Satellite City

A satellite is a reference derived from astronomy which is a study of space and celestial objects. As a definition, an artificial satellite is an object that is sent to space which is within the orbit of the earth but not part of the earth. Planets in space often have natural satellites that are within the orbit of the planet but not actually part of the planet. The best example of this is the moon which orbits the earth and is a natural satellite of earth but is not part of the earth itself. This concept is used in describing a satellite city.

What is a Satellite City?

There are many large metropolitan cities all over the world. Cities like Delhi, New York, London, Sydney, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Shanghai, Beijing, and Rio de Janeiro have large populations. There are hundreds of cities all over the world today that have populations of more than a million people. Some cities have populations over 20 million people. These are extremely large metropolitan areas in various different parts of the world. Satellite Cities are metropolitan cities that are smaller cities that are near large cities but are not part of the large city near them and have a separate local government and are characterized as separate cities. The satellite city is not part of the greater metropolitan area of the large city that it is situated close to but the larger city near the satellite city definitely has an influence on its satellite city.

Satellite City Structure

Related: Planning and Informality in IndiaPrimate City & Primacy | Relationship between city sizes

Characteristics of a Satellite City

  • The basic characteristic of a satellite city is that it is a smaller city near a large metropolitan city which has its own local government and economy which is independent of the neighboring large city.
  • There are a lot of influences from the large city nearby on the satellite city. Satellite cities have their own culture, own history, and their own independent economic infrastructure.
  • The satellite cities are interconnected with the larger cities but are completely independent of the large city nearby. Sometimes the large city nearby is called the parent city and these satellite cities are locally known within the state but are not as famous all over the world as much as the larger parent city nearby.
  • Satellite cities are not an extension of the large city nearby. Geographically there is a clear distinction between a large parent city and a satellite city. This means that there is some area or a few kilometers between the two cities. There is generally a small rural area between the large parent city and the satellite city which completely separates the two cities.
  • Satellite cities are not as developed as the larger cities nearby. The population of satellite cities is much smaller than that of the larger cities nearby. Many amenities and infrastructural facilities that are available in large cities nearby are not as prominent in the satellite cities. Residents of satellite cities are known to travel regularly to the large city nearby for work, recreational and other reasons.
  • Labor force living in the satellite city travels daily to the large city for work purposes and satellite cities provide manpower to major cities. As the property rates and cost of living are often lower in satellite cities as compared to the parent city, many people find it affordable to live in the small satellite city and work in the larger greater metropolitan area of the large city nearby.
  • Students often travel to higher education institutions in the parent city as often quality educational institutions are located in the large city nearby and not in the satellite towns or cities.
  • The development and size of a satellite city are restricted and limited and it never matches or exceeds the size of the large city nearby. Satellite cities have historically evolved on their own and are not just an extension created for a large city to meet the need of a growing population. This means these cities have their own history, their own downtown or historical old city areas and have their own cultural identity.
  • Many times, products and brands are marketed to these cities along with the large cities nearby. This means that phone companies and other goods and services companies often include these satellite cities in the zone or jurisdiction of the large metropolitan area nearby.
  • Often there are good transport services between the satellite city and the large parent city nearby. Trains, buses, and road transport is swift, efficient and on time in between these two types of cities as commuters from satellite cities often travel daily to the large city nearby for work, for education and other economic, recreational and social activities.

Difference between a Satellite City and Suburbs & Bedroom Communities

A satellite city is not a suburb of the large city nearby. It is a completely separate city on its own right. A suburban area of a city is an outlying district of a major city which is often part of the large city. Suburbs are generally residential areas of a large city though they do have limited economic activity in suburbs as well. Suburbs are part of the city jurisdiction whereas a satellite city has a completely separate jurisdiction. Similarly, satellite towns are not bedroom communities which are defined as small towns near major cities which are like suburbs, whose majority of the population work in the large parent city nearby but stay in the bedroom communities. These bedroom communities are also called commuter towns which are small towns near a large city.

Related: Rural-Urban FringeHoyt Model or Sector Model, Galactic City Model

Difference between a Satellite City and Edge Cities

Satellite City

Satellite cities are separate cities with residential and commercial zones of their own and have their own local government. Edge cities are a large urban area on the outskirts of a city with a concentration of commercial and recreational establishments. These edge cities have businesses, shopping establishments. and entertainment zones and are away from the central downtown area of the large city. Edge cities are connected by road to the large city with rural areas in between the edge cities and the major metropolitan cities nearby. These cities may have their separate local government like satellite cities or they may be part of the jurisdiction of the large city nearby.

Examples of Major Satellite Cities in the World

  • In Australia, Gold Coast in Queensland is a satellite city of Brisbane, Wollongong and Gosford is a satellite city of Sydney.
  • Satellite cities are a major factor in urban regions of the United States and Canada. Some major satellite cities in the U.S include Bel Air, Bridgeport, Fort Collins, Fort Lauderdale, New Haven, Rockford, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, Tacoma, Worcester and Brentwood among others. In Canada, some satellite cities include Hamilton, Kitchener, and Sorel-Tracy among others.
  • In India, there are many satellite towns near major cities like Thane, Panvel, Salt Lake City, Ghaziabad, Navi Mumbai, and Hitec City among others.
  • Satellite cities are there all over the world in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa wherever there are major cities and urban areas.

Satellite City is a good choice to live in near a major city as it is a smaller and more affordable version of the major city nearby.

Also Read: Hoyt Model or Sector Model (1939) of Urban Land Use by Homer Hoyt