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Business district

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Business district

A central business district (CBD, also called a central activities district) is the commercial and often geographic heart of a city. In the United States, this part of a city is commonly referred to as "downtown" or "city center". "City centre" is commonly used in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.


The term CBD or Central Business District is the central district of a city, usually typified by a concentration of retail and office buildings.[2]

The term city place is similar to CBD in that both serve the same purpose for the city, and both are marked by a higher-than-usual urban density as well as often having the tallest buildings in a city. City centre differs



The term is used to refer to the business and financial area of a state capital city such as the Sydney CBD, Melbourne CBD, Brisbane CBD, Perth CBD and Adelaide CBD.


The Buenos Aires central business district (CBD and also referred to as the City Porteña), is the main commercial centre of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. The actual area was the point of first European settlement. Its north-south axis runs from Monserrat in the south to Retiro railway station in the north. Its east-west axis runs from Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve and Puerto Madero.

The district is the financial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. Its port is one of the busiest in South America; navigable rivers by way of the Río de la Plata connect the port to north-east Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the South American continent. Tax collection related to the port has caused many political problems in the past. Measured in GDP, the economy of Buenos Aires was the 13th largest economy among the world's cities in 2005 at US$245 billion in purchasing power parity, which, based on the population of that year, translates into US$19,500 per capita. The Buenos Aires Human Development Index (0.923 in 1998) is likewise high by international standards.

The city's services sector is diversified and well-developed by international standards and accounts for 78% of its economy (compared to 58% for all of Argentina's); advertising, in particular, plays a prominent role in the export of services at home and abroad. Manufacturing is, nevertheless, still prominent in the city's economy (17%) and, concentrated mainly in the southside, it benefits as much from high local purchasing power and a large local supply of skilled labor as it does from its relationship to massive agriculture and industry just outside the city limits themselves.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo Central Business District is the biggest financial center in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the whole of the Balkans. It is situated in the municipalities Centar and Novo Sarajevo and generates more than 15% of the GDP of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The CBD includes:

  • Commercial corporations (such as Sarajevo Stock Exchange, BH Telecom, Sparkasse BiH, Raiffeisen Bank BiH, Avaz Rotor Press, Uniqa Insurance, Energoinvest, Energopetrol, B&H Airlines, Petrol BH, Oki and Sarajevo stan)
  • Embassies (USA, Turkey, Malaysia, etc.)
  • Educational institutions (University in Sarajevo with more than 50,000 students; high schools)
  • Shopping malls (Sarajevo City Center, Alta Shopping Center, Imporatnne Center, etc.)
  • The main transport hub of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the largest in whole of the Balkans, Sarajevo Transportation Center, with;
    • Central railway station
    • Main bus station
    • Terminus of tram lines 1 and 4
    • Main postal centre

The Central Business District (CBD) makes Sarajevo one of the most important cities in the Balkan region and Europe.

Moreover, the CBD is the biggest construction zone in the whole of South Europe.


The Sao Paulo central business district is the Avenida Paulista, in the exact city centre, which is also a financial centre, but has the same influence of decades ago. However, there are other central outside the geographical core, as the districts of Santo Amaro and Itaim Bibi, more precisely the regions of Juscelino Kubitschek, Luís Carlos Berrini and Faria Lima avenues, in southwest-central city, which are characterised by intense vertical, and the presence of luxury hotels and multinational companies.

The biggest financial centre in Brazil and one of the biggest business centres in the world, São Paulo's economy is going through a deep transformation. Once a city with a strong industrial character, São Paulo's economy has become increasingly based on the tertiary sector, focusing on services and businesses for the country. Although being the most important financial centre of the country, São Paulo also presents a high degree of informality in its economy.

Rio de Janeiro downtown is city's business community, and the second largest in South America. Some of the largest companies in Brazil still have their head offices here, including Petrobras, Eletrobras and Vale (formerly Companhia Vale do Rio Doce), three of the largest Brazilian corporations.


