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Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion


Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion

The Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion (PAM) is a 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 two U.S. universities – 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 Birmingham, Atlanta, 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 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, 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.

Raleigh had a metro population of 1,214,516 in 2013 and is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the US.
Greenville had a metro population of 850,965 in 2013 and is a leader in economic development in SC.[1]
Rank Primary Statistical Area Anchor City Population(2013) State(s)
1 Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs Atlanta 6,162,195 GA
2 Charlotte–Concord–Gastonia Charlotte 2,493,040 NC / SC
3 Raleigh–Durham–Chapel Hill Raleigh 2,037,430 NC
4 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro Nashville 1,876,933 TN
5 Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point Greensboro 1,619,313 NC
6 Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson Greenville 1,438,550 SC
7 Memphis–Forrest City Memphis 1,369,006 TN /MS/AR
8 Birmingham–Hoover–Talladega Birmingham 1,313,105 AL
9 Knoxville–Morristown–Sevierville Knoxville 1,096,961 TN
10 Chattanooga–Cleveland–Dalton Chattanooga 940,299 GA/AL
11 Columbia–Orangeburg–Newberry Columbia 922,242 SC
12 Huntsville–Decatur–Albertville Huntsville 683,871 AL
13 Fayetteville–Lumberton–Laurinburg Fayetteville 548,059 NC
14 Johnson City–Kingsport–Bristol Kingsport 509,249 TN/VA
15 Columbus–Auburn–Opelika Columbus 501,649 GA/ AL
16 Asheville–Brevard Asheville 470,560 NC
17 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Hickory 408,533 NC


  • Transportation 1
  • Megaregion as a unit 2
  • Culture of Piedmont Atlantic 3
    • National Professional Sports teams 3.1
    • Attractions 3.2
  • Education 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6


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 6 international airports, 9 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 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.

Culture of Piedmont Atlantic

The culture of the PAM is a subset of the 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


A 2008 aerial photo of Atlanta's urban core viewed from the Southwest near Dunwoody's Perimeter Center skyline is visible in the background. In 2013, the entire region had a population of 6,162,195.
Charlotte is the largest city in the region with a population of 792,862 as of 2013.

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 World of Coca-Cola. Other Atlanta area attractions include the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site 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. 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.

Research Triangle Park
Duke University


The area is home to a number of colleges and universities, including:

See also


  1. ^ "Department of Economic Development". Greenville SC. Greenville SC. Retrieved July 2, 2014. 
  • Georgia Tech: Center for Quality Growth & Regional Development
  • Megaregion plans are underway
  • Globalization and Megaregions
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