A map of the large conurbation area of Helsinki (in yellow) in Uusimaa, Finland

A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolises, cities, large towns, and other urban areas which, 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. They create a single urban labour market or travel to work area.[1]

Patrick Geddes coined the term in his book Cities In Evolution (1915). He drew attention to the ability of the new technology at the time 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, and the Northeastern Seaboard in the United States.[2]

The term as described is used in Britain whereas in the United States, each polycentric "metropolitan area" may have its own common designation such as San Francisco Bay Area or the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Internationally the term "urban agglomeration" is often used to convey a similar meaning to "conurbation".[3][4] A conurbation should be contrasted with a megalopolis. In a megalopolis the urban areas are close but not physically contiguous, and the merging of labour markets has not yet developed. A conurbation should also be contrasted with a megacity. A megacity is hierarchical with an indisputable dominant urban core, whereas a conurbation is polycentric and no single urban centre has the dominant role over all other centres.



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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. The network of urban areas has a total population of 606,650 (49% 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 including Ikeja and Ojo. Also various suburban communities such as Agege, Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye, Kosofe, Mushin, Oshodi and Shomolu are included in the area.[6]

South Africa

Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni (East Rand), and Tshwane (greater Pretoria) merged to form a region that has a population of 14.6 million.[7]




Albury and Wodonga are cross border cities which are geographically separated by the Murray River. Albury on the north of the river is part of New South Wales, while Wodonga on the south bank is in Victoria. In the early 1970s Albury-Wodonga was selected as the primary focus of the Whitlam government's scheme to arrest the uncontrolled growth of Australia's large metropolitan areas (in particular Sydney and Melbourne) by encouraging decentralisation.[8] The two cities combine to form an urban area with an estimated population of 93,603.[9]


A cross border built-up area comprising the nation's capital Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory and the city of Queanbeyan in New South Wales, which is considered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to have a single labour market.[10]

Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong

Satellite photo from 2012 showing Sydney in the centre, with Wollongong visible on the left and the Central Coast on the right

This conurbation in New South Wales extends from Newcastle and surrounding satellite towns of the Hunter Valley through the Central Coast. It is broken up only by waterways and national parks, through to the greater Sydney metropolitan area and the Wollongong urban area. The total length from the top to the bottom of the conurbation is around 270km with a population of just over 6 million people.[11]

Transport is linked throughout the region by motorways, the M1, M2, M4, M5, M7, M8, M15 and M31. An extensive public transport network allows for commuting for work or services across and between multiple distinct but joined centres, with NSW TrainLink's intercity network serving Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle, the Hunter Valley and the Illawarra.

Plans for making Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle a single city have been around since the 1960s. A report titled The Committee for Sydney contains a chapter called The Sandstone Mega-Region, Uniting Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney, Wollongong (since all of the cities are in a geological region called the Sydney Basin, which is made up of Sydney sandstone). The report says that the link would benefit the "six cities" within the region, which are: Illawarra and Wollongong, the Western City (Greater Western Sydney), the Central City (Parramatta), the Eastern City (Sydney central business district, eastern suburbs, and Northern Sydney), the Central Coast (Gosford) and Newcastle (including Lake Macquarie).[12]

Greater Perth

The Perth Metropolitan Region, City of Fremantle, City of Mandurah, and Pinjarra form a continuous urban area in Western Australia more than 130 km (80 miles) long, on a north–south axis. It is sometimes known as Greater Perth and has a population of more than 2.05 million (2015).[13] Introduction of the Mandurah railway line in 2007 made it possible for commuters to travel the 70 km (43.5 mi) from Mandurah to Perth in 51 minutes.

South East Queensland

A built-up area 200 kilometres long[14] which is centred on Brisbane, includes the local government areas (LGAs) of Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redland City, Sunshine Coast, Noosa Shire, and Tweed Heads, New South Wales. This area is served by a single public transport network, Translink.

Broader definitions of South East Queensland are also used, including the separate built-up area of Toowoomba (140 kilometres; 87 miles west of Brisbane), which is not part of the Translink network. Expansive definitions of South East Queensland give it a population of more than 3.4 million people (2014),[15] 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).

