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👨‍🌾  Unit 5: Agriculture & Rural Land-Use

6.3 Cities and Globalization




⏱️  2 min read

written by

Harrison Burnside

harrison burnside

June 2, 2020


In the 1930s, Louis Wirth defined a city as a permanent settlements that has 3 characteristics that distinguish them from rural areas:

  1. Large Size

  2. High Population Density

  3. Social Stratification and Heterogeneity

Importance Of Cities in Different Sizes


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



World 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)

Alpha City

Primary Regional Nodes in the Global Economy (Similar to World Cities)

New York, London, Hong Kong, Sydney

Beta City

Secondary Regional Nodes in the Global Economy (One Step Down from Alpha)

Washington DC, Dallas, Berlin, Wuhan

Gamma City

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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