Texas Triangle a Top 10 Global Mega-RegionCaught this Richard Florida blog post on the rise of global mega-regions - essentially continuous urban areas like the Boston-NYC-Philly-DC corridor. In that post he links to a recent paper he collaborated on identifying the top 40 mega-regions in the world:
This paper uses a global dataset of nighttime light emissions to produce an objectively consistent set of mega-regions for the globe. We draw on high resolution population data to estimate the population of each of these regions. We then process the light data in combination with published estimates of national GDP to produce rough but useful estimates of the economic activity of each region. We also present estimates of technological and scientific innovation. We identify 40 mega-regions with economic output of more than $100 billion that produce 66 percent of world output and accounts for 85 percent of global innovation... (yet cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of the earth, and are home to less than 18% of the world’s population)Unfortunately, something in their methodology led them to split Texas into two mega-regions, the Dallas-San Antonio corridor, and the Houston-New Orleans corridor, extending all the way the Florida panhandle (see map on p.27). Of course, anybody familiar with Houston's economy knows it has far more connections to the rest of the Texas Triangle cities than it does to NOLA and points east, and I let him know in the comments. The true mega-region is the Texas Triangle Megalopolis, as identified by the Federal Reserve Bank.
He has a table of the 40 mega-regions on p.31, and if you combine our two into a single extended Texas Triangle mega-region, our economy totals up to $700 billion in GDP (2000), which makes it the 10th largest in the world, just barely behind Charlotte-Atlanta (most of 4 states, $730B) and Southern California ($710B), and 5th largest in the U.S. (Boston-NYC-DC and the Chicago-Pittsburgh greater Midwest are #2 and 3 in the world respectively). #1 is greater Tokyo, with 55 million people and $2.5 trillion of GDP.
Our combined region has 20 million people (#23), a patents rank of 11, and scientific citations rank of 8. From an aviation perspective, Houston is connected nonstop to 15 of the top 20 (outside of ourselves), with gaps to 2 regions of Japan beyond Tokyo, Italy, Seoul-South Korea, and the French-Spanish Riviera.
Somewhat surprisingly, some of the most talked-about Asian mega-cities fell in the bottom half economically, but you can expect them to move up eventually given their rapid economic growth and gigantic populations: greater Hong Kong (45m), Shanghai (66m), Beijing (43m), and Delhi-Lahore with a whopping 121 million people.