Greater Darwin

Main article: Darwin metropolitan area

The Greater Darwin metropolitan area is a built-up urban area in the Northern Territory that spans across two cities: Darwin (the capital of the Northern Territory) and Palmerston (Darwin's satellite city). It lies within three local government areas: the City of Darwin, Litchfield Municipality and the City of Palmerston.

New Zealand

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In 2010 Auckland became a unitary authority encompassing seven former city and district councils including Auckland City, Manukau City, North Shore City and Waitakere City as well as a number of smaller towns, rural area and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Auckland Council 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. The entire urban area rather than the constituent administrative city was often referred to as "Auckland" by New Zealanders long before formal recognition.

The Wellington Metropolitan Area compromises the four cities of Wellington City, Porirua and the cities of Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt, together known as Hutt Valley. The Wellington Metropolitan Area is the second largest urban population in New Zealand with a population of 409,200.

North America


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. The largest cities in the region are Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Brampton, and Hamilton.[16] If metropolitan areas (which are somewhat distinct from the core urban area of the Golden Horseshoe by about 30 to 50 km of less developed and semi-rural land) are included (similar to Combined Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States as defined by United States Office of Management and Budget), the total population is 8.8 million people. This is slightly over a quarter (25.6%) of the population of Canada, approximately 75% of Ontario's population, and one of the largest metropolitan areas in North America.[17]

The larger area is named the Greater Golden Horseshoe and includes the metropolitan areas of Kitchener (including adjacent cities it is often referred to as Waterloo Region), Barrie, Guelph, Peterborough, and Brantford. The Greater Golden Horseshoe is also part of the Windsor-Quebec Corridor and its southeastern boundary is across the Niagara River from the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area in the United States.

Greater Montreal (Quebec)

Greater Montreal is Canada's second-largest conurbation.[18] Statistics Canada defines the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) as having 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)

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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), West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey, and Coquitlam, among others. 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.

Ottawa-Gatineau / National Capital Region

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 is in Quebec, it 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 included, the population of the area is about 1,500,000. Ottawa-Gatineau is the only CMA in the nation to fall within two provinces and is the fourth largest.[19]


Mexico City (CDMX)

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The "CDMX" is the most densely populated center in North America. Greater Mexico City refers to the conurbation around Mexico City, officially called Valley of Mexico Metropolitan Area (Zona Metropolitana del Valle de México), constituted by Mexico City itself composed of 16 Municipalities—and 41 adjacent municipalities of the states of Mexico and Hidalgo. However for normative purposes,[further explanation needed] Greater Mexico City most commonly refers to the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico (Zona Metropolitana del Valle de México) an agglomeration that incorporates 18 additional municipalities. As of 2019 an estimated 27,782,000 people lived in Greater Mexico City, making it the largest metropolitan area in North America. It is surrounded by thin strips of highlands which separate it from other adjacent metropolitan areas, of which the biggest are Puebla, Toluca, and Cuernavaca-Cuautla, and together with which it makes up the Mexico City megalopolis.

Guadalajara Metropolitan Area (Zona Metropolitana de Guadalajara)

The Guadalajara conurbation in the state of Jalisco (colloquially known as the City of Guadalajara, as that is the state capital and most populous of the cities) comprises seven municipalities: Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque, Tonalá, El Salto, Zapotlanejo, and Tlajomulco de Zúñiga. Officially two other cities (Juanacatlán and Ixtlahuacán de los Membrillos) are also considered part of the Metropolitan Area, though they are not contiguous with the other seven. The area had an estimated population of 4 500 000 in 2010, spread over a combined area of 2,734 square kilometres (1,056 sq mi).[20]

United States

Nocturnal view of the New York City metropolitan area, the world's most brightly illuminated conurbation and largest urban landmass Long Island extends 120 miles eastward from Manhattan, the central core of the conurbation.

Puerto Rico

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The Caribbean area has a conurbation in Puerto Rico consisting of San Juan, Bayamón, Guaynabo, Carolina, Canóvanas, Trujillo Alto, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Cataño, and Caguas. This area is colloquially known as the "Área Metropolitana", and houses around 1.4 million inhabitants spread over an area of approximately 396.61 square kilometers (153.13 sq mi), making it the largest city in the Caribbean by area.

