The research covers international megacities — London, Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Moscow, and Buenos Aires — that face unique development challenges. We also examined cases of rapidly growing agglomerations (from 1.5 to 5 million residents), including Milan, Lyon, Auckland, Copenhagen-Malmo, Montreal, and Brisbane. Other Russian metropolitan areas — Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Makhachkala-Kaspiysk, Perm, Samara-Tolyatti, and Vladivostok — were incorporated as well.
Agglomeration boundaries were determined in accordance with Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) methods based on population density and daily commuting patterns. We were the first to apply data from mobile phone operators in grid cells of one square kilometre to analyse agglomerations in Russia.
The team examined connections between spatial development and urban governance, innovative practices for inter-municipal cooperation, and funding mechanisms for large infrastructure projects. In addition to making detailed analyses of strategic planning documents and open sources, we conducted interviews with representatives of local governments and subject experts. This gave us deeper insight into the structures of agglomerations and helped us test our hypotheses.
Key findings, cartographic data, and diagrams are available online at agglomerations.ru.
This platform helps visualise urban development in the agglomerations via ten or more socioeconomic indicators at the smallest available scale. It also shows complex metropolitan governance mechanisms and interconnections delivered in a transparent interactive format. Additionally, there is a tool that allows users to compare the agglomerations based on different criteria.