Jefferson County, Alabama
Jefferson County is the most populous county in the United States state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, its population was 658,466, its county seat is the most populous city in the state. Its rapid growth as an industrial city in the 20th century, based on heavy manufacturing in steel and iron, established its dominance. Jefferson County is the central county of AL Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2011, Jefferson County declared bankruptcy; the financial problems were related to costs of a huge sewer project. Corruption was found among six county commissioners; this was the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in the United States, until it was surpassed by that of Detroit, Michigan in 2013. Jefferson County emerged from bankruptcy in December 2013, following the approval of a bankruptcy plan by the United States bankruptcy court for the Northern District of Alabama, writing off more than $1.4 billion of the debt. Jefferson County was established on December 1819 by the Alabama Legislature, it was named in honor of former President Thomas Jefferson.
The county is located in the north-central portion of the state, on the southernmost edge of the Appalachian Mountains. It is in the center of the iron and limestone mining belt of the Southern United States. Jefferson County has a land area of about 1,119 square miles. Early county seats were established first at Carrollsville Elyton. Founded around 1871, Birmingham was named for the industrial English city of the same name in Warwickshire; that city had long been a center of steel production in Great Britain. Birmingham was formed by the merger including Elyton, it has continued to grow by annexing neighboring villages, including North Birmingham. As Birmingham industrialized, its growth accelerated after 1890, it attracted numerous rural migrants, both white, for its new jobs. It attracted European immigrants. Despite the city's rapid growth, for decades it was underrepresented in the legislature. Legislators from rural counties kept control the legislature and, to avoid losing power, for decades refused to reapportion the seats or redistrict congressional districts.
Birmingham could not get its urban needs addressed by the legislature. Nearby Bessemer, located 16 miles by car to the southwest grew based on industrialization, it attracted many workers. By the early decades of the 20th century, it had a majority-black population, but whites dominated politically and economically. Racial tensions increased in the cities and state in the late 19th century as whites worked to maintain white supremacy; the white-dominated legislature passed a new constitution in 1901 that disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, excluding them from the political system. While they were nominally still eligible in the mid-20th century for jury duty, they were overwhelmingly excluded by white administrators from juries into the 1950s. Economic competition among the new workers in the city raised tensions, it was a rough environment of mill and mine workers in Birmingham and Bessemer, the Ku Klux Klan was active in the 20th century with many police being members into the 1950s and 1960s.
In a study of lynchings in the South from 1877 to 1950, Jefferson County is documented as having the highest number of lynchings of any county in Alabama. White mobs committed 29 lynchings in the county, most around the turn of the century at a time of widespread political suppression of blacks in the state. After 1950, racial violence of whites against blacks continued. In the 1950s KKK chapters bombed black-owned houses in Birmingham to discourage residents moving into new middle-class areas. In that period, the city was referred to as "Bombingham."In 1963 African Americans led a movement in the city seeking civil rights, including integration of public facilities. The Birmingham campaign was known for the violence the city police used against non-violent protesters. In the late summer and business officials agreed in 1963 to integrate public facilities and hire more African Americans; this followed the civil rights campaign, based at the 16th Street Baptist Church, an economic boycott of white stores that refused to hire blacks.
Whites struck again: on a Sunday in September 1963, KKK members bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church, killing four young black girls and injuring many persons. The African-American community rebuilt the damaged church, they entered politics in the city and state after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. In the 1990s, the county authorized and financed a massive overhaul of the county-owned sewer system, beginning in 1996. Sewerage and water rates had increased more than 300% in the 15 years before 2011, causing severe problems for the poor in Birmingham and the county. Costs for the project increased due to problems in the financial area. In addition, county officials, encouraged by bribes by financial services companies, made a series of risky bond-swap agreements. Two controversial undertakings by county officials in the 2000s resulted in the county having debt of $4 billion; the county declared bankruptcy in 2011. It was the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history at that time.
