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central business district (CBD)

  The nucleus of an urban area, containing the main concentration of commercial land uses (shops, offices and warehouses). This is associated — as both cause and effect — with both the most accessible point in modern capitalist cities and its peak land value (see Alonso model). The CBD typically contains the urban area\'s densest concentration of land uses and tallest nonresidential buildings and is spatially structured internally, with different use categories (e.g. clothing shops) concentrated in certain areas to benefit from the external economies associated with agglomeration. (There is commonly vertical segregation too, with uses that can afford the highest rents on the ground floors of high-rise buildings.)

Most CBDs are in relative if not absolute decline as their characteristic uses are increasingly decentralized to suburban and exurban locations, as with the growth of planned shopping centres and office parks close to major highway intersections. (See centrifugal and centripetal forces; retailing, geography of.) (RJJ)

Suggested Reading Carter, H. 1995: The study of urban geography, 4th edn. London: Arnold.



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