Economic and Equity Frameworks for Megaregions

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by Chris Jones, Regional Plan Association

This paper asks: how is the emergence of megaregions affecting 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 level to 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.

This paper is part of a series prepared for the Rockefeller Foundation Global Urban Summit in July 2007.