Here’s a question — is there a limit to how large a city can be and still be considered a city (as opposed to a province/state or region)? That question popped into my mind when I read an article in The New York Times recently about China’s plans to create a super-city by combining Beijing with some of its surrounding cities and provinces.
For decades, China’s government has tried to limit the size of Beijing, the capital, through draconian residency permits. Now, the government has embarked on an ambitious plan to make Beijing the center of a new supercity of 130 million people.
“The supercity is the vanguard of economic reform,” said Liu Gang, a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin who advises local governments on regional development. “It reflects the senior leadership’s views on the need for integration, innovation and environmental protection.”
The new region will link the research facilities and creative culture of Beijing with the economic muscle of the port city of Tianjin and the hinterlands of Hebei Province, forcing areas that have never cooperated to work together.
To accompany the article, Jonah Kessel produced this excellent video to give you a glimpse of what this new “city” will be like.
And note this:
But the new supercity is intended to be different in scope and conception. It would be spread over 82,000 square miles, about the size of Kansas, and hold a population larger than a third of the United States.
So, to my original question — is a city the size of Kansas really a city?