Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Center of the Southeastern Megalopolis: Where did you hear this first?

Robert E. Lang and Dawn Dhavale, from the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, recently published a report, Beyond Megalopolis: Exploring America’s New “Megapolitan” Geography.

Their research identifies ten US “Megapolitan Areas,” clustered networks of metropolitan areas that exceed 10 million total residents. They quote from Jean Gottmann's book Megalopolis,
the Megapolitan concept seems to have popularized the idea that the modern cities are better reviewed not in isolation, as centers of a restricted area only, but rather as parts of “city-systems,” as participants in urban networks revolving in widening orbits.
On page 14 of their report is a map of the megapolitan areas they have identified, including the "The Piedmont Megapolitan" is roughly defined between I-85 from Research Triangle Park to Montgomery and I-59/75 from Birmingham to Knoxville.

This area is very similar to the "Southeastern Innovation Corridor," described as Research Triangle Park to Birmingham, and Oak Ridge to Charleston, that is the focus of InnoVenture.

In an increasingly global economy, it makes sense to think in terms of economically interconnected regions that have the critical mass of talent and resources to be globally competitive.


Bob Thompson said...

We've been hearing about this I-85 "connectedness" for many years.. Now they have a name for it and threw in Birmingham to Knoxville to get UAB/Healthcare, Huntsville and UT in the mix.

All of which begs the question: how do we get this enlightened regional mindset to permeate the legislatures and city halls? Despite all the good intentions in the world, and even when collective effort makes great sense, insular thinking, political boundary lines and state laws remain our greatest obstacles to regional planning and development.

Bob Thompson
Captive of "The Charlotte Syndrome"

Swamp Fox said...


The lack of regional planning tools so that political entities can collaborate is sorely missing. This is a problem across the country.

The development of regional planning tools is critical, and at least I can report that the issue is beginning to be recognized and discussed in economic development circles.