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Megalopolis (city type)

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Megalopolis (city type)

A megalopolis (sometimes improperly called a megapolis; also megaregion, or supercity)[1] is typically defined as a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas. The term was used by Patrick Geddes in his 1915 book Cities in Evolution,[2] by Oswald Spengler in his 1918 book, The Decline of the West, and Lewis Mumford in his 1938 book, The Culture of Cities, which described it as the first stage in urban overdevelopment and social decline. Later, it was used by Jean Gottmann in 1954, to describe the chain of metropolitan areas along the northeastern seaboard of the U.S. extending from Boston, Massachusetts through New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and ending in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.[3][4][5] The latter is sometimes called the "BosWash megalopolis".


  • Definitions 1
  • Africa 2
  • Asia 3
    • East Asia 3.1
      • China 3.1.1
      • Japan 3.1.2
      • South Korea 3.1.3
    • South Asia 3.2
      • Transnational (South Asia) 3.2.1
        • India
        • Nepal
        • Iran
    • Southeast Asia 3.3
  • Europe 4
    • Transnational (Europe) 4.1
    • Denmark 4.2
    • France 4.3
    • Germany 4.4
    • Italy 4.5
    • Low Countries 4.6
    • Spain 4.7
    • United Kingdom 4.8
  • North America 5
    • Canada 5.1
    • Mexico 5.2
    • United States 5.3
  • Oceania 6
    • Australia 6.1
  • South America 7
    • Brazil 7.1
    • Colombia 7.2
    • Venezuela 7.3
    • Argentina 7.4
    • Peru 7.5
  • See also 8
  • References 9


Megalopolis is a Western deformation of the Greek word that derived from Greek: μέγας - 'great' and Greek: πόλις - 'city', therefore literally a 'great city'. This term is closer in meaning to megacity. Because in Greek, πόλις is feminine, the correct term is megalopolis.

A megalopolis, also known as a megaregion, is a clustered network of cities. Gottmann defined its population as 25 million.[6] Doxiadis defined a small megalopolis a similar cluster with a population of about 10 million.[7][8][9] America 2050,[10] a program of the Regional Plan Association, lists 11 megaregions in the United States and Canada.[7] Literally, megalopolis in Greek means a city of exaggerated size where the prefix megalo- represents a quantity of exaggerated size.[11] Megapolitan areas were explored in a July 2005 report by Robert E. Lang and Dawn Dhavale of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.[12] A later 2007 article by Lang and Nelson uses 20 megapolitan areas grouped into 10 megaregions.[13] The concept is based on the original Megalopolis model.[9]

Modern interlinked ground transportation corridors, such as rail and highway, often aid in the development of megalopolises. Using these commuter passageways to travel throughout the megalopolis is informally called megaloping. This term was coined by Davide Gadren and Stefan Berteau.[14]



East Asia


In July 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit brought out a report entitled; Supersized cities: China’s 13 megalopolises, which pinpoints the 13 emerging megalopolises in China, and highlights the demographic and income trends that are shaping their development.


South Korea

South Asia

Dhaka, Bangladesh; part of the emerging chain of cities in the Bengal region

Transnational (South Asia)


Kathmandu valley, which consists of 5 municipalities namely Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and Madhyapur Thimi, along with the peripheral cities of Banepa, Panauti and Dhulikhel.

  • Greater Tehran: A region located in Iranian Tehran and Alborz Province in central Northern Iran with its influence expanding in Qom Province, Qazvin Province and Mazandaran Province, home for at least 15 million people, it is one of the most populous urban areas in the Greater Middle East and the surrounding regions. Tehran was a small village 200 years ago when it was first chosen as the Capital city and it has been growing at a very fast rate.

Southeast Asia

Rank Megalopolis Name Country Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Java  Indonesia 143 Jakarta, Bandung, Serang, Kediri, East Java, Malang, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Bekasi, Bogor, Cimahi, Depok, Malang, Semarang, South Tangerang, Tasikmalaya, Tangerang
2 Mega Manila  Philippines 40+ Manila, Angeles, Baguio, Batangas, Dagupan, Olongapo
3 Central Thailand  Thailand 20+ Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Pattaya
4 Southeast Economic Zone  Vietnam 16+ Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Ho Chi Minh City, Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province, Long An, Tiền Giang


Transnational (Europe)

