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Regional Breakdowns, Megalopolis
gentle hills, Megalopolis, transition zone, southern Virginia, largest population
The region known as Megalopolis is a heavily populated area extending more than 800 km (500 mi) along a northeast-southwest axis from southern Maine to southern Virginia. Although it encompasses only 130,000 sq km (50,000 sq mi), or about 1 percent of the continent, Megalopolis held some 45 million people in the late 1990s, the second largest population of any U.S. region. It contains the world's greatest concentration of urban areas.
Three characteristics define Megalopolis as a distinct region: high population density, major urban centers growing toward one another, and a large demand for primary goods that are brought in from other regions. Moreover, it is a region of social and economic superlatives—urban conveniences and problems, great wealth and poverty, high population concentrations, and one of the world’s most varied population mixes.
The region sits on the coastal plain along the northeast edge of the United States. The eastern boundary of Megalopolis is the Atlantic shoreline. On the western boundary of Megalopolis, high urban population densities and land-use patterns fade gradually into the lower population densities and land-use patterns of rural areas. The inland boundary is defined toward the south by the Appalachian hill lands and in the north by a transition zone that gradually gives way to the rural communities of upstate New York and northern New England.
The western portion of Megalopolis appears quite different from the skyscrapers and urban frenzy of the east. The small farms and gentle hills, however, serve the east with agricultural products and with quiet, beautiful scenery that provides a welcome escape for city dwellers whose day-to-day contact with the natural environment is practically nonexistent.
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