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Old 09-25-2010, 05:56 AM
 
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I mean is it a city or what?? I have been studying London in preparation for a future trip and I find it confusing. Okay so they have London boroughs, I figured that was like New York City being divided into 5 boroughs but each borough of London has its own mayor(unlike NYC)and there is a London Assembly which I presume to be like a city council. There is a main Mayor of London it seems who presides in the London City Hall in Southwark which makes me think the borough mayors are like NYC's Borough Presidents and don't have much authority and the main mayor is it. Then there is the City of London and City of Westminister which wikipedia says retains city status unlike the boroughs. The City of London even has its own police force seperate from the London metropolitan police force. Well the City of London looks like what would be the downtown area of the entire city like Manhattan or downtown Chicago, Los Angeles, etc. Guides I have seen of London calls it a city though and tourists are calling the City of London downtown London. I guess I need the input of actual London residents here.

Last edited by brajohns81; 09-25-2010 at 06:07 AM..
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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London is a City. It has a cathedral so it counts as a city in the UK with one Mayor for the entire city.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:06 PM
 
Location: England.
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To confuse things further there is a Lord Mayor as well as the elected Mayor. Although a city, it is often referred to as London Town, and even a collection of villages. The Borough is probably most people's first point of contact with elected government, followed by the the Assembly. Like so many other political institutions here, London has evolved over centuries rather than being designed. I personally would redraw the boundaries at the M25 orbital motorway. Inside London, outside England.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:26 AM
 
Location: New York
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The 'City' of London is really the financial hub of London. Yes it does have its own police force. I am sure its only one square mile so only a small area of London.
If the trip is a holiday I wouldn't worry too much about the mayor etc - as most of the people who live there don't !! The main shopping areas which I think you mean by 'downtown' (?) would be Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge and Kensington.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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It's a good question you ask - and one that confuses a lot of people in the UK when they start to think about what London actually is! But I'll try and break it down (by my understanding at least!)

The main urban area (i.e. anything inside the M25 orbital motorway) is known as 'Greater London' and is what people generally refer to as London. The Greater London Assembly (GLA) with the Mayor of London at its head is the body responsible for certain initiatives which affect the whole of Greater London - with transport being the key area of responsibility.

However, what Greater London actually consists of is a whole bunch of autonomous boroughs each with their own council (and potentially ceremonial mayors too). So these borough councils will all have responsibility for their own local services such as waste disposal, schools, social services and the like. So Greater London is in effect a city made up of a lot of smaller, effectively independent boroughs. In fact, for much of its history (including a recent period before the GLA was set up about 10 years ago) Greater London has had no overarching political body at all.

Greater London has pretty much always been identifiable as a city in physical structure though - you've got the 'downtown' for the whole thing in the middle, with things becoming increasingly suburban as you head out to the 'outer boroughs'. Downtown in London is MASSIVE however - and is made up of several boroughs, two examples are the City of London (confusingly!) and the City of Westminster. These are the two real historic boroughs which between them form the old heart of Greater London (although if I'm being accurate the City of London is not classed as a borough, it has an entirely unique political classification by virtue of its age and history, but you can read all about that elsewhere!). The City of London now basically contains the financial heart of Greater London - hence the skyscrapers (it's known as the 'square mile'), the City of Westminster contains a lot of the other good stuff - Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the shopping and theatre districts (the 'West End'). But that's still only a small part of what you might term 'downtown' - you also have the borough of Kensington and Chelsea for instance, which contains a lot of the great museums. It's all a result of the way London has evolved over the years, with the historic boroughs at its heart gradually taking on the various downtown functions of the greater city that's grown up around them.

So what is London? To most people it's synonymous with Greater London, and you can really not worry about the borough structure. There's still a downtown with a financial district, theatres, shopping, politicians. The fact that it's split into a bunch of separate political entities shouldn't worry you as a visitor.

Sorry for the essay, but once you start on the subject...!

Last edited by DaiB; 10-03-2010 at 05:12 PM..
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:15 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
London is a City. It has a cathedral so it counts as a city in the UK with one Mayor for the entire city.
London contains a number of cathedrals, although none, to my knowledge, is called 'London Cathedral'.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:21 AM
 
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Lots of people who live here say that London is more like a collection of well-developed villages. I'm not sure about that but it gives you a clue of the way that the city's character can change drastically from area to area.
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