Addressing Challenges Facing Metropolitan Regions
December 2, 2004 | Press Release | Policy Research

MacArthur has announced two grants totaling $1.4 million in support of research efforts to help local, state and regional policymakers and other civic and business leaders address challenges facing their metropolitan regions.

The interests of cities and suburbs are increasingly interdependent; what were once thought of as local problems now call for regional solutions, said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. Most Americans live in metropolitan regions that cut across municipal, county and even state lines. Their lives are affected by complex, regional phenomenon and global competition, both of which demand more comprehensive actions. These grants will help communities understand and address these challenges.

The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program received a grant of $1 million over three years in support of research and communications efforts that will provide state and local decision-makers with information they can use to help make their metropolitan regions more economically competitive. Grant funds will be used to help translate research on global economic trends for policymakers seeking advice about how to respond to these trends. Brookings also will produce reports on the economic performance of 100 cities and metropolitan regions, and disseminate research about leading industries and economic development strategies that can promote growth over the long term.

A grant of $400,000 over 18 months was awarded to the Institute for Urban and Regional Development at the University of California, Berkeley, in support of the Successful Regions project, which is research designed to help local, state and national leaders understand the demographic, economic and technological changes affecting major metropolitan areas. Dr. Margaret Weir, Professor of Sociology and Political Science at University of California, Berkeley, will lead this inter-disciplinary research project with a team of scholars from other academic institutions whose areas of work include: regional planning and governance, economic development, collaborative governance, Latino studies, technology and housing. The group also will include several regional leaders and policymakers. Grant funds will be used to identify and define immediate and emerging challenges that many regions are facing, such as rapid economic growth, prolonged economic decline, large-scale immigration, growing poverty in suburbs, and the effect of technology on local job markets. As part of a pilot project, scholars will investigate how a small sample of metropolitan regions are responding to these challenges, and they will highlight strategies for adapting to those challenges or seizing the opportunities they present.

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