In the 1930s, Louis Wirth defined a city as a permanent settlements that has 3 characteristics that distinguish them from rural areas:
High Population Density
Social Stratification and Heterogeneity
The urban hierarchy of cities goes from the smallest area to the largest area. The hamlet, village, town, city, metropolis, and megalopolis are all of the levels of the hierarchy from smallest to largest. The largest metropolis in the United States is New York City, with over 18 million people in its metropolitan area.
Type of City
Dominant City in Terms of Economic Standing
New York, London, Tokyo
An extended Conurban Area, Consisting of Several Cities
BosNYwash (the Area from BOSTON to NEW YORK to WASHINGTON DC)
Primary Regional Nodes in the Global Economy (Similar to World Cities)
New York, London, Hong Kong, Sydney
Secondary Regional Nodes in the Global Economy (One Step Down from Alpha)
Washington DC, Dallas, Berlin, Wuhan
Tertiary Regional Nodes in the Global Economy (One Step Down from Beta)
Cleveland, St. Petersburg, Austin, St. Louis
The three main World Cities are New York City, London, and Tokyo. Other cities are rated and ranked based on their economic, cultural, and political importance to the areas they serve. These other cities are rated on the Alpha, Beta, Gamma scale in decreasing levels of importance in the Global Economy.
This graphic explains the role of cities and how different cities can attract different people from varying distances.
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