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(mĕgəlŏp`lĭs) [Gr.,=great city], a group of densely populated metropolitan areas that combine to form an urban complex. It was first used in its modern sense by Jean Gottman (1957) to describe the huge urban area along the eastern seaboard of the United States from Boston to Washington, D.C. According to Gottman, it resulted from changes in work and social habits.


A single vast urban area formed by the expansion and merging of adjacent cities and their suburbs.



a term signifying a group of conurbations; derived from the name of the ancient Greek city of Megalopolis, which arose as a result of the merger of more than 35 settlements of Arcadia.

The megalopolis is a highly urbanized, spontaneously evolving form of urban settlement in a number of highly developed capitalist countries; it has resulted from a high concentration of population. (Population density in megalopolises of the United States is 2.7 persons per hectare and in Japan, Great Britain, and the Federal Republic of Germany, 8-10 persons per hectare.) Basic features of the megalopolis are linear nature of construction, extended mainly along transport highways; general polycentric structure, caused by the interaction of large cities situated relatively close to one another; and disruption of the ecological balance between the activity of man and the environment. The term was first used to signify a continuous urban sprawl (more than 1,000 km long and in places up to 200 km wide) along the Atlantic coast of the USA—the conurbations of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington (population, 40 million). Some of the largest megalopolises that are now being formed are Southern California (12 million), Tokyo-Osaka in Japan (55 million), Rhine-Ruhr in the Federal Republic of Germany (10 million), and London-Liverpool in Great Britain (30 million).


Gottmann, J. “Megalopolis ili urbanizatsiia severo-vostochnogo poberezh’ia SShA.” Geografiia gorodov. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from English.)
Pokshishevskii, V. V., and V. M. Gokhman. “Problema giperurbanizatsii v razvitykh kapitalisticheskikh stranakh i ee geograficheskie aspekty.” Nauchnye problemy geografii naseleniia. Moscow, 1967.
Cutler, J. “Megalopolis: Intermetropolitan Coalescence.” Journal of Geography, 1969, vol. 68, no. 8.


megalopolis, megapolis

A thickly populated urban region usually consisting of one or more large cities and surrounding suburbs.
References in periodicals archive ?
SINCE MEGALOPOLITAN development now takes place at a global scale, few options are available that are capable of significantly improving the socio-cultural and ecological character of the average urbanized region.
I would like to argue that all three propositions converge about the concept of the urban megaform involving the creation of largely horizontal fabric capable of effecting a local transformation in the megalopolitan landscape.
Frampton urged that 'since megalopolitan development is now largely realized at a global scale, it is obvious that few options are available that are truly capable of improving the socio-cultural and ecological character of the average urbanized region.
Phillips noted but dismissed this trend among those he called "silk-stocking Megalopolitans." Any losses among the elites, he argued, would be more than offset by gains among the middle and working classes.
A surprising number of others, however, were more than willing to escape the smog, long commutes, crowds and other problems that plague megalopolitans. Once they learned the facts about our location, they required very little persuading.
Along with the Argives and Megalopolitans, the Dymaeans conspicuously walked out of the meeting when it became clear that the change of course was going to be approved.(74) We know little of Dyme's history in the subsequent period of Achaean expansion under Roman tutelage,(75) but it is probable that few Dymaeans entirely forgot the sufferings of their parents.