Key Term Five – Megalopolis

Megalopolis – A chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas.


While a metropolis is the chief city or a country, or a very large and dense industrial city, a megalopolis is an entire chain of them, all together. A good example of this definition at work is the eastern seaboard of the United States – it extends from Boston, and heads its way through New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. These cities decorate the East Coast perfectly, first used as a term in 1954 by Jean Gottmann, a geographer.

Something that makes a megalopolis unique is the way that they are all connected to each other through transportation. When looking through the cities on the northeast, MetroNorth and other examples of railway and highway help to progress the development of megalopolises. Using these commuter passageways to travel throughout the megalopolis is informally called “megaloping”. It’s not a commonly used term, perhaps because of its rarity, or because people mistakenly pronounce it as “megapolis”. New York City is a working cog in this word. This is an interesting way to think of New York – as something bigger than just itself. Many people consider the city a separate entity to the rest of the world. To think of New York as a part of something more than just a city is truly what attracted me to this word.


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