1) Part of a city at or near the centre, especially a slum area where poor people live in bad housing. 2) City centres of many industrialized countries which exhibit environmental degradation. The numerous and highly competitive activities entailing land use overwhelm the limited space and create a situation of overcrowding, functional incompatibility and cultural degradation. Inner city areas have a high level of commercial specialization, a large number of offices and a sizeable daytime population. At the same time, city centres generally remain a sort of ghetto for a permanent, low-income population living in run-down housing and enjoying little in the way of public services and civic amenities. The concentration of service industries inevitably entails the replacement of traditional housing and shops by office blocks, the provision of basic utilities at the expense of civic amenities and the provision of major access roads which eat up urban space. Structures of historic origin are often unable to meet modern requirements and, notwithstanding their value, frequently face demolition.
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