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Central Business District

  • By: Norman Carter
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

The central business district (CBD) is the core area of a city, where specialized business services are concentrated. The CBD is essentially an American phenomenon, initially appearing in the early 1800s and evolving over time into the high-rise skyline characteristic of many large cities today. Other terms widely used synonymously for the CBD are downtown, city center, and central city. The American CBD differs from business centers in other countries in several ways. European cities have long histories during which growth spreads outward from the center. Residential land uses are common in European city centers, where the wealthy, upper-class citizens reside. High-rise office buildings are generally built in the peripheral areas. Many American cities, on the other hand, were initially constructed with a business district ...

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