Glossary:City

Common term: City; Plural: Cities; Technical terms: Densely populated area / City with urban centre of at least 50.000 inhabitants


Short definition: A city is a local administrative unit (LAU) where the majority of the population lives in an urban centre of at least 50 000 inhabitants. This is part of the EU-OECD functional urban area definition (EU-OECD FUA).

Long description: In a first step all the municipalities with at least 50% of their population in an urban centre are selected. This is list is then verified in three ways:

  • 1. Does at least 75 % of the population of each urban centre live in in a city? If not, make the LAU2 with highest urban centre inhabitants a city (or part of a city)
  • 2. Verify if there is a link to the political level. If the political level is slightly larger (Figure1 -Toulouse) or slightly smaller (Figure 2 -Vienna), the city can be modified if for the new city two conditions are respected: at least 50% of its population lives in an urban centre and 75% of the population of the urban centre lives in a city.


Figure 1: High density cells, urban centre and city (Toulouse)


Figure 2: High density cells, urban centre and city (Wien)


  • 3. If the urban centre methodology fails to identify an urban centre of 50 000 inhabitants or more, for example due to a complicated geography (river, lake, fjords, steep slopes…). A city can be added to cover this urban centre. For example, this is the case for Tromsø.


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