Cascadia

Cascadia.png The vision for Cascadia links Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver, British Columbia with high-speed rail, while protecting the area's unique and pristine environment.  Other strategies highlight these cities' shared high-tech competencies, commitment to environmental sustainability, and creative clusters in film, music, and green building.

Principal Cities: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver
Population 2010 (U.S. Portion): 8,367,519
Percent of U.S. Population: 3%
Population 2025: 8,748,143
Population 2050: 11,864,378
Projected Growth (2010 - 2050): 41.8% (3,496,859)
2005 GDP: $337,405,000,000
Percent U.S. GDP: 3%


Recent Entries

In the fifth volume of reports on the Cascadia Megaregion, students at the University of Washington and Portland State University have released Ecolopolis 5.0: High Speed Rail in Cascadia.

Cascadia-Map-200x288.jpgContinuing in the tradition of previous documents, the report is the product of term-long projects conducted by graduate students from the two universities, and taught by Professor Daniel Carlson and Professor Ethan Seltzer.The courses engaged the questions of identifying the impacts, maximizing the benefits, and exploring implementation options for high speed rail development in the Cascadia corridor. Though passenger rail has long been a shared interest in the corridor, the recent U.S. initiative proposed by the Obama administration have accelerated high speed rail activity and discussions in Cascadia.

Download the Report

Spring summer 2010 069.jpg

The draft report of "Connecting Cascadia: A High-Speed Rail Vision for the Pacific Northwest" is now available for review and comment. This report summarizes the two-day planning charrette that took place in July 2010 in Portland, OR. A planning charrette is an intensive design workshop that brings together stakeholders to develop solutions to an identified set of issues. The planning charrette brought together stakeholders along the length of the corridor, from Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia to develop a common vision of how high-speed rail can help the metropolitan regions of the Pacific Northwest achieve their goals for a robust economy prosperity, improved mobility, and land use, climate change and livability.

America 2050 is seeking comments on the draft report until January 20 from charrette participants, stakeholders, and the public in the comments section below. Please identify yourself with your comment, or send non-public comments to Petra(at)rpa.org.

Above: Washington State Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (at left) participates in the planning charrette.

Download: (Hi-Res TIF) (PNG Image)

This map was developed for America 2050's high-speed rail planning charrette, "Connecting Cascadia: A High-Speed Rail Vision for the Pacific Northwest." The map synthesizes current land use patterns, transportation networks, and regional plans along the Cascadia Corridor from Eugene, OR to Vancouver, BC. The map was developed to help stakeholders consider the corresponding investments and strategies needed for land use, connecting transportation, station-area planning, economic development, and landscape conservation, in order to leverage investments in high-speed rail.

Full-color, wall-sized print outs of this map on quality paper (42" x 84") can be ordered for $100 by contacting Petra@rpa.org.
Cascadia Megaregion

Earlier this month America 2050 sponsored a two-day planning charrette in Portland, Oregon with stakeholders along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor - stretching from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon to develop a vision for an integrated Cascadia megaregion enabled by high-speed rail.

Building on America 2050's research on Where High-Speed Rail Works Best the workshop sought to explore the economic, land use, urban design, and transportation strategies and investments necessary to fully leverage federal, state, provincial, and local investments in high-speed rail in this binational corridor. The workshop was an opportunity to broaden the focus of regional leaders on how high-speed rail can help advance larger goals for Cascadia as a more interconnected, sustainable, and prosperous megaregion.

To learn more, you can download the detailed briefing book of background information prepared for workshop participants. You can also access America 2050's original map of the Cascadia megaregion prepared for the workshop, which synthesizes transportation, land use, and the regional planning strategies of the entire megaregion on the America 2050 Maps Page (scroll to the bottom of the page.) A summary of workshop proceedings and next steps will be posted here soon.


The idea of Cascadia has been around for over 40 years, but certain aspects of megaregional planning, as highlighted in Ecolopolis 3.0 and 4.0 posted here on this website have been an articulated Cascadia-scale strategy since the early 1990s.  This 1994 Statement on Cascadia and its regional planning and development needs is consistent with what we're working on today, and reflects the fact that, as stated in Ecolopolis 4.0: Livability in Cascadia, working at this scale is not a new endeavor.  Perhaps this time the results will be secure enough so that 20 years from now, we'll be on to a new set of issues.

Download "What is the Cascadia Project?" from 1994.
By Ethan Seltzer.
Cascadia, the megaregion located in the upper left corner of the United States and crossing the border into southwestern Canada, has long been known as a place of mountains, trees, and fish.  This association with the landscape has led us to propose viewing this megaregion not as a megalopolis in the making, but as an ecolopolis: networked metropolitan areas separated by working and wild landscapes.  It's a reflection of our brand, really of our aspirations, both at the local and state/provincial scales.
Ecolopolis.png Graduate planning students at Portland State University have released the fourth version of their ongoing study of the Cascadia megaregion with the guidance of instructor Ethan Seltzer of the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning.

This latest iteration, Ecolopolis 4.0, examines the implications for Cascadia of the new federal livability partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation. This new interest in the role that Federal agencies can and should play in furthering goals for livability and smart growth presents Cascadia and other megaregions an opportunity to articulate their own livability agendas in anticipation of new initiatives emanating from Washington, DC. 

Ecolopolis 3.0


Thumbnail image for Cascadia_3.0.pngThe graduate students at the Toulon School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University have released their latest study of the Cascadia Megaregion, "Ecolopolis," which presents a vision for coordination and sustainable economic development in the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland megaregion. Building on two previous studies, the report includes a detailed sector-based economic analysis and recommendations for further strengthening Cascadia's economic "competencies" in areas of green building and architecture, creative services, agriculture and food production and high tech. It also makes recommendations for protecting Cascadia's renowned environmental heritage and reputation for sustainability, while improving flows and connections within the megaregion.

Download the Report.