In Canada, "central business district" is not used as official term by any city or the national statistical agency, StatsCan. Instead the terms "city centre" or "downtown" are used, more or less synonymously. The country's largest city, Toronto, officially regards as many as four business districts as being central. In French-speaking Canada, the usual term is centre-ville, however there is variation from city to city: Montreal's historic core, Old Montreal, is no longer the financial district, which is now Downtown Montreal. In Ottawa, the term "central business district" is often used to describe the 31 city blocks containing the office district, while the term "downtown" includes both the office district and the historic core of the city, known as the Byward Market.


Santiago has a financial district that concentrates on a specific part of the city nicknamed Sanhattan. This area is located on the edge of the communes of Providencia, Vitacura and Las Condes, East of the capital of Chile, that are home to modern office buildings in which permanent commercial activity takes place. The financial sector of Santiago Chile settled in this area mainly during the 1990s, relegating the Centre of the city of this function. It is demarcated by Apoquindo Avenue and Barrio El Golf. Imposing buildings that make up a very elegant architectural unity can be seen along this part of the city. The majority of them began to rise when some of the most prestigious companies that were located in the centre of the metropolis decided to move to the East, at the beginning of the 1980s.


In France, the most common term for a city's center is centre-ville. In many of the largest cities however, centre-ville refers to an historic district rather than a business district. In Paris, the main business district is in La Défense, distant from the geographical center of the city, on the western edge of the boundaries of the Paris commune (municipality). Other CBDs include La Part-Dieu in Lyon (2nd largest), Euralille in Lille (3rd), Euroméditerranée in Marseille (4th) and Euronantes in Nantes.


In Germany the terms Innenstadt and Stadtzentrum may be used to describe the central business district. Both terms can be literally translated to mean "inner city" and "city centre". Some of the larger cities have more than one central business district, like Berlin which has three. Due to Berlin's history of division during the Cold War, the city contains central business districts both in West Kurfürstendamm and East Berlin (Alexanderplatz), as well as a newly built business centre near Potsdamer Platz. The city's historic centre, location of the Reichstag building as well as the Brandenburg gate and most federal ministries was largely abandoned when the Berlin Wall cut through the area. Only after the reunification with the construction of numerous shopping centres, government ministries, embassies, office buildings and entertainment venues, was the area revived. In Frankfurt there is a business district which is in the geographical centre of the city and is called the Bankenviertel.


India uses the term Central Block District to describe CBD Belapur, which has a fairly vibrant Central Business District that is shifting some of the economy out of central Mumbai into the hinterland. In reality, there are several Business Districts in Mumbai which are larger (both in terms of office space and number of jobs) than CBD Belapur, such as Nariman Point, Ballard Estate, Bandra Kurla Complex and Andheri. Belapur is one of the larger assembly constituencies from this region. CBD Belapur has been growing since the 1990s, and is now home to colleges as well as a number of technology businesses, being designed and developed in order to promote business. The Reserve Bank of India maintains a branch office at CBD Belapur. This area is one of the fastest developing regions in Navi Mumbai in terms of new residential and commercial construction projects.


Central business district is more popularly known by its abbreviation CBD. The largest CBD in Indonesia is the Segitiga Emas (Indonesian "golden triangle") in Jakarta. The area is located along the Sudirman - M.H. Thamrin Roads and H.R. Rasuna Said - Gatot Subroto Roads.


The main business center of Israel is on 20 Road between the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv area next to the Israeli Diamonds international center in Ramat Gan. this area serves as the center of Israel's international business and the main Central business district of Israel


In Italy the business districts are not the centers of cities, because the centro città is the historical part of city. A sort of precursor of modern business districts is EUR, in Rome, today headquarters of many national and international companies and public bodies. EUR, and the Centro Direzionale in Naples and in Milan the most important business areas of state. Other important CBDs in Italy are in Genoa and Brescia.


