– The number of inhabitants is the most common. In Spain, any concentration of population of over 10,000 inhabitants is classified as a city.

– Economic activity. Mostly dedicated to secondary and tertiary activities.

– The concentration of habitat, compact morphology, high population density.

– The city usually concentrates many activities and functions. Cities are very well connected nodes that centralize flows of people, goods, capital and ideas. The city has a fast and intense way of life, it is anonymous, cosmopolitan, tolerant and dynamic.


– Roman cities. Roman cities adopted the regular form derived from military camps, with two main streets of North-South (Cardo) and East-West (decumanus) orientation. Possessed pipes for water, bridges, buildings for shows, roads, etc.

– The city in the Middle Ages.The cities of the Middle Ages appear as economic centers and served the function of refuge; they were safe for the population because the walls isolated them from the outside in case of attack.The streets were very narrow and winding (curving and twisting course), and were authentic mazes. In the center it used to be a square surrounded by the most important buildings.

– The city in the Modern Age. The cities of the modern age experienced changes because the old medieval quarters were insufficient. The extramural suburbs were incorporated and new neighborhoods were built beyond the walls, without knocking them down.

– The industrial city. The industrial towns arise with the Industrial Revolution. The emergence of factories and railroad led to an increase in the number of urban residents. The cities needed more space, knocking down the walls to urbanize the land surrounding it. New residential areas appeared. The workers’ quarters were
located on the periphery. The districts for the bourgeoisie were spacious and better urbanized (the urban extensions).

– Post-industrial city. Post-industrial cities are located in developed countries. They are characterized by the transfer of industrial activities outside the urban core. The city is de-industrialized and becomes a space reserved for tertiary activities and housing.


– Irregular urban layout.This type of layout has an irregular shape, made up of narrow, winding streets. It is found in cities with a historic centre.

– Orthogonal grid layout (square or rectangular). This layout is a fairly regular grid in which streets usually run at right angles to each other. It is the most commonly used layout in history because it is very simple.

– Radical or concentric urban pattern.This organises the city around an important central point, like a spider’s web.


Cities are normally divided into a historic centre, the expansion zone and the outskirts.

– The historic centre consists of a network of winding streets in the centre of the city.

– Expansion zones (ensanches) are planned areas of urban expansion on a grid plan. They have straight and wide streets.

– The outskirts are located at the edge of the city and are not always fully integrated.


– The residential function occupies a large area of urban land.

– The industrial function has developed thanks to the large workforce available in cities, together with easy access to raw materials, and distribution and consumption of products.

– The commercial and financial function implies that the services provided require a location (shop, bank, hotel, etc.) and additional services, which include transport and communication networks.


The hierarchy of Spanish cities.

– National Cities. This category’s two cities are Madrid and Barcelona. They have national and international influence, sophisticated communication networks and great cultural, economic and political vitality. Important public institutions and large companies are located in both cities.

–  Regional cities. These have populations of between 500,000 and 1.5 million. Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga are well-connected cities.

– Regional cities. These have populations of between 500,000 and 1.5 million. Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza and Malaga are well-connected cities.

– Sub-regional cities. These have between 200,000 and 500,000 inhabitants. They offer important services, such as universities and large hospitals. Valladolid or Vigo are examples.

– Small cities. They have between 50,000 and 200,000 inhabitants. Most of these places are provincial capitals.

– District capitals (capitales comarcales). This group includes towns of between 10,000 and 50,000 inhabitants.


– Sustainable development (SD) is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

– Global warming: an increase in the earth’s average atmospheric temperature that causes corresponding changes in climate and that are caused by the greenhouse effect.

– Salinization: process by which sea water penetrates the subsoil, salting fresh water and subsoil.

– Over-exploitation: The action or fact of making excessive use of a resource.

– Natural resources: Materials or substances occurring in nature which can be exploited for economic gain.

– Acid rain: Rainfall made so acidic by atmospheric pollution that it causes environmental harm, chiefly to forests and lakes. The main cause is the industrial burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

– Sustainability: Balance between economic development and the environment.

