Twin citiesTwin cities are either:
- two towns or cities that are geographically close to each other, and often referred to collectively; or
- two distant cites which, perhaps becasue of similar circumstances, such as industrial decline, or demographics, agree to partner each other and share exepertise (e.g. Birmingham and Chicago).
Perhaps the most famous example in the US is the combination of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Saint Paul, Minnesota (although this twin city area actually includes eleven counties, including two in western Wisconsin, and dozens of cities; Minneapolis and St. Paul happen to be the largest of these).
Twin cities are often separated by a river - cities without this physical barrier more often become a single entity, as with the growth of London from the what is now called the City of London into its surroundings to encompass the City of Westminster and other towns.
Some twin cities form on opposite sides of natural or governmental boundaries as conduits for trade between the two sides. For instance, Albury and Wodonga in south-eastern Australia are on the state border between New South Wales and Victoria), and formed as customs posts when the two states were independent colonies. The border between the United States and Mexico is significant in this respect because there is a chain of twin cities, particularly around the Rio Grande valley. Others began as distinct cities, but growth caused them to merge into each other and assume a single identity; an example of this is Budapest.
Note that not all geographically close cities are combined in this way. In the United Kingdom, for example, the cities of Leeds and Bradford are very close, but have strong separate identities and would not see themselves as part of the same entity.
Examples of twin cities:
- Bloomington, Illinois - Normal, Illinois
- Bluefield, West Virginia - Bluefield, Virginia
- Brownsville, Texas - Matamoros, Mexico
- Bristol, Tennessee - Bristol, Virginia
- Champaign, Illinois - Urbana, Illinois
- Columbus, Georgia - Phenix City, Alabama
- Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas
- Detroit, Michigan - Windsor, Ontario
- Douglas, Arizona - Agua Prieta, Mexico
- Duluth, Minnesota - Superior, Wisconsin (Called "The Twin Ports"; both are seaports on Lake Superior)
- Eagle Pass, Texas - Piedras Negras, Mexico
- El Paso, Texas - Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
- Fargo, North Dakota - Moorhead, Minnesota
- Görlitz, Germany - Zgorzelec, Poland
- Hyderabad - Secunderabad, India
- Kansas City, Missouri - Kansas City, Kansas
- Kitchener - Waterloo, Ontario
- Laredo, Texas - Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
- Lloydminster, Alberta - Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
- McAllen, Texas - Reynosa, Mexico
- Mexicali, Mexico - Calexico, California
- Niagara Falls, New York - Niagara Falls, Ontario
- Nogales, Arizona - Nogales, Mexico
- Odessa - Midland, Texas
- Ottawa, Ontario - Gatineau, Quebec
- Phoenix - Scottsdale, Arizona
- Raleigh - Durham, North Carolina (But also called Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, or The Research Triangle)
- San Diego, California - Tijuana, Mexico
- San Francisco - Oakland, California
- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
- South Lake Tahoe, California - Stateline, Nevada
- Texarkana, Texas - Texarkana, Arkansas
- Tokyo - Yokohama, Japan
- Ulm, Baden-Württemberg - Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Germany
- Yuma, Arizona - San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico
Contrast Twin Cities to the term twin towns, a pairing of geographically separate towns (usually international).
Compare with the term Quad Cities, which refers to a similar group of four towns. Perhaps the most famous of these are the towns of Davenport, Iowa - Bettendorf, Iowa - Rock Island, Illinois - Moline, Illinois, all in the United States. Of these, the Iowa and Illinois towns are separated by the Mississippi River.