What are geographic features in the US

6. The North American city

The US statistics denote all settlements with more than 2,500 people as Cities, which are called (regionally different) cities, towns or villages.
The term is often used for areas in which metropolises and cities are concentrated Megalopolis used. There are three such city bands in the United States: Boswash (Boston - Washington), Chipitts (Chicago - Pittsburgh) and Sansan (San Diego - San Francisco).
The external appearance of the American city
The American cities have two main external characteristics: the Checkerboard floor plan and the uniform silhouette (Skyline).
Almost all streets are straight, mostly north-south and west-east, and cross each other at right angles. The center of a settlement usually forms the intersection of two main streets. This results in a monotonous (uniform) checkerboard floor plan, which is typical for a large part of North American cities.
Fig. 1: City map of Manhattan - the streets run in a checkerboard pattern.
The skyline of the American cities is consistently designed: from the center with the skyscrapers it descends evenly over the multi-storey to two-storey buildings in the city center to the mostly single-storey residential buildings in the suburbs. The latter are largely made of wood or clad with wood.
The stone buildings of the inner city as functional buildings (commercial and office buildings) were mostly unadorned, as were the steel frame buildings with the huge glass surfaces. Only in the case of public buildings do you place any value on architectural design.
The functional structure of the American city
American cities can be divided into 3 districts in terms of their function: Downtown and Central Business District (CBD), slums and ghettos, suburbs.
Downtown and Central Business District (CBD)
The city center is called Downtown in the USA. In this one is still the real one Business core, the Central Business District (CBD). This is what we mean by that Business and office district right in the center the American city. Banks, office and commercial buildings as well as buildings for public administration and corporate groups dominate.
In terms of area, the CBD relatively small, but mostly has the tallest building. Skyscrapers are therefore the typical form of development in the CBD. These skyscrapers brought a mass of workplaces in a confined space and subsequently - reinforced by the often poorly developed public transport links - huge traffic problems, especially during the "rush hours".
The CBD therefore has an enormously high daily population, while it is almost deserted at night because there are only office and administration buildings here, but hardly any apartments can be found.
Fig. 2: Lower Manhattan - New York's Central Business District consists almost entirely of skyscrapers
In the at the districts adjoining the CBD numerous houses in the city center are run down and dilapidated. The multi-storey houses mostly date from the time the city was built, have no elevators and can hardly be rented out.
Through the Immigration of the poorest sections of the population (especially blacks and immigrants) they became the notorious slums. These are among the largest urban problem areas and are now spreading to formerly "better residential areas" due to the emigration of the socially better-off sections of the population.
But how did these slums come about? Most of the slums are emerged from ghettos. A ghetto is a district that only inhabited by members of a certain population group is. The emergence of these quarters is mostly rooted in the middle of the 19th century, when numerous immigrants settled right next to the city centers or in close proximity to the industries. In order to be able to support each other better, people of the same language and origin settled as close together as possible. Thus, in many major US cities, separate quarters for the Italian (Little Italy), Chinese (Chinatown), but also the German, Russian, Irish or other populations emerged.
By the third generation at the latest, however, the immigrants were usually so integrated into American society that they could move to better residential areas and also achieve better job opportunities. The blacks who immigrated mostly from the southern states of the USA now filled this gap and moved into the quarters abandoned by the whites. This is how the first came about Black ghettos. From the outset, their weak social position relegated blacks to the shabby houses of the inner-city residential areas, to whose further decline they now contributed.
The slums arose: families of many people had to huddle together in apartments that were divided into several sections. The houses are falling into disrepair, some are being demolished, and parking spaces are often created in the vacant lots. The poor income and above-average unemployment lead to increased crime, drug abuse, psychological damage to children, etc. But also from these black gottos the socially upwardly mobile migrate to the outside world, to the outskirts, from - and in the neighborhoods formerly inhabited and worn out by blacks, other groups of the "lower class" (e.g. immigrants from Latin America = "Latinos") are settling down.

Suburbs
Another problem area is the outskirts, the suburbs, the Suburban area outside the city limits. The suburbs are - both in terms of area and population - the actual growth zones of American cities. Here the home predominates by far, so that with a low population density there is an extraordinarily high space requirement.
Fig. 3: Suburb characterized by single-family houses in Dallas / Texas
The influx from the city center to the outskirts had one enormous demand for land and immense urban sprawl result. As a result of this urban sprawl, American cities are expanding ever more widely. For this reason, opening up by public transport is extremely difficult, if not impossible. That's why this is Car the main means of transport, so that the rush hour traffic in the CBD causes the aforementioned traffic problems during rush hours.
For households, on the other hand, daily shopping in the downtown area soon became unreasonable. shops and service companies followed hence their customers in the outskirts: In huge "shopping centers" (= "malls"), not only department store branches but also specialty shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, banks, health centers and much more have settled.
Industrial parks were created on cheap land at particularly convenient locations (motorway connection, rail connection, near the airport, etc.), which lure many industrial and administrative facilities from the confines of the city to the outskirts. Planned as a unit, they can often be managed and supplied together at low cost.
Fig. 1: http://media.diercke.net/omeda/800/12881E.jpg (04.07.2016)
Fig. 2: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Lower_Manhattan_from_Helicopter.jpg (04.07.2016)
Fig. 3: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Dallas_skyline_and_suburbs.jpg (04.07.2016)