Economic and Equity Frameworks for Megaregions

By Christopher Jones, Vice President of Research, Regional Plan Association

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This paper explores the question of how the emergence of megaregions affects the
distribution of wealth, income and public goods. For decades, the allocation of jobs, housing,services and amenities among cities and suburbs within metropolitan regions, and the access that different groups have had to those resources, have defined the issues of regional equity. The challenge has always been how to relate problems that are most accessible at the neighborhood levelto regional-scale issues and solutions. Megaregions
add another layer, one that is even farther removed from the communities that are the
playing field for most political mobilization around jobs, affordable housing, schools and other goods. This raises the questions of how the growth of megaregions will affect these dynamics, and what types of additional policies are needed to address questions of poverty, income disparities and segregation at this level.