It is often said that my home town, Perth Western Australia, is the most isolated city in the world. Given that many wild and boastful things are said about this city, I do wonder whether this is in fact true.
The first problem lies in defining the word “city”. Webster’s Unabridged uses “an incorporated municipality, usually governed by a mayor and a board of aldermen or councilmen”; as I understand it, a “city” in America is defined as a municipal centre that has been formally incorporated as a city by virtue of having been granted a city charter.
For the purposes of this GQ, however, let’s define “city” by a more accesible universal measure: resident population. Further, let’s pretend a population centre must be home to 500,000 or more permanent residents in order to qualify as a “city”.
(I’m open to discussion on whether this is an appropriate definition.)
The next problem lies in defining “most isolated”. For a working definition, let’s say that the “most isolated” city in the world is the city with the greatest distance between it and another city.
Population: 1.4 million.
(1) Adelaide, South Australia: 1307 miles (2104 km), as the crow flies.
(2) Surabaya, East Java Indonesia: 1705 miles (2745 km), as the crow flies.
Can this be beaten?
(Here’s a handy calculator for determining the distance between two population centres: http://www.indo.com/distance/index.html)