13.1 The central business district

The CBD contains consumer, business and public services.

Business services

Business services, such as advertising, banking, finance, journalism, and law, are located to have rapid communication or fast breaking news.

Consumer services

In CBDS, new shopping areas attract suburban shoppers as well as out-of-town tourists with unique recreation and entertainment experiences.

Public services

Public services are typically located downtown, whitch include city hall, courts and libraries. They are clustered in CBD to facilitate access for people living in all parts of town.
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CBD in metropolitan areas

by Wendell Cox 03/27/2014

Photographs of downtown skylines are often the "signature" of major metropolitan areas, as my former Amtrak Reform Council colleague and then Mayor of Milwaukee (later President and CEO of the Congress of New Urbanism) John Norquist has rightly said. The cluster of high rise office towers in the central business district (CBD) is often so spectacular – certainly compared with an edge city development or suburban strip center – as to give the impression of virtual dominance. I have often asked audiences to guess how much of a metropolitan area's employment is in the CBD. Answers of 50 percent to 80 percent are not unusual. In fact, the average is 7 percent in the major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000) and reaches its peak at only 22 percent in New York (Figure 1), which sports the second largest business district in the world (after Tokyo).

Downtown metropolitan employment

Only seven of the 52 major metropolitan areas have CBDs with 10 percent or more of employment. Some are much lower. For example, Los Angeles and Dallas have had some of the nation's tallest skyscrapers outside New York or Chicago for decades, yet these downtowns have only 2.4 percent and 2.3 percent of their metropolitan area employment respectively (Figure 2

Singapore's Central Business District (CBD)
Features of a Central Business District