March 6-10, 2006 Three teams of graduate planning students from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas and University of Michigan, gathered this month for a week-long workshop on megaregion planning with a faculty of esteemed European planners in Madrid, Spain. The student teams were engaged in urban planning, architecture or engineering courses at their respective universities, exploring the emergence of megaregions in the Northeast, the Texas Triangle and the Great Lakes. Working in groups, they began the week with presentations that defined their megaregions, analyzing demographic and economic trends, and proposed potential strategies to address challenges encountered at the megaregional scale.
The week was punctuated by lectures from the European faculty on regional planning and polycentric development. Inspired by regional planning techniques and strategies in Europe, faculty and students worked together throughout the week to develop new strategies for the three focus megaregions in the workshop. The workshop was capped by new presentations given by the three student groups, exploring megaregional strategies for transportation infrastructure, environmental preservation and economic development. Among the creative proposals was a “green heart” of open space and ecosystem protection for the central area of the Texas Triangle; a high speed rail trial project in the Northeast for the New York-Philadelphia corridor; and a amenity-driven marketing strategy for the Great Lakes mega-region based on their signature environmental asset, the Great Lakes. Students will be refining their projects through the spring, with final presentations available on this website in May 2006.