Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the United States

A central business district (CBD) is the commercial and business center of a city. It contains commercial space and offices, and in larger cities will often be described as a financial district. Geographically, it often coincides with the "city center" or "downtown". However, these concepts are not necessarily synonymous: many cities have a central business district located away from its commercial and/or cultural center and/or downtown/city center, and there may be multiple CBDs within a single urban area. The CBD will often be highly accessible and have a large variety and concentration of specialized goods and services compared to other parts of the city.[1]

Midtown Manhattan is the largest central business district in New York City and in the United States.

The Chicago Loop, the second largest central business district in the United States.

In Chicago, the Chicago Loop is the second-largest central business district in the United States. It is also referred to as the core of the city's downtown.

Mexico City also has its own historic city center, the colonial era "Centro Histórico", along with two CBDs: the mid-late 20th century Paseo de la Reforma in Polanco, and the new Santa Fe, respectively. Russia's largest central business district is the Moscow International Business Center in Moscow.

The shape and type of a central business district almost always closely reflect the city's history. Cities with strong preservation laws and maximum building height restrictions to retain the character of the historic and cultural core may have a CBD quite a distance from the city center. This distinction is quite common in European cities such as Paris, Moscow, Vienna, Prague and Budapest. The New World grew quickly after the emergence of modern transportation, including road or rail, after which a single central area or downtown often included many of the region's tallest buildings and served as both a commercial and cultural city center.

In the 21st century, increasing urbanization has led to the development of megacities that often have multiple CBDs scattered across the urban area. Downtown sections of cities, especially in North America, often are distinct from CBDs and city centers.[2] No two CBDs have the same spatial shape, but there are certain common geometric patterns, which are largely a result of centralized commercial and industrial activities.[3]


In Australia, the nation's two most populous cities, Sydney and Melbourne,[4] have large CBDs. Sydney features growing micro central business districts, which serve as the hub for their respective areas outside the CBD. An example is Parramatta, which is considered the financial hub of Western Sydney.


São Paulo is a multipolar city, with several business districts. Avenida Faria Lima and the neighboring districts, Itaim Bibi and Vila Olímpia, now concentrate a large part of the financial activities in São Paulo and Brazil. Avenida Paulista and nearby streets is a well-established financial center that has several banking offices and corporate headquarters, as well as hospitals. Its Historic Center was the city's first business center; There, the São Paulo Stock Exchange is located. The region comprising Avenidas Berrini, Doutor Chucri Zaidan, and Nações Unidas, the city's newest commercial district, has offices of multinational companies and also commercial services.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's second-largest city, the main business district still is in downtown, where Petrobrás and Vale headquarters are located, but there is a concentration of business in Botafogo harbor and in Barra da Tijuca, a newer Rio de Janeiro suburb located in city's west region.



The largest CBD in Colombia is Bogotá's Centro Internacional, where some of the tallest buildings in South America have been repurposed as national headquarters for Scotiabank Colpatria, Davivienda, and Bancolombia, among others.

Over the years, Bogotá has developed minor business districts, which include Avenida Chile, Ciudad Salitre, with companies like Avianca, Rappi, Johnson & Johnson, Terpel, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton, Ramada, City Express, Aloft and Novotel; or Complejo Santa Bárbara, the last of which features the only W Hotel in the city.

Colombia's other notable CBDs include Parque Berrío in Medellín, Bocagrande in Cartagena (the largest touristic CBD in the country), and Paseo de Bolívar in Barranquilla.


La Défense, west of Paris, is France's largest central business district. La Défense was in 2017 ranked as the leading CBD in continental Europe, and the fourth in the world.[5]

La Défense hosts 19 of the world's biggest 500 companies, whilst the Paris region as a whole hosts 29 of the world's 500 largest companies, establishing itself as the first city in Europe (and the third worldwide) for the number of companies classified in Fortune Fortune Global 500.[6]


Central business district of Frankfurt, Germany

In Germany, the terms Innenstadt and Stadtzentrum may be used to describe the central business district. These terms can be literally translated as "inner city" and "city center". Some of the larger cities have more than one central business district. For example, Berlin alone has three.[citation needed]

Due to Berlin's history of division during the Cold War, the city contains central business districts both in West (Kurfürstendamm) and in East Berlin (Alexanderplatz), as well as a newly built business district near the Potsdamer Platz. The city's historic center (home to the Reichstag building, as well as the Brandenburg Gate and most federal ministries) was largely abandoned when the Berlin Wall cut through the area. Only after the reunification with the redevelopment of Potsdamer Platz, and the construction of numerous shopping centers, government ministries, embassies, office buildings and entertainment venues, was the area revived.

