Urban Megaregions of the United States – “Boring Version”

I had so much fun going through all of the feedback, positive and negative, for my Urban Megaregions of the United States map. I’m really happy that so many of y’all enjoyed it. By far the most received request was for a more conservative version (or as I called it, the “boring version”), with higher population density requirements.

I’ll be the first to admit that the 20-persons-per-square-kilometer threshold that I set for the original map is extremely generous. To folks who live in high-density places like Europe, or in the Boston-Washington corridor, 20-persons-per-square-mile might as well be barren wasteland. Having grown up in West Texas, surrounded by actual barren wasteland, there is a world of difference to me, personally, between a population density of 0 and a population density of 20… but it’s all relative, I suppose.

The reason that I had set the cut-off so low was that I was trying to recreate the famous Emerging Megaregions map using objective criteria, and the only way to produce a map approaching something like Emerging Megaregions was to be extremely generous in defining what constituted an urban corridor. When you get right down to it, there is really only one true megalopolis in the United States, and that is the Boston-Washington corridor — and I didn’t see much use or fun in producing a map of U.S. megaregions with one lonely, solitary megalopolis. But, since y’all asked for it, here it is! The cutoff for this version is now 100-persons-per-square-kilometer.

To the good citizens of Philadelphia who recoiled in horror at my non-inclusion of Philadelphia in the list of major hubs for the Northeast Megalopolis, please accept my apologies. I did not intentionally omit Philadelphia — I was just using a little formula that I devised for calculating hubs, and Philadelphia just kinda got overshadowed by NYC. (My apology also extends to the good people of San Diego, San Jose, Fort Worth, and St. Paul, who suffered the same fate.) I discarded that methodology for this version, so please note that Philadelphia and San Jose are now designated as major hubs of their new, smaller regions. People of Philadelphia, please stop sending me vaguely threating Gritty memes. Thanks, jabronis.

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Tools: Excel for data management, ArcGIS Pro for mapping, and GIMP for final design.