Last edited 13 Nov 2020


In very broad terms, the word agglomeration refers to a collection or assemblage of things, such as a particular type of buildings. The term urban agglomeration refers to the concentration of economic activity in urban areas.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs suggests that urban agglomeration: ‘…refers to the population contained within the contours of a contiguous territory inhabited at urban density levels without regard to administrative boundaries. It usually incorporates the population in a city or town plus that in the suburban areas lying outside of, but being adjacent to, the city boundaries. Whenever possible, data classified according to the concept of urban agglomeration are used. However, some countries do not produce data according to the concept of urban agglomeration but use instead that of metropolitan area or city proper. If possible, such data are adjusted to conform to the concept urban agglomeration. When sufficient information is not available to permit such an adjustment, data based on the concept of city proper or metropolitan area are used.’ Ref

The Green Book, Central Government Guidance On Appraisal And Evaluation, Published by HM Treasury in 2018, suggests that agglomeration benefits: ‘…come when firms and/or people locate near one another in geographical clusters’

See also: Megalopolis.

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