Rank Megalopolis Name Population in millions Countries & Respective Cities
1 Blue Banana 110–130[26]  United Kingdom: Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, London
 Belgium: Brussels, Antwerp
 Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague
 Luxembourg: Luxembourg
 Germany: Rhine-Ruhr, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Stuttgart
 France: Strasbourg, Lille
  Switzerland: Zürich, Basel
 Italy: Turin, Milan
2 Golden Banana 40–45[27]  Italy: Turin, Genoa
 France: Lyon, Nice, Toulon, Marseille, Nîmes, Montpellier, Narbonne, Perpignan, Toulouse
 Monaco: Monaco
 Andorra: Andorra
 Spain: Manresa, Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Castellón de la Plana, Sagunt, Valencia, Alicante, Murcia, Cartagena
3 Green Banana 40  Poland: Gdańsk, Katowice
 Czech Republic: Ostrava, Olomuc, Brno
 Austria: Vienna
 Slovakia: Bratislava
 Hungary: Budapest
 Slovenia: Ljubljana
 Croatia: Zagreb
 Italy: Trieste
4 Atlantic Axis 12[28]  Portugal: Setúbal, Lisboa, Santarém, Leiria, Coimbra, Viseu, Aveiro, Porto, Braga, Viana do Castelo
 Spain: Vigo, Ourense, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, Coruña
5 Gulf of Finland 10  Vyborg
 Finland: Lappeenranta, Kotka, Kouvola, Lahti, Vantaa, Helsinki, Espoo, Hämeenlinna, Tampere, Turku
 Estonia: Tallinn
6 STRING 8.5[29]  Germany: Hamburg
 Denmark: Copenhagen
 Sweden: Malmö


Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Greater Copenhagen 3.9[30][31] Lund, and Roskilde


Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Paris metropolitan area 12.3[32] Paris & most of Île-de-France
2 Lyon economic region 5.5[27] Lyon & Rhône-Alpes river area
3 Marseille metropolitan region 1.8[27] Marseille, Aix-en-Provence
4 Toulouse economic region 1.5[27] Toulouse, Andorra (independent state, not a part of France)
5 Nice economic region 1.1[27] Nice, Monaco (independent city state, not a part of France)


Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Rhine-Ruhr 13.5 Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen
2 Berlin-Brandenburg 5.95 Berlin, Potsdam
3 Frankfurt Rhine-Main 5.52 Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, Mainz
4 Stuttgart Metropolitan Region 5.29[27] Stuttgart
5 Munich Metropolitan Region 5.2[27] Munich
6 Hamburg Metropolitan Region 5.0 Hamburg
7 Saxon triangle 4.36[27] Leipzig, Halle, Dresden
8 Hannover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg EMR 3.91[27] Hannover, Braunschweig, Göttingen, Wolfsburg
9 Nuremberg Metropolitan Region 3.5[27] Nuremberg
10 Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region 2.37[27] Bremen, Oldenburg


Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Grande Milano 7.5 Milan
2 Naples metropolitan area 4.46 Naples
3 Rome metropolitan area 4.3 Rome
4 Turin economic region 4.1 Turin & Piedmont centre and south area
5 Genoa metropolitan region 1.5 Genoa
6 Conca d'Oro 1.1 Palermo and neighboring cities

Low Countries


, Belgium & Luxembourg:[27]

Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Randstad 7.5 Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht
2 Flemish Diamond 5.5 Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven
3 Brabantse Stedenrij 2.0 Eindhoven, Tilburg, Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch, Helmond


Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 Madrid region 6.3 Madrid
2 Barcelona 4.5 Barcelona
3 Valencia 2.2 Valencia, Sagunto
3 Murcia-Alicante 2.2 Murcia, Alicante, Cartagena, Benidorm

United Kingdom

Rank Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
1 London commuter belt 21.0[35] London, Southend-on-Sea, Chatham, Luton, Reading
2 Northern England 9.4[27][36] Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Warrington, Bradford, Birkenhead, Preston, Blackburn, Blackpool
3 English midlands 6.3[27][36] Birmingham, Nottingham, Coventry, Leicester, Wolverhampton, Derby, Stoke-on-Trent
4 Central Belt 3.6[36] Glasgow, Edinburgh
5 South Hampshire-Brighton 2.8[27][36] Southampton, Portsmouth, Brighton, Worthing, Littlehampton, Bournemouth
6 Tyne & Wear Region 2.2[27][36] Newcastle, Sunderland, Middlesbrough
7 Cardiff-Bristol-Swansea 2.2[27][36] Cardiff, Bristol, Swansea, Newport