Both the sewer project and its financing were scrutinized by federal prosecutors. By 2011, "six of Jefferson County's former commissioners had been found guilty of corruption for accepting the bribes, along with 15 other officials."The controversial interest rate swaps, initiated in 2002 and 2003 by former Commission President Larry Langford, were intended to lower inte
Helena is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the state of Alabama. Helena is considered part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area; as of the 2010 census, the population was 16,793. Helena is regarded as a place to live and raise children, it has the eighth-lowest crime rate per population in the U. S. and the city was ranked in Money magazine's 2007 list of "Best Places to Live: Top 100" in the U. S. placing at number 91. The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award. Helena incorporated in 1877, but reincorporated in 1917 after errors were discovered in the initial incorporation papers, it did not first appear on the U. S. Census until 1920, giving credence to the date of incorporation; the initial settlers to Helena named Cove, were veterans of the final campaigns of the War of 1812. Members of Andrew Jackson's army who cut through the brush were attracted to the quiet, peaceful valleys and streams after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend; these first settlers were reported to arrive in 1849 and were predated by the Creek Indian tribes who these settlers had battled.
By 1856, the Cove post office opened. Shortly thereafter, the settlers changed the name of the town to Hillsboro; the onset of the Civil War brought the need for the South to increase its manufacturing output and add industrialization where there was none prior. Coal and iron ore mines were dug all throughout the area and the addition of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad infrastructure made Helena a center point for the wartime efforts. Around 1864 a rolling mill was built on Buck Creek, near the rail lines to process the Iron from Selma. Peter Boyle, an engineer for the railroad working on a new line and courted Helen Lee, he would name the burgeoning rail station that fed the rolling mill after her and changing the town name to Helena. As the final battles of the Civil War were being fought, the Union forces amassed a force to complete a Cavalry raid with the intent to drastically impact the South's war fighting capability as Sherman's march had done the previous year. Lead by James Harrison Wilson this force passed through the town of Helena on March 30, 1865 destroying much of the newly developed industry and residential buildings.
Within a few years of the end of the Civil War, industrialists were again developing the coal and iron ore resources that were in abundance in the area. The railroads were rebuilt and coke ovens established by the Eureka Company in 1870; the rolling mill was rebuilt, spurred by two-term governor Rufus Cobb in 1873. Much of what was Hillsboro had been absorbed by the expanding Helena area; the town was surveyed by Joseph Squire in 1873 and incorporated in 1877. By 1880, Helena contained six mercantile stores, one drugstore, two hotels, several boarding houses…The rolling mill had been expanded and modernized and the number of merchants had increased. A rail yard was added by the Nashville Railroad Company; the town was reincorporated in 1917 after the initial incorporation paperwork was found to contain errors. Charles Hind was elected mayor the same year. Much of the industrial development began to decline as a result of the Great Depression in the 1920s; the rolling mill was closed in 1923 and many mine closures followed.
The town fell on hard times and many of the residents left to find work elsewhere. Around 3 AM on May 5, 1933 residents were awoken to a massive tornado that ripped through the heart of Helena. 10 were killed with 2 more pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital and 75 people were reported as injured. Much of the original houses were destroyed and railroad cars were overturned; the property damage was estimated to be in the range of $100,000 to $150,000. Helena remained a small town in the rural county until suburban growth from Birmingham reached Helena in the late 20th century. Numerous residential and commercial developments spurred improvements in city facilities and services. By the early 21st century, Helena was experiencing large population gains, growing pains, as a result of its convenient location and high quality of life. Helena is located at 33°16′47″N 86°51′22″W. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.1 square miles, of which 17.1 square miles is land and 0.04 square miles is covered by water.
