Kansas City one of "kings of sprawl"

Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution talked with civic leaders about the strengths and weaknesses of the metro area. His speech was summarized in at KCStar article:
In terms of growth pattern, Kansas City is one of the nation's kings of sprawl. . . .

“In the past, you did quite well despite excessive decentralization,” he said. “But the rules of the game have changed” as more workers are attracted to places instead of corporations, “and that's something you should be concerned about and think about.” . . .

On government fragmentation, Katz noted the area's high number of local governments and political entities, but he lauded the area for its willingness to collaborate. The regional council leads collaborative efforts in wide-ranging ways — from coordinating traffic signals to organizing disaster responses, from promoting early childhood services to planning biking and hiking trails.
Ron McLinden of the Sierra Club comments on the presentation:
I [suggest] that the presentation might be characterized as “a 20th century perspective on a 21st century world.”

But then, the presentation was written for an audience averse to controversy.

Last month I predicted there’d be no tough challenges, and observed that “...there’s glory in cutting the ribbon for a new sports or arts venue. There’s no glory in taking meaningful steps to curtail runaway exurbanization, no glory in putting in place a more balanced transportation system, and no glory in confronting the socio-economic inequities that persist in the form of job creation in the suburbs while disadvantaged job-seekers are pretty much confined by the housing market to the central city.”

Don’t get me wrong — it’s important to get things “right” on the four factors Katz identified. But doing that doesn’t assure success unless every other metropolitan region also ignores the bigger issues.
Katz's entire presentation is available on the Brookings Institute web site. [PDF format]