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I am in the process of writing a book. That probably should not be a surprise considering it’s the twentieth book I have written in the last four years. In a chapter recently in process, a character makes a superlative statement about the city she lives in, and another character makes a qualifying statement about how there are many larger cities, it’s simply that sometimes cities grow into each other until one can no longer tell where one ends and the next begins. When I wrote this, I was specifically thinking of the Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington, DC. That area is sometimes named for Joe Biden’s favorite train and called the Acela Corridor.
Curious, I looked for more information on the area, and found that one of the official names is the Northeast Megaregion, although the more common term for one of these conglomerations globally is a megalopolis. It has about fifty-eight million people in the several cities in that string of beads. Of course, I went looking for more information on megalopolises, because who wouldn’t? (Okay, okay, maybe what my attention is drawn to is not what fascinates the average person. Settle down out there.)
Naturally, I figured that some of the largest megalopolises would be in Asia, and I was not wrong. China has three that are well over a hundred million people in population. One all the way to a hundred-fifty million. There are lots of countries that don’t even have a hundred million people as a total population, and China has three megalopolises that blow right past that number. They have a total of thirteen megalopolises, by the way, with the smallest at over eleven million people.
Elsewhere in Asia, the belt that includes Tokyo in Japan has over eighty-million people. India has three megalopolises, although they only range between twenty-five and forty-six million. I expected more and larger for India. Two other standouts in Asia are the megalopolises that contain Jakarta and Manila.
Africa’s largest is the Nile Delta Megalopolis at fifty million people.
Then we come to Europe. Europe’s megalopolises are the most fun both on maps and by names. Their three largest are the Blue Banana, Golden Banana, and Green Banana. They have three more, but they are all under fifteen million people. The Blue Banana goes from Liverpool, down through London, across to pick up cities in the Netherlands and Belgium, plus a lot of the Rhine Valley, extending into France to pick up minor towns such as Paris and then on through Switzerland to pick up Turin, Milan, and Venice in Italy. That is the largest non-Asian megalopolis at between 110-130 million people.
The Golden Banana goes from Turin in Italy, picks up Genoa, then cruises along the coast to pick up the South of France, Monaco, Andorra, and the Eastern regions of Spain. The Green Banana picks up much of central Europe’s cities going through Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and so forth to Trieste in Italy. All the bananas end in Italy.
South America has nineteen with the largest covering Brazilian cities, such as Rio and São Paulo at about fifty-one million.
North America has eight. That includes such as Mexico City with thirty million people, one in Canada they call the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, and the Northeast Megaregion in the US I already mentioned. It also includes one more. It’s the largest megaregion or megalopolis in North America. It includes that Quebec City-Windsor Corridor as part of it, but keeps going along the Great Lakes on both sides so that it includes Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, those weird cities in Ohio and Wisconsin, and other Rust Belt places. That’s right. The Great Lakes Megalopolis is the largest in the New World. Forget the Northeast Corridor. Forget Southern California. Forget the Texas Triangle. The Great Lakes is the center of the New World.
Do you live in a Megalopolis? (Or a Magalopolis?) Would you prefer not to? What’s the best megalopolis you have ever visited?Published in