An urban area
is characterized by higher population density
and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities
, but the term is not commonly extended to rural
settlements such as villages
Urban areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization
. Measuring the extent of an urban area helps in analyzing population density
and urban sprawl
, and in determining urban and rural populations.
Unlike an urban area, a metropolitan area
includes not only the urban area, but also satellite
cities plus intervening rural
land that is socio-economically connected to the urban core city, typically by employment
ties through commuting
, with the urban core city being the primary labor market. In fact, urbanized areas agglomerate and grow as the core population/economic activity center within a larger metropolitan area or envelope.
In the US, Metropolitan areas tend to be defined using counties or county sized political units as building blocks. Counties tend to be stable political boundaries; economists prefer to work with economic and social statistics based on metropolitan areas. Urbanized areas are a more relevant statistic for determining per capita land usage and densities.
Definitions vary somewhat between nations. European
countries define urbanized areas on the basis of urban-type land use
, not allowing any gaps of typically more than 200 m, and use satellite imagery
instead of... Read More