Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion
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The Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion (PAM) is a neologism created by the Regional Plan Association for an area of the Southeastern United States that includes the Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis, Birmingham, Greenville, Piedmont Triad, and Raleigh-Durham metropolitan areas. The megaregion generally follows the Interstate 85/20 corridor. According to Georgia Tech, PAM represents over 12 percent of the total United States population and covers over 243,000 square miles (630,000 km2) of land.
PAM is just one emergent megalopolis (also known as a megaregion) of eight such regions in the continental United States, so-called because half the nation's population growth and two-thirds of its economic growth is expected to occur within those regions over the next four decades.
Studies by Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech identify The I-85 Corridor in the Southeastern United States area as an "emergent" megalopolis including the primary cities of Atlanta, Birmingham, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Durham, and Raleigh with Atlanta being the largest metropolitan area and Charlotte being the largest city. Both studies refer to the area as the Piedmont megalopolis.
The Georgia Tech survey defines the region narrowly, focusing on the urban and suburban counties between Birmingham and Raleigh, and the rural counties that explicitly link those urban and suburban counties.
The Virginia Tech study proposes a broader definition, which would also include Columbus, Macon, Huntsville, Augusta, Columbia, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, Asheville and a number of smaller cities. The western extent of this definition is deeply disconnected from the remainder of the region by the Appalachian Mountains range, and is economically not well-integrated into the greater region. Other locales mentioned in the Virginia Tech study remain disconnected from the region's core, separated by dozens of miles of deeply rural areas.
Both reports highlight the "emergent" nature of this possible megalopolis, noting comparatively low urban densities, but also noting a pattern in growth (in the individual, component urban areas) towards each other. As of 2005[update], this region (as defined in the Virginia Tech study) has a population of 19 million.
The Piedmont Atlantic central Metropolitan Areas are located on the southern Piedmont region which gives the Megaregion its name. The Piedmont is located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic coastal plain. The surface relief of the Piedmont is characterized by relatively low, rolling hills with heights above sea level between 200 feet (50 m) and 800 feet to (rarely) 1,000 feet (250 m to 300 m).
The region has a diverse economy ranging in many different industries. Henry W. Grady of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution coined the term New South to describe the American South, in whole or in part. The term "New South" is used in contrast to the Old South's plantation system of the antebellum period, to a new Industrial region. Since then Atlanta has grown from a small railway town into a major business, convention and transportation hub. Atlanta is now considered a "Alpha- World City" According to GaWC 2010 at Loughborough University by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network. Charlotte in the Piedmont Crescent has grown to become a major U.S. financial center, and the nation's 2nd largest financial center. Birmingham boom after the Civil War as a major industrial center in the Southern United States, the city's economy has diversified into banking, insurance, medicine, publishing, and biotechnology. The region of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill is known as the Research Triangle, named for the Research Triangle Park, which is the largest research park in the United States and one of its most prominent high-tech research and development centers. Upstate South Carolina, a region including Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson has been given foreign investment and has become the fastest growing region in the U.S. state of South Carolina.
Interstate I-85 and I-20 are the main corridors, and the major Interstates that are intersected are : I-95, I-40, I-73, I-74, I-77, I-26, I-75, and I-65. The gateway cities of Savannah, Charleston, and Wilmington all serve as seaports for the Piedmont Atlantic Region. Within the PAM there are six international airports, nine when including those located in the aforementioned gateway cities.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the region and in the world. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is the second busiest airport in the region. Other major airports in the region include: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, McGhee Tyson Airport, Piedmont Triad International Airport, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Huntsville International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport. International Airports within gateway cities include Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Nashville International Airport and Memphis International Airport, which is the world's busiest airport by most cargo traffic by weight annually.
Megaregion as a unit
The Piedmont Atlantic is the fastest growing mega-region in the United States. The mega-region is facing challenges with its growing population, increased traffic congestion, and inadequate infrastructure. Mayors, businesses, and academic professionals have organized the Piedmont Alliance for Quality Growth to help address these problems with sustainable solutions. With the goal of focusing on the growth of the Megaregion, they have called for less competition between cities and metropolitan areas in the same region, and a stronger and more cohesive ability to work together to compete on the global scale. The major issues that the PAM has to solve include conflicts over shared natural resources such as water and problems transportation infrastructure such as road upkeep and the railways linking cities. Many of the issues cities or metropolitan areas face cannot be solved by action on a local scale. A Megaregion as a unit working together is an advantage in economics and quality of life within the region.
