Moving On Up? Regions Megaregions And The Changing Geography Of Social Equity Organizing

In recent years, some advocates for social equity have sought to develop new solutions to urban poverty and build new forms of political power at a metro- politan or regional scale.The evolution of American urban areas into sprawl- ing megaregions raises a concern that these “regional equity” advocates today may be facing the same dilemma as urban reformers in the 1960s:They are arriving to a new policy table just as the scale of the economy is shifting up and out. In trying to assess how the potential emergence of megaregions affects opportunities for addressing equity, the authors examine the Northern and Southern California megaregions and argue that “thinking megaregionally” may help to identify some new issues for equity organizing, but there are important challenges: (1) the issues most likely to gain traction at a megare- gional scale seem to be primarily related to infrastructure and the environ- ment and may not have the immediacy usually associated with successful mobilization of constituencies and (2) even if the issues are megaregional, the policy levers are likely to be local, state, and federal, rendering the megare- gional scale less immediate in a policy sense as well.The authors nonetheless suggest that there may be growing opportunities in the years to come, and analysts concerned with equity and social movement may want to conduct
further research in this area.