North America


Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2000 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities Related articles
Quebec City – Windsor Corridor 18 21 16.7% Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Montreal, Oshawa, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto, Windsor Quebec City – Windsor Corridor, Southern Ontario
Calgary-Edmonton Corridor 2 4 100% Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, St. Albert, Airdrie Calgary-Edmonton Corridor, Calgary Region, Edmonton Capital Region, Central Alberta


Mexico City megalopolis
Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2000 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities Related articles
Bajío 11 ? ?% León, Querétaro, Aguascalientes, Celaya, Irapuato, Salamanca Bajío
Mexico City megalopolis 34 ? ?% Mexico City, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Toluca, Pachuca, Tula, Tlaxcala, Cuautla, Tulancingo

United States

Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Percent of U.S. Population (2010) Population
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2010 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities
Arizona Sun Corridor[38][39] 5.6 2% 7.8 39.3% Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott
Cascadia 8.4 3% 8.8 5.0% Abbotsford, Boise, Eugene, Portland (OR), Salem, Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver (BC), Vancouver (WA), Victoria
Florida 17.3 6% 21.5 24.3% Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa
Front Range 5.5 2% 6.9 26% Albuquerque, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos
Great Lakes 55.5 18% 60.7 9.4% Akron, Ann Arbor, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Flint, Fort Wayne, Green Bay, Grand Rapids, Hamilton, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Lansing, London, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, Oshawa, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Quad Cities, Rochester (NY), Rochester (MN), Rockford, Saginaw, St. Louis, Saint Paul, Toledo, Toronto, Windsor
Gulf Coast 13.4 4% 16.3 21.6% Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Mobile, Gulfport, Biloxi, New Orleans, Pensacola
Northeast 52.3 17% 58.4 11.7% Allentown-Bethlehem, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Boston, Harrisburg, Hazleton, Nashua, Newark, New York, Norfolk, Ocean City, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), Pottsville, Providence, Richmond, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Knowledge Corridor (Springfield and Hartford), Trenton, Virginia Beach, Washington, Wilmington, Worcester
Northern California 14 5% 16.4 17.1% Fresno, Modesto, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton
Piedmont Atlantic 17.6 6% 21.7 23.3% Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Greenville, Huntsville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Montgomery, Nashville, Raleigh, Winston-Salem
Southern California 24.4 8% 29 18.9% Anaheim, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Tijuana
Texas Triangle 19.7 6% 24.8 25.9% Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio

Note that one city, Houston, is listed in two different Megalopolis regions (the Gulf Coast and Texas Triangle).



Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
Major cities
Sydney Region 5.6[40] Greater Sydney (including Central Coast and Blue Mountains) (4.75 million), Newcastle (365,000), Wollongong (294,000)
Greater Melbourne 4.4[40]
South East Queensland 3.5[40] Greater Brisbane (2.2 million), Gold Coast-Tweed Heads (681,000), Sunshine Coast (330,000), Toowoomba (149,000)

South America

Composite image of the Earth at night, created by NASA and NOAA. The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated. It is possible to see various metropolises close to each other in South America, but to the exception of a few central Argentine cities close to Buenos Aires, only in between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo there is a continual strip of urbanization (that is not as thin as the Argentine ones).


+13,200,000 Rio de Janeiro, Duque de CaxiasVolta Redonda, Petrópolis, Niterói
Megalopolis Name Population
Major cities Other cities
Expanded Metropolitan Complex of São Paulo +32,200,000 São Paulo and Campinas Sorocaba, Jundiaí, São José dos Campos, Piracicaba and Santos


The following megaregions in Colombia are expected to have nearly 93% (55 Million people) of its population by 2030, up from the current 72%. There are currently 4 major megaregions in Colombia.

Megalopolis Name Population in 2015 Population in 2030 (projected) Major cities
Bogota National Capital Metropolis 17,000,000 26,500,000 Bogotá, Soacha, Facatativá, Chía, Tunja, Fusagasuga, Zipaquirá, Madrid, Funza, Cajica, Ubate, Sibate, Guaduas, Villa de Leyva and Tocancipá
Pacific Belt 9,000,000 14,000,000 Medellin, Cali, Bello, Manizales, Armenia, Itagui, Yumbo, and Palmira
Northeast Atlantic Region 6,000,000 10,500,000 Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Ciénaga, Malambo, Baranoa and Turbaco
Santander Belt 3,000,000 5,200,000 Bucaramanga, Cúcuta, Ocaña, and Pamplona