The Beirut Central District (BCD) or Centre Ville is the name given to Beirut’s historical and geographical core, the “vibrant financial, commercial, and administrative hub of the country.”[3] At the heart of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut Central District (BCD) is an area thousands of years old, traditionally a focus of business, finance, culture and leisure. Its reconstruction constitutes one of the most ambitious contemporary urban developments.[4]
Due to the devastation incurred on the city center from the Lebanese Civil War, the Beirut Central District underwent a thorough reconstruction and development plan that gave it back its cultural and economic position in the region. Ever since, Beirut Central District has evolved into an integrated business and commercial environment and the focus of the financial activity in the region. That evolution was accompanied with the relocation of international organizations, reoccupation of civic and government buildings, expansion of financial activities, and establishment of regional headquarters and global firms in the city center.[5]


In Mexico are the two biggest CBDs in Latin America, and one of the most important in the world, City Santa Fe and Paseo de la Reforma Avenue.


In Pakistan, a central business district or a large, concentrated urban setting within a settlement is called a shehar. Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and the country's economic hub; the Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar Road of the city, often called the "Wall Street of Pakistan," acts as Karachi's main financial district and is essentially a center of economic and industrial activity. Shara-e-Faisal in Karachi is also one of the most important business districts of Pakistan.

Another important business district is Gulberg, Lahore. It has a large number of important office buildings as well as many high-rises and shopping malls. Pace Tower, M.M Alam road, Vogue Towers and Ali Trade Center are present in this area. Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad is the main business district of the city. It is lined with numerous office buildings. Blue Area and Ferozepur Road are also central business districts of Islamabad and Lahore respectively.


In Peru the central business district is San Isidro, in Lima, which hosts the majority of Peru's financial industry headquarters.[6] Although still a largely residential district, the commercial and business activity located in or in the vicinity of the area defined by avenues Camino

Real, Javier Prado Este, República de Panamá and Aramburú is highly regarded as Peru's financial and corporate heart.[7][8] It has a permanent population of around 63,000 inhabitants[9] and, during weekday business hours, a floating population that exceeds 700,000 daily commuters from other districts of Lima.[10] San Isidro is served by three stations of El Metropolitano, Lima's bus rapid transit system: Estación Javier Prado, Estación Canaval y Moreyra (with over 16,000 daily passengers)[11][12] and Estación Aramburú.

Since the late 2000s (decade) the southeastern district of Surco[13] has experienced a significant increase in upscale corporate developments in the area comprised by avenues Manuel Holguín, El Derby, El Polo and La Encalada due to lower restrictions to grant construction licences and proximity to residential middle and upper class districts and is set to become, after traditional San Isidro and Miraflores, the new corporate center of Lima.[14]


In Poland, the terms Śródmieście may be used to describe the central business district. In many of the largest Polish cities, however, śródmieście refers to an historic district rather than a business district, or it may not be used at all.


Most noticeable CBD is located in Moscow. It is called Moscow International Business Center and nicknamed Moskva-City. Unlike other CBDs, MIBC is being created as a single project, run by one designated company, and combines business activity, living space, retail trade, and entertainment in one single development.

South Africa

South African cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg have three CBDs while cities like Durban and Port Elizabeth have only one. Cape Town is known for having South Africa's most iconic skyline (including the famous Table Mountain) and CBD.[15]


The biggest central business areas of Spain are the Paseo de la Castellana with its Gate of Europe, AZCA and CTBA in Madrid, 22@ and Granvia l'Hospitalet in Barcelona, and the business centre in Valencia.

United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

The alternative term city centre is used in United Kingdom and Ireland. In British-influenced countries, such as the Commonwealth realms, former British territories (Hong Kong most noticeably (Chinese: 市中心), also use many of the same terms, but also have many characteristics of British cities. In the UK, Ireland and South Africa, the term is often just shortened to "city", as in "going to the city"; it is often also referred to as "town" ("going (in)to town", "going up town", or "going down town"). One exception is in London where "the City" specifically refers to the City of London financial district (one of two CBD), rather than to any other part of London.

