cities are often coastal, with harbours for shipping, or situated near rivers to give economical advantage. Water transport on rivers and oceans was (and in most cases remains) cheaper and more efficient than road transport over long distances.
Older European cities often have historically intact central areas where the streets are jumbled together, seemingly without a structural plan. This quality is a legacy of earlier unplanned or organic development, and is often perceived by today's tourists to be picturesque. In contrast, planned cities founded after the advent of the automobile tend to have expansive boulevards impractical to navigate on foot.
Modern city planning has seen many different schemes for how a city should look. The most commonly seen pattern is the grid, favoured by the Romans, almost a rule in parts of the United States, and used for thousands of years in China. Derry was the first ever planned city in Ireland, begun in 1613, with the walls being completed 5 years later in 1618. The central diamond within a walled city with four gates was thought to be a good design for defence. The grid pattern chosen was widely copied in the colonies of British North America . However, the grid has been used for a long time in history. The Greeks often gave their colonies around the Mediterranean a grid. One of the best examples around is the city of Priene. This city even had its different districts, much like modern city planning today. Also in Medieval times we see a preference for linear planning. Good examples are the cities established in the south of France by various rulers and city expansions in old Dutch and Flemish cities.
Other forms may include a radial structure in which main roads converge on a central point, often the effect of successive growth over long time with concentric traces of town walls and citadels - recently supplemented by ring-roads that take traffic around the edge of a town. Many Dutch cities are structured that way: a central square surrounded by a concentric canals. Every city expansion would imply a new circle (canals + town walls). In cities like Amsterdam and Haarlem this pattern is still clearly visible.
History of cities
Towns and cities have a long history, although opinions vary on whether any particular ancient settlement can be considered to be a city. The first true towns are sometimes considered to be large settlements where the inhabitants were no longer simply farmers of the surrounding area, but began to take on specialized occupations, and where trade, food storage and power was centralized. Societies that live in cities are often called civilizations.
By this definition, the first towns we know of were located in Mesopotamia, such as Ur, and along the Nile, the Indus Valley Civilization and China. Before this time it was rare for settlements to reach significant size, although there were exceptions such as Jericho, Çatalhöyük and Mehrgarh. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro (in the Indus Valley Civilization) were the largest of these early cities, with a combined population of up to about 100,000.
The growth of ancient and medieval empires led to ever greater capital cities and seats of provincial administration, with Alexandria, Antioch and Seleucia on the Tigris in ancient Greece, Changan (in China), ancient Rome, its eastern successor Constantinople (later Istanbul), and successive Chinese, Islamic, and Indian capitals approaching or exceeding the half-million population level. It is estimated that ancient Rome had a population of around 1 million people by the end of the last century BCE, which is widely considered the only city to reach that number until the Industrial Revolution. Alexandria's population was also close to Rome's population at around the same time (in a census dated from 32 CE, Alexandria had 180,000 adult male citizens). Similar large administrative, commercial, industrial and ceremonial centres emerged in other areas. Most notably Baghdad, which second to some estimates became the first city to exceed a population of one million instead of Rome.
During the European Middle Ages, a town was as much a political entity as a collection of houses. City residence brought freedom from customary rural obligations to lord and community: "Stadtluft macht frei" ("City air makes you free") was a saying in Germany. In Continental Europe cities with a legislature of their own weren't unheard of, the laws for towns as a rule other than for the countryside, the lord of a town often being another than for surrounding land. In the Holy Roman Empire some cities had no other lord than the emperor.
In exceptional cases like Venice, Genoa or Lübeck, cities themselves became powerful states, sometimes taking surrounding areas under their control or establishing extensive maritime empires. Similar phenomena existed elsewhere, as in the case of Sakai, which enjoyed a considerable autonomy in late medieval Japan.
Most towns remained far smaller places, so that in 1500 only some two dozen places in the world contained more than 100,000 inhabitants: as late as 1700 there were fewer than forty, a figure which would rise thereafter to 300 in 1900. A small city of the early modern period might contain as few as 10,000 inhabitants, a town far fewer still.
While the city-states, or poleis, of the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea languished from the 16th century, Europe's larger capitals benefited from the growth of commerce following the emergence of an Atlantic economy fuelled by the silver of Peru. By the late 18th century, London had become the largest city in the world with a population of nearly 1 million, while Paris rivalled the well-developed regionally-traditional capital cities of Baghdad, Beijing, Istanbul and Kyoto.
The growth of modern industry from the late 18th century onward led to massive urbanization and the rise of new great cities, first in Europe and then in other regions, as new opportunities brought huge numbers of migrants from rural communities into urban areas. In the Great Depression of the 1930s cities were hard hit by unemployment, especially those with a base in heavy industry. Today the world's population is about half urban, with millions still streaming annually into the growing cities of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Modern cities are known for creating their own microclimates. This is due to the large clustering of hard surfaces that heat up in sunlight and that channel rainwater into underground ducts. As a result, city weather is often windier and cloudier than the weather in the surrounding countryside. Conversely, because these effects make cities warmer (urban heat shield or urban heat islands) than the surrounding area, tornadoes tend to go around cities. Additionally towns can cause significant downstream weather effects.
