Cities defined mainly from the administrative aspect can create impact and problems especially in the case of China. However, only a few researchers from China have attempted to identify urban areas from the morphology dimension. In addition, previous studies have been mostly based on the national and regional scales or a single prefecture city and have completely ignored cross-boundary cities. Defining urban areas on the basis of a single data type also has limitations. To address these problems, this study integrates point of interest and nighttime light data, applies the breaking point analysis method to determine the physical geographic scope of the Guangzhou–Foshan cross-border city, and then compares this city with Beijing and Shanghai. Results show that Guangzhou–Foshan comprises one core urban area and six suburban counties, among which the core urban area extends across the administrative boundaries of Guangzhou and Foshan. The urban area and average urban radius of Guangzhou–Foshan are larger than those of Beijing and Shanghai, and this finding contradicts the city size measurements based on the administrative division system of China and those published on traditional official statistical yearbooks. In terms of urban density value, Shanghai has the steepest profile followed by Guangzhou–Foshan and Beijing, and the profile line of Guangzhou–Foshan has a bimodal shape.
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