The difficulty in defining city: current discussions enlightened by some recent contributions

Manuel Pereira Soares About the author


This article intends to approach the question of the definition of city. It begins by recalling some of the theoretical contributions that have been given to this discussion over the years, summoning some of the sociologists who have focused on this issue. Then it tries to understand how city is defined according to different realities. Criteria such as dimension and density seem to be present in all the definition attempts, but they are not sufficient to produce a single consensual definition, which appears to be impossible to find. Functionality has become important as a complement to this discussion. We also report on the Portuguese reality and explore the city/town dichotomy, so present in the national context.

definition of city; city; town; urban Portugal, functionality

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