We’re growing. But, growth without a clear plan could have a range of undesirable consequences. By 2050, the population is expected to increase by several hundred thousand people and if current land use trends continue, we’ll develop almost another Omaha worth of land area. That new development requires new utilities and services, increasing public costs dramatically. If we don’t change course, we are predicted to have a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall for local municipalities, likely requiring substantial property tax hikes to pay for all of it. Meanwhile, rural downtowns and urban neighborhood centers continue to decline, with shuttered shop windows and vacant lots. We’ll drive more and walk less, our carbon footprint will expand, and the opportunity gap for underserved communities will only grow wider as our educational, healthcare, and employment infrastructure becomes more spread out and less accessible.
To secure a prosperous future, the metro region needs a growth model that is driven by equity – just and fair inclusion into a society in which everyone has access to participate and prosper. Concerted investments and policies for, and developed from within, communities of color will also be essential to ensure the region’s fastest-growing populations are ready to lead it into the next economy. H2050 Vision
Competition between metro areas to attract and retain a talented workforce and new jobs will only increase in the years to come. Moreover, the anticipated future growth will place unprecedented stress on the ability to provide infrastructure and services and maintain a high quality of life for our families.
As we grow, the region should become a national magnet for a highly skilled workforce, ensuring opportunity right here for young workers.