From Academic Kids

Megacity, megapolis, or megalopolis is a general term for cities together with their suburbs or recognized metropolitan areas usually with a total population in excess of 10 million people. Whereas the term city may denote importance, population size or legal status of a place, the term megacity concentrates on size only.

In 1950 New York was the only such area[1] ( There were 24 as of 30 January 2005 [2] (, an increase from 19 in 2004 and only nine in 1985. This has happened as the world's population moves towards the high (75-85%) urbanization levels of North America and Western Europe.

The population of the urban agglomeration of the Greater Tokyo Area, which includes areas such as Yokohama and Kawasaki, is estimated to be between 30 and 34 million. This makes it the largest metropolitan area in the world. The variation in estimates can be accounted for by different definitions of what the area encompasses. While the prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama are commonly used, the Japan Statistics Bureau measures the area within 50 kilometers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices in Shinjuku to derive a smaller estimate[3] ([4] (

It is not clear that any city, exclusive of its suburbs, exceeds 10 million.

United Nations projections indicate a slowing-down of the emergence of new megacities after 2005. However the expansion of the kind of highly-urbanized zones may remain an important trend, as seen in Boston - New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - Washington (BosWash), Los Angeles - San Diego (The Southland), Tokyo-Osaka, Johannesburg-Pretoria or Rio de Janeiro-So Paulo.

Many megacities have such a high population density that the cost of living is too high for those of average means to have a decent living space. Also, in such areas people are potentially more vulnerable to natural disasters and terrorism. Some consider this to be a problem of overpopulation, others merely as one of overconcentration.



In Canada, megacity refers informally to the results of having merged multiple cities that have grown together or the suburbs of an urban region into one large municipality. Cities so merged include Winnipeg (this merger antedates the term, and was called "Unicity" at the time), Halifax, Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Sudbury, Montreal, Gatineau, Longueuil, Quebec, Saguenay, and Lvis. A Canadian "megacity", however, is not necessarily an entirely urban area, as many cities so named have both rural and urban portions, and do not necessarily constitute a large metropolis. Their definition is thus close to the concept of a metropolitan area.

The city of Vancouver has considered the idea of forming a megacity, but has not found sufficient support among its surrounding suburban municipalities. Fearing that their individual identities would be submerged, the city's suburbs elected to remain politically distinct.

Megacities in fiction

Fictional megacities feature in much dystopian science fiction, with cities such as the Sprawl and Mega-City One. The Sprawl is featured in William Gibson's Neuromancer, while Mega-City One is a megalopolis of 800 million people across the east coast of the United States, featured in the comic 2000 AD.

Many of these fictional depictions were inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 film, Metropolis. Ridley Scott's 1982 film, Blade Runner, features an influential depiction of Los Angeles in 2019.

The Matrix trilogy takes place in a megacity, which is referred to merely as "the city" and is a virtual amalgamation of the generic features of contemporary cities. Planet-wide megacities (ecumenopolises) have been depicted, including Trantor in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of books and Coruscant in the Star Wars storyline.

Naming scheme for megalopolises

A number of megalopolises use portmanteau words as their names (e.g. ChiPitts).

See also

pt:Megalpole ru:Мегалополис


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