Large Settlements

So…isolated dwelling, hamlet, village, town…  What comes next?

The settlements so far have been steadily increasing in size but for the next one it is not quite as simple as that.

This is a city.

But so is this.

Cities are usually big places and are usually bigger than most towns, but it is not always the case. In the UK a city is not defined by its size. A town becomes a city when it is granted that status by the monarch. (In Ireland cities are centres of local government.)

In the UK, some places, like Canterbury, have been cities for centuries, but a few have been given the status much more recently. Wolverhampton and Brighton and Hove were given city status as part of the Millennium celebrations and Chelmsford and St Asaph became cities in 2012 as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

But what about London?

The urban area of London actually contains two cities. The bit that is called “The City” is at the original site of London  but to the west, Westminster also has city status. So, this is where we need to move to the next type of settlement.

A conurbation is where several towns or cities have merged to give a continuous built-up area. London is a conurbation. Not only have the two cities been linked by a continuous sprawl of housing, shops and industry, but the built-up area has also swallowed up numerous smaller places.

Evidence can be found in place names. Click on the link to see Dulwich Village and then zoom out to see its location within London’s built-up area.

Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford, Glasgow and Liverpool have all grown to engulf surrounding towns and villages, forming conurbations.

But what if two conurbations merge?!! Yep there’s a name for that too. It’s megalopolis!

So, is Britain in danger of turning into one enormous megalopolis, as conurbations continue to grow and expand? I don’t think so. I’ll tell you why next week.