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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Obviously a city is urban in nature, but a major inconsistency is in how we define the city. An agglomeration, the urban area surrounding a dominant core, is an accurate definition of a city. It is also obvious that a city can contain multiple centres. London, for example, has the West End for shopping, The City as a financial district, Canary Wharf as a secondary financial district, etc. If, however, no centre is sufficiently dominant over the surrounding centres then the urban area ceases to be a agglomeration (read city) and becomes an conurbation (read multiple cities side by side).

Question: At what point does a conurbation cease to be a conurbation and become an agglomeration? (in other words how do you differentiate between a city and a cluster of cities?)
 

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You're mixing up some things here. Agglomeration is a synonym for urban area. A conurbation is an agglomeration that consists of once physically seperate cities of a certain size that have merged to form a single urban area.
 

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You're mixing up some things here. Agglomeration is a synonym for urban area. A conurbation is an agglomeration that consists of once physically seperate cities of a certain size that have merged to form a single urban area.
I think his question is still legit. Based on what you are saying, the Paris region would be a conurbatoin since separate multiple cities have over time merged to become a single urban area. Yet I've never heard it called a conurbation, just an agglomeration. So maybe your defintion is a bit to simplified and needs a little more to distinguish it from a conurbation. No? Maybe a conurbation is more like the Dallas-Ft Worth metro area, where 2 "separate" and "dominant" cities have merged to become a single urban area. Or a conurbation is more like the various Dutch cities that along with Amsterdam have almost merged together and interact tightly, like the various cities in the U.S. Northeast that although not continuous, are very close and interact very closely. Maybe?
 

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That's why I said "of a certain size". I actually had places like Dallas-Ft Worth, L.A. or the Bay Area in mind.
I never said Irwell's question wasn't legit. My point was that he got the two terms mixed up and that the they aren't mutually exclusive, which I was trying to explain in my post.
I think a better way to put the question is "at what point does an area cease to be [more or less] monocentric and becomes polycentric?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You're mixing up some things here. Agglomeration is a synonym for urban area. A conurbation is an agglomeration that consists of once physically seperate cities of a certain size that have merged to form a single urban area.
Oopsies. Typed conurbation and agglomeration in the wrong places! I blame the time I posted. I knew what I meant!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think a better way to put the question is "at what point does an area cease to be [more or less] monocentric and becomes polycentric?"
This is kind of what I was trying to ask, but I'd say London is polycentric yet still a city. At what point would that polycentric entity cease to be a single city?
 

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This is kind of what I was trying to ask, but I'd say London is polycentric yet still a city. At what point would that polycentric entity cease to be a single city?
I personally don't think of London as Polycentric. Yes, it does have several main centers, the West End, The City and Canary Wharf to name three, but this is common for almost all large cities (Think Midtown and Downtown for NY, or Sydney & North Sydney etc).

Polycentric to me is something like the Rhein Ruhr, which has several dominant cities that compete with each other and it's difficult to name a true single center.

Frankfurt is one of those difficult ones. It's metropolitan area is clearly polycentric with other important cities surrounding Frankfurt like Mainz, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt etc - some of these cities are older than Frankfurt and once more important and also state capitals. On the other hand, Frankfurt is so dominant still that it is not polycentric in a true sense.

I think to be a true polycentric region, the competing cities have to be almost equally dominant such as Minneapolis / St. Paul or the Rhein Ruhr.
 

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That's why I said "of a certain size". I actually had places like Dallas-Ft Worth, L.A. or the Bay Area in mind.
I never said Irwell's question wasn't legit. My point was that he got the two terms mixed up and that the they aren't mutually exclusive, which I was trying to explain in my post.
I think a better way to put the question is "at what point does an area cease to be [more or less] monocentric and becomes polycentric?"

OK, good. :) I didn't notice "of a certain size" or it did not sink in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I personally don't think of London as Polycentric. Yes, it does have several main centers, the West End, The City and Canary Wharf to name three, but this is common for almost all large cities (Think Midtown and Downtown for NY, or Sydney & North Sydney etc).

