Cities: Definition, Classification, Functions, and Characteristics

Definition of City – Who does not know a city or an area where many people dream of being in that area, maybe we are one of them. One of the reasons why so many people want to live in urban areas is that there are more opportunities to continue their careers than in rural areas, because development in urban areas is more advanced than rural areas.

Within a country, there must be such thing as urban areas and rural areas, so that almost everyone can distinguish between the two areas. Usually everyone will distinguish between urban and rural areas with the number of residents in the region. Residents in urban areas will be considered more than rural residents. In addition, traffic in urban areas is friendlier than in rural areas. The difference in population and busy traffic between urban and rural areas is due to the fact that activities in urban areas are relatively busier than rural areas.

Basically, discussions about urban and rural areas have been discussed for a long time. In fact, it already has legal regulations, as stated in the Act, Ministerial Regulations, and others. Therefore, many people already know briefly about urban and rural areas.

Discussions about urban and rural areas are never ending or it can be said that there are many things that are always interesting to discuss. Sinaumed’s, when talking about urban and rural areas simultaneously, there will definitely be a lot of them and one article will not be enough. Besides that, in order to know more deeply, we will discuss urban areas.

In this article, we will discuss the definition of cities, city classification, functions, cities, and city characteristics. So, what are you waiting for, immediately read this article until it’s finished, Sinaumed’s.

Definition of City

The strata of society in urban areas are very diverse, as are the buildings. Therefore, the city can be said as an area where the buildings and layers of society have become one unit. In line with the definition of a city in the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), a city is a residential area consisting of houses which are a unit of residence for various levels of society.

The city itself can simply be interpreted as an area with great potential from any perspective, starting from the employment sector, the health sector, the education sector, and so on. Therefore, in an urban area, it’s easy to find various kinds of things because there are more urban facilities compared to rural facilities.

In addition, the buildings in the city will look denser because there are more people in the city. Not only that, buildings in cities are also more often vertical, so we will see tall buildings. In fact, existing technology in urban areas will look more modern to keep up with the times. Therefore, urban areas are often used as the economic center of a government.

The same is true for the definition of a city based on Law Number 22 of 1999 concerning Regional Government. An urban area is an area that has non-agricultural main activities, with an arrangement of area functions as a place for urban settlements, concentration and distribution of services as well as changes in names and transfers of government capitals, social services, and economic activities.

Of the two meanings of the city originating from KBBI and Law No. 22 of 1999, the city is an area where there are buildings from all walks of life that have become one unit as well as a center for social services, economic activity, and center of government.

Definition of the City According to Experts

Some experts also express the meaning of the city, namely:

1. Grunfeld

Grunfeld stated that the city is an area where the number of people living is quite dense and denser than the density of the national territory and for residents who live in urban areas usually work in the non-agricultural sector or not the agricultural sector. Apart from that, Grunfeld also said that the existing buildings in urban areas are tall buildings and the distance between the buildings is not far.

2. Max Weber

According to Max Weber, a city is an area or area where the majority of the population from that area can meet all the needs of the local market economy in that area.

3. Burkhard Hofmeister

According to Burkhad Hofmeister, a city is a spatial concentration starting from a place to live, a place to work for the humans themselves, to general activities. In this case, general activities are divided into two sectors, namely the secondary sector in the form of industry and trade and the tertiary sector in the form of services and community services. In addition, Hofmeister also said that the growth that occurred in spatial concentrations occurred because there were immigrants who had the ability to serve or meet the needs of goods and services for areas that were located far away.

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4. Bintarto

Bintarto stated that the city is a unit for human life which is marked by the presence of a very high population density and is characterized by the existence of heterogeneous economic strata with a materialistic pattern. Bintarto also revealed that the population in the city consisted of native people from the area and residents who came from other areas. Bintarto also explained that urban society is a heterogeneous collection of individuals, be it in terms of occupation, customs, culture, and religion.

5. Northam 

According to Northam, a city is an area or area that has a population density that is quite high compared to the total population density. Residents in the region have economic activities outside the agricultural sector, so they are not dependent on the agricultural sector. City according to Northam can also be used as the center of the economy, inter-regional administration, and cultural center.

6. Amos Rappoport

Amos Rappoport said that the city is a settlement that is quite large, dense, and permanent and consists of various groups of individuals who are socially heterogeneous.

City Classification

There are many things that always attract discussion about urban areas. Therefore, before deciding to live in an urban area, we should recognize urban classifications. In general, the classification of cities can be categorized based on the number of inhabitants. The following are five classifications of cities consisting of:

1. Small Town (20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants)

A city can be categorized or classified as a small town, if the population living in that city is 20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants. Therefore, we can classify cities by looking at the available information, preferably the information obtained comes from official government agencies. In addition, by knowing the number of residents in a small town, development in a small town can be carried out properly and precisely, so that the needs of the people in this town can be met properly.

