Regional Goals

Metro Outlook begins with a vision of the Kansas City area as a great metropolitan region — a world-class city — effectively competing in the global economy by sustaining a rising quality of life attractive to talented people.

Metro Outlook 2.0 uses earlier reports to synthesize a set of regional goals to help reach that vision. These goals are:

  1. Economic competitiveness rooted in innovative capacity
    1. Such competitiveness requires regions to specialize in what they do, creating highly developed clusters of activity where competing firms spur each other to higher levels of performance.
    2. University excellence is at the root of most basic innovations. It is also an attraction for young, talented student-entrepreneurs and the seed capital to nourish them.
  2. High levels and use of human capacity
    1. This begins with universal quality education that not only leaves no child behind, but also enables all children to reach their full potential.
    2. To ensure children enter school ready to learn and parents are actively involved in their children's learning will additionally require strong family support systems.
    3. Existing racial disparities mean that a large segment of the population is underutilized. Instead of being uncomfortable with differences, we need to develop a culture that embraces diversity as a source of strength, resilience and innovation.
  3. Inherent attractiveness of place and amenities
    1. Virtually all regions have some great suburbs. But great regions also have a vital urban center that gives the area a unique identity and all regional residents something to be proud of.
    2. World-class cultural and recreational opportunities also create a sense of place in a region. While often associated with the urban center, such amenities may also be located in suburban, natural or historic areas.
    3. What's most important is a region where all parts are healthy. So in addition, the best regions also have thriving first suburbs — the areas with the oldest post-World War II housing — along with vital downtowns and growing new suburbs.
  4. Social cohesion
    1. Communities with a high level of trust across geographic and social communities are better able to understand and reconcile differing points of view.
    2. This enables them to reach agreement on actions and policies that serve the common good. In turn, this increases their . . .
  5. Strategic decision-making capacity
    1. Making strategic regional decisions also requires effective leadership institutions to develop a policy agenda and garner the support necessary to successfully implement it.
    2. That support is easier to obtain if the region possesses an engaged citizenry able to influence policy. While discussions may lead to compromise, the end result is usually a better and more widely embraced policy. In addition, average citizens may be more willing to accept risk and change than those citizens their leaders most often hear from.
  6. Efficiency in the use of resources
    1. In the long run, economic competitiveness must operate within natural limits. Moreover, a healthy natural environment can be a significant attraction to talented people.
    2. In addition, greater efficiency ultimately means lower costs and increased capacity for investing in the future. In particular, strong mobility and accessibility networks can help save time and energy costs and, in addition, increase the sense of place and level of social cohesion.

The Metro Outlook model demonstrates how these goals are interconnected and how improving one should influence others.

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