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The Megalopolis

The term “Megalopolis” (from the ancient Greek for “very large city”) was coined by French geographer Jean Gottman in 1961 to refer to the 500-mile stretch of urban areas, industrial and transportation networks that runs from the nation’s capital of Washington, DC in the south to Boston in the north, with New York City at its center. The Megalopolis counts a population of about fifty million people, a full sixth of the American population on only two percent of its land. It is home to the national capital, the nation’s largest city, its financial center, and many of America’s largest business enterprises.

In true fact, many areas between these and other cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, Bridgeport, New Haven and Providence can be quite rural, agricultural or otherwise non-urban. Nevertheless, several centuries of development have given this rather large area a certain identity of its own.

The movement of population, industry and communications infrastructure to the south and west in recent decades and the growth of other American urban areas have challenged the economic and social dominance of the Megalopolis, but it is still the largest urban concentration in the United States.

If the Megalopolis has a “Main Street” it is certainly Interstate Highway 95.

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