Other sources[41] show that another megaregion may be considered:

Megalopolis Name Population in 2015 Population in 2030 (projected) Major cities
Golden Triangle 29,500,000 41,000,000 Bogotá, Soacha, Medellin, Cali, Bello, Manizales, Armenia


Megalopolis Name Population
Major cities Other cities
Caracas-Valencia Megalopolis +9,000,000 Caracas, Valencia, and Maracay Cagua, Maiquetia, and Guatire


Satellite image of Greater Buenos Aires at night. Urban sprawl created a vast conurbation of 12,801,365 inhabitants including the City of Buenos Aires, a third of the total population of Argentina.
Megalopolis Name Population
Major cities Other cities
Greater Buenos Aires 13,641,973 Buenos Aires, Merlo, Buenos Aires, Quilmes, Banfield, Buenos Aires Lanús, Hurlingham, Buenos Aires , and Avellaneda


Megalopolis Name Population
Major cities Other cities
Lima-Callao Megalopolis 10,523,796 Lima and Callao Provincias Lima Norte, Provincias Lima Sur, and Provincias Lima Este

See also


  1. ^ Briggs, James (25 August 2015). "Capitals, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says Baltimore will become part of a D.C. supercity".  
  2. ^ Geddes, Patrick (1915). Cities in Evolution. London: Williams & Norgate. 
  3. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1954). L'Amerique. Paris: Hachette. 
  4. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1957). "Megalopolis, or the urbanization of the Northeastern Seaboard". Economic Geography 33 (3): 189–200.  
  5. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1961). Megalopolis. The Urbanized Northeastern seaboard of the United States. New York: The Twentieth Century Fund. 
  6. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1989). Since Megalopolis. The Urban Writings of Jean Gottmann. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 163. 
  7. ^ a b c "Megaregions". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Who's Your City?: What Is a Megaregion?". 19 March 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Cities: Capital for the New Megalopolis.Time magazine, November 4, 1966. Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  10. ^ "About Us - America 2050". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Definition of the prefix megalo-. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
  12. ^ "Beyond Megalopolis" by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech
  13. ^
  14. ^ Tremble, Sam (May 30, 2007). "Fumbling Toward Portland". Philadelphia City Paper. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ M Shilowa to debate Gauteng's position on global city region, 29 Aug
  18. ^ Cabinet Secretary names team to modernize Nairobi city transport 23 February 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  19. ^ report: World's biggest cities merging into 'mega-regions'
  20. ^ "关于长江三角洲构建世界第六大城市群的思考". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  21. ^ Vidal, John (2010-03-22). "'"UN report: World's biggest cities merging into 'mega-regions. The Guardian (London). 
  22. ^ """Foreign investment shows trend of "moving northward. 2004-05-14. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  23. ^ A government publication states that on 1 November 2010, the population of “Seoul Metropolitan Area” stood at 23,616 thousand, which is the sum of the figures given for Gyeonggi-do (11,270 thousand), Seoul (9,708 thousand) and Incheon (2,638 thousand), apparently including the periphery.
    Source: “Preliminary Results of the 2010 Population and Housing Census” (PDF). Statistics Korea. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2011.
  24. ^ "广西北部湾经济区概况". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Chinese Cities on Beibu Gulf Increase Cooperation". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  26. ^ Ina Schmidt. "The European Blue Banana". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t From Territorial Cohesion to the New Regionalized Europe. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ STRING Factsheet
  30. ^ "Danmarks Statistik". Danmarks Statistik. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  31. ^ "Statistics Sweden". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 22 September 2015. 
  32. ^ "INSEE - Paris". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  33. ^ EMR
  34. ^ "Brookings". The Brookings Institution. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  35. ^ "Greater London Authority". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  36. ^ a b c d e f ESPON
  37. ^ Regional Plan Association (2008). America 2050: An Infrastructure Vision for 21st Century America. New York: Regional Plan Association.
  38. ^ "Megapolitan: Arizona's Sun Corridor".  
  39. ^ "When Phoenix, Tucson Merge".  
  40. ^ a b c 3218.0 - Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2012-13,  
  41. ^ Ordóñez Burbano, Luis A. (2007). Universidad del Valle 60 años 1945-2005: Atando cabos en clave de memoria. Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia: Universidad del Valle. p. 58. OCLC 645219600
  • "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 revision" (PDF). 
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