Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

6/08/2015

Urban is?

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

We've all have probably heard the statistic that more than half the world's population live in urban areas, but did you know that "urban" doesn't really have a formal definition. What defines cities and non-cities?

Nothing, it seems except arbitrary population figures. In 23 countries, 2,000 inhabitants is enough to qualify as a city. In 21 others, 5,000 residents is enough.  Given that figure, Los Angeles suddenly becomes even more of a megalopolis than I had first surmised. As the Sustainable Cities article notes, 2,000 people is about enough to host one large office building such as Facebook's Menlo Park campus. Should Facebook be designated its own little fiefdom then?

Facebook's Menlo Campus via Quartz
Lounging spaces inside Facebook's campus via WSJ

A flower mural inside Facebook's campus via WSJ
It's interesting to see even as populations are growing around the world, we still have no definition for the most basic things. Soon, we will need it. Urban is a key characteristic and might soon be included as a Sustainable Development Goal. Classification as urban also has consequences. Those that fall within its confines need to know how they affect the larger ecosystem.

Do you live in a city? What makes you say so? Read more about defining what urban means here.

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