• How are cities incorporated, and what is the function of city charters?
• What are the major forms of city government?
• Why is city planning necessary?
• What challenges face the suburbs and metropolitan areas?
America’s Rural-Urban Shift
• In 1790, 5.1 percent of the population lived in cities.
• The Industrial Revolution caused many people to move to urban centers.
• Farms became mechanized and fewer people grew more food.
• By 1900, two-fifths of the nation’s people lived in urban areas
• By 1920, more than half of the population were city dwellers.
• Today, over 75 percent live in cities and suburbs.
• Consequently, the strain on local governments to provide services to their populations has grown.
Incorporation is the process by which a State establishes a city as a legal body.
A charter is the city’s basic law, its constitution.
• Most cities have a planning agency that consists of a planning commission supported by a professional staff.
• Most federal grant and loan programs require a master plan for future growth.
• Zoning is the practice of dividing a city into districts and regulating property uses.
• The three uses are generally residential, commercial, and industrial.
• Each zone is then subdivided. Residential zones may be subdivided into single-family, two family, and multifamily units.
• Zoning may also determine height and area limits for buildings.
• Zoning ordinances must be reasonable.
Suburbs and Metropolitan Areas
The Suburb Boom
• About half of all Americans live in suburbs.
• Suburbs grew rapidly after World War II.
• Americans wanted more room, cheaper land, privacy, and less pollution and congestion.
• Businesses moved to the suburbs for cheaper land, lower taxes, and a stable labor supply.
• The move to the suburbs made many urban areas less financially stable and socially inclusive.
• Some suburbs have difficulty meeting the service needs of their residents.
• Metropolitan areas have been created that annex outlying areas.
• Special districts are created that cross the boundaries of county and city lines.