Garbage and sewage are two major problems for cities, as is air pollution coming from internal combustion engines (see public transport). The impact of cities on places elsewhere, be it hinterlands or places far away, is considered in the notion of city footprinting (ecological footprint).
The difference between towns and cities
The difference between towns and cities is differently understood in different parts of the English speaking world. There is no one standard international definition of a city: the term may be used either for a town possessing city status; for an urban locality exceeding an arbitrary population size; for a town dominating other towns with particular regional economic or administrative significance. Although city can refer to an agglomeration including suburban and satellite areas, the term is not usually applied to a conurbation (cluster) of distinct urban places, nor for a wider metropolitan area including more than one city, each acting as a focus for parts of the area. Also, a city must have a cathedral to be properly considered a city, but as cathedrals are a Christian place of worship this has been ruled out.
In the United Kingdom, a city is a town which has been known as a city since time immemorial, or which has received city status by letters patent — which is normally granted on the basis of size, importance or royal connection (traditional pointers have been whether the town has a cathedral or a university). Some cathedral cities, for example St David's in Wales, are quite small, and may not be known as cities in common parlance. (See City status in the United Kingdom.) Preston became England's newest city in the year 2002 to mark the Queen's jubilee.
A similar system existed in the medieval Low Countries where a landlord would grant settlements certain privileges (city rights) that settlements without city rights didn't have. This include the privilege to put up city walls, hold markets or set up a judicial court.
Australia and New Zealand
In Australia and New Zealand, city is used to refer both to units of local government, and as a synonym for urban area. For instance the City of South Perth  is part of the urban area known as Perth, commonly described as a city. On the other hand, Gisborne in New Zealand is known as the first city to see the sun, despite being administered by a district council, not a city council.
An interesting phenomenon in American English is the generalisation on forms and paperwork of the term city to all settlements. Britons may be bemused by forms with fields headed, not Town and Postal code, but City and ZIP, even though the person needing to fill it in could be living in a city, a town without city status, or even a village or hamlet. In most U.S. states, a city is designated by the election of a mayor and city council, while a town is governed by a town manager, select board, or open town meeting. Very large towns exist (such as Hempstead, New York, with a population of 755,785 in 2004), and the line between town and city varies from state to state.
Even though Americans are well aware that "village" means something smaller than a town, the word has often been co-opted by enterprising developers to make their projects sound welcoming and friendly. The results are so-called villages with 20 and 30-story high-rises, like Westwood Village in Los Angeles.
Modern global cities, like New York City, often include large central business districts that serve as hubs for economic activity.A global city, also known as a world city, is a prominent centre of trade, banking, finance, innovations, and markets. The term "global city", as opposed to megacity, was coined by Saskia Sassen in a seminal 1991 work. Whereas "megacity" refers to any city of enormous size, a global city is one of enormous power or influence. Global cities, according to Sassen, have more in common with each other than with other cities in their host nations. Examples of such cities include London, New York City, Paris and Tokyo. The notion of global cities is rooted in the concentration of power and capabilities within all cities. The city is seen as a container where skills and resources are concentrated: the better able a city is to concentrate its skills and resources, the more successful and powerful the city. This makes the city itself more powerful in terms that it can influence what is happening around the world. Following this view of cities, it is possible to rank the world's cities hierarchically . Other global cities include Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Milan, Chicago and Singapore which are all "Alpha World Cities" and after San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto and Zurich, which are "Beta World Cities".
Critics of the notion point to the different realms of power. The term global city is heavily influenced by economic factors and, thus, may not account for locales that are otherwise significant. For example, cities like Rome and Mecca are powerful in religious and historical terms. Additionally, it has been questioned whether the city itself can be regarded as an actor.
In 1995, Kanter argued that successful cities can be identified by three elements. To be successful, a city needs to have good thinkers (concepts), good makers (competence) or good traders (connections). The interplay of these three elements, Kanter argued, means that good cities are not planned but managed.
Main article: Inner city
In the United States, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, the term "inner city" is sometimes used with the connotation of being an area, perhaps a ghetto, where people are less wealthy and where there is more crime. These connotations are less common in other Western countries, as deprived areas are located in varying parts of other Western cities. In fact, with the gentrification of some formerly run-down central city areas the reverse connotation can apply. In Australia, for example, the term "outer suburban" applied to a person implies a lack of sophistication. In Paris, the inner city is the richest part of the metropolitan area, where housing is the most expensive, and where elites and high-income individuals dwell. In the developing world, economic modernization brings poor newcomers from the countryside to build haphazardly at the edge of current settlement (see favelas).
