The increasingly complex and sophisticated models of the city reflect the historical development of the city and its structures, when in a very simplistic view can be argued that the spatial patterns of urban design, its functions and importance are increasingly differentiated. It can also be obtained from the basic description of the three phases of the urban development that are mostly recognized as: pre-industrial cities (1), industrial cities (2) and post-industrial cities (3).

Pre-industrial cities

The origins of the onset of cities and urban civilizations can be placed into a period between 3500 BC to 1000 AD, when the cities in lower Mesopotamia (such as Ur and Babylon) and the towns founded in the Nile Delta belonged among the earliest cities (Mulíček 2008). Growth and the creation of cities had been associated with the development of agriculture, which was able to produce surpluses.

Hohenberg (2004 in Mulíček 2008, pp. 119) describes a typical birth of a medieval European city as a gradual concentration of population around the fortified coretown which could be for example seats of nobility and monasteries, respectively remains of Roman cities.

Cities in the Czech territory originated mainly in the 12 to 15 century, when there was created a dense network of free trade or mining towns with different rights and a number of towns (townships) with restricted rights obtained by individual feudal lords.

Industrial cities

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th-19th century respectively industrialization gave a new impetus to the development of cities concentrated around industrial production (key city-forming function of cities in this period). Large industrial companies (textile, metallurgy ...) located in the historical cities or new towns attracted a large number of people seeking work in these factories –the significant population movements from rural to urban areas were reported.

A very important factor becomes the transportation - the position of cities on the railway raises significant differentiation in the network of cities and new towns (eg decrease in importance of Chrudim and growth of significance of industrial and substantially earlier on the railway lying Pardubice) (Maryáš and Vystoupil 2004). The intensity of industrialization then significantly modified "map" of the world biggest cities.

Table 2 The world biggest cities in 1000, 1900 and 2010


1000 (in thousands)

1900 (in millions)

2010 (in millions)


Córdoba, Spain


London, UK


Tokyo-Yokoha., Jap.



Kaifeng, China


New York, USA


Seoul, South Korea



Constantinople, Tur.


Paris, France


Mexico City, Mexico



Angkor. Cambodia


Berlin, Germany


New York, USA



Kyoto, Japan


Chicago, USA


Mumbai, India



Cairo. Egypt


Vienna, Austria


Jakarta, Indonesia



Baghdad, Iraq


Tokyo, Japan


Sao Paulo, Brazil



Nišapur, Iran


St. Petersburg, Rus.


Delhi, India



Al-Hasa, S. Arabia


Manchester, UK


Osaka-Kobe-Kio., Jap.



Patan, India


Philadelphia, USA


Shanghai, China


Source: Hanus and Šídlo et al. 2011; edited.

Separation of workplace from the place of residence occurred in the time of onset of the factory production, however, the development of cheap public transport permit greater separation of the workers' residence from industrial sites – before, the working colonies were formed at available walking distance from the work (Goodman and Chant 1999 in Mulíček 2008, pp. 121). The gradual development of an expanding industrial city in the first half of the 20th century meant, depending on the development of transport opportunities, the development of suburban areas with lower density due to migration of higher income groups of the population out of the central areas of the city. it is the beginning of suburbanization processes, which significantly increased the original acreage of the city, whose initial manifestations were associated with the development of suburban railway, but modern suburbanization was/is based on the use of a car.

Post-industrial cities

Economic changes emphasizing the role of services (growth rate of employment in tertiary and quaternary sectors), changes in the social structure strengthening the role of professional and technological classes and an increased emphasis on technologies and the importance of information in social life are reflected in the second half of the 20th century and in the spatial structure of the city.

As partial current processes causing changes in the spatial structure of contemporary cities can be mention:

As a new spatial manifestations of the above in the post-industrial city can be mentioned the creation of: new commercial and administrative centres along the easily accessible roads in the hinterland of lacking the historical continuity (edge cities), extensive residential zones created by one developer usually containing basic elements of civic amenities (master planned communities), residential areas with restricted access (gated communities) and larger business residences usually in "greenfield" (corporate campuses)(Knox and Pinch 2010). These newly emerging areas are sometimes symbiotic, sometimes in direct conflict with the still more powerful environmental movements, environmental awareness and increasing demands on the quality of life of residents in the city.

In the cities affected by globalization, industrial production abandoned and nowadays unused zones of polluted and contaminated properties with the remains of factory buildings and warehouses are increasing (brownfields).

Figure 8 Buildings and areas lose their original purpose - examples of Detroit (USA)
Source: Ma revue web [on-line].