In a piece for the New York Times, Parag Khanna—author of the forthcoming book Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization—argues that super-regions and urban clusters, rather than the 50 states, should be the focus of future planning.
First, there are now seven distinct super-regions, defined by common economics and demographics, like the Pacific Coast and the Great Lakes. Within these, in addition to America’s main metro hubs, we find new urban archipelagos, including the Arizona Sun Corridor, from Phoenix to Tucson; the Front Range, from Salt Lake City to Denver to Albuquerque; the Cascadia belt, from Vancouver to Seattle; and the Piedmont Atlantic cluster, from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.
Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, in places like Minneapolis and Memphis, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America.
Note that this isn’t quite the same as, say, reimagining the U.S. as fifty equal states or Pearcy’s famous 38-state thought experiment: this is an argument against using state boundaries for planning purposes. (The EU has similar regions for similar purposes, I believe.) Makes for a very interesting map, though. [Tim Wallace]