The United States, in particular, has a culture of anti-urbanism that some say dates back as far as Thomas Jefferson who wrote that "The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government as sores do to the strength of the human body." On the businessmen who brought manufacturing industry into cities and hence increased the population density necessary to supply the workforce, he wrote "the manufactures of the great cities... have begotten a depravity of morals, a dependence and corruption, which renders them an undesirable accession to a country whose morals are sound." The American City Beautiful architecture movement of the late 1800s was a reaction to preceived urban decay and sought to provide stately civic buildings and boulevards to inspire civic pride in the motley residents of the urban core. Modern anti-urban attitudes are to be found in America in the form of a planning profession that continues to develop land on a low-density suburban basis, where access to amenities, work and shopping is provided almost exclusively by car rather than on foot.
However, there is a growing movement in North America called "New Urbanism" that calls for a return to traditional city planning methods where mixed-use zoning allows people to walk from one type of land-use to another. The idea is that housing, shopping, office space, and leisure facilities are all provided within walking distance of each other, thus reducing the demand for road-space and also improving the efficiency and effectiveness of mass transit.
For more information on City, please visit Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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A state is a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern a society, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory. Following Max Weber's influential definition, a state has a 'monopoly on legitimate violence'. Hence the state includes such institutions as the armed forces, civil service or state bureaucracy, courts, and police. For theorists of international relations, recognition of the state's claim to independence by other states, enabling it to enter into international engagements, is key to the establishment of its sovereignty.
Although the term often refers broadly to all institutions of government or rule—ancient and modern—the modern state system bears a number of characteristics that were first consolidated in western Europe, beginning in earnest in the 15th century.
In the late 20th century, the globalization of the world economy, the mobility of people and capital, and the rise of many international institutions all combined to circumscribe the freedom of action of states. However, the state remains the basic political unit of the world, as it has been since the 16th century. The state is therefore considered the most central concept in the study of politics, and its definition is the subject of intense scholarly debate. Political sociologists in the tradition of both Karl Marx and Max Weber usually favor a broad definition that draws attention to the role of coercive apparatus.
Since the late 19th century, the entirety of the world's inhabitable land has been parceled up into states; earlier, quite large land areas had been either unclaimed or uninhabited, or inhabited by nomadic peoples who were not organized as states. Currently more than 200 states compromise the international community, with the vast majority of them represented in the United Nations.
Within a federal system, the term state also refers to political units, not sovereign themselves, but subject to the authority of the larger state, or federal union, such as the "states" in the United States and the Länder.
In casual usage, the terms "country," "nation," and "state" are often used as if they were synonymous; but in a more strict usage they are distinguished:
country is the geographical area
nation designates a people, however national and international both confusingly refer as well to matters pertaining to what are strictly states, as in national capital, international law
state refers to set of governing institutions with sovereignty over a definite territory
2 State forms over time
2.1 The state in classical antiquity
2.2 The state-system of feudal Europe
2.3 The "modern state"
3 The state in modern political thought
4 State and civil society
5 The state in an international system
5.1 The state and supranationalism
5.2 The state and international law
6 Contemporary theories of the state
The word "state" originates from the medieval state or regal chair upon which the head of state (usually a monarch) would sit. By process of metonymy, the word state became used to refer to both the head of state and the power entity he represented (though the former meaning has fallen out of use). A similar association of terms can today be seen in the practice of referring to government buildings as having authority, for example "The White House today released a press statement..."
State forms over time
The state in classical antiquity
In the Western world the history of the state begins in ancient Greece. In classical antiquity, the state took a variety of forms, such as a Hellenistic king and his military or a Roman emperor and an imperial aristocracy. Before the 4th century BCE, in the era of the Greek city-states, free members of the society were granted citizenship rights until the 'democracy' of the city-states was undermined by territorial conquest and colonization, leading to rule by royal succession by the time of Alexander the Great.
In contrast, Rome did not introduce direct democracy but developed from a monarchy into a republic, governed by a senate dominated by the Roman aristocracy. While the Greek city-states contributed to the concept of direct democracy, Rome contributed the concept of Roman law and the distinction between the privateand the public spheres.
The state-system of feudal Europe
The dissolution of the Roman empire saw the fragmentation of the imperial state into the hands of private lords whose political, judicial, and military roles corresponded to the organization of economic production. In the early Middle Ages, power in the Western European state was divided up feudalized, through local proprietors whose property, gained from oaths of fealty, afforded them political authority. In these conditions, according to Marxists, their estate—the basic economic unit of society—was the state.
The state-system of feudal Europe was an unstable configuration of suzerains and anointed kings. A monarch, formally at the head of a hierarchy of sovereigns, was not an absolute power who could rule at will; instead, relations between lords and monarchs were mediated by varying degrees of mutual dependence, which was ensured by the absence of a centralized system of taxation. This reality ensured that each ruler needed to obtain the 'consent' of each estate in the realm. Given the legal underpinnings of the feudal organization of society, and the Roman Catholic Church's claim to act as a law-making power coequal to rather than subordinate to secular authorities, the conception of the 'modern state' is not a basis for understanding politics in medieval feudalism.
The "modern state"
The rise of the "modern state" as a public power constituting the supreme political authority within a defined territory is associated with western Europe's gradual institutional development beginning in earnest in the late 15th century, culminating in the rise of absolutism and capitalism.
