A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to smaller metropolitan areas which are located somewhat near to, but are mostly independent of larger metropolitan areas.


Satellite cities are small or medium-sized cities near a large metropolis, that:

  • predate the metropolis' suburban expansion
  • are at least partially independent from that metropolis economically and socially
  • are physically separated from the metropolis by rural territory or by a major geographic barrier such as a large river; satellite cities should have their own independent urbanized area, or equivalent
  • have their own bedroom communities
  • have a traditional downtown surrounded by traditional "inner city" neighborhoods
  • may or may not be counted as part of the large metropolis' Combined Statistical Area

Quick reference

In the United States, the easiest way to tell if a community is a satellite city or some other type of development (see below) is to refer to the List of United States urban areas, to see if it has its own independent urbanized area or is considered to be part of the urbanized area of its larger neighbor. This rule has exceptions, but should generally be followed.

Satellite cities versus other types of settlement

Satellite cities are different from and are sometimes confused with the following related patterns of development.


Satellite cities differ from suburbs in that they have distinct employment bases, commutersheds, and cultural offerings from the central metropolis, as well as an independent municipal government. Satellite cities are not bedroom communities.

Edge cities

Satellite cities differ from edge cities, which are suburbs with large employment bases and cultural offerings, in that satellite cities must have a true historic downtown, a distinct independent municipal government, existed as a city prior to becoming interconnected with the larger metropolitan core, and are surrounded by both their own family of bedroom communities and a belt of rural land between themselves and the central city.[citation needed]

Conceptually, both satellite cities and some types of edge city could be (and once were) self-sufficient communities outside of their larger metropolitan areas, but have become interconnected due to the suburban expansion of the larger metropolis. However, while edge cities may have their own government and share many characteristics with satellite cities, they are much more physically integrated with the core city and would not exist in anything like their present form if not for the suburban expansion of their larger neighbor. Edge cities are activity nodes within a metro area, not miniature metro areas themselves.

Some satellite cities that are particularly close or well connected to their larger neighbors and/or have their own historic downtown may also qualify as the uptown variety of edge cities, but the terms are not synonymous.

Multi-polar cities

In some cases large metropolitan areas have multiple centers of close to equal importance. These multi-polar cities are often referred to as twin cities. Multi-polar cities differ from satellite cities in such cases :

  • satellites are clearly much less important than the larger center around which they are located, while the various nodes of multi-polar cities are close to each other in importance
  • satellites are separated from the larger center by a substantial belt of rural territory, while twin cities may be fully integrated in physical form

For example, Fort Worth, Texas is a twin of Dallas, Texas because though Fort Worth is somewhat smaller, it is proportionally close enough and physically integrated enough with Dallas to be considered a twin rather than a satellite. Generally speaking, cities that are listed as being part of the same urbanized area should be considered twins, rather than one having a satellite relationship to the other.

Metropolitan areas

Conceptually, satellite cities are miniature metro areas on the fringe of larger ones. Satellite cities are sometimes listed as part of the larger metro area, and sometimes listed as totally independent. In the United States, satellite cities are often (but not always) listed as independent Metropolitan Statistical Areas within a single Combined Statistical Area that is unified with the larger metropolis.













  • Piraeus (historical satellite and seaport of Athens, typical example)


Sec V Office towers, Kolkata, India.
Hiranandani Meadows Thane, India.
Hitech city, Hyderabad, India.
Cyber gate way hi-tecc IT park hyderabad, India.






New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand defines a satellite urban community as one where 20 percent or more of the resident population's work in a main urban area (30,000 or more). The following towns meet this criterion:[4]






South Korea



Satellites of İstanbul:

Satellites of Ankara:

Satellite of İzmir:

United Kingdom

United States


See also



  1. ^ a b Hasnat, Md. Mehedi; Hoque, Md. Shamsul (February 2016). "Developing Satellite Towns: A Solution to Housing Problem or Creation of New Problems" (PDF). International Journal of Engineering and Technology. International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology. 8 (1): 50–56. doi:10.7763/IJET.2016.V8.857. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Mahmud, Abu Hayat (26 January 2014). "Rajuk's big projects facing several hurdles". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "NCR Region of Delhi: Gurgaon, sonepat, Noida, Faridabad & Ghaziabad Shakuntala". Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "New Zealand: An Urban/Rural Profile" (PDF). Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 

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