The Network on Building Resilient Regions (BRR) examines the power of metropolitan regions to respond to local and national challenges. BRR brings together a group of experts to investigate why metro regions matter now, what constitutes resilience in the face of challenges, and what factors help to build and sustain strong metro regions.

The site is organized by topic area

  • Economic Insecurities focuses on the impact of poverty and foreclosures
  • Economic Resilience examines those factors that allow a region to respond to challenges
  • Infrastructure focuses on challenges of infrastructure, particularly transportation
  • Governance examines policymaking and the role of government in creating strong regions
  • Immigration focuses on the benefits and challenges of immigration in regions

BRR is affiliated with the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Resilience Capacity Index
Find data, maps and a comparison tool assessing the resilience capacity of 361 U.S. metropolitan regions.

After_Aerial_Photo_of_Greenway12.31.2013 |  By BRR Director Margaret Weir

When we launched the Building Resilient Regions network nearly ten years ago, urban analysts and advocates had high hopes that regionalism would be the way to address the problems of metropolitan areas. Our task was to assess regionalism –– well aware of its vague definition –– as a strategy for addressing critical challenges facing metropolitan areas. We divided our network into four groups examining economic growth, infrastructure and fast growth, immigration, and poverty.

What have we learned? (more…)

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Posted by on December 31, 2013

 12.20. 2013 | As the year winds to an end, so too does this blog. This will be our final post. Building Resilient Regions was designed to be a temporary project, funded with a generous grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The goal was to bring together a group of scholars from a range of disciplines to think deeply about the ideas of resilience, regionalism, and metro staying power.

We started this blog far into the Network’s life, in April 2011, and with the help of a great team of writers at HiredPen, and the rich body of work that the members of BRR have produced, we’ve been writing twice weekly about all things metro resilience, including economic development, equity, infrastructure, immigration, and governance. Our plan was to use the day’s headlines as a pivot to discuss the deeper issue behind those headlines and add some context to the stories. Looking back on the posts,  I can see the ebb and flow of the defining trends of the past two years, from the rise of big data, to the tentative rebirth of manufacturing, to the foreclosure crisis.

We’re going to miss writing about topic. But the good news is that the site will remain as a repository and resource, so dig in and look back on the posts, as well as the great research on the site. To get you started, below are the top 10 posts since we launched. (more…)

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Posted by on December 20, 2013

12.18.2013 | Seven days and counting …until you’re that guy (because it is only guys) who rushes to Walgreens on Christmas Eve. Don’t be that guy. For the urban planners on your list, get thee to a bookstore.

Brent Todiarian is making it easy. A devoted city planning geek, he has listed his 100 favorite urban planning/ metro development books. Here’s his top 10 to make it easy on you. And I’m adding a few more at the end, including a new one from the University of Illinois Center for Urban Planning and Policy that addresses metro resilience post-recession. (more…)

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Posted by on December 18, 2013

12.12.2013 | Sometimes when you live through history, you don’t see the moment when it all began to change. We may be at one of those moments.

Forces are coalescing and changes are underway in the civil rights battle of this era: immigration.

It seems ages ago that Hazleton, Pennsylvania, was in the news for its draconian approach to an influx of immigrants. Remember Hazleton? Faced with an influx of newcomers into the largely white community, the city passed an ordinance to fine landlords who rented to supposed “illegals.”

In the intervening years, a recession grabbed the nation’s attention and immigration took on new proportions with movements like the Dream Act. On the ground in cities across the country, immigrants are demanding a voice and becoming a political force.

Yet not all cities are willingly ceding the battle. (more…)

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Posted by on December 12, 2013

12.10.2013 | As the recovery from the Great Recession limps along, regional resilience is both on display and being tested in “legacy” cities across the so-called Rust Belt of the United States.

Allan Mallach and Lavea Brachman, authors of “Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities,” define legacy cities as “older industrial cities that have experienced sustained job and population loss over the past few decades.” Several recent articles and reports chronicle these cities’ efforts to rebound. Their report, published in May 2013 by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, offers a broad overview of the situation in 18 cities chosen because their populations as of 2010 were at least 50,000 and they had lost at least 20 percent off their peak populations. (more…)

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Posted by on December 10, 2013