Conurbation: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns and, other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area. In most cases, a conurbation is a polycentric urban agglomeration, in which transportation has developed to link areas to create a single urban labour market or travel to work area.[1]

The term "conurbation" was coined as a neologism in 1915 by Patrick Geddes in his book Cities In Evolution. He drew attention to the ability of the (then) new technology of electric power and motorised transport to allow cities to spread and agglomerate together, and gave as examples "Midlandton" in England, the Ruhr in Germany, and New York-Boston in the USA.[2]

A conurbation can be confused with a metropolitan area. As the term is used in North America, a metropolitan area consists of a central city and its suburbs, while a conurbation consists of adjacent metropolitan areas that are connected with one another by urbanization.[citation needed] Internationally, the term "urban agglomeration" is often used to convey a similar meaning to "conurbation".[3] A conurbation should also be contrasted with a megalopolis, where the urban areas are close but not physically contiguous and where the merging of labour markets has not yet developed.


Examples of Conurbations

Randstad, The Netherlands

The Randstad, which is a densely populated area in the Netherlands consisting of a cluster of the four biggest cities of the country and several smaller cities, towns and urbanized villages, is another appropriate example of a conurbation. The Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium, by contrast, is an agglomeration centered on one city.

Rhine-Ruhr, Germany

The Rhine-Ruhr is a densly populated polycentric metropolitan region in the western part of Germany, comprising the three subregions of Ruhr Metropolitan Region, Düsseldorf-Mönchengladbach-Wuppertal Region and Cologne/Bonn Metropolitan Region. These three are all interlinked by a continuous urban settlement, while at the same time having different cultural and economic agendas. All three regions are also conurbation areas by themselves.

United Kingdom

Industrial and housing growth in the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries produced many conurbations. Greater London is by far the largest urban area and is usually counted as a conurbation in statistical terms, but differs from the others in the degree to which it is focused on a single central area.[3] In the mid-1950s the Green Belt was introduced to stem the further urbanisation of the countryside in England. Note that as used in the United Kingdom, the term "conurbation" is closer to the meaning of urban agglomeration.

The list below shows the most populous urban areas in the UK as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). (It should be noted that the Greater London Urban Area contains the whole of what is commonly called London, but ONS definitions divide London into a large number of smaller localities of which the largest is Croydon.)

Rank Urban Area[4] Population

(2001 Census)[4]

Localities[5][6] Area (km²)[4] Density (People/km²)[4] Major localities[5][6]
1 Greater London Urban Area 8,278,251 67 1,623.37 5,099.4 Croydon, Barnet, Ealing, Bromley
2 West Midlands Urban Area 2,284,093 22 599.72 3,808.6 Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall
3 Greater Manchester Urban Area 2,240,230 57 556.72 4,024.0 Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury
4 West Yorkshire Urban Area 1,499,465 26 370.02 4,052.4 Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield
5 Greater Glasgow 1,199,629 48 368.47 3,171.0 Glasgow, Paisley, Coatbridge, Clydebank, Bearsden, Milngavie, Motherwell
6 Tyneside Urban Area 879,996 25 210.91 4,172.4 Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Gosforth, South Shields, Felling, Whickham


The "Golden Horseshoe" is a densely populated and industrialized region centred around the west end of Lake Ontario in Southern Ontario, Canada. Most of it is also part of the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. With a population of 8.1 million people, it makes up slightly over a quarter (25.6%) of the population of Canada and contains approximately 75% of Ontario's population,[7] making it one of the largest population concentrations in North America. Although it is a geographically named sub-region of Southern Ontario, "Greater Golden Horseshoe" is more frequently used today to describe the metropolitan regions that stretch across the area in totality.

United States of America

New York Tri-State Area

One example of a conurbation is the expansive concept of the New York metropolitan area (the Tri-State Region) centered around New York City, including 30 counties spread between New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, with an estimated population of 21,961,994 in 2007.[8] Approximately 1 out of 15 U.S. residents live in the Greater New York City area. This conurbation is the result of several central cities whose urban areas have merged together.

San Francisco Bay Area

Another conurbation is the combination of the metropolitan areas of San Francisco and San Jose and several minor urban centers, known as the San Francisco Bay Area.

Greater Los Angeles Area

The Greater Los Angeles Area consists of the merging of several distinct central cities, including Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Riverside, San Bernardino.

Baltimore-Washington Area

The traditionally separate metropolitan areas of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. have shared suburbs and a continuous urbanization between the two central cities (Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area).

See also


Further reading

Patrick Geddes - "Cities In Evolution"
Edward Soja - "Postmetropolis"

Simple English

A conurbation is an urban area that includes a number of cities, towns and villages which, through population growth and expansion, have physically merged to form one continuous built up area. It is a sort of agglomeration.

A metropolitan area usually combines one or several conurbations.

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