The largest urban region in the world – the Los Angeles Megalopolis

Our home in Orange County is referred to by people outside of Southern California as “L.A.” or “Greater L.A.”. Our Airport is listed as Orange County or Irvine or Santa Ana. When we say we are from Orange County, people look at us as someone who comes from a city that is so unknown, that we need to use the county name.

So what is the reality? Where are we from? Here are some quotes that I collected:

“the largest (areawise) urban regions in the world – the Los Angeles megalopolis”
Applied Information Science Branch of NASA

“Greater Los Angeles (also referred to locally as Southern California or The Southland) is such a sprawling area that residents refer to broad general sub-regions. It is not always meaningful to refer to Los Angeles as a distinct city, but people outside of Southern California commonly refer to the entire region as “L.A.,” even though there are five counties, over 100 distinct municipalities, hundreds of neighborhoods and districts, and more people than any individual state except for Texas, New York, and Florida.

Southern California refers to the southern portion of the state of California, roughly covering the following eight counties (in descending order of population): Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Imperial.”

“What are the spatial boundaries of “Los Angeles”? Do we mean the city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, the contiguous built-up area that constitutes “greater Los Angeles,” or a definition based on the proportion of the local population that is employed in “Los Angeles”? Does “Los Angeles” include San Diego? Nighttime satellite photos of city lights reveal a single unbroken gigalopolis from Santa Barbara to Tijuana: So where is Los Angeles? We want to use the contiguous built-up area as our main way of spatially defining cities.”
-Urbanization and Empire Formation Project
Institute for Research on World-Systems, UC Riverside.

“The southern California megalopolis, extending from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, and centered around the city of Los Angeles, is the largest population and industrial center in the western United States, and the second largest in the nation.”
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Marine and Coastal Surveys

The Los Angeles metropolitan area (consists of) Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange Counties…
Encyclopedia Wikipedia

The Greater Los Angeles region, we’ve all been told, is not a City, at least not in the European or East Coast sense of the word. LA is a collection of suburbs in search of a City, the detractors say.
Southern California Association of Governments

By writing significantly about development issues around yet outside of Los Angeles city proper (in Orange County, Riverside County, Ventura County, Santa Monica), Fulton succeeds in demonstrating the profound interconnectedness of Southern California as a region.
Los Angeles Studies, Torin Monahan

So as you can see our geographical definition is not unique to just America but to the entire human history. We are one entity functioning as a “city” so big that it can contain several American States. We cannot limit ourselves to saying that we are from a the city of Irvine or Santa Ana or Anaheim. That would not express the geography of our residence. We are not Angelinos. We are not from L.A.

We are simply Southern Californians. All ten of California’s southern most counties.


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