In Frankfurt am Main's city center, there is a business district called the "Bankenviertel".

In Düsseldorf, there is a business district which is located around the famous high street Königsallee with banks, shops and offices.[7]

Hong Kong

Traditionally, the Central Business District "CBD" of Hong Kong is Central, where many multinational financial services corporations have their headquarters.[citation needed] Consulates general and consulates of many countries are also located in this area, as is Government Hill, the site of the government headquarters.[citation needed]

In Quarry Bay, Taikoo Place and areas nearby, including Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay, and Tsim Sha Tsui, Kwun Tong, and Kowloon Bay are regarded as major business districts of Hong Kong.[citation needed]


India's capital New Delhi has been known for its CBD at Connaught Place. For the financial capital of the country, the famous CBD is The Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai. In Mumbai itself there is Nariman Point, which is another CBD including Andheri and Parel. Parry's Corner and Nungambakkam are among the main CBDs of Chennai.

Bangalore has five notable business districts: UB City, Brigade Gateway, Koramangala, Indiranagar, and Electronic City. Lucknow has three business districts, including Hazratganj Market, Gomti Nagar Extension at the extended area of Gomti Nagar, and Aminabad in old Lucknow. Kolkata also has central business districts, including B.B.D. Bagh, Park Circus, Esplanade, Salt Lake Sector V, and New Town.


The largest CBD in Indonesia is the Golden Triangle (Segitiga Emas in Indonesian) in Jakarta. Sudirman Central Business District, a super block that is located within the Golden Triangle, is the first of its kind in Indonesia, and one of the largest commercial center developments in the city. Jakarta started developing its business district in the early 1960s before hosting the Asian Games in 1962.[8]

Surabaya in East Java built its first central business district in the Darmo region. The construction was expected to be completed by 2018 with 150 SOHO units and 500 residences.[9]

Jakarta CBD seen from south Jakarta


In Italy, business districts do not coincide with the geographical centers of the city because the city center is the historical center of the city, and usually not very suitable to function as a modern business district.[original research?]

A precursor to modern business districts is EUR in Rome, which is now home to several national and international companies and public bodies.

The EUR, the Napoli business district, the Milan business district, and City Life, are among the most important commercial areas in Italy. Other important business and financial centers are present in Genoa and Brescia.



Clifton, Karachi in Pakistan
3D render of Pakistan's first Central Business District currently under construction.
Pakistan's first central business district under construction

In Pakistan, a central business district or a large, concentrated urban setting within a settlement is called a shehar. Karachi is Pakistan's largest city and the country's economic hub; the I. I. Chundrigar Road acts as Karachi's main financial district. Shahra-e-Faisal in Karachi is also one of the most important business districts of Pakistan.[citation needed]

Gulberg, Lahore has a large number of important office buildings as well as many high-rises and shopping malls. Pakistan established its first central business district, Lahore Central Business District, also known as Central Business District Punjab (CBD Punjab) by an ACT of Parliament (LCBDDA Act, 2021) in February 2021.[citation needed]

Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad is the main business district of the city. Blue Area is the central business district of Islamabad.

D Ground is the central business district of Faisalabad and Saddar is the main central business district of Rawalpindi.


Central business district of Lima, Peru

In Peru, the central business district is San Isidro, in Lima, which hosts the majority of Peru's financial industry headquarters.[10] Although still a largely residential district, the commercial and business activity located in or in the vicinity of the area.[11][12] It has[when?] a permanent population of around 63,000 inhabitants[13] and, during weekday business hours, a floating population that exceeds 700,000 daily commuters from other districts in Lima, the national capital.[14]

San Isidro is served by three stations of El Metropolitano, Lima's bus rapid transit system: Estación Javier Prado, Estación Canaval y Moreyra (with over 16,000 daily passengers)[15][16] and Estación Aramburú.

