City as a Physical Entity, Social Entity and Political Entity

 Physical Entity (Urban Area)

The first generic form of the city is the physical expanse or area of continuously built-up urbanization. The urban area is generally observable on a clear night from a high flying airplane. The urban area is simply the extension of urbanization. The urban area is not defined by jurisdictional boundaries, though where national statistical authorities define it is necessary to rely on building blocks such as census tracts and municipalities. 

Like metropolitan areas, urban areas can extend across sub national jurisdictional lines (such as state, provincial or regional boundaries) or in special cases, international boundaries. Various terms are used by national statistical authorities in the United Nations.

An urban area will never be the same as a municipality. Usually it will include many municipalities, though in the case of many geographically large municipalities, such as Shanghai, the urban area will be smaller than the core municipality. The Chicago urban area (population over 8,000,000) includes the city of Chicago and many other cities. Some nations formally designate urban areas, which are called “urbanized areas” in the United States, “unites urbaines” in France, “urban areas” in the United Kingdom and Canada, “urban centers” in Australia and “urban agglomerations” in India. An urban area is also an agglomeration. A conurbation is an urban area that forms when two or more urban areas grow together. Four definitions of the city are considered here. 

The first involves the city as a physical entity, or the area devoted to primarily urban uses. This Built City (BC) is perhaps the most familiar perception of the city, largely because it is relatively easy to visualize. The BC forms the core or basis of each of the other three definitions of the city. These are as follows: The Consumption City (an area within which most of the consumption of goods and services occurs in the BC); The Employment City (an area in which the bulk of the employed workforce works in the BC); and The Workforce City (an area upon which the BC draws for a given majority of its labour requirements). These four definitions of the city are brought together and shown to be interrelated.

The Functional City (Metropolitan Area)

The second generic form of the city is the functional expanse, which is also the economic expanse. The metropolitan area includes the built-up urban area and the economically connected territory to the outside. The economic relationship is generally defined by patterns of commuting to work into the urban area. Thus, metropolitan areas constitute labor market areas. Metropolitan areas can extend over subnational boundaries, except in rare cases where there is not free movement of labor (such as between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China). Further, where free movement of labor is permitted by international agreements, metropolitan areas may cross national boundaries (such as in the European Union or between Switzerland and France, in the Basel and Geneva urban areas). 

Political Entity 

Political entities are basically systems of governing authority organized as governmental power structures. Empires, nation-states, city-states, and kingdoms are just a few examples of political entities. Most political entities are types of states, with the exception of stateless nations and autonomous regions. It is also important to note that when discussing a nation, we're referring to a group of people with a shared language, religion, ethnicity or other cultural factors. 

Social Entity 

Social entity is an ideological concept in which a society or social structure is viewed as a "living organism". From this perspective, typically, the relation of social features, e.g. law, family, crime, etc., are examined as they interact with other features of society to meet social needs. All elements of a society or social organism have a function that maintains the stability and cohesiveness of the organism. 



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