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Megalopolis In 1961, the French geographer Jean Gottmann published a monumental study of the highly urbanized region in the northeastern United States. Professor Gottmann spent 20 years researching the area extending from southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts to Washington, DC. He argued that this was a "very special region," and he named it Megalopolis, Greek for "large city". Megalopolis was formed along the northeastern coast of the United States by the gradual coalescence of large, independent metropolitan areas.

"BosWash" is the nickname futurist Herman Kahn gave this 400-mile urban area in the late 1960s. He called the urbanizing swath from Chicago to Pittsburgh along the Great Lakes and Ohio River "ChiPitts," and the California coastal development stretching from San Francisco to San Diego "SanSan."

As the populations of these cities grew, the effects of growth spilled over into the surrounding rings of smaller places. Larger suburbs in these rings made their own contributions to the total urban sprawl. The outer fringes of the resultant metropolitan regions eventually began to merge with each other to form an extensive urbanized region.

The dominant theme of Megalopolis is "urban-ness." In varying degrees, urban services provide for the millions who live in this region, and urban forms are never far away. There are office and apartment buildings, small shops and mammoth shopping centers, factories, refineries, residential areas, gas stations, and hamburger stands by the thousands--interspersed with warehouses to store temporarily the goods brought by ship, rail, and truck--all this along the region's 800-kilometer route.

But Megalopolis also contains many green spaces. Some are parks or other land available for recreation; well over 3 million hectares are devoted to farming.

In spite of the mixed character of Megalopolis, it is its massive urban presence that makes this region so important in the United States. Ten of the country's 46 metropolitan areas exceeding 1 million population in 1990 were located in Megalopolis. The region holds 17 percent of the total U.S. population--in only 1.5 percent of the area of the country.

Average per capita income is high, and a higher than average proportion of its residents work in white-collar and professional occupations. Transportation and communication activities are prominent, partly a result of the region's coastal position. Approximately 40 percent of all commercial international air-passenger departures have Megalopolitan centers as their origin. And almost 30 percent of American export trade passes through its six main ports.

The “Acela corridor” is traversed by Amtrak’s commuter rail line from Washington to Boston. Superior Comfort, Upscale Amenities, Polished Professional Service, at Speeds up to 150 mph. Acela Express offers hourly service downtown to downtown during peak morning and afternoon rush hours between New York, Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other intermediate cities, as well as many convenient round-trips between New York and Boston. The members of the media, the pundits, political types routinely take the Acela when traveling between DC and NYC so it is a term that gets used by the media. The term "Acela corridor" is used as a negative term by the right wing conservative types for the northeast.

In the regional competition for the most skilled and most mobile workers inAmerica, noncoastal states are at a disadvantage. Although they have some large cities, they tend to be farther from other large cities than is the case in the coastal areas. This advantage provided by clusters of cities is helpful for coastal states, which tend to contain many big metro areas, the so­called Acela corridor stretching from Washington to Boston. There are walkable, reasonably dense, transit served urban centers with a very high percentage of knowledge workers on the Acela Corridor. It’s a cliché, but no less true, too few people outside the Acela corridor know what the government does and why it’s important.

In the 2016 election, the Hillary Clinton wing of the party represented the liberal establishment in the Acela Corridor. These are the left-of-center party leaders interested mainly in preserving power. In the other was the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders wing that rose to prominence on the backs of the radical Occupy Wall Street protest movement.

Chuck Todd replaced David Gregory as host of “Meet the Press”, and noted “Most political journalism is insular to the Acela corridor, and my job is to channel that frustration of the rest of America.”

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Page last modified: 01-11-2017 19:24:05 ZULU