EP 432 Megaregions Emerge in America

 As the US population grows-potentially by over 110 million people by 2050-cities and suburbs will continue expanding, meeting the suburbs of neighboring cities and forming continuous urban megaregions.  The United States now has at least a dozen such megaregions, including one extending from Richmond, Virginia to Portland, Maine and another running from Santa Barbara, California to the US-Mexico border.  In his book ‘Designing the Megaregion:  Meeting Urban Challenges at a New Scale’, Jonathan Barnett, an emeritus Professor of Practice in City and Regional Planning, and former director of the Urban Design Program, at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses how this growth will be hastened by balanced transit alternatives and cooperative agreements among various governmental agencies and necessitated by climate changes issues which do not respect our town and state borders. Without cooperation and planning these megaregions will result in near continuous gridlock on highways by 2040.  While megaregions may represent a new concept, they are developing.  The question is whether they will grow purposefully or randomly.  The answer to that question may well determine the quality of life for most Americans in the decades to come.