Crafting a Plan, Without Getting Boxed In

In our efforts to create the Fourth Regional Plan, a comprehensive planning initiative to develop a blueprint for the growth, prosperity and sustainability of the New York metropolitan region over the next 25 years, RPA and a broad coalition of experts and community leaders have been exploring various elements of our natural and built environment, from transportation systems and our region’s housing stock to coastal flooding to the governance of our public institutions.

While each of these topics requires thorough analysis individually, it also is important to think about the way these issues relate to one another. Where new housing is developed, for example, changes the transit needs of surrounding areas. Strategies to address climate change and coastal retreat are often considered the domain of scientists and environmental experts, but whether and how we protect flood-prone areas also has implications for the viability of businesses, nearby housing, transit infrastructure and governance structures.

This past winter, RPA hosted four roundtable discussions exploring crosscutting issues integral to the Fourth Regional Plan. These events brought together experts from various disciplines to wrestle with how the plan can address social equity within spatial planning; how the region will adapt to the future of work; where we should reinforce flood-prone areas and where we should retreat; and how to define a successful downtown.

The white papers prepared in preparation for each roundtable, which looked at existing patterns and offered some initial ideas about tackling problems, are now available in RPA’s online publications library, at

White papers: 

Where to Reinforce, Where to Retreat?

The Future of Downtowns

The Future of Work

Spatial Planning and Inequality