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 or industrially developed area. In most cases, a conurbation is a polycentric urbanised area, in which transportation has developed to link areas to create a single urban labour market or travel to work area.
- South Africa
- Puerto Rico
- United Kingdom
- Golden Horseshoe Ontario
- Greater Montreal Quebec
- Lower Mainland British Columbia
- National Capital Region Ontario and Quebec
- New York Tri state area
- Greater Boston Area
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Greater Los Angeles Area
- BaltimoreWashington Area
- San DiegoTijuana
- DallasFort Worth
- South Florida
- St Paul Minneapolis
- Phoenix AZ Area
- New Zealand
- South America
The term "conurbation" was coined 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, Randstad in the Netherlands, New York City–North Jersey in the United States, the Greater Tokyo Area, Taiheiyō Belt in Japan, NCR of Delhi in India, and Southern Metro Manila in the Philippines.
The term as described is used in Britain, whereas the term in the United States is most closely equivalent to "metropolitan area" as used by the Census Bureau. It may consist of a central city and its suburbs. A conurbation consists of adjacent metropolitan areas that are connected with one another by urbanization Internationally, the term "urban agglomeration" is often used to convey a similar meaning to "conurbation." 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.
The cities and towns of Port Louis, Beau Bassin-Rose Hill, Curepipe, Quatre Bornes, Vacoas-Phoenix and other urbanized villages form a large and central conurbation on the island of Mauritius. A large part of this conurbation is located in the district of Plaines Wilhems. This network of urban areas has a total population of 530,920 (42.9% of the island's population) as of 2011.
Lagos is a conurbation formed through the merged development of the initial Lagos city area with other cities and towns, such as Ikeja, Ojo, along with various suburban communities like Agege, Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye, Kosofe, Mushin, Oshodi and Shomolu.
Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni (East Rand), and Tshwane (greater Pretoria) are currently merging to form a region that comprises a population of 14.6 million people.
Three conurbations in China are the Jingjinji comprising Tianjin, Beijing, Tangshan and Qinhuangdao; the Yangtze River Delta of Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Ningbo; and the Pearl River Delta including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) consists of Mumbai and its satellite towns. Developing over a period of about 20 years, it consists of seven municipal corporations and fifteen smaller municipal councils. The region has an area of 4,355 km² and with a population of 20,998,395, and is among the top ten most populated urban agglomerations in the world. It is linked together through the Mumbai Suburban Railway system and a large network of roads.
The National Capital Region (NCR) is a name for the conurbation or metropolitan area which encompasses the entire National Capital Territory of Delhi as well as Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, which are urban areas ringing it in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. The population of the NCR region is 21.7 million.
Dhaka has recently been linked with Narayanganj and Gazipur city such that there are no gaps between Dhaka and those two cities.
The Taiheiyō Belt is the largest conurbation in Japan in every sense, extending from Ibaraki Prefecture to Fukuoka Prefecture, running almost 1,200 km, with the total population of 82.9 million. The Greater Tokyo Area, also called Shutoken (the National Capital Region), is a metropolitan area in the Kantō region, with the estimated population of 35,676,000 in 2007, often referred to as the most populous and economically largest metropolitan area in the world.
The Klang Valley conurbation in the state of Selangor is composed of:
The second largest conurbation by population in Malaysia is Greater Penang. Centred in George Town, the capital city of the state of Penang, the conurbation also includes the following towns in Penang, and the neighbouring states of Kedah and Perak.
Metro Manila, Philippines (21m)
Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand (14m)
The Caribbean area, which is generally not considered to be part of a continent geographically speaking, has a small conurbation in Puerto Rico consisting of San Juan, Bayamon, Guaynabo, Carolina, Canovanas, Caguas and Catano. This area is colloquially known as the "Area Metropolitana".
The Flemish Diamond (Dutch: Vlaamse Ruit) is the Flemish reference to a network of four metropolitan areas in Belgium, three of which are in the central provinces of Flanders, together with the Brussels Capital Region. It consists of four agglomerations which form the four corners of a diamond shape: Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven. Over five million people live in this conurbation, with a population density of more than 800 per square kilometre.
The most notable conurbation is Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing-Villeneuve-d'Ascq, located in the north of France, with over 1.2 million people living in the area.
Germany has three conurbations along the River Rhine, namely Rhine-Main, Rhine-Neckar and Rhine-Ruhr. The Rhine-Ruhr is the largest conurbation in continental Europe and is a densely 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 cultural and economic differences.
Valletta Urban Area, the area around the Grand Harbour, is the main conurbation in Malta. It contains 27 of the Malta's 68 local councils including the capital Valletta. According to the Demographia, Valletta Urban Area has a population of 300,000, while the European Spatial Planning Observation Network states that the functional urban area of Valletta has a population of 355,000, which represents about 75% of Malta's population.
The Randstad is a densely populated area in the Netherlands with over 7 million inhabitants. It consists of a cluster of the four biggest cities of the country (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) as well as several smaller cities, towns and urbanized villages.
Katowice Urban Area (aglomeracja katowicka', konurbacja górnośląska, GOP) is the largest conurbation in Poland, located in Upper Silesia, southern Poland. Around 2.5 million people live in the region — up 5.26% of the population of Poland.
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. In the mid-1950s the Green Belt was introduced to stem the further urbanisation of the countryside in England.
The list below shows the most populous urban areas in the UK as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 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.
Golden Horseshoe (Ontario)
The "Golden Horseshoe" is a densely populated and industrialized region centred on 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 8.8 million people, the Golden Horseshoe makes up slightly over a quarter (25.6%) of the population of Canada and contains approximately 75% of Ontario's population, 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. The largest cities in the region include Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catherines, Brampton, and Hamilton.