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 among New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, with an estimated population of 21,961,994 in 2007.[21] Approximately one-fifteenth of all U.S. residents live in the Greater New York City area, the world's most brightly illuminated urban conurbation and largest urban landmass. This conurbation is the result of several central cities whose urban areas have merged.[citation needed]

Greater Boston Area

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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 compose 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 with a combined population of nearly 8 million people, known as the San Francisco Bay Area.[22]

Greater Los Angeles Area

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The Greater Los Angeles Area consists of the merging of several distinct central cities and counties, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura. This area is also often referred to simply as Southern California or colloquially as SoCal (a larger region which includes San Diego). In 2016, Southern California had a population of 23,800,500, making it slightly larger than the New York Tri-State Area, and is projected to remain so due to a faster growth rate. But because Southern California is not yet a recognized Combined Statistical Area by the United States Office of Management and Budget, the New York Tri-State Area officially remains the nation's largest as of now.

Greater Houston area

An example of a conurbation is seen in Greater Houston. Centered in Houston, the area is continuously urbanized from the coastal areas of Galveston extending through the northern side of the metro area, including The Woodlands, Conroe, and Spring, and going up to Huntsville. The suburbs of Fort Bend County, Texas extend through the cities of the Galveston Bay Area and beyond. It has a population of 7,197,883.[23]

Baltimore–Washington Area

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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).

San Diego–Tijuana

The largest conurbation between the United States and Mexico is San Diego–Tijuana. It includes the two countries' busiest border crossing and a shared economy.[24]

Dallas–Fort Worth

Three large cities—Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington—make up this area. Each city is linked by bordering city limits or suburbs. The area is also known as the Dallas–Fort Worth "metroplex", so called because it has more than one principal anchor city of nearly equal size or importance, and is included in the emerging megalopolis known as the Texas Triangle. According to Texas Monthly, the term is a portmanteau of the terms "metropolitan" and "complex"[25] and was created by a local advertising agency, TracyLocke.[25] The North Texas Commission trademarked the term "Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex" in 1972 as a replacement for the previously ubiquitous term "North Texas".[26] Urban areas with smaller secondary anchor cities (including Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Phoenix) are not considered to be conurbations.


The major U.S. city of Detroit lies immediately across the Detroit River from Windsor, Ontario in Canada. In many respects—economically, historically, culturally, socially, and 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.[27]

South Florida

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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.

Minneapolis–St. Paul

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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.

Quad Cities

The Quad Cities is a metropolitan area located along the border of Illinois and Iowa. Straddling the Mississippi River as it flows west, the area once known as the "Tri Cities" consists of a handful of larger cities and smaller municipalities that have grown together. The largest cities include Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois as well as Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa.


Hartford is the capital city of Connecticut and fourth largest by population. Together, with Waterbury, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stamford, these five cities form a conurbation, as people continue moving into the suburbs of these cities from rural areas, and the Boston and New York City metropolitan areas. Majority of Connecticut's growth in the last decade was centered in and around these five cities. Combined, the population exceeds 1 million.

The Valley of the Sun

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Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona. It is the center of The Valley of the Sun which is recognized by the United States Census Bureau as Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix in the MSA. Other communities in the metropolitan area include Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Gilbert, and Peoria.

The Front Range Urban Corridor

Denver is the capital and most populous city in Colorado, as well as the most populous municipality in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This conurbation encompasses 18 counties in Colorado and Wyoming and had an estimated population of 4,976,781 in 2018, an increase of 14.84% since the 2010 United States Census.[28]

South America

Full article in Spanish Wikipedia: List of Conurbations in South America


Conurbation Population Year Note
Greater Buenos Aires 13,641,973[29] 2010 Metro region excluding La Plata and its metro area (an additional 694,253 [ INDEC ]).


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. However the government of Brazil does not consider this area a single unit for statistical purposes, and population data may not be reliable.

Conurbation Population Year Note
CME São Paulo 27,640,577[30] 2009 The CME of São Paulo is federally defined as the São Paulo Metro region (RMSP) and its conurbations.
RM Rio de Janeiro 12,330,186[31] 2016 Metropolitan region.
RM Belo Horizonte 5,916,189[32] 2018 Usually referred to as the Greater Belo Horizonte, comprising 34 municipalities and some 16 other surrounding cities.