As Europe's dynastic states—England under the Tudors, Spain under the Habsburgs, and France under the Bourbons—embarked on a variety of programs designed to increase centralized political and economic control, they increasingly exhibited many of the institutional features that characterize the "modern state." This centralization of power involved the delineation of political boundaries, as European monarchs gradually defeated or co-opted other sources of power, such as the Church and lesser nobility. In place of the fragmented system of feudal rule, with its often-indistinct territorial claims, large, unitary states with extensive control over definite territories emerged. This process gave rise to the highly centralized and increasingly bureaucratic forms of absolute monarchical rule of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the principal features of the contemporary state system took form, including the introduction of a standing army, a central taxation system, diplomatic relations with permanent embassies, and the development of state economic policy—mercantilism.
Cultural and national homogenization figured prominently in the rise of the modern state system. Since the absolutist period, states have largely been organized on a national basis. The concept of a national state, however, is not synonymous with nation-state. Even in the most ethically homogenous societies there is not always a complete correspondence between state and nation, hence the active role often taken by the state to promote nationalism through emphasis on shared symbols and national identity.
It is in this period that the term "the state" is first introduced into political discourse. Although its origins are disputed, Niccolò Machiavelli is often credited with first using the concept of the state to refer to a territorial sovereign government in The Prince, published in 1532. It is not, however, until the time of British thinkers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke that a full account of the marks of sovereignty is produced.
Today, the most influential definition of the modern state draws on Weber's Politics as a Vocation. Weber stressed the state's monopoly of the means of physical violence and legitimacy. According to Weber, without social institutions claiming a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a given territory, anarchy would quickly break out. In raising the question on why the dominated obey, Weber stresses the legitimation of such a structure of domination. He supplied the tripartite categories of "traditional," "charismatic," and "rational-legal" ideal types of legitimation of obedience.
Since Weber, an extensive literature on the processes by which the "modern state" emerged has been generated. Marxist scholars assert that the formation of states can be explained primarily in terms of the interests and struggles of social classes, while non-Marxist scholars—often in the tradition of Weber or Emile Durkheim—place greater emphasis on non-class actors. Another question on state formation has been whether it is best understood in terms of the internal dynamics and conflicts in a given country, or in terms of international dynamics such as war, imperialism, or economic domination. Marxists generally argue that there is a discernible historical pattern in the emergence of capitalist states, relating the formation of national states in the West with the emergence of capitalism.
The state in modern political thought
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Political theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau pondered issues concerning the ideal and actual roles of the state.
The rise of the modern state system was closely related to changes in political thought, especially concerning the changing understanding of legitimate state power. The broad Enlightenment claim that authority should be subject to reason undermine the absolutist doctrine of divine rule and served to intensify calls to relocate sovereignty from the monarch to the people. This idea found full expression in Jacques Rousseau's theory of popular sovereignty.
State and civil society
Given the increasing institutional access to the state and role in the development of public policy by many parts of civil society, it is increasingly difficult to identify the boundaries of the state. The boundaries of the state are continually changing, for example, through privatization, nationalization, and the creation of new regulatory bodies. Often the nature of quasi-autonomy organizations is unclear, generating debate among political scientists on whether they are part of the state or civil society.
The distinction between the state to the public sphere or civil society has been the subject of considerable attention in analyses of state development has underwritten a diverse array of inquiries. Jürgen Habermas, in his conception of the public sphere, has defined civil society in terms of its role as a site of extra-institutional engagement with matters of public interest autonomous from the state. Earlier Western philosophers, in contrast, emphasized the supremacy of state over society, such as Thomas Hobbes and G.W.F. Hegel.
Some Marxist theorists, such as Antonio Gramsci, question the distinction between the state and civil society altogether, arguing that the former is integrated into many parts of the latter. Others, such as Louis Althusser, maintain that civil organizations such as church, schools, and even trade unions are part of an 'ideological state apparatus.' In this sense, the state can fund a number of groups within society that, while autonomous in principle, are dependent on state support.
The state in an international system
The state and supranationalism
International relations theorists have traditionally posited the existence of an international system, where states stake into the account the behavior of other states when making their own calculations. From this point of view, states embedded in an international system face internal and external security and legitmation dilemmas. Recently the notion of an 'international community' has been developed to refer to a group of states who have established rules, procedures, and institutions for the conduct of their relations. In this way the foundation has been laid for international law, diplomacy, formal regimes, and organizations.
Since the absolutist period, states have predominately beenn
In the late 20th century, gloabalization generated a debate as to whether the state can retain any of the freedom of action formerly associated with sovereignty. These constraints on the state's freedom of action are accompanied in some areas, notably Western Europe, with projects for interstate integration such as the European Union.