Greater Montreal (Quebec)
Greater Montreal is Canada's 2nd largest conurbation, with Statistics Canada defining the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) as 4,258.31 square kilometres (1,644.14 sq mi) and a population of 3,824,221 as of 2011, which represents almost half of the population of the province of Quebec. Slightly smaller, there are 82 municipalities grouped under the Montreal Metropolitan Community to coordinate issues such as land planning, transportation, and economic development.
Lower Mainland (British Columbia)
British Columbia's Lower Mainland is the most populated area in Western Canada. It consists of many mid-sized contiguous urban areas, including Vancouver, North Vancouver (city and district municipality), Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, and Coquitlam. The Lower Mainland population is around 2.5 million (as of 2011) and the area has one of the highest growth rates on the continent of up to 9.2 percent from the 2006 census.
National Capital Region (Ontario and Quebec)
The National Capital Region (NCR) is made up of the capital, Ottawa, and neighbouring Gatineau which is located across the Ottawa River. As Ottawa is in Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec, this is a unique conurbation. Federal government buildings are located in both cities and many workers live in one city and work in the other. The National Capital Region consists of an area of 5,319 square kilometres that straddles the boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The area of the National Capital Region is very similar to that of the Ottawa-Gatineau Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), although the National Capital Region contains a number of small neighbouring communities that are not contained within the CMA. When all the communities are added, the population is around 1,500,000. Ottawa-Gatineau is the only CMA in the nation to fall within two provinces.
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 on 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. Approximately one-fifteenth of all 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.
Greater Boston Area
Holding a population of 7,427,336 as of 2005, the Combined Statistical Area including Greater Boston consists of Boston proper and a collection of distinct but intertwined cities including Providence, Rhode Island, Worcester, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire. Most importantly, the cities that comprise the Greater Boston CSA are interlinked by heavy public transportation infrastructure, maintain continuously urban interstices, and hold mutual commuting patterns.
San Francisco Bay Area
Another conurbation is the combination of the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, 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 and counties, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, and San Bernardino. This area is also often referred to simply as Southern California or colloquially as SoCal (a larger region which tends to include San Diego).
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).
The largest conurbation between the United States and Mexico, San Diego–Tijuana includes the two countries' busiest border crossing and a shared economy.
Three large cities, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, make up this area. Each city is linked by touching city limits or suburbs. This area is also commonly known as the Metroplex and is included in the emerging megalopolis known as the Texas Triangle.
The major U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan lies immediately across the Detroit River from Windsor, Ontario in Canada. In many respects—economically, historically, culturally, socially, and, of course, geographically—Windsor is more a part of Metro Detroit than of Ontario. The two cities and their surrounding suburbs are commonly referred to collectively as the Detroit–Windsor area. The Detroit-Windsor border is the largest commercial border crossing in North America and the busiest between the two countries. With a combined total population of nearly six million, Detroit-Windsor is the world's largest trans-border metropolitan area (since Hong Kong was returned to China.)
The entire tri-county area also known as the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area is now continuously urbanized along a roughly 100 miles (161 km) length of the Florida east coast as well as extending inland and continuing south of Miami as far as Florida City. Although this is generally all referred to as a single metropolitan area, not a conurbation, it is sometimes broken up into the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach metros.
St. Paul – Minneapolis
Minneapolis–Saint Paul is the most populous urban area in the state of Minnesota, and is composed of 182 cities and townships built around the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers. The area is also nicknamed the Twin Cities for its two largest cities, Minneapolis, with the highest population, and Saint Paul, the state capital.
Phoenix, AZ Area
Phoenix, Arizona is the capital and most populous city in Arizona. It is the center of the Phoenix metropolitan area, recognized by the United States Census Bureau as Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix in the Metropolitan Statistical Area - MSA covering . Other communities in the metropolitan area include Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Gilbert, and Peoria.
A built-up area 200 kilometres long, centred on Brisbane, includes the local government areas (LGAs) of Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Sunshine Coast and Tweed Heads, New South Wales. This area is served by a single public transport network, Translink.
A broader region around Brisbane, known as South East Queensland (SEQ) is not a true conurbation, as it includes the separate built-up area of Toowoomba (140 kilometres; 87 miles west of Brisbane), which is not part of the Translink network. SEQ is, nevertheless, a concept used widely in official circles and politics. It has a population of more than 3.4 million people (2014), covers 22,420 square kilometres (8,660 sq mi), incorporates ten LGAs and extends 240 kilometres (150 mi) from Noosa in the north to the Gold Coast (some sources include Tweed Heads).
The Perth Metropolitan Region, City of Mandurah and Pinjarra comprise a continuous urban area in Western Australia more than 130 km (80 miles) long, on a north-south axis – which is sometimes known as "Greater Perth" – and has a population of more than 2.05 million (2015). Introduction of the Mandurah railway line in 2007 made it possible for commuters to travel the 70 km (43.5 mi) from Mandurah station to Perth station in 48 minutes.
In 2010 Auckland became a unitary authority encompassing seven former city and district councils including Auckland City, Waitakere City, North Shore City and Manukau City as well as a number of smaller towns, rural area and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland is the largest council in Australasia and the region has a population of 1,529,300, being almost 33% of the total population of New Zealand.
There are 4 conurbations of at least 10 million people in South America, with at least one more soon to reach that population.
The entire Rio–São Paulo area is also sometimes considered a conurbation, and plans are in the works to connect the cities with a high-speed rail. Yet the government of Brazil does not consider this area a single unit for statistical purposes, and population data may not be reliable.