Leaders Agree Megaregion Strategy is Key to Addressing 21st Century Challenges in the Piedmont Atlantic Region

As much of the industrial world is embracing cross-border planning and investments, the U.S. has yet to make the commitment to invest in long-term large scale development, such as the one linking Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.  A recent Georgia Trend article discussed the emergence of "megaregions", networks of metros and communities that share economic, social and infrastructure identities.  These large regions "allow us to engage in the world that happens around us.  They allow us to have conversations in global, national, regional and local communities.  They permeate all those levels" says Catherine Ross, head of the Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development (CQGRD) at Georgia Tech.

The Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion (PAM), one which Ross and many identify as a six-state zone, includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  PAM recorded a total population of 47 million according to the last census, and expects to reach 82 million by 2050.  The concern for policy makers and planners across this vast geographic region is how to prepare for this growth, considering the already stressed infrastructure, recent disputes over water resources, and of course tackling issues of climate change in a car dependent economy.  Many leaders from PAM believe building on the megaregion strategy will put them in a competitive position in the global marketplace. 

Some of the questions Ross and many researchers and planners will be addressing are: What should PAM look like in 50 years? Which roads and bridges need to be repaired or replaced?  How do we cope with traffic congestion? and more.

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