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Regional Plan Association

Regional Plan Association
A color coordinated map of the 31 counties from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut that are under the purview of the Regional Plan Association
31-county area[1]
Abbreviation RPA
Formation 1922
Type Non-Profit
Purpose Regional planning
Headquarters New York, New York
Region served
New York metropolitan area USA
Thomas K Wright
Website Regional Plan Association

The Regional Plan Association (RPA) is an independent, not-for-profit regional planning organization, founded in 1922, that focuses on recommendations to improve the quality of life and economic competitiveness of a 31-county New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region in the New York metropolitan area.[1] Headquartered in New York City, and it has offices in Princeton, New Jersey and Stamford, Connecticut.[2]

Regional Plans

RPA has produced three strategic regional plans for the New York metropolitan region since the 1920s. The chronology of their plans is as follows:

  1. RPA's First Plan in 1929, developed under the leadership of Thomas Adams, provided a guide for the area's road and transportation network.[3]
  2. The Second Plan, published as a series of reports in the 1960s, aimed at restructuring mass transit and reinvigorating deteriorating urban centers.
  3. The RPA's Third Regional Plan, issued in 1996, "A Region at Risk," recommended improving regional mass transit, increasing protection of open space and maintaining employment in traditional urban centers.

RPA began work on its Fourth Regional Plan in 2013.[4]

Planning Philosophy

The RPA program represents a philosophy of planning described by historian Robert Fishman as "metropolitanism," associated with the Chicago School of Sociology. It promotes large scale, industrial centers and the concentration of population rather than decentralized development. Its critics point out that this results in windfall real estate profits for downtown interests. Whether this approach to regional planning is efficient, particularly because of the infrastructure and energy required to sustain such concentration, has been questioned by scholars including James Howard Kunstler.[3]

Impact in the Tri-State Area

Regional Plan Association's strategic plans have proposed numerous ideas and investments for the New York metropolitan area that have turned into major public works, economic development and open space projects, including:

  • The location of the [5]
  • The preservation of the Palisades and the construction of the Palisades Interstate Parkway.[6]
  • The redevelopment of Governors Island, through the RPA-led coalition Governors Island Alliance.[7]
  • The establishment of urban national parks like the Gateway National Recreation Area in Jamaica Bay.
  • The revitalization of the regional centers like Downtown Brooklyn, Newark, NJ and Stamford, Connecticut.[8]

See also



  1. ^ a b Danielson & Doig 1982, pp. 35–37.
  2. ^ "Contact - Regional Plan Association". Regional Plan Association. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Fishman 2000, pp. 65–88.
  4. ^ "Fourth Regional Plan - Regional Plan Association". Regional Plan Association. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "For Hudson Bridge Above 125th Street". The New York Times. December 28, 1923. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Binnewies, Robert O. (2001). Palisades: 100,000 Acres in 100 Years. Fordham University Press. p. 203. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Governors Island Alliance. "Our Mission". 
  8. ^ Regional Plan Association. "Shaping the Region". Retrieved 20 October 2014. 


  • Danielson, Michael N.; Doig, Jameson W. (1982). New York The Politics of Urban Regional Development. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 1–352.  
  • Fishman, Robert (2000). "Chapter 3: The Metropolitan Tradition in American Planning". In Fishman, Robert. The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 65–88.  

Further reading

  • Hiss, Tony; Yaro, Robert (1996). A region at risk: the third regional plan for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area.  
  • Johnson, David A. (1995). Planning the Great Metropolis: The 1929 regional plan of New York and its environs.  

External links

  • Regional Plan Association
  • RPA Publications Library
  • Guide to the Regional Plan Association Records, 1919–1997
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