The state and international law
The legal criteria for statehood are not obvious. Often, the laws are surpassed by political circumstances. However, one of the documents often quoted on the matter is the Montevideo Convention from 1933, the first article of which states:
The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
Contemporary theories of the state
There are three main traditions within political science that shape 'theories of the state': the Marxist, the pluralist, and the inistitutionalist. Each of these theories has been employed to gain understanding on the state, while recognizing its complexity. Several issues underlie this complexity. First, the boundaries of the state are not closely defined, but constantly changing. Second, the state is not only the site of conflict between different organizations, but also internal conflict and conflict within organizations. Some scholars speak of the 'state's interest,' but there are often various interests within different parts of the state that are neither solely state-centered nor solely society-centered, but develop between different groups in civil society and different state actors.
For Marxist theorists, the role of modern states is determined or related to their position in capitalist societies. Many contemporary Marxists offer a liberal interpretation of Marx's comment in The Communist Manifesto that the state is but the executive committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. Ralph Miliband argued that the ruling class uses the state as its instrument to dominate society by virtue of the interpersonal ties between state officials and economic elites. For Miliband, the state is dominated by an elite that comes from the same background as the capitalist class. State officials therefore share the same interests as owners of capital and are linked to them through a wide array of interpersonal and political ties.
By contrast, other Marxist theorists argue that the question of who controls the state is irrelevant. Heavily influenced by Gramsci, Nicos Poulantzas, a Greek neo-Marxist theorist argued that capitalist states do not always act on behalf of the ruling class, and when they do, it is not necessarily the case because state officials consciously strive to do so, but because the 'structural' position of the state in configured in such a way to ensure that the long-term interests of capital are always dominant. Poulantzas' main contribution to the Marxist literature on the state was the concept of 'relative autonomy' of the state. While Poulantzas' work on 'state autonomy' has served to sharpen and specify a great deal of Marxist literature on the state, his own framework came under criticism for its 'structural functionalism.'
While neo-Marxist theories of the state were relatively influential in continental Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, pluralism, a contending approach, gained greater adherence in the United States. Within the pluralist tradition, Robert Dahl sees the state as either a neutral arena for contending interests or its agencies as simply another set of interest groups. With power competitively arranged in society, state policy is a product of recurrent bargaining. Although pluralism recognizes the existence of inequality, it asserts that all groups have an opportunity to pressure the state. The pluralist approach suggests that the state's actions are the result of pressures applied for both polyarchy and organized interests.
Both the Marxist and pluralist approaches view the state as reacting to the activities of groups within society, such as classes or interest groups. In this sense, they have both come under criticism for their 'society-centered' understanding of the state by scholars who emphasize the autonomy of the state with respect to social forces.
In particular, the "new institutionalism," an approach to politics that holds that behavior is fundamentally molded by the institutions in which it is embedded, asserts that the state is not an 'instrument' or an 'arena' and does not 'function' in the interests of a single class. Scholars working within this approach stress the importance of interposing civil society between the economy and the state to explain variation in state forms.
"New institutionalist" writings on the state, such as the works of Theda Skocpol, suggest that state actors are to an important degree autonomous. In other words, state personnel have interests of their own, which the can and do pursue independently (at times in conflict with) actors in society. Since the state controls the means of coercion, and given the dependence of many groups in civil society on the state for achieving any goals they may espouse, state personal can to some extent impose their own preferences on civil society.
'New institutionalist' writers, claiming allegiance to Weber, often utilize the distinction between 'strong states' and 'weak states,' claiming that the degree of 'relative autonomy' of the state from pressures in society determines the power of the state—a position that has found favor in the field of international political economy.
For more information on State, please visit Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Main street in Bastrop, Texas, a small townA town is a residential community of people ranging from a few hundred to several thousands, although it may be applied loosely even to huge metropolitan areas. Generally, a "town" is thought of as larger than a village but smaller than a "city." The words "city" and "village" came into English from Latin via French. "Town" and "borough" (also "burrow," "burgh," "bury," etc.) are native English and Scottish words.
1 Origin and use around the world
3 England and Wales
7 United States
Origin and use around the world
In Old English and Old Scots, "Town" (or "toun," "ton," etc.) originally meant a fortified municipality, whereas a borough was not fortified. But that distinction did not last long, and "Edina Burgh" or "Edinburgh" - modernly called a "city" - was a fortified "town" from its founding.
In American English, a town is usually a municipal corporation that is smaller than a city but larger than a village. In some cases, "town" is an alternate name for "city" or "village" (especially a larger village). Sometimes, the word "town" is short for "township."
In general, towns can be differentiated from townships, villages, or hamlets on the basis of their economic character, in that most of a town's population will tend to derive their living from manufacturing industry, commerce, and public service rather than primary industry such as agriculture or related activities.
A place's population size is not a reliable determinant of urban character. In many areas of the world, as in India at least until recent times, a large village might contain several times as many people as a small town.
The modern phenomena of extensive suburban growth, satellite urban development, and migration of city-dwellers to villages have further complicated the definition of towns, creating communities urban in their economic and cultural characteristics but lacking other characteristics of urban localities.
Some forms of non-rural settlement, such as temporary mining locations, may be clearly non-rural, but have at best a questionable claim to be called a town.
