I want to perform an analysis on urban areas in the UK. As, indeed, urban areas can be defined in multiple ways, I would like to rely on some well-accepted definitions and polygons.

I found this EU project that has nice data about functional urban areas in the Union, but the source data is rather old (2000).

Then I found UK city regions, one of the many admin units in the UK, but I can't find shapefiles for them (and they look very large).

Moreover, I would like to find a point dataset with cities and towns (a gazetteer) in the UK, with population information in order to use them as labels dynamically (e.g., show cities > 1M, etc.). The OS Open Names product is way too detailed, and does not seem to contain a handy categorisation between small and large centres.

Any tips?

  • If you are after open data then the place to ask your question may be the Open Data Stack Exchange.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 11 '17 at 11:50

Through their Open Geography Portal ONS provide downloads of boundaries of Urban Audit Boundaries / Functional Urban Areas as well as a seperate Built-Up areas dataset. The latter I think is for England/Wales only although you can get a Settlements/Localities dataset for Scotland from National Records of Scotland here

  • Excellent answer, thank you! Would you happen to know also where to find some point datasets of cities, excluding the usual GeoNames?
    – Strabonio
    Dec 11 '17 at 17:35
  • As an alternative to OS Open Names there is the older (now deprecated) OS 1:50,000 gazetteer. It includes a FeatureType attribute e.g. City / Town etc. OS have now deprecated the dataset but the most recent version that was released it available from the mySociety open data cache
    – cearban
    Dec 12 '17 at 9:05

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