Conurbation Population Year Note
Metropolitan Area of Bogotá 10,733,206[33] 2014 Conurbation only between Bogota and Soacha
Metropolitan Area of the Aburrá Valley 3,821,797[33] 2014 Metro region


Lima Metropolitan Area 9,500,000[34] 2017 Lima is expected to become a megacity before the end of the decade, and this conurbation is estimated to have grown by over one million people between 2007 and 2017.



The ten largest urban centers in China

There are 3 well-known conurbations in China.[35]


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 20.5 million,[39] 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 coordinated planning region which encompasses the entire National Capital Territory of Delhi as well as several surrounding districts in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan. However, the conurbation of Delhi is actually limited to the NCT of Delhi and the neighbouring contiguous urban areas comprising Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. The area is officially known as the Central National Capital Region (CNCR), a small part of overall NCR.[40] The population of this conurbation was estimated 21.7 million in 2011.[41] It is the world's third most populous urban agglomeration.

The Amaravati Metropolitan Region (AMR) of Andhra Pradesh is a conurbation of three cities, namely Vijayawada, Eluru and Guntur and 11 other towns which include Mangalagiri, Tadepalle, Tenali, Ponnuru, Chilakaluripeta, Narasaraopeta, Sattenapally, Nandigama, Jaggayyapeta, Nuzividu, Gudivada and Vuyyuru. The new capital city of the state, Amaravati, is being developed between the cities of Vijayawada and Guntur at the center of the conurbation. The region holds a total population of 58 lakhs.

The Jamshedpur Metropolitan Area has a plan of Greater Jamshedpur. This place contains the area and city of Adityapur, Maango and Jugsalai


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The city of Dhaka is linked with Narayanganj and Gazipur city; there are no gaps between Dhaka and those two cities. This conurbation which consists of the areas of the city of Dhaka and its surrounding cities and towns is collectively knowns as the Greater Dhaka City. The city of Dhaka is the core city of the conurbation and has a population of about 10 Million. The satellite cities of the conurbation include Narayanganj, Gazipur, Tongi, Fatullah, Keraniganj, Tarabo, and Kaliganj.


Greater Jakarta or Jabodetabek comprises the largest urban area in Indonesia and the second-largest in the world with a population of around 30 million.[42] The center and national capital, Jakarta, has a population of 10.3 million within its borders.[43]

The second-most populated city in Indonesia, Surabaya, also forms a conurbation known as Gerbangkertosusila with a metropolitan population of about 10 million compared to the city proper of 3 million.[44] Conurbations are also present around Bandung and Medan.



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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. However, it is rarely referred to in Japan itself with each Prefecture maintaining separate identities. 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.


More than 50% of Jordan’s population live in the conurbation of Amman-Russeifa-Zarqa.


The Klang Valley conurbation in the state of Selangor is composed of these cities:

The second largest conurbation by population in Malaysia is Greater Penang.[45][46] Centred in George Town which is the capital city of the State of Penang, the conurbation also includes these towns in Penang, and within the neighbouring states of Kedah and Perak.

The third largest conurbation by population in Malaysia is Johor Bahru Conurbation. Centred in Johor Bahru which is the capital city of the state of Johor, the conurbation also includes these towns in Johor.


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The Gaza Strip conurbation has a population of 2.1 million.


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Metro Manila, also known as the National Capital Region, is a conurbation of the capital Manila, fifteen neighboring cities, and a small town to compose the largest urban center in the Philippines. Within the immediate periphery but not administratively part of the region, are cities and towns belonging to various provinces near the capital region. These include the cities of Antipolo, Bacoor, Meycauayan, San Jose del Monte and San Pedro; and the towns of Angono, Binangonan, Cainta, Cardona, Marilao, Obando, Rodriguez, San Mateo and Taytay.


Satellite view of the Taipei-Taoyuan-Keelung Metropolitan Area, the largest metropolitan area in Taiwan
Satellite view of the Kaohsiung-Pingtung-Tainan metropolitan area

There are 3 major conurbations in Taiwan.