The distinction between a town and a city similarly depends on the approach adopted: a city may strictly be an administrative entity which has been granted that designation by law, but in informal usage, the term is also used to denote an urban locality of a particular size or importance: whereas a medieval city may have possessed as few as 10,000 inhabitants, today some consider an urban place of fewer than 100,000 as a town, even though there are many officially designated cities that are very much smaller than that.
In Australia, the status of a town is formally applied in only a few states. Most states do define cities, and towns are commonly understood to be those centres of population not formally declared to be cities and usually with a population in excess of about 250 people.
The creation and delimitation of Local Government Areas is the responsibility of the state and territory Governments. In all states and the Northern Territory each incorporated area has an official status. The various LGA status types currently in use are:
New South Wales: Cities (C) and Areas (A)
Victoria: Cities (C), Rural Cities (RC), Boroughs (B) and Shires (S)
Queensland: Cities (C), Shires (S), Towns (T) and Island Councils (IC)
South Australia: Cities (C), Rural Cities (RC), Municipalities/Municipal Councils (M), District Councils (DC), Regional Councils (RegC) and Aboriginal Councils (AC)
Western Australia: Cities (C), Towns (T) and Shires (S)
Tasmania: Cities (C) and Municipalities (M)
Northern Territory: Cities (C), Towns (T), Community Government Councils (CGC) and Shires (S).
Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2005
England and Wales
A traditional English town centre at RugbyIn England and Wales, a town traditionally was a settlement which had a charter to hold a market or fair and therefore became a "market town". Market towns were distinguished from villages in that they were the economic hub of a surrounding area, and were usually larger and had more facillities.
In modern usage the term town is used either for old market towns, or for settlements which have a Town Council. Any parish council can decide to describe itself as a Town Council. Not all settlements which are commonly described as towns have a 'Town Council' however.
Alternatively there are also "new towns" which were created during the 20th century, such as Basildon, Redditch and Telford. Milton Keynes was designed to be a "new city" but legally it is still a town despite its size.
Curiously some settlements which describe themselves as towns, are smaller than some large villages (e.g. Kidlington, Oxfordshire) larger than some small towns (e.g. Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire).
Main article: City status in the United Kingdom
The status of a city is reserved for places that have Letters Patent entitling them to the name, historically associated with the possession of a cathedral. Some large municipalities (such as Northampton) are legally boroughs but not cities, whereas some cities are quite small — such as Ely or St David's for instance.
It appears that a city may become a town, though perhaps only through administrative error: Rochester (Kent) has been a city for centuries but, when in 1998 when the Medway district was created, a bureaucratic blunder meant that Rochester lost its official City status and it is now technically a town.
It is often thought that towns with bishops' seats rank automatically as cities: however, Chelmsford remains a town despite being the seat of the Diocese of Chelmsford. St. Asaph, which is the seat of the Diocese of St. Asaph, is another such town.
The word town can also be used as a general term for urban areas, including cities. In this usage, a city is a type of town — a large one, with a certain status. For example, Greater London is a city, but is sometimes referred to affectionately as "London town". (The "City of London" is the historical nucleus, informally known as the "Square Mile", and is a London borough in its own right). Also, going from the suburbs to central London is to "go into town".
List of towns in England
List of towns in Wales
From an administrative standpoint, the smallest level of local authorities are all called “communes”. However, some laws do treat these authorities differently based on the population and specific rules apply to the three main cities Paris, Lyon and Marseille. For historical reasons, six communes in the Meuse département still exist as independent entities despite having no inhabitant at all.
For statistical purposes, the national statistical institute (INSEE) operates a distinction between urban areas with less than 2,000 inhabitants and bigger communes, the latter being called “villes”. Smaller settlements are usually called “villages”. In any case, the French language does not commonly make a difference between towns and cities.
Germans do not differentiate between city and town. The German word for both is "Stadt" as it is in many other languages that do not make any difference between the Anglo-Saxon concepts. A town with more than 100,000 inhabitants is called a Großstadt, which is the most adequate equivalence for city. In Germany also the historical importance, the centrality and the population density of an urban place might be taken as characteristics of a "city". For example the German term "Oberzentrum" refers more to a "city" than to a "town" – due to that one may call even places with less than a population of 100,000 a city.
Similarly to Germany, in Poland there is no difference between city and town. Polish word for city is miasto and the only difference between very big village (in Polish wies or wies) and small city is the administrative status of the latter one. Many Polish villages are older than some relatively young cities. For example wies Mstow is older around 100 years than closely located city Czestochowa.
The tiny farming community of Wyatt, Indiana.In the United States of America, the meaning of the term town varies from state to state. In some states, a town is an incorporated municipality, that is, one with a charter received from the state, similar to a city.
Several types of municipalities in U.S. states are cities, towns, boroughs, or villages, although most states do not have all four types. Many states do not use the term "town" for incorporated municipalities. In some states, for example Wisconsin, "town" is used in the same way that civil township is used in elsewhere. In other states, such as Michigan, the term "town" has no official meaning and is simply used informally to refer to a populated place, whether incorporated or not.
