For thousands of years, humans have lived together in cities. The concept of urban entities predates recorded history. The role of cities in everyday life has changed throughout human history. This evolution has never appeared more evident than now. With the majority of the world’s population living in cities, they have taken a new prominence in the study of geography. Cities serve as cultural and economic hubs from which new ideas and businesses diffuse. Their control reaches far beyond the immediately surrounding areas. Some large cities, such as New York and London, are referred to as world cities because of the extensive control they possess over the world economy (Getis et al., 2014). Despite the prominence of cities and urban culture, few take the time to understand the evolution of cities, the various types of them, the urban hierarchy, and theories critical to understanding them. In an Introduction to Geography, authors Arthur Getis, Mark Bjelland, and Victoria Getis educate readers on the basics of urban geography including their development, types, hierarchy, and a theory central to understanding them.
For cities to develop, farmers had to produce enough food to sustain those who switched from rural agriculture to more urban pursuits (Getis et al, 2014). Once a city had been developed, the surrounding agricultural area, called hinterland, produced crops not only for subsistence, but also enough for commercial sale to the developing city (Getis et al.). Coinciding with agricultural advancements, cities required the development of social structure (Getis et al). A large conglomeration of people required some sort of social order; generally, a place of worship or market provided the basis for a developing city (Getis et a...
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... on each other for their functioning (Getis et al.). Removing one of these entites requires adaptations to be made throughout the entire system (Getis et al.). This theory also holds that similar sized towns are generally located equal distances from each other (Getis et al.).
Cities, at least in some capacity, play a vital role in the lives of the majority of the world’s 7 billion people. Understanding them and their development allows for a more appropriate appreciation of these essential entities. In an Introduction to Geography, authors Arthur Getis, Mark Bjelland, and Victoria Getis educate readers on the basics of urban geography, including the development of cities, types, hierarchy, and a theory central to understanding them. With the majority of the world’s population living in cities, there has never been a more important time than now to understand them.
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