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Many cities throughout history were founded under military auspices, a great many have incorporated fortifications , and military principles continue to influence urban design. Powers engaged in geopolitical conflict have established fortified settlements as part of military strategies, as in the case of garrison towns, America's Strategic Hamlet Program during the Vietnam War , and Israeli settlements in Palestine. During World War II , national governments on occasion declared certain cities open , effectively surrendering them to an advancing enemy in order to avoid damage and bloodshed.

Urban warfare proved decisive, however, in the Battle of Stalingrad , where Soviet forces repulsed German occupiers, with extreme casualties and destruction. In an era of low-intensity conflict and rapid urbanization, cities have become sites of long-term conflict waged both by foreign occupiers and by local governments against insurgency. Although capture is the more common objective, warfare has in some cases spelt complete destruction for a city.

Mesopotamian tablets and ruins attest to such destruction, [] as does the Latin motto Carthago delenda est. Urban infrastructure involves various physical networks and spaces necessary for transportation, water use, energy, recreation, and public functions.

Meeting Development Goals in Small Urban Centres: Water and Sanitation in the World's Cities 2006

Infrastructure in general if not every infrastructure project plays a vital role in a city's capacity for economic activity and expansion, underpinning the very survival of the city's inhabitants, as well as technological, commercial, industrial, and social activities. Megaprojects such as the construction of airports , power plants , and railways require large upfront investments and thus tend to require funding from national government or the private sector.

Urban infrastructure ideally serves all residents equally but in practice may prove uneven—with, in some cities, clear first-class and second-class alternatives. Public utilities literally, useful things with general availability include basic and essential infrastructure networks, chiefly concerned with the supply of water, electricity, and telecommunications capability to the populace. Sanitation , necessary for good health in crowded conditions, requires water supply and waste management as well as individual hygiene.

Urban water systems include principally a water supply network and a network for wastewater including sewage and stormwater.

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Historically , either local governments or private companies have administered urban water supply , with a tendency toward government water supply in the 20th century and a tendency toward private operation at the turn of the twenty-first. Modern urban life relies heavily on the energy transmitted through electricity for the operation of electric machines from household appliances to industrial machines to now-ubiquitous electronic systems used in communications, business, and government and for traffic lights , streetlights and indoor lighting. Cities rely to a lesser extent on hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline and natural gas for transportation, heating , and cooking.

Telecommunications infrastructure such as telephone lines and coaxial cables also traverse cities, forming dense networks for mass and point-to-point communications. Because cities rely on specialization and an economic system based on wage labour , their inhabitants must have the ability to regularly travel between home, work, commerce, and entertainment. Cities also rely on long-distance transportation truck, rail , and airplane for economic connections with other cities and rural areas.

Historically, city streets were the domain of horses and their riders and pedestrians , who only sometimes had sidewalks and special walking areas reserved for them. Since the mid-twentieth century, cities have relied heavily on motor vehicle transportation, with major implications for their layout, environment, and aesthetics. However, severe traffic jams still occur regularly in cities around the world, as private car ownership and urbanization continue to increase, overwhelming existing urban street networks.

The urban bus system , the world's most common form of public transport , uses a network of scheduled routes to move people through the city, alongside cars, on the roads. Rapid transit is widely used in Europe and has increased in Latin America and Asia. Walking and cycling "non-motorized transport" enjoy increasing favor more pedestrian zones and bike lanes in American and Asian urban transportation planning, under the influence of such trends as the Healthy Cities movement, the drive for sustainable development , and the idea of a carfree city.

Housing of residents presents one of the major challenges every city must face. Adequate housing entails not only physical shelters but also the physical systems necessary to sustain life and economic activity.

Homelessness , or lack of housing, is a challenge currently faced by millions of people in countries rich and poor. Urban ecosystems , influenced as they are by the density of human buildings and activities differ considerably from those of their rural surroundings. Anthropogenic buildings and waste , as well as cultivation in gardens , create physical and chemical environments which have no equivalents in wilderness , in some cases enabling exceptional biodiversity. They provide homes not only for immigrant humans but also for immigrant plants , bringing about interactions between species which never previously encountered each other.

They introduce frequent disturbances construction, walking to plant and animal habitats , creating opportunities for recolonization and thus favoring young ecosystems with r-selected species dominant. On the whole, urban ecosystems are less complex and productive than others, due to the diminished absolute amount of biological interactions. Typical urban fauna include insects especially ants , rodents mice , rats , and birds , as well as cats and dogs domesticated and feral. Large predators are scarce.


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Cities generate considerable ecological footprints , locally and at longer distances, due to concentrated populations and technological activities. From one perspective, cities are not ecologically sustainable due to their resource needs. From another, proper management may be able to ameliorate a city's ill effects. Industrialized cities, and today third-world megacities, are notorious for veils of smog industrial haze which envelop them, posing a chronic threat to the health of their millions of inhabitants.

Modern cities are known for creating their own microclimates , due to concrete , asphalt , and other artificial surfaces, which heat up in sunlight and channel rainwater into underground ducts. This effect varies nonlinearly with population changes independently of the city's physical size.

