What is a Half-Urban World?


The differences in urban definitions can be substantial. According to the UN, urban definitions can require a population of as much as 50,000, and as little as 200, as in Sweden. With thresholds so low as 200, 1,000 or 2,500 population, the world urbanization data includes not only "cities," but also smaller settlements like small towns and villages (though there is no standard definition to differentiate between cities, towns and villages and the definitional problem is made worse by the sometimes use of these terms for administrative boundaries).

It is generally recognized that the world’s largest urban area is Tokyo, with a population of more than 35 million. However, there is no consensus about the smallest urban area in the world. Our candidate is Godegård, located in the Motala municipality (Östergötland County) in Sweden. The 2010 census indicated that Godegård had a population of 200 residents, at the urban definition threshold for Sweden. Godegårdians live in an urban area of 0.10 square miles or 0.26 square kilometers (see Google Earth image above).

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