The Cahaba River and its tributary Buck Creek run through Helena. Buck Creek is dammed upstream of Alabama State Route 261 in the Old Town area to form Lake Davidson, used for recreation and water wheel power at the turn of the 20th century. Fishing and canoeing are popular uses of both waterways. Helena sits at the foothills of the southern extent of the Appalachian Mountains as they descend into the Gulf of Mexico coastal plain; the area is rolling hills with numerous small streams, undeveloped areas are mixed woodlands. The climate of Helena is typical of the Deep South, with long, humid summers and short mild winters. Summer high temperatures are in the upper 90s and low 100s F. Thunderstorms are frequent occurrences during the summer; the Helena area experiences two severe weather peaks, early spring and late fall, with tornadoes being frequent hazards during both peaks. Hurricanes coming ashore on the northern Gulf coast reach Helena with tropical storm-force winds; as of the census of 2010, 16,793 people, 3,828 households, and
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census, it is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben, he had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power. Given the iron ore and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century, it attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
The industry went through considerable restructuring in the late 20th century, jobs moved out of the area. Steel is no longer made here. Bessemer is located 18 miles southwest of Birmingham. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.8 square miles, of which 40.7 square miles is land and 0.1 square miles is water. Bessemer is situated in the midst of the iron ore and limestone district of Alabama, in the southern part of Jones Valley. Iron ore was mined on the hills on the city's southeast side, coal was mined to the north and west, limestone deposits were nearby. All three ingredients were necessary for steelmaking, which led to the area becoming a major steel center from about 1890 through the twentieth century. Steel is no longer made within the city limits, but is still manufactured in the neighboring city of Fairfield; the climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bessemer has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 27,336 people residing in the city. 72.0% were African American, 24.0% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 0.4% from two or more races. 3.2 % were Latino of any race. As of the census of 2000, there were 29,672 people, 11,537 households, 7,868 families residing in the city; the population density was 729.0 people per square mile. There were 12,790 housing units at an average density of 314.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 69.55% Black or African American, 28.93% White, 0.28% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, 0.74% from two or more races. 1.14% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 11,537 households out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.6% were married couples living together, 29.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.8% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older.
The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.12. In the city, the population was spread out with 26.8% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.8 males. The median income for a household in the city was $23,066, the median income for a family was $28,230. Males had a median income of $29,413 versus $21,552 for females; the per capita income for the city was $12,232. About 24.2% of families and 27.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.8% of those under age 18 and 24.7% of those age 65 or over. In 1900, Bessemer ranked eighth in population in the state, second in amount of capital invested in manufacturing, fourth in the value of its manufactured product for the year. By 1911, ore mining, iron smelting, the manufacture of iron and coke were the chief industries of Bessemer.
Truck farming was an important industry, dating from the area's agricultural past. Both blacks and whites from rural areas were attracted to the city for its new work opportunities. African Americans moved into industrial jobs and became part of integrated unions. Today, ore mining has ended. Manufacturing remains a factor, with the U. S. Pipe and Foundry ductile pipe plant on the city's north side. On May 9, 2007, U. S. Pipe announced; the site was selected, among other reasons, for having available space for potential future expansions. U. S. Pipe is the largest domestic producer of Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 4 inch through 64 inch; the city was once home to a large railroad car manufacturing factory, operated by Pullman Standard for many decades and by Trinity Industries. With railroad restructuring in the late 20th century and other manufacturing moving offshore, this plant ceased most production in the 1990s. Other industries have relocated to this facility; the decline of mining and exodus of the steelmaking and railcar manufacturing industries resulted in extensive loss of jobs.
The city has lost population since a peak in 1970. It faced an economic crisis in the early to mid-1980s, as unemployed workers constituted more than one-third of the workforce. Since that time the c
Per capita income
Per capita income or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given area in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita income is national income divided by population size. Per capita income is used to measure an area's average income and compare the wealth of different populations. Per capita income is used to measure a country's standard of living, it is expressed in terms of a used international currency such as the euro or United States dollar, is useful because it is known, is calculable from available gross domestic product and population estimates, produces a useful statistic for comparison of wealth between sovereign territories. This helps to ascertain a country's development status, it is one of the three measures for calculating the Human Development Index of a country. In the United States, it is defined by the U. S. Census Bureau as the following: "Per capita income is the mean money income received in the past 12 months computed for every man and child in a geographic area."
Critics claim that per capita income has several weaknesses in measuring prosperity: Comparisons of per capita income over time need to consider inflation. Without adjusting for inflation, figures tend to overstate the effects of economic growth. International comparisons can be distorted by cost of living differences not reflected in exchange rates. Where the objective is to compare living standards between countries, adjusting for differences in purchasing power parity will more reflect what people are able to buy with their money, it does not reflect income distribution. If a country's income distribution is skewed, a small wealthy class can increase per capita income while the majority of the population has no change in income. In this respect, median income is more useful when measuring of prosperity than per capita income, as it is less influenced by outliers. Non-monetary activity, such as barter or services provided within the family, is not counted; the importance of these services varies among economies.
