ChengHe Guan


Can urban design strategies promote sustainable urban future?

Urban Design Lab

Urban Design Lab in Shanghai is a research based design consulting lab in collaboration with City Builder Design. Recent works including Shaolin Zen Buddhism Meditation Center in New York, Marathon course master planning in Guilin, etc.    

November 21, 2018

From Megalopolis to Gigalopolis


Megalopolis is defined as a chain of roughly adjacent metropolitan areas, which may be somewhat separated or may merge into a continuous urban region. First used by Patrick Geddes, a Scottish geographer and town planner, in his 1915 book Cities in Evolution (Geddes, 1915), and then by Lewis Mumford, an American urbanist, in his 1938 book The Culture of Cities, Megalopolis was used to describe the first stage in urban overdevelopment of social decline. In 1961, a French Geographer Jean Gottmann in his Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, populated the word among urban planners, urban geographers, and urban designers. Gottmann described a continued cluster of cities extending from Boston through New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore and ending in Washington DC after his visit of the northeastern seashore of the US (Gottmann, 1961). Gottmann defined that a megalopolis to be around 25 million people. While most of North American’s megalopolis is in the range of no more than 10 million, some East Asian cases has far exceeded Gottmann’s number, for example, the Yangtze River Delta Megalopolis is estimated to have over 80 million in population. Recent scholars started to use megacities, megaregions, or network of cities and towns interchangeably. For example, American 2050, a Regional Plan Association’s national infrastructure planning and policy program claimed to identify 11 megaregions in the US and Canada (

             At the turn of the Century, a term Gigalopolis emerged in response to the growing urban structure containing billions of people worldwide (Project Gigalopolis). The argument made by the project is that “Urban settlements and their connectivity will be the dominant driver of global change during the twenty-first century. Intensely impacting land, atmospheric, and hydrologic resources, urban dynamics has now surpassed the regional scale of megalopolis and must now be considered as a continental and global scale phenomenon.

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