Southampton is the largest city on the south coast of England. It is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. The city lies roughly in the centre of the coast, at the northern-most point of Southampton Water where it is joined by the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city is situated approximately halfway between Bournemouth and Portsmouth.
The local authority is Southampton City Council, which is a unitary authority. The city is part of the ceremonial county of Hampshire. It is one of the largest commercial ports in Europe. The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, with a population of 228,600.
Southampton is named the 'Green City' as it is graced with many green spaces and parks. The largest green space is the 148 hectare Southampton Common, parts of which are used to host the annual summer festivals, circuses and fun fairs. The Common includes a wildlife centre on the former site of Southampton Zoo, a swimming pool and several lakes and ponds.
Southampton is unique in being the only city in the UK with a geothermal power station. The station provides hot water to a city centre district heating scheme. In a recent survey of carbon emissions in major UK cities conducted by British Gas, Southampton was ranked as being one of the lowest carbon emitting cities in the United Kingdom.
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