Polycentric to me is something like the Rhein Ruhr, which has several dominant cities that compete with each other and it's difficult to name a true single center.

Frankfurt is one of those difficult ones. It's metropolitan area is clearly polycentric with other important cities surrounding Frankfurt like Mainz, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt etc - some of these cities are older than Frankfurt and once more important and also state capitals. On the other hand, Frankfurt is so dominant still that it is not polycentric in a true sense.

I think to be a true polycentric region, the competing cities have to be almost equally dominant such as Minneapolis / St. Paul or the Rhein Ruhr.
Precisely what I'm trying to say Justme. A big city definitely can have multiple centres. Where would you draw the line though? Dallas Forth Worth obviously isn't a single city and London obviously is, but what about those places in the centre ground somewhere?
 

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Precisely what I'm trying to say Justme. A big city definitely can have multiple centres. Where would you draw the line though? Dallas Forth Worth obviously isn't a single city and London obviously is, but what about those places in the centre ground somewhere?
The line can be hard to draw sometimes, but not always. The fact that Dallas/Ft Worth is called what it is, indicates it's situation quite clearly.

Clear Polycentric cities in the US of have different names than just the single core city. Bay Area, Seattle/Tacoma etc. Although keep in mind that these are often CMSA's (Where they combine various adjoining metropolitan area's)

In Europe, this can be blured quite a bit, but such area's also exist like the Rhein Ruhr or the Randstad (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht). Though again, this can get confusing with Frankfurt and it's MA the Rhein Main as Frankfurt is clearly the dominant city (though this could be why it's often called Frankfurt Rhein Main)

Where to draw the line? I can't answer that. However, for me it depends if there is a core city which has international recognition. For instance, Frankfurt's MA also consists of Mainz, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt etc, but back where I come from you'd never meet a person who has heard of those towns. Frankfurt on the other hand is known by everyone. Although the other cities may have had important history's and well known within Germany, they have very little international standing.
 

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I wonder how americans feel about that. If you're e.g. from Gilbert in the Phoenix Mtro Area, would an American consider hisself as a man from Gilbert or from Phoenix?
I think the answer is simple. Europe or the US, the person would say the local municipality if he's talking to someone in the metro area or region...would most likely say Phoenix if he's in the opposite end of Arizona or the Southwest, and would certainly say Phoenix to someone from another state or country. If the conversation deepens a bit, i.e. where in Phoenix, he'll say, Oh, some suburb or nearby town of Phoenix.
 

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I think the answer is simple. Europe or the US, the person would say the local municipality if he's talking to someone in the metro area or region...would most likely say Phoenix if he's in the opposite end of Arizona or the Southwest, and would certainly say Phoenix to someone from another state or country. If the conversation deepens a bit, i.e. where in Phoenix, he'll say, Oh, some suburb or nearby town of Phoenix.

Very true, except it doesn't always work in Europe.

Before I came to Germany, I met a guy from Bad Homburg. He told me about his town, and how it was so much smaller than Sydney. At the time, I was living just north of Manly, which technically isn't Sydney either. Anyway, I never heard of this city or where it was in Germany. Through him, I made other friends that also came from this city in Germany called Bad Homburg which I always assumed was a small town in the middle of nowhere.

A few years later, I was in London and wanted to visit these guys in Germany, so I searched on a map of Germany for Bad Homburg to see where to fly to. No town as the map wasn't detailed enough. So I got a bigger map and still no luck. Finally I rang up this guy and and he told me to fly to Frankfurt and he'll pick me up.

15minutes after being picked up, we pulled into his city. It was what I would call a f眉cken suburb of Frankfurt. When I told him this, he was saying "Nein! We live in Bad Homburg, not Frankfurt!" I asked him where he works "Frankfurt", where he shops "Frankfurt", where he drinks "Frankfurt" but he still insisted he lived in Bad Homburg.

