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A metropolis is a big city, in most cases with over half a million inhabitants in the city proper, and with a population of at least one million living in its urban agglomeration. Big cities belonging to a larger urban agglomeration, but which are not the core of that agglomeration, are not generally considered a metropolis but a part of it. A metropolis is usually a significant economical, political and cultural center for some country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications. The plural of the word is most commonly metropolises, though metropoleis is sometimes used as well.

In a broader sense, it refers to the city or state of origin of a colony (as of ancient Greece), a city regarded as a center of a specified activity, or a large important city.

Antiquity Edit

In the past, metropolis was the designation for a city or state of origin of a colony. Many large cities founded by ancient civilizations have been considered important world metropolises of their times due to their large populations and importance. Examples include Alexandria, Angkor, Antioch, Athens, Babylon, Baghdad, Beirut, Benares, Byblos, Cahokia, Carthage, Constantinople, Corinth, Damascus, Dholavira, Ephesus, Great Zimbabwe, Harappa, Jerusalem, Leptis Magna, Nanjing, Nineveh, Macchu Picchu, Mohenjo-Daro, Rome, Sarai, Side, Siracuse, Tenochtitlan, Teotihuacan, Tikal, Tyre, Xian and Ur. Some of these ancient metropolises survived until the modern days and are among the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities.

Etymology and modern usage Edit

The word comes from the Greek μήτηρ, mētēr meaning 'mother' and πόλις, pólis meaning 'city/town', which is how the Greek colonies of antiquity referred to their original cities, with whom they retained cultic and political-cultural connections. The word was used in post-classical Latin for the chief city of a province, the seat of the government and, in particular, ecclesiastically for the seat or see of a metropolitan bishop to whom suffragan bishops were responsible. This usage equates the province with the diocese or episcopal see.

In modern usage the word is also used for a metropolitan area, a set of adjacent and interconnected cities clustered around a major urban center. In this sense "metropolitan" usually means "spanning the whole metropolis" (as in "metropolitan administration"); or "proper of a metropolis" (as in "metropolitan life", and opposed to "provincial" or "rural").


Global cities Edit

The concept of a Global city (or a World city) means a city that has a direct and tangible effect on global affairs through socioeconomic means. The term has become increasingly familiar, because of the rise of globalization (i.e., global finance, communications, and travel). An attempt to define and categorize world cities by financial criteria was made by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC), based primarily at Loughborough University in England. The study ranked cities based on their provision of "advanced producer services" such as accountancy, advertising, finance and law. The Inventory identifies three levels of world cities and several sub-ranks (See World cities ranking).

A metropolis isn't necessarily a global city, or being one, it could not be among the top ranking due to its standards of living, development, and infrastructures.


Local definitions by country Edit

Canada Edit

Statistics Canada defines a census metropolitan area as one or more adjacent municipalities situated around a major urban core where the urban core has a population of at least 100,000.[3]


Republic of India Edit

In the Republic of India, the Census Commission defines a metropolitan city as one having a population of over 40 lakh (4 million).Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad are the six cities that qualify. Residents of these cities are also entitled to a higher House rent allowance. The figure only applies to the city region and not the conurbation.


Italy Edit

With the 2001 reform of the Title V of the Constitution of Italy, the Italian republic has provided for the institution of Aree Metropolitane. Aree Metropolitane will be instituted at least for the major conurbations of Rome and Milan, but, as of January 2009, it is yet unclear whether the Aree Metropolitane will replace Provinces, or just be added to the older administrative subdivisions.


Japan Edit

The Japanese legal term to (都) is commonly translated as metropolis.[5] Structured like a prefecture instead of a normal city, there is only one to in Japan, namely Tokyo. As of 2008[update], Japan has 11 other cities with populations greater than one million.

United Kingdom Edit

Various conurbations in the United Kingdom are considered to be metropolitan areas (see Metropolitan county). The term 'Metropolis' itself is rarely used. London is archaically referred to as 'the Metropolis', which is only retained by the London police force, which is called the Metropolitan Police.


United States Edit

In the United States an incorporated area or group of areas having a population more than 50,000 is required to have a metropolitan planning organization in order to facilitate major infrastructure projects and to ensure financial solubility. Thus, a population of 50,000 or greater has been used as a de facto standard in the United States to define a metropolis. A similar definition is used by the United States Census Bureau. They define a metropolitan statistical area as at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more inhabitants.


Metropole Edit

Main article: Metropole


In the French, Portuguese, and Spanish languages, the cognate word métropole (Fr.) / metrópole (Port.) / metrópoli (Spa.), designates the mainland part of a country near or on the European continent; in the case of France, this would mean France without its overseas departments; for Portugal and Spain during the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire period, it used to be common to designate Portugal or Spain except its colonies (the Ultramar).

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