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Cities in the so-called mega-region already deal with a lack of affordable housing, awful traffic congestion, overwhelmed transit systems and environmental concerns, such as a lack of progress on greenhouse-gas reduction goals. The report points out that these problems will get worse without creative solutions.

While many challenges can be overcome at the municipal, provincial or state level, the report argues that “we cannot expect to solve mega-regional problems without greater collaboration and alignment.”

“Through partnerships with our cities and regions, we can become an example to the world of the key role mega-regional planning can play in taking a sustainable approach to growth,” the report says.

The proposal suggests that hub cities could be established on “underdeveloped lands” and connected to existing cities 65-160 kilometres away with high-speed transit.

These cities would operate like some existing mid-sized municipalities, but would have extra capacity for growth and provide jobs, affordable housing and direct and convenient transit to surrounding neighbourhoods and urban cores. This would avoid sprawl and the need to up-zone single-family neighbourhoods.

“Cascadia, with its spirit of innovation and history of taking on big challenges, must lead the way,” the report said. “We must provide an example to the world that, through thoughtful collaboration and bold action, a sustainable mega-region is possible.”

jensaltman@postmedia.com

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