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Governing the Fragmented Metropolis: Planning for Regional Sustainability

By Christina D. Rosan ’96. Today the challenges facing our nation’s metropolitan regions are enormous: demographic change, aging infrastructure, climate change mitigation and adaptation, urban sprawl, spatial segregation, gentrification, education, housing affordability, regional equity, and more. Unfortunately, local governments do not have the capacity to respond to the interlocking set of problems facing metropolitan regions, and future challenges such as population growth and climate change will not make it easier. But will we ever have a more effective and sustainable approach to developing the metropolitan region?

Christina D. Rosan observes that policy-makers and scholars have long agreed that we need metropolitan governance, but they have debated the best approach. She argues that we need to have a more nuanced understanding of both metropolitan development and local land use planning. She interviews over ninety local and regional policy-makers in Portland, Denver, and Boston, and compares the uses of collaboration and authority in their varying metropolitan planning processes.