Asian part of Istanbul forms a conurbation together with Gebze, Darıca, Çayırova, Dilovası districts of Kocaeli Province and with town of Yalova on south of the İzmit Bay.[48] Each province has separate governments but they work in close coordination. Transport between Anatolian part of Istanbul and western end of Kocaeli is coordinated by both provinces and there are interprovincial urban buses between Kartal and İzmit and commuter rail service between Halkalı and Gebze via Bosphorus, dense ferry service between Yalova and İstanbul although each municipality has a clear boundary of service. Tri-province region makes 17.5 million, which is 20% of Turkey's population.

İzmir and Manisa forms a conurbation. Although there is a mountain between cities with D565 via Sabuncubeli Tunnel many people daily commutes for work, education and home. In addition, İZBAN commuter rail connects satellite towns with İzmir in north and south directions. Two cities metropolitan areas together makes up of a population of 3.3 million.


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Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand, is an urban agglomeration of the Bangkok metropolis as well as the five adjacent provinces of Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, and Samut Sakhon.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates, while comprising seven distinct entities called emirates, each with its own Emirs, contains a significant conurbation formed by the agglomeration of the urban areas of three cities belonging to three separate Emirates. The Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area contains the urban areas of Dubai to the south, Sharjah in the middle and Ajman toward the north eastern end of the conurbation.[49] The total population is about 5.64 million people as of 2015 and as such, contributes to over 70% of the UAE population. Dubai is the major financial hub and Sharjah serves as an industrial, educational, cultural and major residential centre.




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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. Given the high level of commuting to and from Brussels every day, supported by one of the densest networks of railways and motorways in the world, it could be argued that the whole Belgium and Luxembourg area is one conurbation or is becoming one.


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.[50] That conurbation is actually an international one as Belgian cities such as Tournai are increasingly playing the role of commuter town for Lille.

Rhine-Ruhr, which is the largest conurbation on the European continent


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.


According to Regional Laws approved during the 1970-1980s[51][circular reference], an Italian conurbation has 4 fundamental characteristics:

  1. Cities must be part of the same province or nearby the main province;
  2. Overall population must be more than 250,000 inhabitants;
  3. Cities must be aggregated with a main city with a population of more than 200,000 inhabitants and they must create a continuous urbanized belt or area;
  4. Cities must respect some standards regarding basic welfare services, public and private transportation and social-economic development.

Every of this conurbations has no official boundaries, because there's no government organization for a metropolitan area in Italy.

