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Neighbouring cities and towns include Son en Breugel, Nuenen, Geldrop-Mierlo, Heeze-Leende, Waalre, Veldhoven, Eersel, Oirschot and Best. The agglomeration has some 440,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area (which includes Helmond) has nearly 750,000 inhabitants. Also, Eindhoven is part of Brabant Stad, a metropolitan area with more than 2 million inhabitants.
The villages and city that make up modern Eindhoven were originally built on sandy elevations between the Dommel, Gender and Tongelreep streams. Starting from the Nineteenth Century, the basins of the streams themselves have also been used as housing grounds, leading to occasional floodings in the city centre. Partly to reduce flooding, the Gender stream, which flowed straight through the city centre, was dammed off and filled up after the War, and the course of the Dommel was regulated. New ecologial and socio-historical insights have led to parts of the Dommel's course being restored to their original states, and plans to have the Gender flow through the centre once again.
The large-scale housing developments of the Twentieth Century saw residential areas being built on former agricultural lands and woods, former heaths that had been turned into cultivable lands in the Nineteenth Century.