The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program released a report this month titled “Mountain Megas: America’s Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper”. The report was introduced in conjunction with a luncheon in Denver on July 22nd that brought leaders from the Intermountain West to discuss economic, social, and environmental challenges in five emerging metropolitan areas: Wasatch Front, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sun Corridor, Arizona; Northern New Mexico, New Mexico, and the Front Range, Colorado.
As part of its Blueprint for American Prosperity initiative, the Brookings report calls for the federal government to provide leadership and support as these urbanized and rapdily changing areas emerge and expand. In addition, the report comes in anticipation of the upcoming Democratic Convention in Denver. Local leaders and officials are hopeful the presidential candidates and elections will make these emerging trends and challenges a national priority. As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, the study suggests that these swing states represent a “new new West” that is urban, and require new and reformed federal-state-local partnerships. Moreover, the research recommends that these collaborations should be issue focused, namely: transportation, infrastructure, innovation, immigration, and climate change.
The event was attended by Jon Huntsman, Gov. of Utah; Bill Ritter, Jr., Gov. of Colorado, and John Hickenlooper, Mayor, City of Denver. For a copy of the executive summary of the report, please click here.
Photo: “Mountain Megas: America’s Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper”, July, 2008.
The changing demographic and economic environment in the corridor is prompting researchers and leaders to think about how the corridor can one day become a significant economic, technological and cultural center, while growing in a sustainable way. At a recent workshop sponsored by the Sonoran Institute and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, planners considered the implications of this emerging megapolitan region with the report’s authors and local transportation and community leaders.
- There are few models for sustainable urban form in a desert environment.
- With temperatures frequently soaring to the 100s, mitigating “extreme heat” is a big challenge. Added concrete and building surfaces traps heat at night compounding urban heat island effect.
- The Tucson-Phoenix urbanized core has actually planned for enough water to sustain the population for the next 100 years. However development to the north and south of that core region will stress ground water supplies and reduce the core region’s ability to recharge.
- Most people come to Arizona by choice from elsewhere for its incomparable natural beauty and high quality of life. If these assets cannot be maintained, it stops being a desirable place to live.
- A megaregion is more than just two metro regions growing together physically. What are the economic synergies and advantages that can be fostered by promoting the linkage between Phoenix and Tucson?
Some of the challenges and questions that arose in the workshop include: