Emerging Megaregions

Throughout the country large-scale regional efforts are underway to examine the relationships, challenges, and opportunities that unite people across jurisdictional boundaries. Following are brief descriptions of initiatives currently underway. This list is subject to change as other regions begin research and outreach efforts to understand their role in an evolving national framework for planning and public investment.

Arizona Sun Corridor Megaregion

Arizona Sun Corridor Megaregion

Arizona - From north of Phoenix south to the border with Mexico

The Sun Corridor is equivalent to Indiana in size and population but will add another Indiana's worth of residents by 2040.  Located in a desert environment, Phoenix and Tucson - the megaregion's biggest metropolitan regions - have instituted water conservation requirements and are promoting the use of desert landscaping.  These efforts provide the two metros with enough water for perhaps up to twenty million people, preparing the Sun Corridor for current and future growth.

Megapolitan: Arizona's Sun Corridor (2006) by Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. pdf

 

Cascadia Ecolopolis

Cascadia Ecolopolis

Along the Pacific Ocean north of California, composed of parts of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

Preliminary research by Portland State University has proposed strategies to strengthen ties between these cities using high speed rail. They identified their shared culture, software competencies, high tech and creative clusters in film and music, and commitment to green, sustainable building as avenues to build regional relationships.

Ecolopolis 3.0: Infrastructure and Sustainability in Cascadia (2008) by Toulon School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. pdf

 

Front Range Megaregion

Front Range Megaregion

Runs North-South along the I-25 Corridor, from Albuquerque, NM in the South to Denver / Boulder, CO in the North

The Front Range is the smallest but one of the fast growing megaregions in the country.

America 2050: Front Range

 

 


Great Lakes Megaregion

Great Lakes Megaregion

The Midwest - Including parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania

The Great Lakes megaregion is exploring ways to grow its economy in face of the shrinking role of the manufacturing sector.  The region's assets include the environmental resources and amenities of the Great Lakes and a strong research and cultural tradition tied to its leading public universities.

Healthy Waters, Strong Economy: The Benefits of Restoring the Great Lakes Ecosystem (2007) by The Brookings Institution. pdf

The Healdsburg Research Seminar on Megaregions (2007) by America 2050, the Regional Plan Association, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. pdf

 

Gulf Coast Megaregion

Gulf Coast Megaregion

The Gulf Coast - Including parts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle

Despite its strong cultural traditions, the Gulf Coast as a continuous megaregion lacks the political cohesion of the nearby Texas Triangle.  However, the recent devastation from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the resulting displacement of hurricane victims along the I-10 corridor highlighted the environmental, transportation, and economic links of the Gulf Coast.  Despite the recent devastation, the region is expected to grow due to the continued in-migration of retirees from the Midwest.

The Quest for Megaregion Equity: The Gulf Coast and Beyond (2008) by PolicyLink. pdf

Taking a Longer View: Mapping for Sustainable Resilience (2006) by the Regional Plan Association, University of Texas at Austin, and EDAW.pdf

 

 

Northeast Megaregion

Northeast Megaregion

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic seaboard - From Northern Virginia to Southern Maine, bounded by the Appalachian Mountains to the west by the Appalachian Mountains to the west.

The Northeast is a powerhouse of density and economic output, producing 20 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product with 18 percent of the population and only two percent of the nation's land area.  Over the next generation, the Northeast will add 1 million new residents This population growth will demand infrastructure investments and economic growth to accommodate these new residents while preserving quality of life.

The Future of the Northeast Corridor (2009) by The Business Alliance for Northeast Mobility. pdf

 

Northern California Megaregion

Northern California Megaregion

Northern California, along the Pacific Ocean from Sonoma County to Monterey County, inland to Douglas County, Nevada.  Includes the 9-county Bay Area and 17-County Commute Shed.

The high quality of life, cultural heritage, and environmental assets of the Northern California region make it an attractive - and expensive - place to live.  How can sustainable land use strategies be employed while limiting the skyrocketing cost of living?