Per capita income does not consider whether income is invested in factors to improve the area's development, such as health, education, or infrastructure. List of countries by average wage List of countries by GDP per capita—GDP at market or government official exchange rates per inhabitant List of countries by GDP per capita—GDP calculated at purchasing power parity exchange per inhabitant List of countries by GNI per capita List of countries by GNI per capita List of countries by income equality Total personal income
Hoover is a city in Jefferson and Shelby counties in north central Alabama, United States. The largest suburb near Birmingham, the city had a population of 84,848 as of the 2015 US Census estimate. Hoover is part of the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Birmingham-Hoover-Talladega, AL Combined Statistical Area. Hoover's territory is along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Hoover is home to the Riverchase Galleria, one of the largest shopping centers in the Southeast and one of the largest mixed-use centers in the U. S, it includes retail and office space. The Birmingham Barons Minor League Baseball team, which traces its history to 1885, played its home games at the 10,800-seat Hoover Metropolitan Stadium until 2013, when it moved to Birmingham; this suburban area near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains had been known as the Green Valley community since the 1930s. The City of Hoover was incorporated in 1967, named for William H. Hoover, a local insurance company owner and co-founder of the American States' Rights Association, which promoted white supremacy and neo-Nazism in its publications..
The city's small City Hall included space for the police department. On September 8, 1980, the city annexed the Riverchase business and residential community, gaining large office buildings and workers to increase the city's tax base; when Interstate I-459 was opened, a major interchange with Interstate I-65 was constructed within the borders of Hoover, improving access. In 1986 the Riverchase Galleria multi-use complex opened, it has attracted new residents and businesses to the area. The city has grown fast, aided by its annexations of territory as well as new developments; the city has expanded its facilities, now operates a Municipal Center and Public Safety Center. The city expects to continue to increase in population, which has risen since 2008, it numbered 81,619 as of the 2010 Census. Hoover is located at 33°23′11″N 86°48′18″W. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.65 square miles, of which 43.13 square miles is land and 0.51 square miles is water. The municipal government has operated under the Mayor-Council form of government since incorporation.
The Mayor and City Council are elected on a non-partisan basis to concurrent four-year terms of office, which begin on October 1 of election year. Policy-making and legislative authority is vested in the City Council, which consists of seven "at-large" elected members The city council is responsible for considering local resolutions and ordinances, adopting an annual budget, appointing members to local boards and committees; the Mayor is responsible for enforcing the city's policies and ordinances. The Riverchase Galleria shopping-hotel-office complex generates tax revenues for the city; the Riverchase Office Park, other office parks and buildings throughout Hoover, house many large corporations. Major shopping centers in the city include Riverchase Galleria on US 31, Patton Creek on SR 150, Village at Lee Branch on US 280; the Central Business District is intersected by US 31, SR 150, US 280. I-65 and I-459 intersect in the city. Hoover 2015 annual financial report, ranking by largest sales and use taxpayers: Costco Wal-Mart Sam's Club Belk Target Regions Bank Publix Home Depot Best Buy Macy's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama - 3,000 Hoover Board of Education - 1,773 Regions Financial - 1,765 AT&T Inc. - 1,143 City of Hoover - 745 Walmart - 650 T-Mobile 500 BE&K - 302 Hoover Fire Department is a full-time career department operating from ten fire stations throughout the city.
The city has one battalion. There are eight engine companies, two quints, one ladder trucks, three ALS rescue/ambulances, two battalion chief cars. All engine companies are staffed with a minimum of three, with at least two being firefighter/paramedics. All engines are classified ALS; the department operates one heavy rescue truck, one hazmat unit. Hoover Fire Department holds a Class 1 ISO rating. In 2016, the department responded to over 10,000 calls. Hoover's first chief of police was Oscar Davis. In 2006, the police force of the city of Hoover purchased 104 Chevrolet police Tahoes to support sustainability; the Hoover Police Department now has the largest law enforcement fleet in the nation to run on E85, a fuel, 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. President George W. Bush visited the city in September 2006 to see the fleet and fueling facility. Hoover operates its own enhanced 911 emergency call center, which has 24 operator positions, 2 communication supervisors, 1 department manager and is staffed 24/7.