The culture of the PAM is a subset of the culture of the greater Southern United States. It is mainly a combination of the cultures of Georgia and North Carolina, as these two states have the greatest populations by far of the five states that make up the region, and contain most of the region's major cities.
National Professional Sports teams
- Atlanta Braves
- Atlanta Dream
- Atlanta Falcons
- Atlanta Hawks
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Carolina Panthers
- Charlotte Hornets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Nashville Predators
- Tennessee Titans
The geography of the region is diverse and lends itself to a variety of outdoor recreational activities, ranging from hiking along the Appalachian Trail in the mountains to relaxing on the coastal beaches.
Many of the cities within the region have extensively developed tourism infrastructure. Charlotte, the largest city in the region, hosts the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Uptown Mint Museum, Carowinds Amusement Park, Discovery Place, Bank of America Headquarters, U.S. National Whitewater Center, Billy Graham Center, and many upscale shops and restaurants. Atlanta has a number of attractions centered around the Centennial Olympic Park, which was built as part of the infrastructure improvements for the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics. Nearby attractions in Atlanta include the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Road Atlanta, CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium (the world's largest indoor aquarium), and the new World of Coca-Cola. Other Atlanta area attractions include the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, Six Flags Over Georgia, and Stone Mountain Park.
Charlotte also has more than 25 million tourists a year, while Atlanta has 37 million.
Other cities in the mega-region also offer tourism opportunities. Birmingham, for example, is home to several museums; the largest is the Birmingham Museum of Art, which is also the largest municipal art museum in the Southeast. The area's history museums includes Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which houses a detailed and emotionally charged narrative exhibit putting Birmingham's history into the context of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The Birmingham area also includes two prominent race tracks : Talladega Superspeedway and Barber Motorsports Park. Greenville, S.C., offers Falls Park on the Reedy, a 32-acre (130,000 m2) park adjacent to downtown in the historic West End district.
The area is home to a number of colleges and universities, including:
- Agnes Scott College
- Alabama A & M University
- Alabama State University
- Albany State University
- Anderson University
- Auburn University
- Austin Peay State University
- Belmont University
- Belmont Abbey College
- Bevill State Community College
- Birmingham Southern College
- Bob Jones University
- Brevard College
- Carson-Newman College
- Catawba College
- Charlotte School of Law
- Christian Brothers University
- Clark Atlanta University
- Clayton State University
- Clemson University
- Converse College
- Cumberland University
- Davidson College
- Duke University
- Elon University
- Emory University
- Fisk University
- Fort Valley State University
- Furman University
- Gardner-Webb University
- Georgia Gwinnett College
- Georgia Regents University
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Tech
- Greensboro College
- Greenville Technical College
- Guilford College
- High Point University
- Jacksonville State University
- Johnson C. Smith University
- Johnson & Wales University
- Kennesaw State University
- LaGrange College
- Lenoir-Rhyne University
- Limestone College
- Lipscomb University
- Livingstone College
- Louisburg College
- Meharry Medical College
- Meredith College
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Morehouse College
- North Carolina A&T State University
- North Carolina Central University
- North Carolina State University
- Oakwood University
- Oglethorpe University
- Paine College
- Peace College
- Pfeiffer University
- Queens University of Charlotte
- Saint Augustine's College
- Salem College
- Samford University
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- Shaw University
- Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
- Southern Polytechnic State University
- Spartanburg Community College
- Spelman College
- Tennessee State University
- Tennessee Technological University
- Trevecca Nazarene University
- Tuskegee University
- University of Alabama
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of Alabama in Huntsville
- University of Georgia
- University of Memphis
- University of Montevallo
- University of North Carolina at Asheville
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- University of North Carolina School of the Arts
- University of South Carolina Aiken
- University of South Carolina School of Medicine - Greenville
- USC Upstate
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- University of West Georgia
- Vanderbilt University
- Wake Forest University
- Western Kentucky University
- Wilkes Community College
- Winston-Salem State University
- Wingate University
- Winthrop University
- Wofford College
- I-85 Corridor
- Megapolitan Area
- Megalopolis (city type)
- Megaregions of the United States
- Piedmont Crescent
- "Department of Economic Development". Greenville SC. Greenville SC. Retrieved July 2, 2014.
- Excerpted from List of primary statistical areas of the United States
- Georgia Tech: Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development
- Megaregion plans are underway
- Globalization and Megaregions
- Jerry Weitz (2014). "Employment Changes in the Spine of the Carolina Megapolitan Area: Implications for Megaregion Planning". Southeastern Geographer. 54 (3): 215–232. ISSN 1549-6929.