Megalopolis (city type)

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A megalopolis (sometimes improperly called a megapolis) or megaregion 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,[1] 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.[2][3][4] The latter is sometimes called the "BosNYWash megalopolis".


A megalopolis is a Western deformation of the Greek word that derived from Greek: μέγας - great and Greek: πόλις - city therefore literally a great city. Because in Greek, πόλις is feminine, the correct term is "megalopolis". The metric prefix mega- represents the number of million (1,000,000) in the metric system.

A megalopolis, also known as a megaregion, is a clustered network of cities. Gottmann defined its population as 25 million.[5] Doxiadis defined a small megalopolis a similar cluster with a population of about 10 million.[6][7][8] America 2050,[9] a program of the Regional Plan Association, lists 11 megaregions in the United States and Canada.[6] Literally, megalopolis in Greek means a city of exaggerated size where the prefix megalo- represents a quantity of exaggerated size.[10] Megapolitan areas were explored in a July 2005 report by Robert E. Lang and Dawn Dhavale of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech.[11] A later 2007 article by Lang and Nelson uses 20 megapolitan areas grouped into 10 megaregions.[12] The concept is based on the original Megalopolis model.[8]

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.[13]



East Asia[edit]


Emerging megalopolises in China (in decreasing order of population):

  • The central Liaoning city cluster in China. Within 150 km from its center Shenyang (7.2 million), it has Fushun (3 million), Anshan City (3.6 million), Benxi (1.5 million), Liaoyang (1.8 million), Yingkou (2.2 million), Panjin (1.2 million), and Tieling (3.4 million), with a total population of 23 million. And it can be further extended to Dalian (6.2 million), Fuxin (2 million) and Dandong (2.4 million). This area used to be the most industrialized region in China. It declined during 1980s-1990s, but in recent years, it has rapidly revived.

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[edit]

(24,000,000)[citation needed]

(8,500,000)[citation needed]

India / South Asia[edit]

South City in Kolkata, India
  • West Bengal-Parnas-Kolkata-Murshidabad (35,000,000)
  • Indo-Gangetic-Brahmaputra Plain Megalopolis[Guwahati-Dhaka-Kolkata-Patna-Lucknow-Delhi-Chandigarh-Lahore-Multan-Karachi] (176,500,000)
  • S. India [Bengaluru-Chennai] (25,000,000)
  • Maharashtra [Mumbai-Pune] (30,000,000)
  • Gujarat [Ahmedabad-Surat] (14,000,000)


  • 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[edit]

Largest megalopolis in South East Asia (in decreasing order of population):


The Blue Banana

"Blue Banana" (also known as Hot Banana, Dorsal, European Megalopolis or European Backbone):[23] LiverpoolManchesterLeedsBirminghamLondonBrusselsAntwerpAmsterdamRotterdamThe HagueLuxembourgRhine-RuhrFrankfurt am MainMunichStuttgartStrasbourgBaselZürichTurinMilan (110,000,000).[24]

The Golden Banana

"Golden Banana" (also known as European Sunbelt or BarceLyon):[23] TurinGenoaLyonMonacoNiceToulonMarseilleNîmesMontpellierNarbonnePerpignanToulouseAndorra
ManresaGironaBarcelonaTarragonaCastellón de la PlanaSaguntValenciaAlicanteMurciaCartagena (30,000,000).

The Green Banana.

"Green Banana" (also known as Central Banana, New Banana, Young Banana, North Poland-Centrope-Adriatic or Vistula-Danube Economic River): GdańskPoznańBydgoszczWarsawŁódźKielceKrakówKatowiceWrocławOstravaOlomucBrnoWienBratislavaBudapestZagrebLjubljanaTriesteIstraRijeka (21,000,000).

