We don’t have to create these regions; they already exist, on two levels. First, there are now seven distinct super-regions, defined by common economics and demographics, like the Pacific Coast and the Great Lakes. Within these, in addition to America’s main metro hubs, we find new urban archipelagos, including the Arizona Sun Corridor, from Phoenix to Tucson; the Front Range, from Salt Lake City to Denver to Albuquerque; the Cascadia belt, from Vancouver to Seattle; and the Piedmont Atlantic cluster, from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.
Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, in places like Minneapolis and Memphis, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America.
Similar shifts can be found around the world. Despite millenniums of cultivated cultural and linguistic provinces, China is transcending its traditional internal boundaries to become an empire of 26 megacity clusters with populations of up to 100 million each, centered around hubs such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing-Chengdu. Over time these clusters, whose borders fluctuate based on population and economic growth, will be the cores around which the central government allocates subsidies, designs supply chains and builds connections to the rest of the world.
Western countries are following suit. As of 2015, Italy’s most important political players are no longer its dozens of laconic provinces, but 14 “Metropolitan Cities,” like Rome, Turin, Milan and Florence, each of which has been legislatively merged with its surrounding municipalities into larger and more economically viable subregions.