Map Name Region Population Year Notes
Milan metropolitan area (Greater Milan) Lombardy and Piedmont 8,220,170[52] 2019 There are no official boundaries for this conurbation; however, OECD identified it as the union of the provinces of Milan, Bergamo, Como, Lecco, Lodi, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Varese and Novara. It's the largest conurbation in Italy and it's included in the Blue Banana area.[53][54]
Naples metropolitan area (Greater Naples) Campania 4,996,084[55] 2019 According to SVIMEZ, this conurbation covers many cities in provinces of Naples, Caserta, Salerno and Avellino.[56]
Rome metropolitan area (Greater Rome) Lazio 4,353,738[57] 2017 There are no official boundaries for this conurbation; it includes many cities within Metropolitan City of Rome Capital and Aprilia, province of Latina.[57]
PaTreVe (Eastern Veneto conurbation) Veneto 2,748,420[58] 2020 This conurbation includes 240 cities in eastern Veneto, in the provinces of Venice, Padua and Treviso.[59]
Turin metropolitan area (Greater Turin) Piedmont 1,646,064[60] 2014 OECD included first and second belt of nearbies cities, included in the province of Turin.[60]
Higher Adriatic conurbation Emilia-Romagna and Marche 1,280,666[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation spaces from Forlì till Ancona, making a 140 km urbanized belt.[61]
Genoa metropolitan area (Greater Genoa) Liguria 1,127,173[62] 2019 This conurbation is a 180 km belt from Mele Cape till Palmaria Island, facing Gulf of Genoa. It includes cities from the provinces of Genoa, La Spezia and Savona.[62]
Northwest Tuscany conurbation Liguria and Tuscany 1,106,128[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation spaces from La Spezia till Livorno, including Pisa and Lucca, making a 90 km urbanized belt.[61]
Florence Plan conurbation Tuscany 1,098,230[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation includes 21 cities from the provinces of Florence, Prato and Pistoia, making a 37 km urbanized belt.[61]
Palermo metropolitan area (Greater Palermo) Sicily 1,069,754[63][circular reference] 2011 According to CENSIS and ISTAT, this conurbation includes 26 cities in the province of Palermo.[63]
Messina Strait conurbation Calabria and Sicily 1,029,729[64][circular reference][65] 2019 ANCI, CENSIS and ISTAT described this conurbation as the union of Messina and Reggio Calabria metropolitan areas, both facing on Messina Strait. Messina metropolitan area includes nearby cities from Milazzo till Taormina and Reggio Calabria metropolitan area spaces from Vibo Valentia till Bova Marina.[66][circular reference]
Bologna metropolitan area (Greater Bologna) Emilia-Romagna 1,017,806[67] 2019 CENSIS included 50 cities in the province of Bologna, excluding Imola, which has its own small conurbation.[68]
Catania metropolitan area (Greater Catania) Sicily 777,745[69] 2017 According to CENSIS and ISTAT, this conurbation is part of the Linear System of Oriental Sicily and it includes 27 cities in the province of Catania.[69]
Bari metropolitan area (Greater Bari) Apulia 750,450[70] 2017 According to CENSIS and ISTAT, this conurbation includes 21 cities in the province of Bari.[70]
Brescia conurbation Lombardy 706,399[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation includes cities in the province of Brescia.[61]
Verona conurbation Veneto 567,329[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation includes cities in the province of Verona.[61]
Pescara metropolitan area (Greater Pescara) Abruzzo 390,154[71] 2023 According to CENSIS and ISTAT, this conurbation includes cities from the provinces of Pescara, Chieti and Teramo.[72]
Cagliari conurbation Sardinia 375,689[61] 2015 According to CENSIS, this conurbation includes cities in the province of Cagliari.[61]


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,[73] while the European Spatial Planning Observation Network states that the functional urban area of Valletta has a population of 355,000,[74] 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 most populous cities of the country (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) as well as many smaller cities, towns and urbanized villages[75]


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Katowice Urban Area (aglomeracja katowicka', konurbacja górnośląska, GOP) is the largest conurbation in Poland, located in Upper Silesia, southern Poland. Around 5,294,000 people live in the region — up 5.26% of the population of Poland.


United Kingdom

Main article: List of conurbations in the United Kingdom

2011 Rural Urban classification by Local Authority Districts in England
2011 Rural Urban classification by census Output Areas in England

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 South East England.

The list below shows the most populous urban areas in the UK as defined by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Different organisations define conurbations in the UK differently for example, the Liverpool–Manchester or the Manchester–Liverpool conurbation[76] is defined as one conurbation by AESOP in a comparison report published by the University of Manchester in 2005 found here. The Liverpool–Manchester Conurbation has a population of 5.68 million.

Largest urban areas of the United Kingdom
(England and Wales: 2011 census built-up area;[77] Scotland: 2016 estimates settlement;[78] Northern Ireland: 2001 census urban area)[79]
Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement Rank Urban area Pop. Principal settlement
1 Greater London 9,787,426 London 11 Bristol 617,280 Bristol
2 Greater Manchester 2,553,379 Manchester 12 Edinburgh 512,150 Edinburgh
3 West Midlands 2,440,986 Birmingham 13 Leicester 508,916 Leicester
4 West Yorkshire 1,777,934 Leeds 14 Belfast 483,418 Belfast
5 Greater Glasgow 985,290 Glasgow 15 Brighton & Hove 474,485 Brighton
6 Liverpool 864,122 Liverpool 16 South East Dorset 466,266 Bournemouth
7 South Hampshire 855,569 Southampton 17 Cardiff 390,214 Cardiff
8 Tyneside 774,891 Newcastle upon Tyne 18 Teesside 376,633 Middlesbrough
9 Nottingham 729,977 Nottingham 19 Stoke-on-Trent 372,775 Stoke-on-Trent
10 Sheffield 685,368 Sheffield 20 Coventry 359,262 Coventry

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Further reading

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