– Environmental awareness: It is based on the three "R". Reduce waste. Reuse, make the most of things. Recycling, sorting and separate for collection.

– Atmospheric pollution: Is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into Earth’s atmosphere, causing disease, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, or the natural or built environment.

– National Park: A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes, created and protected by national governments. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns.

– Nature Park: Is a designation for a protected landscape by means of long-term planning, sustainable use and agriculture. These valuable landscapes are preserved in their present state and promoted for tourism purposes.



The social organization, its most important factors are:

– The political system (state institutions, political organizations …).

– The economy, ie, the way production and distribution of wealth is organized.

– Culture, including language, art and religion.

– The technology.

– The values that shape the way of life and social relations.

Social diversity, are those differences that can identify individuals or groups of people, considering its own characteristics, their origins or their lifestyles.

Cultural diversity. A key element in cultural diversity is linguistic diversity. In the world more than
7,000 languages are spoken, which are in two different situations:

– The official languages recognized by the State, they are protected and promoted.

– Unofficial languages: many of them are very small and are in danger of disappearing against the dominant languages. However, languages are a cultural heritage that must be preserved and defended.


In Europe most societies are democratic.

– European society. The services sector employs most of the labour force. It is an urban society with a very high life expectancy, one of the highest in the world. It has an aging population and low birth rate, both the lowest of the planet, which is compensated by the abundant influx of immigrants.

– Cultural and ethnic diversity.

– The Spanish society. The Spanish population is concentrated in urban and metropolitan areas.It is generalizing the existence of nuclear families, single parent and those composed of people living alone to the detriment of the traditional extended family families. The Spanish XXI century society is multiethnic and multilingual.

One of the indicators that allow us to know the level of welfare of a country is the Human Development Index (HDI). It reflects the level of health, income and education that enjoys a particular country. It is expressed on a scale of 0 to 1.


In the world there are about 230 million international migrants, 3% of the global population.

The direction of the flows is determined by geographical proximity or history, such as the links between the former colonized countries with former colonial metropolis.

CAUSES of migration:

– Economic and demographic: when the population increase is not accompanied by economic development.

– Political reasons: persecution, war, exile …

– Refugee camp because of the Syrian war

– Natural: Droughts, floods, earthquakes…


– Economic effects. Part of the savings that are able to raise immigrant workers are transferred to their families, who live in the country of origin, which is an important source of income for these countries. Immigrants increase the supply of labour and favour the expansion of the economy. They are young people who help to revitalize the labour market and consumption. They also contribute with their taxes.

– Social effects. A portion of immigrants are people with high professional or academic qualification. This reality benefits the receiving country while impoverishing the emitter. They can contribute to change demographic patterns, as has happened in many European countries with an aging population. They tend to have more children than the country’s residents, so that immigration contributes to increase the birth rate. In many cities in developed countries can be seen isolation or concentration in certain neighborhoods of immigrant groups from a single region, a fact that makes difficult their integration.

– Cultural effects. Migration processes involve challenges and difficulties related to the integration of new citizens.The whole society benefits from a greater cultural diversity.

– Multiculturalism. It maintains precise limits, highlights the differences and hinders (makes difficult) the relationship of these groups with the rest of the population.

– Interculturalism. It emphasizes the interaction between different cultures in the same territory.


External migration. It was massive in the second half of the nineteenth century, when steamboats allowed to transport a large number of people. In the mid-twentieth century there was an important migratory labour movement, Spanish people moved towards the rich and industrialized countries in Europe. Germany, Switzerland or France. The economic crisis of 1973 marked the end of this outer emigration and even caused the return of migrants.

– External migration. Spain during the economic crisis (2008-2015) became a country of emigrants to other European states. Spanish citizens resident abroad increased by more than 6% in 2015 compared to 2014.

– Spain, a country of immigrants. Spain had during the first decade of the century one of the highest rates of
immigration in the world. However, the situation has changed in recent years and now the number of immigrants is decreasing.