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Thus, urban areas experience unique climates, with earlier flowering and later leaf dropping than in nearby country. Poor and working-class people face disproportionate exposure to environmental risks known as environmental racism when intersecting also with racial segregation. For example, within the urban microclimate, less-vegetated poor neighborhoods bear more of the heat but have fewer means of coping with it. On of the main methodes of improving the urban ecology is including in the cities more or less natural areas: Parks , Gardens , Lawns.

These areas improve the health, the well being of the human, animal, and plant population of the cities []. Generally they are called Urban open space although this word not always mean green space , Green space, Urban greening. A study published in Nature's Scientific Reports journal in found that people who spent at least two hours per week in nature, were 23 percent more likely to be satisfied with their life and were 59 percent more likely to be in good health than those who had zero exposure. The study used data from almost 20, people in the UK.

Benefits increased for up to minutes of exposure. The benefits applied to men and women of all ages, as well as across different ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and even those with long-term illnesses and disabilities. People who did not get at least two hours — even if they surpassed an hour per week — did not get the benefits. The study is the latest addition to a compelling body of evidence for the health benefits of nature.

Many doctors already give nature prescriptions to their patients. The study didn't count time spent in a person's own yard or garden as time in nature, but the majority of nature visits in the study took place within two miles from home. White said in a press release. As the world becomes more closely linked through economics, politics, technology, and culture a process called globalization , cities have come to play a leading role in transnational affairs, exceeding the limitations of international relations conducted by national governments.

A global city , also known as a world city, is a prominent centre of trade, banking, finance, innovation, and markets. Saskia Sassen used the term "global city" in her work, The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo to refer to a city's power , status, and cosmopolitanism, rather than to its size. Global cities may have reached their status due to early transition to post-industrialism [] or through inertia which has enabled them to maintain their dominance from the industrial era.

Critics of the notion point to the different realms of power and interchange. The term "global city" is heavily influenced by economic factors and, thus, may not account for places that are otherwise significant. Paul James , for example argues that the term is "reductive and skewed" in its focus on financial systems. Multinational corporations and banks make their headquarters in global cities and conduct much of their business within this context. Global cities feature concentrations of extremely wealthy and extremely poor people. Cities increasingly participate in world political activities independently of their enclosing nation-states.

Early examples of this phenomenon are the sister city relationship and the promotion of multi-level governance within the European Union as a technique for European integration. New urban dwellers may increasingly not simply as immigrants but as transmigrants , keeping one foot each through telecommunications if not travel in their old and their new homes.

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Cities participate in global governance by various means including membership in global networks which transmit norms and regulations. Networks have become especially prevalent in the arena of environmentalism and specifically climate change following the adoption of Agenda Cities with world political status as meeting places for advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations, lobbyists, educational institutions, intelligence agencies, military contractors, information technology firms, and other groups with a stake in world policymaking.

They are consequently also sites for symbolic protest. The United Nations System has been involved in a series of events and declarations dealing with the development of cities during this period of rapid urbanization. The World Bank , a United Nations specialized agency , has been a primary force in promoting the Habitat conferences, and since the first Habitat conference has used their declarations as a framework for issuing loans for urban infrastructure. Cities figure prominently in traditional Western culture, appearing in the Bible in both evil and holy forms, symbolized by Babylon and Jerusalem.

In Sumerian mythology Gilgamesh built the walls of Uruk. Cities can be perceived in terms of extremes or opposites: at once liberating and oppressive, wealthy and poor, organized and chaotic. Such opposition may result from identification of cities with oppression and the ruling elite.

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Writers, painters, and filmmakers have produced innumerable works of art concerning the urban experience. Classical and medieval literature includes a genre of descriptiones which treat of city features and history. Modern authors such as Charles Dickens and James Joyce are famous for evocative descriptions of their home cities. By the s, however, traffic congestion began to appear in such films as The Fast Lady and Playtime Literature, film, and other forms of popular culture have supplied visions of future cities both utopian and dystopian.

The prospect of expanding, communicating, and increasingly interdependent world cities has given rise to images such as Nylonkong NY, London, Hong Kong [] and visions of a single world-encompassing ecumenopolis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see City disambiguation. Large and permanent human settlement. Main article: City centre.

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Main article: History of the city. Further information: Urban history , Historical urban community sizes , and List of largest cities throughout history. Main article: Urbanization. Further information: Local government. Main articles: Urban planning and Urban design.


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See also: Public transport. Main article: Urban ecology. Bibliography of suburbs Ekistics Ghost town List of adjectivals and demonyms for cities Lists of cities Lost city Nation Principles of intelligent urbanism Primate city Urban sociology Free city antiquity City-state. Wells , Patrick Geddes and Kingsley Davis foretold the coming of a mostly urban world throughout the twentieth century. Critics within the economics field have contested the inevitability of this outcome.

Beyond the prominent institutions of U. London: Penguin. London: Routledge.