Hoover provides traffic, severe weather, disaster information, details on special events on low-power AM radio. As of the census of 2000, there were 62,742 people, 25,191 households, 17,406 families residing in the city; the population density was 1,454.6 people per square mile. There were 27,150 housing units at an average density of 629.4 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 87.66% White, 6.77% Black, 0.16% Native American, 2.89% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.40% from ot
A ZIP Code is a postal code used by the United States Postal Service in a system it introduced in 1963. The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan; the basic format consists of five digits. An extended ZIP+4 code was introduced in 1983 which includes the five digits of the ZIP Code, followed by a hyphen and four additional digits that reference a more specific location; the term ZIP Code was registered as a servicemark by the U. S. Postal Service, but its registration has since expired; the early history and context of postal codes began with postal district/zone numbers. The United States Post Office Department implemented postal zones for numerous large cities in 1943. For example: The "16" was the number of the postal zone in the specific city. By the early 1960s, a more organized system was needed, non-mandatory five-digit ZIP Codes were introduced nationwide on July 1, 1963; the USPOD issued its Publication 59: Abbreviations for Use with ZIP Code on October 1, 1963, with the list of two-letter state abbreviations which are written with both letters capitalized.
An earlier list in June had proposed capitalized abbreviations ranging from two to five letters. According to Publication 59, the two-letter standard was "based on a maximum 23-position line, because this has been found to be the most universally acceptable line capacity basis for major addressing systems", which would be exceeded by a long city name combined with a multi-letter state abbreviation, such as "Sacramento, Calif." along with the ZIP Code. The abbreviations have remained unchanged, with the exception of Nebraska, changed from NB to NE in 1969 at the request of the Canadian postal administration, to avoid confusion with the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Robert Moon is considered the father of the ZIP Code; the post office only credits Moon with the first three digits of the ZIP Code, which describe the sectional center facility or "sec center." An SCF is a central mail processing facility with those three digits. The fourth and fifth digits, which give a more precise locale within the SCF, were proposed by Henry Bentley Hahn Sr.
The SCF sorts mail to all post offices with those first three digits in their ZIP Codes. The mail is sorted according to the final two digits of the ZIP Code and sent to the corresponding post offices in the early morning. Sectional centers do not deliver mail and are not open to the public, most of their employees work the night shift. Mail picked up at post offices is sent to their own SCF in the afternoon, where the mail is sorted overnight. In the case of large cities, the last two digits coincide with the older postal zone number thus: In 1967, these became mandatory for second- and third-class bulk mailers, the system was soon adopted generally; the United States Post Office used a cartoon character, which it called Mr. ZIP, to promote the use of the ZIP Code, he was depicted with a legend such as "USE ZIP CODE" in the selvage of panes of postage stamps or on the covers of booklet panes of stamps. In 1971 Elmira Star-Gazette reporter Dick Baumbach found out the White House was not using a ZIP Code on its envelopes.
Herb Klein, special assistant to President Nixon, responded by saying the next printing of envelopes would include the ZIP Code. In 1983, the U. S. Postal Service introduced an expanded ZIP Code system that it called ZIP+4 called "plus-four codes", "add-on codes", or "add-ons". A ZIP+4 Code uses the basic five-digit code plus four additional digits to identify a geographic segment within the five-digit delivery area, such as a city block, a group of apartments, an individual high-volume receiver of mail, a post office box, or any other unit that could use an extra identifier to aid in efficient mail sorting and delivery. However, initial attempts to promote universal use of the new format met with public resistance and today the plus-four code is not required. In general, mail is read by a multiline optical character reader that instantly determines the correct ZIP+4 Code from the address—along with the more specific delivery point—and sprays an Intelligent Mail barcode on the face of the mail piece that corresponds to 11 digits—nine for the ZIP+4 Code and two for the delivery point.
