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How Regional Plan Association – New York's Civic-Led Group – 'Gets Things Done'

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This paper brie fly describes Regional Plan Association's (RPA) eff orts over the past century to shape the development of the New York–New Jersey–Connecticut metropolitan region. With twenty-four million people and a $2+ trillion economy, this is America's largest urban region. I explore the advantages and drawbacks facing an independent, non-statutory entity like RPA in carrying out this mission. The RPA's history is the subject of a newly published monograph and website prepared by the Association for its Centennial in 2022 (RPA, 2022), and recent feature in Bloomberg CityLab (Scurio, 2022). This paper draws on my twenty- fiveyear personal experience leading RPA and its professional staff (1989–2014). I also conceptualized, led and co-authored RPA's Third Regional Plan, and initiated its Fourth Plan. The paper outlines how an independent civic group can help public bodies achieve important policy and investment outcomes for a large metropolitan region.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2022

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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