Fractures and Fault Lines: Growth and Equity in California'sMegaregions (2008) by Chris Benner, University of California-Davis and Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California. pdf

The Healdsburg Research Seminar on Megaregions (2007) by America 2050, the Regional Plan Association, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. pdf

 

 

Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion (PAM)

Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion

Southeast U.S. - From Birmingham in the southwest to Raleigh-Durham in the northeast

The low cost of living and high quality of life in the Southeast are two reasons for this megaregion's booming population, which is anchored by Atlanta but stretches east to Raleigh, North Carolina and west to Birmingham, Alabama. The region is facing challenges associated with its growing population, such as increased traffic congestion, runaway land consumption, and inadequate infrastructure, which it hopes to address with sustainable solutions.

The Case for a National Infrastructure Policy: The Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion in the Global Economy (2009) by the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development. pdf

Megaregions: Proceedings of the Megaregions and Transportation Symposium and Structured Telephone Interview Summaries (2008) by the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development. pdf

 

Southern California Megaregion

Southern California Megaregion

Southern California / Nevada from the border with Mexico to Santa Barbara and east to Las Vegas

With some of the largest ports in the nation, the economy of Southern California is closely tied to the logistics and goods movement industry.  This region is taking aggressive action to build infrastructure that enhances its role as a global gateway while providing opportunities for its fast growing native-born and immigrant populations.

Fractures and Fault Lines: Growth and Equity in California'sMegaregions (2008) by Chris Benner, University of California-Davis and Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California. pdf

The Healdsburg Research Seminar on Megaregions (2007) by America 2050, the Regional Plan Association, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. pdf

The Southern California Mega-region: A Case Study of Global Gateway Regions: America's Third Century Strategy (2005) by the Kern County Council of Governments, San Diego Association of Governments, and the Southern California Association of Governments. pdf


Southern Florida Megaregion

Southern Florida Megaregion

The east and west coast, central and south Florida

The South Florida Regional Planning Council (SFRPC) and the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions (CUES) at Florida Atlantic University are initiating discussions with other regional organizations in the mega-region. Potential partners include Urban Land Institute (ULI) district councils, regional business groups, regional planning councils, and university centers. Outreach efforts include contacting leaders in Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and Dominican Republic, and other island nations with cultural and economic ties to South Florida. An initial meeting may take place as part of the planned ULI statewide conference on regional collaboration in early 2006.

Southeast Florida 2060 (2008) by the South Florida Regional Resource Center, MacArthur Foundation, South Florida RPC, Treasure Coast RPC, Center for Urban & Environmental Solutions at FAU, Collins Center for Public Policy Inc., South Florida Regional Business Alliance, Urban Land Institute- Southeast Florida/Caribbean, Florida Department of Community Affairs, and the Institute for Community Collaboration Inc. pdf

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (2007) by the South Florida Regional Planning Council. pdf

Demographic and Economic Characteristics of the South-Central Florida Mega-Region (2006) by the South Florida Regional Planning Council. pdf


Texas Triangle Megaregion

Texas Triangle Megaregion

Eastern Texas

By 2050 about 35 million people, or 70 percent of the population of Texas, will live in the four metropolitan areas that comprise the Texas Triangle.  Three of the nation's 10 largest cities are in the Triangle, including Houston, which has a port that handles more foreign tonnage than any other U.S. port.  Efforts to create a NAFTA superhighway from Mexico to Canada could create a developed corridor through San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas.  Tradition and economics create the potential for economic collaboration between the metro regions, which could also address serious environmental concerns. 

Reinventing the Texas Triangle: Solutions for Growing Challenges(2009) by the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. pdf

The Healdsburg Research Seminar on Megaregions (2007) by America 2050, the Regional Plan Association, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. pdf

Texas Urban Triangle: Framework for future growth (2006-2007) by the Department of Landscape and Urban Planning at Texas A&M University. pdf

SOURCES:

  • Regional Plan Association, 4 Irving Place, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10003; t: 212.253.2727, f: 212.253.5666; www.rpa.org.