Megapolitan America

Megapolitan Areas are changing how we live.

Is the U.S. really a land of wide-open spaces? Well, not really. The U.S. is more densely populated than Europe. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives on less than 20 percent of the privately owned land, clustered in 20-some megapolitan areas — networks of metropolitan centers fused by common economic, physical, social, and cultural traits.

Megapolitan America draws on detailed data to map out the dramatic — and surprisingly positive — shifts ahead. Backed by hard numbers, Nelson and Lang argue for long-range planning that sheds outdated images and stokes the nation's economic engines. This is required reading for everyone who cares about America's future.

Meet the Authors

Arthur C. Nelson, FAICP

Arthur C. Nelson, FAICPNelson is Presidential Professor of City and Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah, where he is also the founding director of the Metropolitan Research Center, adjunct professor of finance in the David Eccles School of Business, and the founding co-director of the Master's of Real Estate Development program.

Previously, Nelson served as the founding director of the Urban Affairs and Planning Program at Virginia Tech's Alexandria Center, where he was also founding director of the Planning Academy at Virginia Tech and co-director of the Metropolitan Institute. He also served on the planning faculty at Georgia Tech, where he was founding coordinator of the certificate programs in land development and urban policy.

Nelson has conducted pioneering research in smart growth, public facility finance, economic development, and metropolitan development patterns. He has written more than 20 books and more than 300 other works.

Among his planning books are Growth Management Principles and Practices (with James B. Duncan), noted as one of the 25 most important planning books in the first quarter century of the American Planning Association, Urban Containment in the United States (with Casey J. Dawkins), and Planner's Estimating Guide.

Robert E. Lang

Robert E. LangLang is a professor of sociology and the director of Brookings Mountain West at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas. He is also the director of the Lincy Institute at UNLV. In addition, Lang is currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a fellow of the Urban Land Institute, both in Washington, D.C. In 2008, Lang was a Fulbright fellow at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 2006, he was a visiting distinguished professor at Arizona State University. Lang was also recently a planning and development fellow of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a distinguished visiting fellow of the University of California–Riverside.

Prior to joining UNLV, Lang was a professor and director of the Urban Affairs and Planning program at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, Virginia, and served as the founding director of the Metropolitan Institute.

Previously, he was director of urban and metropolitan research at Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C. Lang has also served as an editor on several academic journals, including Housing Policy Debate and the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Lang's work includes the books Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis (2003) and Boomburbs: The Rise of America's Accidental Cities (2007). He is also coauthor of three edited volumes on the census titled Redefining Urban and Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000. Lang's most recent book is The New Politics of Planning (2009).

Watch Robert E. Lang discusses the changing face of U.S. economic geography at the Baker Institute.

Megapolitan America in the News

From Metropolitans to megapolitans
April 7, 2012

The Emerging and Interconnected 'Megapolitan' Regions
The Atlantic Cities
January 3, 2012

In megapolitan world, Reno hitches star to Bay Area
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 31, 2011

San Diego disappearing into "Southwest Megalopolis"
San Diego Union-Tribune
December 28, 2011

First Church of Megapolitan
MagSays Blog
December 15, 2011

Oregon's population growth slows, thanks to the economy, but a rebound may be in the offing
December 15, 2011

Dutchess County Joins the Dance
New York Times
December 15, 2011

Megapolitan areas compete globally
USA Today
November 29, 2011

In Search of the Megapolitan Scale
Discovering Urbanism
November 28, 2011

Central Valley could be part of new 'megapolitan' area
Central Valley Business Times
November 25, 2011

Book launches megapolitan concept as planning tool
San Francisco Chronicle
November 25, 2011

Puget Sound will have Japan-like density in 2040, book predicts
November 23, 2011

Is the Housing Crash Fueling Suburbanization?
The Wall Street Journal
November 19, 2011

The Omnibus Roundup – Prefab yards, Megapolitan America, MTA Blitzes, Extending Grids and What to Do
Urban Omnibus
November 18, 2011

Praise for Megapolitan America

"This is an extraordinary book. It completely and — in my largely lay judgment — correctly reorients our thinking about where our cities and communities are going both physically and in terms of actual living. What an extraordinary contribution to our thinking on these issues. This should be required reading — and I rarely say that — for every governor, mayor, legislator, city council member, Chamber of Commerce member, and, indeed, citizen!"
—Michael K. Young, President, University of Washington

"This book is part planning manual, part atlas, part reference guide, part call to action — all about the most important economic and social development taking place in the country today. Arthur Nelson and Robert Lang's description of the nation's 'megapolitan' regions will change the way we think of the economy and how we all have come to live. Let's hope it also changes the way we act in the future."
—Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart