Arizona Sun Corridor

Arizona_Sun_Coridor.png The 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.

Principal Cities: Phoenix, Tucson
Population 2010: 5,653,766
Percent of U.S. Population: 2%
Population 2025: 7,764,211
Population 2050: 12,319,771
Projected Growth (2010 - 2050): 117.9% (6,666,005)
2005 GDP: $191,036,000,000
Percent of US GDP: 2%

Recent Entries

Tucson.jpg The Sonoran Institute has released a new report on Tucson's role in the Arizona Sun Corridor Megaregion. Tucson's New Prosperity:Capitalizing on the Sun Corridor makes the case that the economic health of Tucson is closely tied to the much larger Sun Corridor economy that is focused in Phoenix, 100 miles to the north. But the report makes clear that Tucson's best strategy is not to compete with Phoenix, but to treat Phoenix as an asset that can be utilized to advance its own economy. In terms of growth and sprawl, Phoenix has won the race. Tucson should compete by establishing its own niche in the economic environment of the Sun Corridor. As a city that is embraced on all sides by national, state, and county parks forests, conservation areas, and monuments, and undeveloped state trust lands, Tucson's great advantages are its spectacular natural environment, opportunities for outdoor recreation and a relaxed desert lifestyle.

intermountainwest sprawl.JPGThe 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.


Thumbnail image for Megapolitan sun corridor.pngThe Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University released a report in May titled, Megapolitan: Arizona's Sun Corridor. The study examines growth challenges in one of the nation's most rapidly growing regions: the Tucson-Phoenix corridor. Poised to double in population from 5 million to 10 million by 2050, the region will grapple with the environmental challenges of accommodating rapid population growth in a fragile desert environment. Ensuring an adequate drinking water supply and mitigating urban heat island effect without the use of increased vegetation (which requires additional water) are two big challenges. Urban form is another important consideration; detached single family homes are by far the preferred development type in this region, but their proliferation will contribute to sprawled development and make transit options less viable.

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.
Nine Midwestern governors and the premier of Manitoba, Canada met November 16 to sign a regional greenhouse gas reduction accord, which will create a multi-sector cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases. This multi-state agreement joins similar efforts, such as the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast and the 5-state Western Climate Initiative Partnership that includes California, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

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)