Richard Wells

Richard Wells is currently an adjunct at the Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College. He holds a doctorate in anthropology and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he writes about urban development and planning.

Recent Articles

The Rise of Megaregions

Planning theorists argue we need to rethink the spatial coordinates of the national economy.

In late May 1929, the Committee on the Regional Plan for New York and Its Environs published a massive, 10-volume report. Now known as the Regional Plan of 1929, it laid out a vision for infrastructural expansion designed to take the tristate region's economy to midcentury and beyond. As Thomas K. Wright, executive director of the Regional Planning Association (successor to the Committee on the Regional Plan for New York), reminded those gathered for the RPA's 19th-annual assembly in April, the 1929 plan gave the New York area a leg up when the depression hit and Work Progress Administration dollars came pouring out of Washington. "[Of the] 2,500 miles of highway proposed by the RPA in 1929, over 1,000 were built or under construction by 1938," Wright said. Many have noted the parallels between the crash of 1929 and the turmoil of today. But the "more instructive analogy," Wright said, "is not what happened in the run up to the financial crisis but how we responded." As another...