LeoGlossary: City

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A city is a large and permanent human settlement). It is typically characterized by a high density of buildings, infrastructure, and population, and is usually the center of a larger urban agglomeration. Cities typically have a variety of functions, including serving as centers of government, commerce, and culture. They are also often the hubs of transportation networks and home to a diverse range of people, businesses, and organizations.

Cities have a long history, dating back to ancient times when they were often built as fortified settlements or centers of trade. Today, cities are home to the majority of the world's population, and they continue to grow and evolve in response to changing social, economic, and technological factors.
Some of the key features of a city include:

  1. Density: Cities are characterized by a high density of buildings, infrastructure, and population.
  2. Variety of functions: Cities serve a variety of functions, including government, commerce, culture, and transportation.
  3. Urban planning: Cities are typically designed with a grid pattern, with streets, squares, and public spaces.
  4. Architecture: Cities are home to a wide range of architectural styles, reflecting their history and cultural influences.
  5. Transportation: Cities are often the hubs of transportation networks, with roads, railways, airports, and ports.
  6. Diversity: Cities are home to a diverse range of people, businesses, and organizations, with a mix of different cultures, ethnicities, and lifestyles.
  7. Economic activity: Cities are centers of economic activity, with a variety of industries and businesses, including finance, technology, and manufacturing.
  8. Cultural and educational institutions: Cities are home to a variety of cultural and educational institutions, such as museums, theaters, universities, and libraries.

Overall, cities are complex and dynamic systems that are shaped by a variety of factors, including history, culture, economy, and technology. They continue to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of their residents and the global community.


Cities have a long and fascinating history, stretching back to the Neolithic period, when the agricultural revolution took hold. Let's dive into some key phases of their development:

Birth of Cities (8000 BCE - 3000 BCE):

  • The rise of agriculture around 8000 BCE allowed for stable food production, enabling denser populations and settlements. This laid the groundwork for the first cities.
  • Mesopotamia, home to fertile valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, saw the emergence of cities like Eridu, Uruk, and Ur around 7500 BCE. These early metropolises focused on farming, trade, and religious administration.
  • Similar developments occurred in other fertile regions like the Indus Valley (Mohenjo-daro, Harappa) and the Yellow River Valley (Banpo, Yangshao) around the same time, showcasing independent cradles of urbanism.

Flourishing Ancient Civilizations (3000 BCE - 500 CE):

  • Cities became centers of political power, religion, and cultural exchange. Empires like Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome flourished in this period.
  • Innovations in architecture, sanitation, and governance marked this era. Great pyramids, ziggurats, and Colosseums stand as testaments to the ingenuity of these civilizations.
  • Trade routes like the Silk Road connected cities across continents, fostering cultural and economic exchange.

Medieval Transformation (500 CE - 1500 CE):

  • The fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of feudalism led to a shift in urban dynamics. Many former Roman cities shrunk, while new ones emerged around castles and religious centers.
  • Cities in Asia and the Middle East continued to prosper, with flourishing Islamic and Chinese centers like Baghdad, Chang'an, and Constantinople.
  • Trade guilds and universities emerged, influencing social and economic structures.

Renaissance and Industrial Revolution (1500 CE - 1900 CE):

  • The Renaissance and Age of Exploration saw a revival of urban growth in Europe. Cities like Florence, Venice, and Amsterdam became hubs of art, science, and commerce.
  • The Industrial Revolution from the 18th century onwards triggered rapid urbanization as factories drew people from rural areas. London, Manchester, and New York City experienced explosive growth during this period.
  • Advances in technology and infrastructure, like streetlights and railways, reshaped urban landscapes.

Modern Era and Contemporary Challenges (1900 CE - Present):

  • The 20th century saw continued urbanization with the rise of megacities like Tokyo, Delhi, and Mexico City. Globalization and technological advancements further transformed urban life.
  • However, challenges like pollution, poverty, and inequality have become pressing issues for modern cities. Sustainable development and urban planning are critical to ensure livable and thriving cities for the future.

Largest Cities (By Population)

Here are the 10 largest cities in the world by population, according to data from the United Nations:

  1. Tokyo, Japan - 38,140,000
  2. Delhi, India - 29,280,000
  3. Shanghai, China - 26,721,000
  4. Mumbai, India - 21,381,000
  5. Sao Paulo, Brazil - 21,319,000
  6. Mexico City, Mexico - 21,180,000
  7. Osaka, Japan - 20,310,000
  8. Cairo, Egypt - 20,262,000
  9. Beijing, China - 20,153,000
  10. Dhaka, Bangladesh - 20,069,000

Largest Cities (By GDP)

Here are the 10 largest cities in the world by GDP (nominal), according to data from various sources:

  1. New York City, USA - $1.23 trillion
  2. Tokyo, Japan - $1.5 trillion
  3. London, UK - $1.9 trillion
  4. Paris, France - $1.3 trillion
  5. Beijing, China - $3.2 trillion
  6. Shanghai, China - $3.8 trillion
  7. Mumbai, India - $1.1 trillion
  8. Hong Kong, China - $3.3 trillion
  9. Seoul, South Korea - $1.3 trillion
  10. Los Angeles, USA - $1.1 trillion


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