2. Medium City (50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants)

The next classification of cities is medium cities. A city can be classified into a medium city if the population has reached 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. If you live in an urban area, you should first identify the classification of the city. This needs to be done so that development in this medium-sized city can run properly.

3. Big City (100 thousand to 1 million people)

After small towns and medium cities, the next classification is big cities. If the population in an urban area is 100,000 to one million people, then that city is classified as a big city. Development in big cities can usually be seen through the many industries that open job vacancies, so that there will be many people whose lives are increasingly prosperous.

4. Metropolitan City (about 1 million inhabitants)

Sometimes in an area the population increases quite quickly, including urban areas. The more the population in an urban area, the higher the classification of the city. If, a population of around 1 to 5 million people makes the city included in the urban metropolitan classification. Developments that occur in metropolitan cities usually look more modern. In addition, development will be adjusted to the times, so that the metropolitan city will always be up to date .

5. Megapolitan City (more than 5 million inhabitants)

The last classification of cities is megapolitan cities. This megapolitan city has a population of more than 5 million people. Development in this metropolitan city will be carried out as soon as possible so that community services can run well, so that residents in the metropolitan city can fulfill their needs.

That’s the classification of cities that have been explained that you can find out, the city where you live is included in which city classification? Also from the city classification, a development will be carried out according to the number of residents in the city to be built.

City Functions

The function of the formation of this city is arguably very important because it can affect the condition of a country. In other words, if the city’s functions run smoothly, then the country’s condition can run a little better. However, if cities do not function properly, there will be disruption to the country’s growth. The following are the functions of cities based on Law Number 22 of 1999 concerning Regional Government.

1. As the Center of Government

The first function of the city is as the center of government. As many people already know, cities themselves have more complete service facilities compared to services in rural areas. In addition, in running a community service required state apparatus. Without the state apparatus, a community service cannot run well.

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If a community service cannot run properly, it is possible that there will be obstacles. In this case, things that will be hampered are the necessities of life for the community, community administration, and social culture. Therefore, in order to avoid delays in all of this, good public service facilities and state apparatus are needed to carry out their duties to the fullest. Not only that, the “city” must also serve as the center of government.

Therefore, the “city” can be said to be the center of government because it can control various types of public services and can control the government system. In addition, the city is also known as the center of government, even known as the national capital or provincial capital.

2. As an Education Center

The second function of the city is as an educational center. It is common that education in an area or area must really be considered because it will affect the Human Resources (HR) in that region. In fact, human resources from that region could even play a role in the progress of the country. In advancing education must have an area that can be the center of the education system. If the education center has been determined, then the education system can be optimally developed.

Regions that can be used as educational centers are cities, why cities? Because cities have more complete facilities and more importantly, people’s lives are more heterogeneous, so they can see different types of individuals. Therefore, it is not surprising if in a city the number of educational institutions is more than in the district. Many of these educational institutions aim to accommodate individuals who wish to pursue education.

In addition, the large number of educational institutions in urban areas can be used as examples for educational institutions located outside cities or in rural areas. The more individuals who take education, the greater the opportunity to produce superior human resources.

3. As an Information Center

The third function of the city is as an information center. Development in every region, be it a city or a village must be carried out so that all service facilities, public facilities, and so on also develop for the better. In realizing development in an area, accurate and precise information is needed. This is very necessary because accurate and precise information is a source of data to direct development.

Development that is carried out based on information as the source of the data, then the area can run well and the people in the area will feel happy. Information that can be used as a source of data for developing an area can be obtained from anywhere, from magazines, newspapers, radio, television, to the internet. The faster the information is received, the faster the development is carried out.

So that the information for the development of an area is not messy, the information is collected in one area, namely in urban areas. Cities can become centers for storing information because the existing facilities in urban areas are more complete, so that the information received can be processed properly, so that development can run optimally.

City Characteristics 

In order to better understand what a city is, we need to know the characteristics of the city itself. The characteristics of this city are divided into two groups, namely the physical city and the urban community.

1. Physical City

The following are the physical characteristics of the city, including:

  1. Owns a government building
  2. Has an entertainment and office building
  3. Have sufficient parking space
  4. Has sports facilities for the community
  5. Having open areas such as parks that function as the lungs of the city
  6. Having residential houses that can be used by low, medium and elite economic people.
  7. Has a square.

2. City Society

The characteristics of urban society as follows:

  1. The nature of individualism and selfishness is owned by the majority of city residents
  2. Social relations between individuals have the nature of gesselschaft
  3. The outlook on life held by urban dwellers is more rational when compared to rural dwellers
  4. Has spatial segression
  5. The townspeople relaxed their religious norms a bit.


Development in urban areas will certainly look more advanced and modern than development in rural areas. This is because the city is the center of government, education center, and information center. Developments that tend to be more modern make city dwellers also move in a modern direction, so we will see if city dwellers are more individual.

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