Agglomeration is the act and the result of agglomerating: gathering many elements, coupling or gluing different substances or fragments of something. The most common use of the term is found within the framework of the notion of urban agglomeration.
An urban agglomeration is a space formed by the urban area belonging to a city and by the suburban areas that are in its surroundings. In this way, a region is generated that can cross various administrative divisions based on demographic and urban growth.
Usually, an urban agglomeration develops around a big city. Due to economic and social issues, new developments begin to appear in its vicinity, which often transform into satellite towns. The own growth of the city beyond its limits also causes the appearance of these urban agglomerations.
In Argentina, for example, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (the Federal Capital) and the so-called Greater Buenos Aires form a large urban agglomeration that has more than fifteen million inhabitants. In this case, the agglomeration includes the City of Buenos Aires and districts belonging to the Province of Buenos Aires such as Avellaneda, Florencio Varela, La Matanza, Quilmes, San Isidro and Vicente López, among others. The urban agglomeration of Buenos Aires is the main economic pole of the country.
By looking at an urban agglomeration, therefore, it is possible to distinguish between two elements: the city and the suburbs. These are the two main components of its structure, and each has its own characteristics and even its own history, although at a certain point they become part of a whole.
The city of an urban agglomeration is also known by the name of central nucleus, and it is the pivot on which its entire structure is generated. Its density is high, and it is there where the greatest number of sources of employment exist and activities belonging to the tertiary sector predominate.
For its part, the tertiary sector, also known as the service sector, is a concept in the field of economics that refers to any activity linked to services that do not produce or transform material goods; In other words, it is possible to say that services are offered in this sector that seek to satisfy certain needs of the population, such as commerce, tourism, communications, entertainment, leisure, hospitality, education and health..
This nucleus is characterized by having most of the urban-type infrastructure and equipment services, as well as a more solid organization than the rest of the surrounding territories. It is from this point that the different transport routes that serve to communicate the city with the other components, that is, the suburbs, generally arise radially.
The suburbs of an urban agglomeration surround the city and are grouped along the transport routes, forming concentric circles. Among its characteristics, a lower population density stands out than in the nucleus, which is usually discontinuous and merges progressively with the sub-rural area the further they are from the nucleus.
An agglomeration of people, on the other hand, is a massive gathering of individuals: “The agglomeration of fans made it difficult for the players to see”, “I don’t usually go to concerts of this magnitude because I am afraid of the agglomeration of people”, “Ante the impressive discounts of the store, the agglomeration of customers was not far from an apocalyptic painting ».
From the meaning of agglomeration, one can also speak of agglomerate (the rock made up of solidified pieces of lava) and of agglomerated wood (created by the union of shavings with glue), among other concepts.