In the early 21st century, the southeastern district of Surco[17] experienced a significant increase in upscale corporate developments in the area comprised by avenues Manuel Holguín, El Derby, El Polo, and La Encalada due to lower restrictions to grant construction permit and proximity to residential middle and upper class districts and is set to become, after traditional San Isidro and Miraflores, the new financial center of Lima.


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The Philippines has three major central business districts, which are all located in Metro Manila. Bonifacio Global City (top) is the newest and one of the largest central business districts in the Philippines. The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Ayala Land, Inc. and Evergreen Holdings, Inc. controls Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, which oversees the master planning of Bonifacio Global City. Ortigas Center (middle), with an area of more than 100 hectares (250 acres), is the Philippines' second most important business district after the Makati CBD and is home to Asian Development Bank. Meanwhile, the Makati Central Business District (bottom), also known as the Makati CBD, is the leading financial and the largest central business district in the Philippines.


In Poland, the terms śródmieście or centrum are often used to describe the central business district.


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The largest central business district in Russia is the Moscow International Business Center (MIBC) in Moscow, a commercial development located just east of the Third Ring Road at the western edge of the Presnensky District in the Central Administrative Okrug of the city. As of 2021, it is still under development. The construction of the MIBC takes place on the Presnenskaya Embankment of the Moskva River, approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) west of Red Square, overlooked by the Third Ring Road. The project occupies an area of 60 hectares.

The second-largest central business district is Yekaterinburg-City in Yekaterinburg, the fourth-largest city in the country. It is located on the Iset River, and is under development as of 2021. The area occupies five hectares.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh, has several business districts, including:


The Singapore River Planning Area seen from the eastern bank of the Singapore River with the central business district located on its western bank

In Singapore, the CBD is in the Downtown Core, one of the constituent planning areas of the Central Area, the country's city center. Its densest point is centered around Raffles Place, where most of Singapore's skyscrapers are located. The CBD sometimes also describes Central Area as a whole.

Singapore's CBD is the historic heart of the city-state, which makes it a mix of a tourist attraction and a business center. The CBD includes several multinational corporate headquarters, Singapore Management University, and historical buildings and museums.

As of 2016, the Singaporean government intends to redevelop Jurong East into a second CBD in Singapore.[18] The area has also been earmarked as the site of the rail terminus for the Kuala Lumpur–Singapore High Speed Rail.

South Africa

The skyline of Cape Town's central business district seen from a rooftop in De Waterkant

South Africa's largest cities, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Port Elizabeth, have CBDs that include the corporate headquarters for many of South Africa's largest companies, its convention centers, and many of the country's tallest buildings.

Cape Town has one of South Africa's most iconic skyline (which includes Table Mountain) and the city's CBD.[19]

South Korea

Further information: Downtown Seoul, Gangnam, and Yeouido

In South Korea, the national capital of Seoul includes three central business districts. The Downtown Seoul, a historic area inside the Fortress Wall of Seoul in the Jongno and Jung districts has historically been the city's political, social and cultural heart, and still houses many corporate headquarters and political institutions in South Korea. It is also the most popular area for tourists and the city's main commercial district. While the district has a high density of high rise buildings, the tallest building, the SK Building, only reaches a height of 160m due to historic preservation regulations.[20]: 134–135 

The second main district, located in the southeast part of Seoul, is Gangnam District, an area that was developed in the 1980s and is now among the city's most affluent neighborhoods. The Gangnam District has concentration mainly in economic power of Seoul, as many of prominent company HQs are located on Teheran Avenue. Gangnam Avenue and Yeondong Avenue, which includes the COEX mall, are major thoroughfares in Seoul. The tallest buildings in Gangnam include Tower Palace One, a residential complex, Trade Tower, Gangnam Finance Center, and Parnas Tower.

