Tokyo Bay

Tokyo, San Francisco, New York – the models

The Chinese newspapers themselves make the comparison, backed by Mainland scholars: GBA will surpass the three major bay areas in the world (San Francisco, New York and Tokyo). 

MB October Special Report | GBA: Greater Expectations

Greater Tokyo Area 

The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world, with a 2016 United Nations estimate putting the total population at 38,140,000.  

Occupying some 13,500 km2 (5,200 mi2), it has a population density of 2,642 people/km2. It is the second largest single metropolitan area in the world in terms of built-up or urban function landmass at 8,547 km2 (3,300 mi2), behind only New YorkCity at 11,642 km2 (4,495 mi2). It comprises the Kantō region (including Tokyo Metropolis and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma) as well as the prefecture of Yamanashi of the neighbouring Chūbu region.  

The area supports the largest metropolitan economy in the world, with a total nominal GDP of approximately US$2 trillion in 2008. According to research published by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the agglomeration of Tokyo produced a total GDP of US$1.5 trillion in 2008 (at purchasing power parity), ranking again as the largest urban agglomeration GDP in the world. 

Tokyo Bay is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Uraga Channel and included approximately 249 square kilometres of reclaimed land in 2012. 

San Francisco Bay Area 

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to approximately 7.75 million to 9.67 million people, depending upon what combined statistical area we choose (the borders are not officially delineated). Roughly half of the region’s residents are Hispanic, Asian, African American or Pacific Islander. 

The Bay Area includes San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun Bay estuaries in the northern part of the U.S. state of California. Home to 101 municipalities and nine counties, governance of the Bay Area is multifaceted and involves numerous local and regional actors, each with wide-ranging and overlapping responsibilities.  

Various U.S. federal government agencies use definitions that differ from their local counterparts’ nine-county definition, which is why government in the San Francisco Bay Area comprises multiple agencies, including 101 city and nine county governments, a dozen regional agencies, and a large number of single-purpose special districts such as municipal utility districts and transit districts. 

The post-war Bay Area saw huge economic growth in the financial and technology industries, creating a vibrant and diverse economy with a gross domestic product of over US$800 billion, and home to the second highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the United States. 

New York metropolitan area 

The New York metropolitan area (not a bay area) is the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass, at 11,640 km2. The metropolitan area includes New York City (the most populous city in the United States), Long Island, and the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley in the state of New York; the five largest cities in New Jersey – Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, and Edison, and their vicinities; six of the seven largest cities in Connecticut – Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury, and their vicinities. 

The New York metropolitan area remains, by a significant margin, the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (20.3 million residents in 2017) and the Combined Statistical Area (23.7 million residents in 2016). It is the largest urban agglomeration in the Americas and the tenth largest in the world. The New York metropolitan area continues to be the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States,with the largest foreign-born population of any metropolitan region in the world.  

The Metropolitan Statistical Area occupies 17,405 km2, while the Combined Statistical Area is 34,493 km2, encompassing an ethnically and geographically diverse region. The New York metropolitan area’s population is larger than that of the state of New York, and the metropolitan airspace accommodated over 130 million passengers in 2016. 

In 2012, the New York metropolitan area was also home to seven of the 25 wealthiest counties in the United States by median household income, according to the American Community Survey. According to Forbes, in 2014, the New York City metropolitan area was home to eight of the top ten ZIP codes in the United States by median housing price, with six in Manhattan alone.  

(Primary source: Wikipedia) 

Awkward comparisons 

“Comparisons to Silicon Valley or the Tokyo Bay Area are a bit awkward. First, to rename this region a bay area (which it is not, unlike Tokyo and San Francisco) seems a bit unnecessary,” remarked Macau Business Senior Analyst José I. Duarte in a recent opinion piece. 

Even in China there are those who understand that GBA “will be starkly different from, for example, the San Francisco, New York and Tokyo bay areas. While it is all within one nation, it also links two ‘systems’, three currencies and multiple cities. This makes the plan highly convoluted, and such complexity could pose far more challenges than those found in other bay areas,” say Feng Da Hsuan and Liang Hai Ming of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute (SCMP). 

But these are minority opinions: the Chinese newspapers are the first to make the comparison, backed by Mainland scholars: GBA will surpass the three major bay areas in the world (San Francisco, New York and Tokyo).  

“The integration of Bay Area cities will be comparable to the New York Bay Area, theSan Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo Bay Area in the future,” is the opinion of ChunyueZhao, Zhuhai College of Jilin University. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Duarte observes that “re-labelling the region also seems to belittle the very long and rich history of this region – while its boundaries and rationale acknowledge its history both implicitly and explicitly.” 

Guandong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area vs. other major global deltas