In the six New England states, a town is a municipality and a more important unit than the county. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, in fact, counties only exist as map divisions and have no legal functions; in the other four states, counties are primarily judicial districts, with other functions primarily in New Hampshire and Vermont. In all six, towns perform functions that in most states would be county functions. The defining feature of a New England town, as opposed to a city, is that a town meeting and a board of selectmen serve as the main form of government for a town, while cities are run by a mayor and a city council. For example, Brookline, Massachusetts is a town, even though it is fairly urban, because of its form of government.
In New York, a town is similarly a subdivision of the county, but with less importance than in New England. Of some importance is the fact that, in New York, a town provides a closer level of governance than its enclosing county, providing almost all municipal services to unincorporated areas, called hamlets and selected services to incorporated areas, called villages. In New York, a town typically contains a number of such hamlets and villages. However, due to the independent nature of Incorporated Villages, they may exist in two towns or even two counties. Everyone in New York State who does not live in an Indian reservation or a city lives in a town and possibly in one of the town's hamlets or villages. (Some other states have similar entities called townships.) In New York, "town" is essentially short for "township."
In Pennsylvania, there is only one municipality which is incorporated as a "town": Bloomsburg. Most of the rest of the state is incorporated as townships (there are also boroughs and cities), which function in much the same way as the towns of New York or New England, although they may have different forms of government.
In Virginia, a town is an incorporated municipality similar to a city (though with a smaller required minimum population), but while cities are by Virginia law independent of counties, towns are contained within a county.
In California, where the term "village" is not used, "town" usually refers to a community that is unincorporated, regardless of size. Because of this, some towns are larger than small cities and any settlement with a name may be called a town, even though it may only be a relatively small grouping of buildings. Unincorporated communities, even large ones, are usually not referred to as cities. In casual speech, "town" may be used as a substitute for "city", especially a "general law city", as distinct from a "charter city".
For more information on Town, please visit Wikipedia.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of Population density in the world
A crowded street in Japan. Japan has a high population density
Population growth showing projections for later this centuryIn sociology and biology, a population is the collection of people, or organisms of a particular species, living in a given geographic area, or space, usually by census.
In biology, plant and animal populations are studied, in particular, in a branch of ecology known as population biology, and in population genetics. In population dynamics, size, age and sex structure, mortality, reproductive behaviour, and growth of a population are studied. In biology, an isolated population denotes a breeding group whose members breed mostly or solely among themselves, usually as a result of physical isolation, although biologically they could breed with any members of the species. Metapopulation is a group of sub-populations in a given area, where the individuals of the various sub-populations are able to cross uninhabitable areas of the region. Biological dispersal is one of the key elements affecting in such populations.
Demography is the study of human populations. Various aspects of human behavior in populations are studied in sociology, economics, and geography. Study of populations is almost always governed by the laws of probability, and the conclusions of the studies may thus not always be applicable to some individuals. This odd factor may be reduced by statistical means, but such a generalization may be too vague to imply anything. Demography is used extensively in marketing, which relates to economic units, such as retailers, to potential customers. For example, Starbucks, a coffee shop company that wants to sell to a younger audience, looks at the demographics of an area to be able to appeal to this younger audience.
1 Population density
2 Population pyramid
5 Population control
6 Population decline
7 Population aging
8 Population transfer
9 Population bomb
10 World population
11 Countries by population
12 See also
Population growth is higher in less developed countries (red) than developed countries (blue)Main article: Population density
Population density is measured by dividing the number of individuals by the area of the region in which they live.
Some observers of human societies believe that the concept of carrying capacity also applies to the human population of the Earth, and that unchecked population growth can result in a "Malthusian catastrophe." Others dispute this view. The graph to the right depicts logistic growth of population.
Populate, as a verb, means the process of populating a geographic area, as by procreation or immigration.
The countries with the highest population density are microstates: Monaco, Singapore, the Vatican City, and Malta. Among larger-sized countries, Japan and Bangladesh have two of the highest population densities.
Population pyramid showing steady mortality in each age group.The age and gender distribution of a population within a given nation or region is commonly represented by means of a population pyramid. This is a triangular distribution with the portions of the population along the horizontal X-axis and the 5-year age groups (cohorts) along the vertical Y-axis. Male population is shown to the left of the vertical axis and female to the right.
This type of chart displays the development of a population over a period of time. Nations with low infant mortality and high longevity will display a more rectangular shape as a majority of the population living to old age. The converse will have a more pyramidal shape with a wide base, reflecting higher infant mortality and greater risk of early death.
Main article: Underpopulation
In biology, a rarely occurring situation in which a group of individuals of a species appear in a new, inhabitable area suitable for more individuals, and begin to populate it. This may also happen if individuals of a species have been transferred to new areas on purpose or by accident. Ecological niches are usually populated, but evolution of a species may enable it to overcome the difficulties encountered in an initially hostile environment.
Main article: Overpopulation
An African crowdThe world's human population is currently growing by more than 75 million people per year. About half the world lives in nations with sub-replacement fertility. Population growth in those countries is due to immigration. Overpopulation is a state where the number of people in a country is more than that country can sustain. This can result from increases in births and survival rates, or from an unsustainable use and depletion of resources. It follows that the threat of overpopulation can be reduced either by controlling the increase in birth rate, or by improving the resources available, probably by advances in technology which can increase the productivity of existing resources.
