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Urban Functions
The Inner City - Industrial zones
Terraced Housing
Semi detached and detached housing
Open space

The FUNCTION of an area is its reason, job  or purpose for being.  In urban areas this relates to the purpose of a land use for residential areas, recreation, industry etc.  The dominant function in different cities varies, for example, London is known for its function as a financial centre, whilst Newcastle is now attempting to be a science city.  Functions can change over time as well, in Newcastle the original function was as a coal mining region, which then changed to heavy industry and manufacturing with ship building and armaments at the forefront, and presently high tech industries and education dominate.

WITHIN cities land use and function can vary widely as shown in the box below, and many big urban areas can have several or all of the functions listed.

Think about it

Using the Google map below and street view complete this chart on city functions

Try this exercise on urban functions

Attempt the scatter diagram at the base of the page

  City functions can include:

1.     Selling expensive or rare goods/services e.g. London

2.     Providing jobs in industry or services

3.     As an administration centre for the area around it

4.     As an entertainment centre, for example offering sporting attractions, shopping areas, restaurants,

5.     As a cultural centre

6.     Religious centres or places of pilgrimage such as Mecca or Lourdes

7.     As a major transport hub or route centre

8.     As a residential area

9.     Offer specialist public services, such as Universities (e.g. Oxford), hospitals and schools.

 The central part of cities is known as the Central Business District.
This is often the original site of the settlement where the city originally started and contains services, education facilities and businesses. It often has the highest buildings and is the most accessible area of the city. The CBD of Newcastle can be found at the central Southern part of the city.  It has the central motorway, the coast road, the national train line and the metro routes.  It is the most accessible part of the city and for that reason the land values are highest and retailers such as HMV and major offices and businesses can be found here.  The CBD is also on the original site of the settlement, selected because it was the furthest point downstream on the river Tyne that could be crossed and then bridged (bridging point), it was also high up above the river against flooding but close enough to allow water access (wet point site).  Other good original site factors are that the surrounding land would have been great for farming and locally available stone and wood was available for building, it was also high up so a good defensive site.  The new CBD has the highest buildings to maximise the use of the land, the highest building density, some of the newest buildings due to regeneration (e.g. the Gate) and some of the oldest (e.g. the Theatre Royal), it also has entertainment and social functions such as the universities and the Civic centre.
Newcastle's CBD
Newcastle's CBD

A simplified land use model for Newcastle - upon - Tyne

The inner city
Outside of the CBD is a zone known as the INNER CITY or the TWILIGHT zone.  This is a mixture of old industrial housing, often terraces, and industry. These areas would have been constructed in the industrial revolution. In Newcastle the industry is found in wedges that follow the river Tyne.  These are the traditional secondary industries of armaments and ship building that needed the river and rail links to import heavy raw materials and export heavy finished goods.  Some lighter footloose industries (including high tech firms) can be found on the edge of the city where the land is cheaper (e.g. Sage at Newcastle Great Park) and where the access is good.

Inner City
The twilight zone - mixed industrial and residential land use in Wallsend

Terraced housing

Housing in Gosforth - source

Jesmond dene

Terraced housing
Just outside of the Inner city area tends to be another area of low class residential housing.  These have either very small or no gardens, join other houses on either side and have no more than 3 bedrooms.  In Newcastle terraced housing tends to follow the heavy industry as the workers who worked in the heavy industries traditionally had to walk to work.  Areas such as Scotswood, Benwell, Heaton and Walker have large areas of long rows of terraces with small gardens.

City suburbs
The more expensive residential housing that was built between the 2 World Wars is found even further from the CBD. This often comprises semi detached and detached housing and council estates. In Newcastle, t
he semi-detached housing and detached housing can be found further away from the city, in areas where people can afford more land for gardens, bigger houses and at a distance from the old (and now departed) heavy industries.  These areas have cul de sacs, curved tree lined streets, and the houses have garages and are often expensive.  Gosforth and High Heaton and Long Benton are included in these zones.

Open space
There are also large areas of
open space in Newcastle,  included the town moor which is protected by by-laws, parks such as Jesmond Dene and large areas of playing fields scattered around the city to service the populations of various residential areas.

View Newcastle City FUNCTIONS in a larger map  
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