United States

Main article: Downtown

In the United States, central business districts are often referred to as "downtown" (even if there is no "uptown"). In most cities the downtown area will be home to the financial district, but usually contains entertainment and retail of some kind as well. The downtown areas of many cities, such as Chicago, New Orleans and Houston, are also home to large sports and convention venues. Historic sections of a central business district may be referred to as "old town", while decaying parts of the centre city are commonly referred to as the "inner city". The term inner city is sometimes not used literally but rather evocatively, applying a negative connotation and referring paradoxically to peripheral areas blighted during a mass exodus of middle class residents.

Some cities in the United States, such as Minneapolis, and Dallas, have mixed use districts known as "uptown" in addition to the primary downtown core areas. In some cities, such as Cincinnati, Ohio, Charlotte, North Carolina, Chicago, Illinois and Oklahoma City, "uptown" is instead the historic name for a separate business centre or neighbourhood. Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware use the term center city instead of downtown for their central business districts. In other cities, like Los Angeles and Indianapolis, the city core is simply known as "downtown". In New Orleans, the phrase central business district is used; and while downtown is sometimes used synonymously, traditionally it referred to parts of the city downriver from Canal Street, which would not include the CBD. One exception is the population in Seattle, local residents refer to the center of the city as the CBD. In Miami, "Downtown Miami" refers to the neighborhoods (such as Brickell and Omni) within the downtown area, not just the central business district. Downtown Jacksonville also follows the Miami model with multiple sub-districts (such as LaVilla, Brooklyn and Southbank) within the greater downtown area, the Northbank district serving as the true CBD.

By broad definition, New York City's CBD comprises the whole southern half or third of Manhattan island. Narrow definitions include only a square mile or two (3–5 km²) of Midtown as central, with the lowest tenth of the island, including the Financial District, being a secondary business district rather than the central one. Similar narrow and broad definitions are applied to the Chicago's downtown high rise districts.

Land value variations in a CBD

Land users, whether they be retail; office; or residential, all compete for the most accessible land within the CBD. The amount they are willing to pay is called bid rent. This can generally be shown in a ‘bid rent curve’. Based upon the reasoning that the more accessible the land, generally in the centre, is the more expensive land.

This is called the bid rent theory.

Commerce (especially large department stores/chain stores) is willing to pay the greatest rent to be located in the inner core. The inner core is very valuable for them because it is traditionally the most accessible location for a large population. This large population is essential for department stores, which require a considerable turnover. As a result, they are willing and able to pay a very high land rent value. They maximise the potential of their site by building many stories.

As one moves from the inner core, the amount commerce is willing to pay declines rapidly. Industry, however, is willing to pay to be in the outer core. There is more land available for their factories, but they still have many of the benefits of the inner core, such as a market place and good communications.

As one moves farther out, so the land is less attractive to industry due to the reducing communication links and a decreasing market place. Because the householder does not rely heavily on these and can now afford the reduced costs (when compared with the inner and outer core) is able to purchase land.

The farther one goes from the inner core and outer core, the cheaper the land. That is why inner city areas are very densely populated (terraces, flats and highrises), whilst the suburbs and rural areas are sparsely populated (semi and detached houses with gardens).

Secondary Central business district

This is a small business district developing close to the central business district. Examples include the Canary Wharf financial district in London, which functions as the secondary financial heart of the city, Akasaka, Ikebukuro, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Shiodome in Tokyo, Minato, Suminoe and Osaka Business Park in Osaka City, Rinku Town in Osaka Prefecture, Plaza district, New York and Bandra CBD, Mumbai. Another example is North York Centre and Scarborough City Centre in Toronto.

See also


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