Sunday, July 20, 2008

New American Heartland

This is an executive summary from the upcoming report that will be issued on the growing Intermountain West 'megapolitan' communities. It is a fascinating report that was first reported on Saturday by John Fleck of the Albuquerque Journal. It was authored by The Brookings Institution.(Click to read entire report)

It was a solid story and I hope that New Mexico leaders will read the report in its entirety. Click on the images to enlarge.


Rapid change is enveloping the American West.

States in the southern Intermountain West—Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah—are experiencing some of the fastest population growth and economic and demographic transition anywhere in the country.
The region is growing up, flexing its muscles, and distancing itself from California, which historically has had an outsized impact on the West’s development.

In fact, thanks to such maturation, the southern Intermountain West is well on its way to earning itself the title of the New American Heartland as its economy, people, and politics become more central to the nation. Politically, the Intermountain West could be home to several swing states in the 2008 election and in time play the storied “kingmaking” role the Midwest does now.

With its growth, the southern Intermountain West is also rapidly pioneering new urban forms. Most notably, the region is home to five emerging “megapolitan” areas—vast, newly recognized “super regions” that often combine two or more metropolitan areas into a single economic, social, and urban system. In the 1960s, Dallas and Fort Worth were clearly colliding, as were Washington and Baltimore by the 1980s. Now regions with more far-flung urban cores such as Phoenix and Tucson are exhibiting the same pattern, as are the urban spaces extending around Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque.

In short, an extraordinary new settlement pattern has come to characterize growth in the nation’s fastest-growing region.

Which is where this document begins: Prepared as part of the Brookings Institution’s Blueprint for American Prosperity initiative, “Mountain Megas: America’s Newest Metropolitan Places and a Federal Partnership to Help Them Prosper” describes and assesses the new supersized reality of the Intermountain West and proposes a more helpful role for the federal government in empowering regional leaders’ efforts to build a uniquely Western brand of prosperity that is at once more sustainable, productive, and inclusive than past eras of boom and bust.

Along these lines, “Mountain Megas” assumes that true prosperity is actually based on achieving those three interrelated dimensions of prosperity—sustainable, productive, and inclusive growth—all at once. Such balanced growth depends on the region assembling in its megapolitan areas sufficient stocks of the crucial assets that contribute to such prosperity: topnotch infrastructure, world-class innovation inputs, vital human capital, strong quality-of-place, and the necessary effective regional governance to put it all together:

1 comment:

Dr. Know said...

I have recently considered moving to NM, and recently discovered an old nukular scientist acquaintance, Jeff Pfohl, has also left the fetid, overcrowded, politically corrupt south-east and moved to Albuquerque as well. Say Hello next time you run into him at the local Reef Aquarium shop.

The thought of my next home resembling anything akin to Florida or Atlanta is alarming. Be very careful harboring any desire for increased population -- it attracts the worst sort of predatory economic sharks and their accompanying developmental and environmental nightmares. Politicos, it seems, are more than willing to sell out the public's best interests for increased revenues and underhanded contributions.

Since the dollar is tanking, the economy is stagnant, and the lowest common denominator insists on electing the dumbest SOBs ever birthed, perhaps I should simply bypass additional heartache and move to New Zealand -- I've only got one more move left in me...