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noun, の adjective
A big populous place sounds like a place with a lot of people but it's more like a big part of the populace. It's most of the populace, sure, making it the general public.
This is a jukugo word, which usually means on'yomi readings from the kanji. If you know the readings of your kanji you'll know how to read this as well.
It depends on how people feel.