Map of the southeastern U.S. showing developed metro areas.

Planning for Regional Development

Planning for Regional Development

As globalization transforms economies around the world and more people move into urbanized areas, economic and population growth is increasingly converging. Between now and 2050, more than half of the population growth and as much as two-thirds of economic growth in the United States is projected to occur in interconnected areas known as megaregions. These megaregions—large networks of metropolitan centers and their surrounding areas tied together by economic, environmental, and infrastructure relationships—will serve as the foci of American economic activity.

Applying the contiguity and proximity conditions and boundary conditions for functional regions, 10 megaregions are identified: Cascadia, California, Arizona, Central Plains, Texas Triangle, Florida, Piedmont Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, and DC-Virginia. The 10 megaregions are the results of incorporating both physical and functional relationships between regions into the identification process and considering the areas of influences of core areas.

In addition to advocating for regional governance structures that enhance megaregional links, the Center seeks to improve the land development process and the public policy that guides it by fostering public-private sector ventures that promote sustainable strategies for new development and redevelopment.

The Center brings together various stakeholders -- including governments, developers, the public, and others -- to measure changes in land-use planning that are supportive of quality growth, such as redevelopment of greyfield (empty asphalt) and brownfield (contaminated) sites, and other sustainable land-use practices.

Related Project: The Architecture of the Megaregion
Sponsor: US Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Timeframe: May 2011-July 2013

Global interconnectedness, population growth, and trade and industry growth are positioning megaregions as connected cities and places which represent the true economic unit in the global marketplace. Despite megaregions’ economic importance and the fact that some other countries plan at the megaregion scale, the United States has not yet comprehensively implemented megaregion-scale planning. This project encompassed four tasks:

  • Literature review of organizational structures and finance of multi-jurisdictional initiatives and the implications for megaregion transportation planning in the U.S. (October 2011)
  • Gap and opportunity analysis for the U.S. megaregions, identifying implications for implementing large scale transportation infrastructure projects through analysis of export and import freight movement, inter-city passenger movement, and sustainability elements (June 2012)
  • Analysis of the implications and feasibility of a megaregion-based approach to transportation policy development, planning, financing, programming, and governance, using intensive case studies and a nationwide survey of the 50 state Departments of Transportation and  Metropolitan Planning Organizations (March 2013)
  • Synthesis of results from Tasks 1 to 3, creating a conceptual model of the relationship between the existing level of multi-jurisdictional planning and megaregion cooperation and an "ideal" normative framework for more effective megaregion planning and efficient outcomes (July 2013)

CQGRD proposes five ways to incorporate megaregion planning into the federal transportation planning process, with consideration that frameworks should be flexible to accommodate single-state and multi-state megaregions, different project scales, and areas on the megaregion fringe, like borders and gateways. Megaregion planning should strengthen linkages between a variety of types of places.

Additional Projects

Title: A Time for Leadership: Growth Management and Florida 2060
Sponsor: 1000 Friends of Florida
Timeframe: June 1, 2006-December 1, 2006

Title: Aerotropolis Atlanta Brownfield Redevelopment Health Impact Assessment
Sponsor: Health Impact Project, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Timeframe: June 1, 2010-May 1, 2011

Title: Georgia Coast 2030: Population Projections
Sponsor: Coastal Georgia Regional Development Council
Timeframe: May 1, 2006-October 1, 2006


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