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Cities typically have public spaces where anyone can go.These include privately owned spaces open to the public as well as forms of public land such as public domain and the commons.In others, such as in the United Kingdom, city status is awarded on local criteria.

It may be adapted to its means of subsistence (e.g. And it may be set up for optimal defense given the surrounding landscape.Beyond these "geomorphic" features, cities can develop internal patterns, due to natural growth or to city planning.The most populated city proper is Shanghai A city is distinguished from other human settlements by its relatively great size, but also by its functions and its special symbolic status, which may be conferred by a central authority.The term can also refer either to the physical streets and buildings of the city or to the collection of people who dwell there, and can be used in a general sense to mean urban rather than rural territory.(This arrangement contrasts with the more typically horizontal relationships in a tribe or village accomplishing common goals through informal agreements between neighbors, or through leadership of a chief.) The governments may be based on heredity, religion, military power, work projects such as canal building, food distribution, land ownership, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, finance, or a combination of these.

Societies that live in cities are often called civilizations.Archaeologists refer to this area by the Greek term temenos or if fortified as a citadel.Today cities have a city center or downtown, sometimes coincident with a central business district.In more recent history, such forms were supplemented by ring roads moving traffic around the outskirts of a town.Dutch cities such as Amsterdam and Haarlem are structured as a central square surrounded by concentric canals marking every expansion.Cities serve as administrative, commercial, religious, and cultural hubs for their larger surrounding areas.