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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?

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For an existing area definition you might want to have a look at European statistic NUTS regions.

There are different levels of granularity, as can be seen in this maps from eurostat:

Google also reveals a few random sources for the respective shapefiles (not reviewed in detail):

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