Definitions

town

town

[toun]
town, in the United States. In the New England states the town is the basic unit of local government. The New England town government's unique feature is the town meeting, much praised as a nearly pure form of democracy. At the annual meeting of voters, town officers are elected and local issues such as town tax rates are decided. Elsewhere in the United States the term town has little political use, signifying only a place incorporated as a town or simply a population center. However, township has legal meaning—a geographical division of the county, established in land surveys and usually made up of 36 sections, each with roughly an area of 1 sq mi (2.6 sq km). Except in the Middle Atlantic states, townships are seldom units of local government.

Programs pursued as a means of improving the urban environment and achieving certain social and economic objectives. Evidence of urban planning can be found in the ruins of ancient cities, including orderly street systems and conduits for water and sewage. During the Renaissance, European city areas were consciously planned to achieve circulation of the populace and provide fortification against invasion. Such concepts were exported to the New World, where William Penn, in founding the city of Philadelphia, developed the standard gridiron plan—the laying out of streets and plots of land adaptable to rapid change in land use. Modern urban planning and redevelopment arose in response to the disorder and squalor of the slums created by the Industrial Revolution. The urban planner best known for his transformation of Paris was Georges-Eugène Haussmann. City planners imposed regulatory laws establishing standards for housing, sanitation, water supply, sewage, and public health conditions, and introduced parks and playgrounds into congested city neighbourhoods. In the 20th century, zoning—the regulation of building activity according to use and location—came to be a key tool for city planners. Seealso Pierre-Charles L'Enfant.

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Legislative assembly of a U.S. town in which all or some voters are empowered to conduct the community's affairs. Town meetings first took place in New England in the colonial era and are still largely a New England phenomenon, partly because the region's towns tend to hold powers that are granted to counties elsewhere. The meetings are normally held annually. Executive authority is usually held by a three- or five-member board. Open town meetings, which are widely regarded as an exceptionally pure form of democracy, allow all registered voters to vote on articles listed on the agenda, or warrant; representative town meetings allow only elected members to vote.

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Form of urban planning designed to relocate populations away from large cities by grouping homes, hospitals, industry and cultural, recreational, and shopping centers to form entirely new, relatively autonomous communities. The new-town movement was anticipated by the Utopian Ebenezer Howard in the early 20th century (see garden city). The first official new towns were proposed in Britain's New Towns Act of 1946. The idea found favor in other countries, especially in the U.S., Western Europe, and Soviet Siberia. New towns outside Britain often failed to incorporate enough of the mixed-use atmosphere that gives a town vitality. A dramatic increase in commuting and use of the car obviated the need for new towns to be so self-contained.

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Afrikaans Kaapstad

City (pop., 2005 est., urban agglom.: 3,103,000), legislative capital of the Republic of South Africa. It is also the capital of Western Cape province. Located on Table Bay, Cape Town has long been an important regional port. The first settlement at Table Bay, it was founded in the 17th century by the Dutch navigator Jan van Riebeeck for the Dutch East India Company, and it soon served as a stopover for ships plying the Europe-to-India route. It was under Dutch rule intermittently until it was taken by the British in 1806. Today it is a commercial and cultural centre. Seealso Pretoria; Bloemfontein.

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Anbar (الأنبار) was a town in Iraq, at lat. 33 deg. 22' N., long. 43 deg. 49' E, on the east bank of the Euphrates, just south of the Nahr Isa, or Sakhlawieh canal, the northernmost of the canals connecting that river with the Tigris.

Anbar was originally called Firuz Shapur, or Perisapora and was founded circa 350 AD by Shapur II, Sassanid king of Persia. Perisapora was captured and destroyed by Emperor Julian in 363, but speedily rebuilt. The town became a refuge for the Arab, Christian, and Jewish colonies of that region.

The Arabs changed the name of the town to Anbar ("granaries"). Abu al-Abbas as-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid caliphate, made it his capital, and such it remained until the founding of Baghdad in 762.

It continued to be a place of much importance throughout the Abbasid period, but now it is entirely deserted, occupied only by ruin mounds. The great number of these indicates the former importance of the city.

References

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