For Post Office Boxes, the general rule is. The add-on code is one of the following: the last four digits of the box number, zero plus the last three digits of the box number, or, if the box number consists of fewer than four digits, enough zeros are attached to the front of the box number to produce a four-digit number. However, there is no uniform rule, so the ZIP+4 Code must be looked up individually for each box; the ZIP Code is translated into an Intelligent Mail barcode, printed on the mailpiece to make it easier for automated machines to sort. A barcode can be printed by the sender, it is better to let the post office put one on. In general, the post office uses OCR technology, though in some cases a human might have to read and enter the address. Customers who send bulk mail can get a discount on postage if they have printed the barcode themselves and have presorted the mai
A city is a large human settlement. Cities have extensive systems for housing, sanitation, land use, communication, their density facilitates interaction between people, government organizations and businesses, sometimes benefiting different parties in the process. City-dwellers have been a small proportion of humanity overall, but following two centuries of unprecedented and rapid urbanization half of the world population now lives in cities, which has had profound consequences for global sustainability. Present-day cities form the core of larger metropolitan areas and urban areas—creating numerous commuters traveling towards city centers for employment and edification. However, in a world of intensifying globalization, all cities are in different degree connected globally beyond these regions; the most populated city proper is Chongqing while the most populous metropolitan areas are the Greater Tokyo Area, the Shanghai area, Jabodetabek. The cities of Faiyum and Varanasi are among those laying claim to longest continual inhabitation.
A city is distinguished from other human settlements by its great size, but by its functions and its special symbolic status, which may be conferred by a central authority. The term can refer either to the physical streets and buildings of the city or to the collection of people who dwell there, can be used in a general sense to mean urban rather than rural territory. A variety of definitions, invoking population, population density, number of dwellings, economic function, infrastructure, are used in national censuses to classify populations as urban. Common population definitions for a city range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, with most U. S. states using a minimum between 5,000 inhabitants. However, some jurisdictions set no such minimums. In the United Kingdom, city status is awarded by the government and remains permanently, resulting in some small cities, such as Wells and St Davids. According to the "functional definition" a city is not distinguished by size alone, but by the role it plays within a larger political context.
Cities serve as administrative, commercial and cultural hubs for their larger surrounding areas. Examples of settlements called city which may not meet any of the traditional criteria to be named such include Broad Top City and City Dulas, Anglesey, a hamlet; the presence of a literate elite is sometimes included in the definition. A typical city has professional administrators and some form of taxation to support the government workers; the governments may be based on heredity, military power, work projects such as canal building, food distribution, land ownership, commerce, finance, or a combination of these. Societies that live in cities are called civilizations; the word city and the related civilization come, via Old French, from the Latin root civitas meaning citizenship or community member and coming to correspond with urbs, meaning city in a more physical sense. The Roman civitas was linked with the Greek "polis"—another common root appearing in English words such as metropolis. Urban geography deals both with their internal structure.
Town siting has varied through history according to natural, technological and military contexts. Access to water has long been a major factor in city placement and growth, despite exceptions enabled by the advent of rail transport in the nineteenth century, through the present most of the world's urban population lives near the coast or on a river. Urban areas as a rule cannot produce their own food and therefore must develop some relationship with a hinterland which sustains them. Only in special cases such as mining towns which play a vital role in long-distance trade, are cities disconnected from the countryside which feeds them. Thus, centrality within a productive region influences siting, as economic forces would in theory favor the creation of market places in optimal mutually reachable locations; the vast majority of cities have a central area containing buildings with special economic and religious significance. Archaeologists refer to this area by the Greek term temenos; these spaces reflect and amplify the city's centrality and importance to its wider sphere of influence.
Today cities have downtown, sometimes coincident with a central business district. Cities have public spaces where anyone can go; these include owned spaces open to the public as well as forms of public land such as public domain and the commons. Western philosophy since the time of the Greek agora has considered physical public space as the substrate of the symbolic public sphere. Public art adorns public spaces. Parks and other natural sites within cities provide residents with relief from the hardness and regularity of typical built environments. Urban structure follows one or more basic patterns: geomorphic, concentric and curvilinear. Physical environment constrains the form in which a city is built. If located on a mountainside, urban structure may rely on winding roads, it may be adapted to its means of subsistence. And it may be set up for optimal defense given the surrounding landscape. Beyond these "geomorphi