Why on earth, when he was on the other side of the world and I asked him where he lived, didn't he just say Frankfurt. The weirder thing is that every German I have met is just like him.

So here's a lesson to our German friends reading this. The rest of the world doesn't know your tiddly little cities just like you don't know ours. If you live within commuting distance of a global center, when you are not drinking weizen and eating sauerkraut with your mates in a German bar, tell us the name of the Global city rather than village you live in. It saves us the trouble looking for places like Bad Homburg International Airport.

;) :cheers:
 

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^^ That's purely historical. Look at how Stockport is still seperate from Manchester despite Manchester completely growing around Stockport (except when considering greater Manchester), or Watford and London being considered seperate entities despite being joined at the hip (even in terms of Greater London).

These towns/cities are historically very seperate, at least Bad Homburg is seperated by a green belt making the distinction slightly more clear.
 

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^^ That's purely historical. Look at how Stockport is still seperate from Manchester despite Manchester completely growing around Stockport (except when considering greater Manchester), or Watford and London being considered seperate entities despite being joined at the hip (even in terms of Greater London).

These towns/cities are historically very seperate, at least Bad Homburg is seperated by a green belt making the distinction slightly more clear.
Historically separate, that maybe true. But we don't live in the 1450's.

Here is Bad Homburg and Frankfurt. The center of Bad Homburg is where the brown church is near the center of the photo (directly
under the TV tower). You can see Frankfurt behind it. The houses in the foreground are the last suburbs before the Taunus mountains
where the photo was taken (which are a bit like your Waitakere ranges in Auckland, mostly a forested area) There are some green
fields in between the two if you take a direct straight line. But if you follow the normal roads it's urban pretty much all the way.

(Photo from Wikipedia) Scroll >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


By the way, it's not only Europe. I know people from Parramatta in Sydney that would tell any Australian they're from Parramatta and
not Sydney. It's just that when they are talking to people from the other side of the planet who obviously have never heard of
Parramatta, they would just say Sydney.
 

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IMO a conurbation is a number of technically separate adjacent urban/agglomerated areas that are so close together and so little rural separating them, that there is an argument for combining them into a single urban area.

See Hamilton-Toronto-Oshawa, LA-San Bernardino-Riverside, etc.
 

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I think a conurbation would be the joining of significantly sized formerly separate areas, into one region, whereas an agglomeration is when their is a main city surrounded by smaller cities that only exist because of the larger centre, but are still of a significant size. A prime example is Hamilton to Toronto and Mississauga to Toronto. Hamilton CMA has 600,000 people or so. If they were to join it`d be a conurbation, whereas, Mississauga, even though larger with 700,000, only exists because of the larger Toronto, so its part of an agglomeration. I think that makes sense, it made sense in my head, when I was thinking about it.
 

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IMO a conurbation is a number of technically separate adjacent urban/agglomerated areas that are so close together and so little rural separating them, that there is an argument for combining them into a single urban area.

See Hamilton-Toronto-Oshawa, LA-San Bernardino-Riverside, etc.
LA - San Bernardino/Riverside is already one agglomeration technically, it's completely continuous build up. However, San Bernardino and Riverside may function as seperate cities from Los Angeles, but so is Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana etc.
 

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I would call the Randstad a conurbation, but Paris or London an agglomeration. I think a conurbation is quite more rare than an agglomeration. Maybe the Silesian metro can be counted as a conurbation, but that's more continuous build up than the Randstad.
 

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LA - San Bernardino/Riverside is already one agglomeration technically, it's completely continuous build up. However, San Bernardino and Riverside may function as seperate cities from Los Angeles, but so is Long Beach, Anaheim, Santa Ana etc.
According to the US government, they are considered separate urban areas (for some reason)

LA
San Bernardino-Riverside

EDIT: According to the US government, San Bernardino and Riverside are the same urban area, and I originally claimed they were separate.
 
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