In biology, a classic example of an overpopulation is the lemmings in Lapland, which procreate over the years to such densities, that a great part of the population is forced to wander to inhospitable areas. Nowadays, this happens usually in less dramatic ways than in the past, one reason probably being that the food supply of lemmings is shared with an increased number of reindeer in Lapland.
Main article: Population control
Population control is the practice of curtailing population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. Surviving records from Ancient Greece document the first known examples of population control. These include the colonization movement, which saw Greek outposts being built across the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins to accommodate the excess population of individual states. An important example of mandated population control is China's one-child policy, in which having more than one child is made extremely unattractive. This has led to allegations that practices like infanticide, forced abortions, and forced sterilization are used as a result of the policy.
In ecology, population control is on occasions considered to be done solely by predators, diseases, parasites, and environmental factors. At many times human effects on animal and plant populations are also considered. See also . Migrations of animals may be seen as a natural way of population control, for the food on land is more abundant on some seasons. The area of the migrations' start is left to reproduce the food supply for large mass of animals next time around. See also immigration.
Main article: Population decline
Population decline is a fall in a region's population. It can be caused by sub-replacement fertility or heavy emigration, or more dramatically disease, famine, or war. Or most often by a combination of the factors. In the past population decline was mostly observed due to disease. In recent years, the population of Russia and seventeen other ex-Communist countries has begun to decline (1995-2005). The Black Death in Europe or the arrival of Old World diseases to the Americas all caused massive population declines.
In biology, population decline of a species is usually described as a result of gradually worsening environmental factors, such as prolonged drought or loss of inhabitable areas for the studied species. These, or other factors, may lead to a small population, in which case genetical factors may become dominant in the survival, or extinction of a population.
Main article: Population aging
Population aging occurs when the fertility rate declines. This means that, for a period of time, the ratio of old to young will be higher than average. It also occurs due to increasing life expectancy. Japan and Western Europe are the two regions which are most confronted by severe population aging in the near future. The second largest expenditure of most governments is education and these expenses will fall with an aging population. However older people tend to be the section of the population most concerned about crime and most insistent on more (and more expensive) law and order.
Main article: Population transfer
biological aspects, see introduced species
Population transfer is a term referring to a policy by which a state forces the movement of a large group of people out of a region, most frequently on the basis of their ethnicity or religion. This has occurred in India and Pakistan, between Turkey and Greece, and in Eastern Europe after the Second World War. Other movements in population are caused by immigration, such as the immigration from Europe to European colonies in the Americas, Africa, Australia and other places.
Main article: The Population Bomb
A best-selling work, The Population Bomb (1968) by Paul R. Ehrlich predicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the "population explosion". The work used a similar argument to Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), that population is subject to exponential growth and will outstrip food supply resulting in famine. However, a key difference was Ehrlich's introduction of the Impact formula:
I = PAT (where I=Impact, PAT = Population x Affluence x Technology)
Hence, Ehrlich argues, affluent technological nations have a greater per capita impact than poorer nations.
A "population bomb," as defined in the book, requires three things: a rapid rate of change; a limit of some sort; and delays in perceiving the limit. The book's specific prediction that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death" did not come to pass, however, due for the most part to the efforts of Norman Borlaug's "Green Revolution" of the 1960s.
It was later shown by Keith Greiner (1994) that Ehrlich's projections could not possibly have held the scrutiny of time, because Ehrlich applied the financial compound interest formula to population growth. Using two sets of assumptions based on Ehrlich's hypothesis, it was shown that the theorized wild growth in population and subsequent scarcity of resources could not have occurred on Ehrlich's time schedule.
In 1972 the Club of Rome more or less repeated the argument in Limits to Growth.
Main article: World population
According to estimates published by the United States Census Bureau, the world population hit 6.5 billion (6,500,000,000) on February 25th, 2006, at 7:16 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. On October 18th, 2012 at 4:36 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the Earth will be home to 7 billion people. The United Nations Population Fund designated October 12, 1999 as the approximate day on which world population reached six billion. This was about 12 years after world population reached five billion, in 1987. However, given that the population of some countries, such as Nigeria, is not even known to the nearest million, such precise timings are essentially meaningless.
Countries by population
Main article: List of countries by population
About 4 billion of the world's nearly 6.5 billion people live in Asia. Seven of the world's ten largest countries by population are in Asia (although Russia is also located in Europe).
Rank Country Population Density
— World 6,499,973,414 43
1 China 1,313,973,713 136
2 India 1,095,351,995 328
3 United States 298,540,006 30
4 Indonesia 222,781,000 126
5 Brazil 186,405,000 21
6 Pakistan 163,985,373 202
7 Bangladesh 144,319,628 1,002
8 Russia 142,800,000 8
9 Nigeria 131,530,000 139
10 Japan 127,417,244 337
For more information on Population, please visit Wikipedia.