Arizona Sun CorridorThe Sun Corridor is equivalent to Indiana in size and population but will add another Indiana's worth of residents by 2040. Located in a desert environment, Phoenix and Tucson - the megaregion's biggest metropolitan regions - have instituted water conservation requirements and are promoting the use of desert landscaping. These efforts provide the two metros with enough water for perhaps up to twenty million people, preparing the Sun Corridor for current and future growth.
Location: Arizona - From north of Phoenix south to the border with Mexico
Principal Cities: Phoenix, Tucson
Population 2010: 5,653,766
Percent of U.S. Population: 2%
Population 2025: 7,764,211
Percent of US GDP: 2%
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.
In the absence of national leadership, these large regions (in the Northeast and Midwest they correspond with the geography of the megaregions) have set their own goals for greenhouse gas emissions and are in the process of developing cap-and-trade programs. Does the multi-state or megaregion framework lend itself to climate change leadership? The governors may be motivated by the positive peer pressure of their neighboring states and a similar set of energy and climate conditions born by their proximity that allow for setting comparable targets. In any case, we are encouraged by the leadership and collaboration of these groups of governors and hope it will set a precedent for collaboration on other pressing issues.
Some of these governors also produced a commercial sponsored by Environmental Defense urging congress to take action on the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill. View the commercial on YouTube above.
Arizona State University Planning Seminar (Spring 2006) This presentation addresses the growth of the Sun Corridor.
Download the Presentation (PPT 10.6MB)