Seoul's third business district is Yeouido, an island located in central Seoul in the Yeongdeungpo District. Yeouido was developed in the 1970s; since the 1990s, however, it has become Seoul's financial center. Smaller in geographic size that the other two business districts, Yeouido has some of Seoul's tallest skyscrapers, including Parc1 Tower, International Finance Center Seoul, and the 63 Building. Yeouido is where the National Assembly of South Korea and many media companies and political institutions are based.

Smaller but notable central business districts in South Korea include the Jamsil area, which is the location of the 555-metre tall Lotte World Tower, Guro Digital Complex, Gasan Digital Complex, the Magok Business District, the Sangam Digital Media City, the Munjeong Administrative Town, and Mapo Avenue. The area near Yongsan Station, including the proposed Yongsan International Business District, is considered an emerging major commercial district that will exist in synergy with nearby Yeouido.

In Busan, South Korea's second-largest city, the central business district is along the Jungang Avenu, starting around the commercial area of Seomyeon Station and then proceeding south to the Busan International Finance Center in Munhyeon-dong and the area near Busan Station and Jungang-dong, where several corporate offices are located. A second major business district in Busan is Centum City, in the Haeundae District.


In Spain, the largest central business districts are in Madrid, the national capital. Paseo de la Castellana includes he city's main business districts: the Gate of Europe, AZCA, and CTBA. AZCA is 19-hectare (47-acre) super block near Real Madrid's stadium Santiago Bernabéu. It was the country's main business area during the late 20th century when most of the region's skyscrapers were developed. The tallest building in AZCA is the Torre Picasso, a 158-tower[clarification needed] that was designed by Minoru Yamasaki architect, and includes the national headquarters for several multinational corporations, including Google and Deloitte.

The Gate of Europe has twin towers, which hold Spanish bank Bankia and Realia, a real estate company. A few blocks north of the Gate of Europe is CTBA, a complex of four skyscrapers that are the tallest in Spain. Notable architects, including Norman Foster, Ieoh Ming Pei, and Cesar Pelli, have designed its towers, which were completed in 2008. The tallest building, Torre de Cristal, is the fourth-tallest building is Western Europe with a height of 250 meters (820 ft). The complex houses the Spain-based headquarters for several multinational corporations, including KPMG, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Bankia, Cepsa, Pwc, OHL, and the embassies of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and a five-star hotel owned by Eurostars. A fifth tower is being for Instituto de Empresa university.

In Barcelona, the 22@, Gran Via and Granvia l'Hospitalet are the city's two main business districts. The Catalan capital does not have a reputation for skyscrapers and financial hubs, but has attracted several media and technology companies, including Microsoft and Yahoo!. In 2005, the Torre Agbar, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, is the third-tallest building in Barcelona with a height of 145 meters (476 ft) and was intended to become a Hyatt hotel once administrative issues are resolved.[21]


In Taiwan, the term "city center" (Chinese: 市中心) is often used instead of central business district, but a different commercial district outside of the historic core is typically labeled a CBD (Chinese: 中央商務區), "financial district" (Chinese: 金融貿易區), or "Yolk area" (Chinese: 蛋黃區). Taiwan also has many traditional central business districts.

In Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, the area around its main railway station, including the Zhongzheng District, is regarded as Taipei's historic center; it is home to many of Taiwan's national government buildings, including the Presidential Office, the Executive Yuan, the Control Yuan, the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan, and various government ministries.

The second main district, in the central part Taipei, is the Xinyi Special District, which was developed mostly in the 1990s, and has emerged as Taipei's financial, political, and commercial center. The district includes the greatest concentration of corporate headquarters and offices in Taipei and is among the nation's largest shopping districts. It also includes many of Taipei's tallest skyscrapers, including the 509.2-meter (1,671 ft)-tall Taipei 101, Taipei Nan Shan Plaza, and Fubon Xinyi A25.[22]

Taipei's third business district, Nangang District, is located in the southeastern part of the city. Nangang was developed in the early 21st century and is the seat of the Academia Sinica, Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall, and Nankang Software Park (NKSP).

Greater Taipei serves as a multi-central metropolitan area, and a few other areas have become important business districts, including Daan District, Banqiao District and Neihu District. Xinzhuang Sub-city Center is considered to have the potential to emerge as a major commercial district in Taiwan, functioning in synergy with nearby Sanchong District and Wugu District.

