The overall appearance and “aspect” of the city has changed throughout its long development. The original seat of many craftsmen and merchants became an industrial centre and one of the most significant transport hubs in Bohemia during the course of the second half of the 19th century. The change in the city’s function without doubt was also projected into its appearance.
Economic interests brought industrial and construction activities into the city’s historical core. From a contemporary point of view, this involved a wanton and brutal action. The construction of the monotonous, dull and grey structures of high-capacity housing estates and the extensive and unilaterally oriented development of the city commenced from the 1960s onwards.
The territories which are predominantly focussed on some fundamental types of functions and activities or any combination thereof (for example, for housing, manufacturing and recreation) are called functional zones. This involves the following areas:
- The historical core – this includes the zone in the middle of the former fortifications
- The mixed central zone – this consists of the city centre and its precincts with an accumulation of housing and services
- The mixed residential zone – this unites a universal territory for housing and business (for example the middle of Klíše)
- The purely residential zone - this is exclusively residential by nature (for example, the Dobětín or Severní Terasa housing estates)
- The manufacturing and business zone – this predominantly includes areas for manufacturing activities (for example, Předlice)
- The recreation and leisure time zone – sports, recreation and cultural facilities are concentrated there
- Forests and high greenery – this involves a territory of a natural character (the outer areas of the city in the Elbe valley)
- The rural zone – this predominantly represents an area of a natural character with a partial residential function.
The city has undergone relatively significant administrative changes throughout its development.
Klíše and Malé Březno were added to its historical core in 1900. The first significant integration of the settlements in the environs of the city occurred in 1939. So called “Greater Ústí” was established at that time. Bukov, industrial Předlice (over 5000 inhabitants) and Trmice were added. The city was also expanded to include the right-hand part of the bank of the Elbe - Střekov (with 10 thousand inhabitants).
Other settlements were gradually added from 1976, namely Stříbrníky and Dobětice, where there was intensive residential construction. A further large wave of integration took place in 1980. Brná, Církvice, Sebuzín and Svádov on the right-hand side of the Elbe became part of the city, as did Vaňov, Koštov, Hostomice and Habrovice. The towns of Neštěmice (a town since 1970) and Chabařovice (a town since 1532) were added to the city in 1986. Chlumec was also added. Ústí nad Labem had achieved its greatest territorial extent and had the most inhabitants in its history (105,000 inhabitants).
This was subsequently followed by the city’s partial disintegration. By 1993, Chlumec, Chabařovice, Ryjice and even Trmice (which acquired the status of a town in 1996) had become independent.