This annually updated foresight project focuses on mid-sized domestic US metropolitan economies.  These “middleweight” cities are engines of growth unique to the country that punch above their weight economically.  The project looks at a group of cities with economic outputs in the same range that have both above average GDP growth over the last 10 years and above average per capita personal income (a measure of prosperity) over the last year. Regions including Columbus, Nashville, and Salt Lake City, for instance, are anchored by so-called “second tier” cities for real estate investment, yet have experienced high economic growth both before and after the Great Recession that continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  This track record suggests that these areas will continue to boom, yet may struggle with balancing fast urban and population growth with a livable public realm.  The team is using economic analysis for the project.  The project continues SWA’s foresight work begun with The Future City: Urban Sensorium.


Anya Domlesky and Emily Schlickman, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Gerdo Aquino and Ying-yu Hung, SWA


Jaana Remes, McKinsey Global Institute
Jonah Susskind, XL research and innovation Lab at SWA
Drew Watkins and Natalia Beard, SWA



American Planning Association (APA) National Planning Conference.
“Where We Will Grow: The Vanguard of American Urbanism.”

ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture
“Landscape Research Now”

Utah State University
“Practice-Based Research for a Changing World”


In Progress: