A region is a collection of communities sharing not just borders, but a linked economic and social fate. People travel across city, county and state borders to go to work; businesses rely on suppliers, labor and customers that cross these same borders. These forces link us economically. Anchor institutions, such as museums, hospitals and colleges, serve and draw from a regional base, linking us socially and culturally. Air, water and pollution cross borders as well, linking us environmentally.
In today’s global economy, a metropolitan region must harness the productive capacities of all of its residents, businesses and institutions in order to stay competitive, sustainable, vibrant, and healthy. The difference between regional vibrancy and regional vulnerability depends upon the success of maximizing opportunity for all of a region’s neighborhoods and people. As people recognize the shared fate of city and suburb, and as regional vulnerability is highlighted by the stresses of globalization, de-industrialization, and inequality, the importance of meaningful and sustainable regional cooperation is coming to the forefront of diverse policy agendas.