A conurbation refers to a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that through population growth and physical expansion have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area.
The towns have no clear demarcations or boundaries between them as it
all becomes one large urban area.
The growth of a conurbation in many cases reflects the rates of urbanization, urban development as well as the levels of development of the country.
The major conurbation in the world include;
- The Ruhr conurbation comprising of Essen.
- The great lakes’ conurbation in the USA comprising of towns like Pittsburg, Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, Chicago, and many others.
- The megalopolis of the USA`s eastern seaboard comprising of towns like Hartford, Newyork, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and many others.
- The British midlands of the UK comprising of towns like Birmingham, Smith wick, West Bromwich, Walsall, and Wolver Hampton.
- The Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka conurbation of Japan.
- The west Holland conurbation of the Netherlands comprising of cities like Rotterdam, Hague, Utrecht, and Amsterdam. This is commonly called Randasterd conurbation.
- Guangzhou, Hong Kong Macau conurbation of China.
- The northern France conurbation with Paris as the principal city and others include Lille, Le Havre, Nacy, and Strasbourg.
- The Switzerland conurbation of South Africa comprising of Pretoria and Johannesburg.
FACTORS FOR THE GROWTH OF CONURBATIONS
- Availability of minerals. Where minerals occur in large quantities over a wide area, fewer towns tend to emerge. These are basically mining towns that attract industries through the expansion of towns later merge to form one large urban area called a conurbation, for example, the Ruhr of German, coal, and iron were the major minerals, in the canal of south Africa Gold and diamonds were the basic minerals while the great lakes region and the Atlantic seaboard had coal, limestone, iron ore and plenty of other minerals.
- The presence of a large and productive hinterland. A productive hinterland contributes to the growth of severe economic activities for example trade and commerce, fishing, tourism, mining, and others. where these activities take place, towns emerge and later for example emerge to form one large urban complex called a conurbation.
- The rapid increase in population also leads to the emergence of a conurbation. This large increase in population provides market and about to the various economic activities in the several towns, for example, the eastern seaward of USA has over 200 million people and Tokyo Nagoya Osaka conurbation has over 25 million people. The increase in population within the towns increases the demand for housing and other facilities and the provision of such
- facilities usually lead to expansion of the towns and these later merge or form a single urban complex called conurbation.
- Availability of capital also led to the growth of the conurbation. The capital I needed to provide the basic infrastructures for example railway lines efficient power supply and others. It is this capital that is used to set up the industries and also to sustain the various economic activities in them. Such capital is usually from the government, financial institutions, foreign investors, local entrepreneurs.
- Sufficient transport and communication. Roads, railway line areas with as well as an air transport for both settlement plays a lot in enhancing activities in such area between the towns and the climatic conditions are expansion and merge more towns from a single area.
- Availability is of water especially freshwater. Water is a basic necessity for life and therefore for town growth and development. It is so much needed for both domestic and industrial activities and that is why major conurbation have come up in areas that have access to freshwater sources especially rivers and lakes for example the great lakes of the USA, the Rhine and its tributaries like the Ruhr, Escher and Wupper for the Ruhr conurbation as well as the Rhine Meuse and Scheldt for the Rand stard conurbation of Netherlands.
- Availability of gently sloping land. Areas with gently sloping land are likely to develop into conurbations compared to areas with a rugged mountainous landscape. The plat landscape enables horizontal expansion of the existing towns which later merge to form a conurbation for example the Tokyo Nagoa-Osaka conurbation of Japan is found on the Kantor plain which enables horizontal expansion of the towns. Likewise, the great lakes conurbation has also developed due to the gently sloping landscape which enabled the horizontal expansion of the towns.
- Availability of power. Power can be the form of HEP oil, natural gas coal, nuclear or any other form of power. Such power is used for both domestic and industrial purposes and therefore with time the various towns that have come up resulting into conurbations for example the Ruhr conurbation of German had coal as the major source of power in the olden days though later other sources were also found and used.
- Supportive government policy. The government set up basic infrastructure for example roads, railway lines together with social amenities for example schools, health centers, recreation facilities, and others all of which attract people inn a certain area inter developing into towns, and these towns merge to form conurbations.
- Strategic location is also responsible for the conurbation growth. Some areas are strategically positioned for trade and commerce, easy accessibility as well as linkage with other areas of the country for example the eastern sea board and the great lakes region of USA which have cheap water transport and a nearer to Europe which position made it develop faster into major towns and these later merged to form conurbations.
- Favorable climatic conditions. People always settle in areas with favorable climatic conditions for both settlement and other economic activities therefore areas with favorable climatic conditions are likely to develop into more towns compared to areas with unfavorable climatic conditions for example the eastern seaboard of the USA is ice-free due to the influence of the North Atlantic drift which made the area to develop into a conurbation compared to other areas like on the western seaboard with the harsh climatic condition, for example, freezing during the winter season.
- Rapid industrial growth. As industries locate in certain areas more industries are likely to come and join them due to the industrial inertia (location advantages) that are found in the area. As more industries join the already existing industries there will be the horizontal expansion of the industrial towns as well as the attraction of more people in the area resulting in an industrial conurbation.
- Political stability. For towns to develop, they attract more people and later merge to form conurbations. There must be a long period of stability as well as investments. This stability results in rapid urban growth and development which later transforms into conurbations.
- Historical factors. The eastern seaboard of the USA developed into a major industrial area due to the role of migrants who had come into industrialized western Europe. These setup industries leading to the growth of towns and cities which later merged to form conurbations. Similarly, the conurbations of Eastern China comprising of towns like Beijing, Nanjing, Shenyang, Lanju and others trace their early development to the early settlement b the Japanese who set up small scale industries in the area leading to their growth and development.
- Availability of better social and economic infrastructures for example roads and railway lines, health facilities, recreation facilities and many others which continue to pull or attract man people in the area. The more the population the increase will be in demand for various services and facilities resulting in expansion of the already existing towns to merge with other neighboring towns resulting in conurbation growth.