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Urban Centers, and those that live in them in them, called "Urbanites," differ from the populations in the suburbs and rural areas. The Urban Institute which has studied urban areas for 40 years, uses a variety of tools to determine what is Urban, and what it's not. Some of the determinants are measurable, such as health care, home ownership including, home buyers or renters, foreclosures, estimated number of homeless, employment or unemployment, wealth or lack of it, literacy, crime and even number of births, compared to suburbanites or rural dwellers. An area which is considered "urban" also reflects time and generations, such as urban dwellers who migrated to the center of a city or town, where jobs, government or whole industries existed, as there were no factories, manufacturing plants, or large companies in the suburbs. Many of the homes and buildings near the center of a city, are typically older, and constructed individually. As opposed to the suburbs, where tracts and subdivisions consisted of "cookie cutter" designs. Coupled with the availability of larger (more square feet) tracts of land for homes, engineers, contractors and home builders incorporated driveways, garages for vehicles, sidewalks, etc. into their plans. Urbanites, closer to city and county buildings, which included hospitals, banks and many other business and government buildings, such as libraries and schools, were able to drive a short distance or take a single bus to their jobs. However, parking was becoming scarce. The lack of parking spaces caused many suburbanites to use public transporation to get to work from the suburbs. Public transportation in urban areas improved when suburban commuters found the lack of parking spaces, garages or lots to park their automobiles close to their work, troubling. This caused developers and businesses to build multi-level parking garages. In the recent past, many suburbanites tired of driving to the center of town to work, shop, and pay for parking, began to migrate back to the center of town. With that, came the modernization of older urban homes and other dwellings, i.e. apartments, condos, large department stores, like Sears, Macy's and other businesses. Today, many urbanites are not just people who couldn't move to the suburbs or people of low income or on general assistance, and includes professionals, business owners, sudents, and even artists.

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