North America[edit]



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


Greater Mexico City
Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2000 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities Related articles
Bajío 5.1  ?  ?% León, Querétaro, Aguascalientes, Celaya, Irapuato, San Francisco del Rincón Bajío
Greater Mexico City 28  ?  ?% Mexico City, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Toluca and Pachuca Central Mexico

United States[6][28][edit]

Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2000 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities Related articles
Arizona Sun Corridor[29][30] 5.7 7.4 29.8% Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott Arizona Sun Corridor, Arizona, Valley of the Sun
Cascadia 10.3 10.2 -1.0% Abbotsford, Boise, Eugene, Portland (OR), Salem, Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver (BC), Vancouver (WA), Victoria Pacific Northwest, Metro Vancouver
Florida 14.7 21.4 45.6% Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tampa South Florida, Central Florida, North Florida
Front Range 4.7 6.8 44.7% Albuquerque, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, Denver, Pueblo, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos Front Range Urban Corridor
Gulf Coast 11.7 15.8 35.0% Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Mobile, Gulfport, Biloxi, New Orleans, Pensacola Gulf Coast
Great Lakes 54.1 64.3 18.9% 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, Oshawa, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Quad Cities, Rochester (NY), Rochester (MN), Rockford, Saginaw, St. Louis, Saint Paul, Toledo, Toronto, Windsor Great Lakes region, Midwestern United States
Northeast 49.6 58.1 17.1% Allentown-Bethlehem, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Boston, Harrisburg, Nashua, Newark, New York, Norfolk, Ocean City, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), Providence, Richmond, Knowledge Corridor (Springfield and Hartford), Trenton, Virginia Beach, Washington, Wilmington, Worcester Northeast megalopolis, Northeast Corridor, New England, Middle Atlantic
Northern California 12.7 17.3 36.2% Fresno, Modesto, Oakland, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton California megapolitan areas
Piedmont Atlantic 14.9 20.5 37.6% Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Huntsville, Knoxville, Memphis, Montgomery, Nashville, Raleigh, Winston-Salem Piedmont, New South, South Atlantic States, I-85 Corridor, Piedmont Crescent
Southern California 24.9 34.7 39.4% Anaheim, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Tijuana California megapolitan areas
Texas Triangle 16.5 26.8 62.4% Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio TTC-35, I-35 Corridor



Megalopolis Name Population
in millions
in millions
2025 (projected)
percent growth 2000 - 2025 (projected)
Major cities Related articles
East Coast 9 18+  ?% Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong Eastern states of Australia

South America[edit]

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).


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


Megalopolis Name Population
Major cities Other cities
Rio-São Paulo Megalopolis 45,678,990 São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Santos, Campinas, Niterói and São José dos Campos
Expanded Metropolitan Complex of São Paulo 30 millions São Paulo and Campinas Sorocaba, Jundiaí, São José dos Campos and Piracicaba

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geddes, Patrick (1915). Cities in Evolution. London: Williams & Norgate. 
  2. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1954). L'Amerique. Paris: Hachette. 
  3. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1957). "Megalopolis, or the urbanization of the Northeastern Seaboard". Economic Geography 33 (3): 189–200. doi:10.2307/142307. 
  4. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1961). Megalopolis. The Urbanized Northeastern seaboard of the United States. New York: The Twentieth Century Fund. 
  5. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1989). Since Megalopolis. The Urban Writings of Jean Gottmann. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 163. 
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Cities: Capital for the New Megalopolis.Time magazine, November 4, 1966. Retrieved on July 19, 2010.
  9. ^
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Beyond Megalopolis" by the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech
  12. ^
  13. ^ Tremble, Sam (May 30, 2007). "Fumbling Toward Portland". Philadelphia City Paper. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ M Shilowa to debate Gauteng's position on global city region, 29 Aug
  17. ^ report: World's biggest cities merging into 'mega-regions'
  18. ^
  19. ^ Vidal, John (2010-03-22). "UN report: World's biggest cities merging into 'mega-regions'". The Guardian (London). 
  20. ^ "Foreign investment shows trend of "moving northward"". 2004-05-14. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b From Territorial Cohesion to the New Regionalized Europe
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Population and living conditions in Urban Audit cities, larger urban zone (LUZ) (tgs00080)". Eurostat. July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  26. ^ Italian Ministry of Environment: the metropolitan area of Milan
  27. ^ Murcia–Alicante metropolitan region. El País.
  28. ^ Regional Plan Association (2008). America 2050: An Infrastructure Vision for 21st Century America. New York: Regional Plan Association.
  29. ^ "Megapolitan: Arizona's Sun Corridor". Morrison Institute for Public Policy. May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  30. ^ "When Phoenix, Tucson Merge". The Arizona Republic. 2006-04-09. Retrieved 2008-06-03.