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Old 12-03-2017, 08:59 AM
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This topic has always fascinated me, which city sort of stood in this role over time. I believe progression over the last 500 yrs. has been Beijing->London->New York City->Tokyo (with Constantinople I believe having a small stint in there at beginning)?

With that being said, Tokyo has been it for modern period (since 50s, I believe, though it’s a prefecture so hard to say). I believe it is still officially recognized by various organizations (UN, Guinness BWR) as such. It still I think technically has largest urban agglomeration Population (38M). Not sure why I’m competitive about it, but as a part of North America, I remember looking at lists in elementary school that had NYC I believe in Top 5 and Mexico City at Number 2 as a source of continental pride. But, of late, WH cities have been falling compared to Asian counterparts.

My question is, Tokyo, is it still the world’s largest (because I don’t believe it is across all metrics) which factors would make it stay as such, or if it changes, when will it. Will the area of mass populace around South China (Guangzhou, listed as 44m, officially overtake it or is that too broad a definition because there are 9 City centers in that area?) how reliable are population estimates of cities over there. I am just curious. Tokyo still seems to be prevailing thought, but I wonder when/if that will change, and if so, whom.
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:20 AM
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Not exactly the most trustworthy source, but an easy one at least.
The three metrics used for population are, city proper, metro area, urban area. How reliable/consistent are each, which is best?

City Proper List:
1. Chongqing
2. Shanghai
3. Delhi
4. Beijing
5. Mumbai
6. Lagos
7. Karachi
8. Dhaka
9. Guangzhou
10. Istanbul

Metropolitan Area:
1. Guangzhou
2. Tokyo
3. Shanghai
4. Nanjing
5. Delhi
6. Jakarta
7. Chongqing
8. Mumbai
9. Sao Paulo
10. Lagos

Urban Area:
1. Tokyo (Leader Here Still)
2. Sao Paulo
3. Jakarta
4. Seoul
5. New York City (Does pretty well here)
6. Shanghai
7. Mumbai
8. Cairo
9. Delhi
10. Mexico City

Recent 10 Over History:
1. Tokyo 1720 (Edo), 1965-
2. New York City 1925-1965
3. London 1825-1925
4. Beijing 1425-1637, 1710-1825
5. Ayutthaya (Thailand) 1700
6. Istanbul (Constantinople) 340-500, 1127-1160, 1637-1700
7. Paris 1684
8. Delhi 1670-1684
9. Agra 1635
10 Nanjing 1358-1420
and on....

Last edited by cavsfan137; 12-03-2017 at 09:29 AM..
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:20 AM
Location: In the heights
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I think in terms of a continuous and well-connected urban area, Tokyo and its metro is probably still the most populous.

The most likely contender for overtaking it right now is probably some configuration of the Pearl River Delta area (which Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong among others are a part of). China may have a slowed population growth rate, but it's not zero and the rural areas are getting depopulated pretty quickly with people seeking out the urban areas so the population and the development in that region will continue to rise. I think it's a reasonable argument to say that much of that is not a single metropolitan area at the moment, but rather several very large ones close to each other, but as the population grows and development continues, it'll probably be reasonable to consider much of it as one in the coming decade. There's also a lot of development towards that at the moment with a massive bridge to be open connecting Hong Kong to Macao and Zhuhai across the bay.

The only other potential contender I can think of is if for some reason there was a significant amount of population growth and infrastructure development between Philadelphia and NYC and that the pair then operate as a single metropolitan area, but that seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
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Old 12-03-2017, 02:57 PM
Location: In the heights
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And if anything, major Chinese cities have a massive undercount. There's a system called hukou which means you need to get an official permit to be a resident of a city--getting this can be quite difficult so a lot of major cities in China are likely drastically undercounted.
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Old 12-03-2017, 04:37 PM
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Tokyo still wins in the urban area, but not in the city proper department, though the definition of city proper is entirely arbitrary. There is no hard rule as to what it may constitute and cities use different yardsticks to measure them. In New York, it’s the 5 boroughs, in Paris its the arrondisements.

I’m still not entirely sure what the difference between metropolitan and urban area is.
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:22 PM
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Thank you for your thoughts and info, all. So, it does seem like Tokyo is poised to hold that "title" at least in upcoming decades. Reason I say that, is while Tokyo is a prefecture with various parts, it is generally recognized as one piece. I have heard estimates that the Pearl River Delta "Metro" might even have 80 Million people in total in upcoming decades, which is astounding. That being said, is there one city from that area that can speak for all the others, in the way that Tokyo can? I would tend to think not, as Macau, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai (I'm having difficulty recalling the others), while interconnected, are separate entities. Could one potentially stand above all others to in a sense, be the "face" for that region?? Right now it's Hong Kong on a global scale, but Hong Kong is not the largest population-wise. The project for the bridge looks absolutely incredible. Opening that soon?! My last hurrah trip for wife and I before potentially having kids, buying house, etc. I'm hoping to be Far East. I'd like to at very least take in Beijing, Tokyo, possibly Hong Kong/Pearl River Delta area for a few days each. Interesting, I never knew that either, regarding the undercount, and to MWR, yeah, I was curious on whether there was some universal definition for one of the 3, but I don't believe there is (though UA might be most reliable for what were looking at). Thanks to you both!
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Old 12-03-2017, 06:41 PM
Location: Buenos Aires and La Plata, ARG
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This source is very exhaustive on the population topic: City Population - Population Statistics in Maps and Charts for Cities, Agglomerations and Administrative Divisions of all Countries of the World

Guangzhou is quickly becoming the largest city in the world and will hold that title for a very long time. This source already puts it at nº1. But i think that still lacks some more conurbation to make an unit.

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Old 12-03-2017, 06:43 PM
Location: Earth
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tokyo should speak more english
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