A central business district
, also called a central activities district
and in North America
") is the commercial and often geographic
heart of a city. In Algeria, Australia, Hong Kong , Kenya, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and South Africa, the
phrase is commonly used, and is often colloquially abbreviated to
is the central district of a city, usually
typified by a concentration of retail and commercial
The term city centre/center
is similar to CBD
that both serve the same purpose for the city, and both are seen by
a higher-than-usual urban density as well as the often having the
tallest buildings in a city. City centre
in that the latter can be geographically located
anywhere in a city, while a city centre is generally located near
the geographic heart of the city. London arguably has
three city centres, the City of London, the medieval City of Westminster and Canary
City also has more than one city center: Historic centre of Mexico city, the colomial;
Paseo de la Reforma - Polanco the mid-late XX century CBD, and Santa Fe, the new CBD.
The shape and type of a CBD or downtown almost always closely
reflect the city's history. Cities with maximum building height
restrictions often have a separate historic section quite apart
from the financial and administrative district. In cities that grew
up suddenly and more recently, such as those in the western half of
North America, a single central area will often contain all the
tallest buildings. It has been said that downtowns (as understood
in North America) are therefore a separate phenomenon.
Central business districts usually have very small resident
populations. For example, the population of the City of London
declined from over 200,000 in 1700 to less than 10,000 today. In
some instances, however (and particularly in large Australian
cities), CBD populations are increasing as younger professional and
business workers move into city centre apartments.
is where people go in the centre of towns and
- It contains main public buildings such as libraries, churches,
stations and town halls.
- It contains specialist shops and branches of major department
stores such as Macy's.
- It contains social amenities such as cinema halls, clubs and
- Although buildings are open to the public there is no area for
housing. However, there may be hotels.
- Industry is not present.
- It contains offices and other professional buildings.
- These buildings tend to be taller than other buildings in the
city because it is cheaper to buy a small plot of land and build
upwards than buying a huge plot of land and only building one or
- Pedestrian levels are particularly high and parking
restrictions are greatest.
- Geographical center of the settlement.
- It is likely to contain a region with the greatest land
- Transportation such as trains, underground metro services and
park and ride services
- High concentration of traffic.
- High use of public transportation.
- High employment rate.
The alternative term city centre
is used in Britain and
Ireland, and also in some urban areas of British-influenced
countries, such as the Commonwealth
and Mainland China
( ). In the United Kingdom,
Australia, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand, the term is often
just shortened to "city", as in "going to the city". This term is also used
in the New York
City area in the same manner, using the term the
city to mean Manhattan. Similarly, San Francisco is referred to as "the City" in the Bay
Area. One exception is in London where "the
City" specifically refers to the City of London financial district rather than to any other part of
central London. In many parts of the world, including the UK,
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India (especially Mumbai, where CBD
is also known as "Townside") and Ireland, it is often also referred
to as "town" ("going (in)to town", "going up town", or "going down
The Buenos Aires central business district (CBD and also referred
to as the City Porteña), is the main commercial centre of Buenos
Aires, the capital of Argentina. The actual area was the point of
first European settlement. Its north-south axis runs from Monserrat
in the north to Retiro railway station in the south. Its east-west
axis runs from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve and Puerto
The district is the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of
Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America;
navigable rivers by way of the Río de la Plata connect the port to
north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result it
serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern
region of the South American continent. Tax collection related to
the port has caused many political problems in the past. Measured
in GDP, the economy of Buenos Aires was the 13th largest economy
among the world's cities in 2005 at US$245 billion in purchasing
power parity, which, based on the population of that year,
translates into US$19,500 per capita. The Buenos Aires Human
Development Index (0.923 in 1998) is likewise high by international
The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by
international standards and accounts for 78% of its economy
(compared to 58% for all of Argentina's); advertising, in
particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at
home and abroad. Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in
the city's economy (17%) and, concentrated mainly in the southside,
it benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large
local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to
massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits
The São Paulo central business district, is the Avenida Paulista,
in the region close to the city center, which is also a financial
center, but has the same influence of decades ago. However, there
are other central outside the geographical core, as the districts
of Santo Amaro and Itaim Bibi, more precisely the regions of
Brooklyn and Juscelino Kubitschek Avenues, Rebouças and Faria Lima,
in south-central city, which are characterized by intense vertical,
and the presence of luxury hotels and multinational
The biggest financial center in Brazil and one of the biggest
finacional centers in the world, São Paulo's economy is going
through a deep transformation. Once a city with a strong industrial
character, São Paulo's economy has become increasingly based on the
tertiary sector, focusing on services and businesses for the
country. The city is also unique among Brazilian cities for its
large number of foreign corporations. Many analysts point to São
Paulo as an important global city, even though this assignment can
be criticized considering its serious problems of social exclusion
and spacial segregation. Although being the most important
financial centre of the country, São Paulo also presents a high
degree of informality in its economy.
Germany the terms
Innenstadt or Stadtmitte may be used to describe
the central business district.
Both terms can be literally
translated to mean "inner-city" and "city-centre". While most German
cities only have one central business district, Berlin has
three. Due to Berlin's history of division during
the Cold War, the city contains central
business districts both in West Kurfürstendamm and East Berlin (Alexanderplatz), as well as a newly built business center near the
Platz. The city's historic centre, location of the
building as well as the Brandenburg gate and most federal ministries was largely abandoned
as the Berlin
Wall cut through it.
Only after the
re-unification with the construction of numerous shopping centers,
government ministries, embassies, office buildings and
entertainment venues, was the area revived.
African cities like Cape
Town and Johannesburg have 3 CBD`s while cities like Durban and Port
Elizabeth only have one. Cape
Town is known to have South Africas most iconic skyline
France and French-speaking regions, the most common term
for a city's center is centre-ville (town center).
In many of the largest francophone cities, however,
refers to an historic district
rather than a business
district, or it may not be used at all.
Paris, the main business district is distant from the
geographical centre of the city in La Défense, on the western edge of the boundaries of the Paris
(municipality). Brussels' historic centre is bounded by the
road. However, the financial and administrative
district is the Leopold
Quarter. Montreal's historic core, Old Montreal, is no longer the financial district, which is now
Some francophone cities use centre-ville
to refer to the
CBD. In Beirut, for example, although the CBD is officially called
Beirut Central District
Lebanese use the French term centre-ville
United States and Canada
States, central business districts are often referred to
as "downtown" (even if there is no "uptown").
In most cities the downtown area
will be home to the financial
, but usually contains entertainment and retail of some
kind as well. The downtown areas of many cities, such as
Chicago and Houston, are also home to large sports and convention
Historic sections of a central business district may
be referred to as "old town", while decaying parts of the center
city are commonly referred to as the "inner
". The term inner city
is sometimes not used
literally but rather evocatively, applying a negative connotation
and referring paradoxically to peripheral areas blighted during a
mass exodus of middle class residents.
cities in the United States, such as Minneapolis, and Dallas, Texas, have mixed
use districts known as "uptown" in addition to the primary
downtown core areas. In some cities, such as Charlotte, Chicago, and Oklahoma City, "uptown" is instead the historic name for a
separate business center or neighborhood. Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware use the term center city instead of
downtown for their central business districts.
cities, such as Toronto, regard as many as four business districts as being
central. In other cities, like Los
Angeles and Indianapolis, the city core is simply known as
definition, New York
City's CBD comprises the whole southern half or third of
Narrow definitions include only a
square mile or two (3-5 km²
) of Midtown
as central, with the lowest tenth
of the island, including the
being a secondary business district rather than the central one.
narrow and broad definitions are applied to the Chicago's downtown high rise districts.