The Growth Issue
The Growth Issue

Oliver Parsons

Editor of Modus (RICS)

As cities become nodes of a global network, it’s been the largest, most outward-facing metropolises that have really benefited, leaving nearby smaller cities playing catch-up. So, could a cohesive mega-regional policy – particularly joined-up transport policies – help to distribute growth more fairly?


In a special report this month we investigate the “megaregion” trend through the prism of several examples across the world, analyse the specific challenges that such regions face, and look at what the rewards – social, economic, environmental – can be for those that get it right.

We first look at the struggle to make mega-regional policy work in China – a country that boasts no less than 10 megaregions, at least half of which are completely dominated by a single city (rather than a network that genuinely spreads economic growth and jobs).

The growth of the Northern California megaregion – one of the fastest-growing economies in the US – is being led by San Francisco and the Bay Area. What can be done to rebalance the economy to other parts of the mega-region?

And in the UK, we ask whether Transport for the North – the country’s first sub-regional transport body – can develop a strategy that will allow the north of England to increase its productivity, create more job opportunities and make a greater contribution to the UK economy.

Also in this issue, we look at how cities with greenbelt-style restrictive planning policies can accommodate the new homes needed to meet demand from rapid urbanisation, while at the same time preventing urban sprawl. And we investigate the flipside to this unprecedented rate of urban migration: the hollowing out of our rural populations and how they adapt to this “new normal”.

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