20 Examples of Urbanity Rules

Essential urban civility principles, often unspoken, promote respect and courtesy in our cities. Education plays a vital role in instilling these values from a young age, contributing to a more inclusive and respectful urban environment.

The concept of rules of civility is associated with a series of behaviors that people are expected to exhibit in order to coexist peacefully in society. These behaviors range from basic hygiene practices like covering one’s nose when sneezing to ensuring that public facilities remain clean and tidy.

Navigating Social Interactions in Urban Environments

Living in society inevitably entails interacting with individuals with whom one may not have a direct relationship or much knowledge about their lives. This necessitates the presence of implicit guidelines that promote cordiality and good manners. While rules of civility pertain to personal conduct, they collectively contribute to defining acceptable social behavior.

Understanding ‘Urbanity’: Beyond Cities

The notion of ‘urbanity’ may be subject to debate, as it could be interpreted as having a pejorative connotation towards ways of life that occur outside of cities, particularly in rural or small-town environments. However, it’s crucial to consider the formal definition of urban spaces, which typically entail agglomerations with more than 2,000 inhabitants. This delineation helps frame the context: in areas with over 2,000 inhabitants, interactions often occur without individual familiarity, serving primarily utilitarian needs.

Understanding 'Urbanity' Beyond Cities
Understanding ‘Urbanity’: Beyond Cities

Distinguishing Urban Spaces

In essence, an urban space necessitates interactions with individuals whose names, histories, and characteristics are largely unknown. Conversely, non-urban settings often involve a community where people are familiar with one another, establishing their own codes of conduct, much like within individual households. Rules of civility provide essential guidelines for situations where relationships are transactional and lack personal connections.

The Unwritten Nature of Urbanity

Unlike formal regulations, rules of urbanity are not codified and generally lack strict sanctions for non-compliance. While there may be legal implications in some cases, the primary consequence is social disapproval from the community.

Role of Education in Disseminating Civility

Education, especially at the primary level, plays a pivotal role in disseminating these rules of civility. It is often the early educators who instill these principles in children most effectively, as schools serve as one of the first spaces where adherence to these rules is observed. Notably, countries with lower levels of education often face greater challenges in upholding norms of urbanity.

Role of Education in Disseminating Civility
Role of Education in Disseminating Civility

20 Examples of Rules of Urbanity

  1. Before initiating any relationship, both parties should greet each other.
  2. Trust with others is developed over time, and discussing intimate matters with strangers should be avoided.
  3. Avoid mentioning flaws in others to prevent offense.
  4. When interacting with a person of higher hierarchical or age superiority, formal conduct is expected, unless mutual preference dictates otherwise.
  5. Always cover your nose when sneezing.
  6. When engaging in a game, remember that the possibility of losing always exists and should be accepted in that case.
  7. When introducing two acquaintances who do not know each other, make the proper introductions.
  8. It is important to prioritize the comfort of the elderly, whether on public transport or on the street.
  9. Respect the opinions of others.
  10. When the criterion for taking turns is based on the order of arrival, it should be adhered to honestly.
  11. Always use ‘please’ when giving orders.
  12. Ensure that the facilities of any place remain clean and well-maintained.
  13. Pets should be controlled, considering that many people may not be fond of them.
  14. When requests are fulfilled, respond with a ‘thank you’.
  15. Avoid making comparisons between people whenever possible.
  16. When a person is working, try not to interrupt them.
  17. Respect safety rules in public spaces.
  18. Individuals should take responsibility for cleaning up after themselves and maintaining personal hygiene.
  19. Speak loud enough to be heard, but avoid raising your voice beyond that.
  20. Before entering an unfamiliar place, it is customary to knock on the door.


Rules of civility are fundamental for harmonious coexistence in urban spaces. While they may not be explicitly codified, they play a crucial role in shaping social interactions and maintaining a sense of collective respect and consideration. Education serves as a cornerstone in instilling these principles, highlighting the importance of early exposure to these norms. By adhering to these guidelines, individuals contribute to a more inclusive and respectful urban environment.

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