In Taichung, Taiwan's second-largest city after Taipei, the central business district is Taichung's 7th Redevelopment Zone. It features broad and widely spaced boulevards, attractive apartments, department stores, and office towers, which are brightly lit at night.

In Kaohsiung, Taiwan's harbor city, the central business district is Asia New Bay Area, which is home to the city's tallest skyscrapers, including 85 Sky Tower and Farglory THE ONE and Port of Kaohsiung, the nation's largest port.


In Turkey, Ankara became the nation's capital in the early 20th century, but Istanbul has remained the main economic center of the country. But a 262 hectare central business district is planned in[23] in Varlık, Altındağ.

See also


  1. ^ Murphy, Raymond E. (1972). The Central Business District: A Study in Urban Geography (chapter 1). Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-48543-2. Archived from the original on 22 April 2023. Retrieved 14 March 2023.
  2. ^ "Reviving American downtowns Archived 20 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine". The Economist. 1 March 2007.
  3. ^ Hartman, George W. (1950). "The Central Business District--A Study in Urban Geography". Economic Geography. 26 (4): 237–244. doi:10.2307/141260. JSTOR 141260.
  4. ^ "Regional Population". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 29 April 2022. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  5. ^ The attractiveness of world-class business districts: Paris La Défense vs. its global competitors Archived 18 July 2020 at the Wayback Machine, EY, November 2017
  6. ^ 10 reasons to move to Paris La Défense Archived 4 November 2020 at the Wayback Machine, Official website of Paris La Défense
  7. ^ Thorsten Breitkopf (21 December 2014). "Düsseldorfs Central Business District: Mischung macht das Zentrum einzigartig". RP ONLINE. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  8. ^ thejakartapost.com Archived 14 February 2020 at the Wayback Machine; Sukarno's vision of a modern capital
  9. ^ tempo.co Archived 13 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine; Surabaya to See First Central Business District
  10. ^ General information of San Isidro (in Spanish) Archived 1 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from San Isidro's Municipality official website http://www.msi.gob.pe/ Archived 23 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine on 4 September 2011
  11. ^ San Isidro – Peru Archived 8 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from AboutPeruhistory.com on 4 September 2011
  12. ^ History of San Isidro, Lima, Peru Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from SanIsidroPeru.com on 4 September 2011
  13. ^ San Isidro – Population – Municipality of San Isidro website (in Spanish) Archived 30 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from San Isidro's Municipality official website http://www.msi.gob.pe/ Archived 23 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine on 4 September 2011
  14. ^ Mayor of San Isidro proposes alternatives to mitigate San Isidro's challenges (in Spanish) retrieved from LaRepublica.pe on 4 September 2011
  15. ^ Metropolitano's Canaval y Moreyra station will have a new access for passengers (in Spanish) Archived 26 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from El Comercio.pe on 22 August 2011
  16. ^ Canaval y Moreyra station will have a new access for passengers (in Spanish) Archived 12 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine retrieved from Peru21.pe on 23 August 2011
  17. ^ Municipality of Santiago de Surco – official website (in Spanish) Archived 23 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine retrieved on 16 September 2011
  18. ^ "Jurong, The Next CBD". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Table Mountain". New 7 Wonders. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010.
  20. ^ 김, 광중; 정, 희윤; 김, 도년; 김, 세훈; 배, 정한; 장, 영희; 이, 광훈 (30 November 2021). 서울도시계획사 4 지방자치시대의 도시계획 (서울역사총서 12) [History of urban planning in Seoul, Vol. 4., Urban planning in age of local autonomy] (in Korean). Seoul: Seoul Special City Government. ISBN 9791160711332. Archived from the original on 5 February 2024. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  21. ^ Salvador, Rosa (12 February 2017). "El hotel que no pudo ser". La Vanguardia. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  22. ^ "About Xinyi District". Taipei City Government. Archived from the original on 22 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  23. ^ "Kentsel Dönüşüm > Merkezi iş Alanı (MİA)". Ankara Büyükşehir Belediyesi. Archived from the original on 29 July 2021.