The 2030 Group: Getting 22 Jurisdictions to Think as One Region
July 23, 2012
By The 2030 Group
As students of the Real Estate Leadership course in the George Mason University’s Masters of Real Estate Development program, we were tasked with taking on an in depth research project analyzing local leadership. The focus of the project was to examine an ongoing regional development project or organization and analyze its leadership, structure, and challenges.
When the 2030 Group was presented as a possible research opportunity, our group of three jumped on it. We found the wide scope of the group’s mission – regionalism – very interesting. By trying to understand how the 2030 Group took on the daunting task of bringing 22 local and dynamic jurisdictions around three unifying goals – housing, transportation, and workforce education – we knew the 2030 Group would yield a great research project.
In order to understand the organization, we interviewed Bob Buchanan, President of the 2030 Group and Principal of Buchanan Partners, Dr. Stephen Fuller, Director for the Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) at George Mason University and an advisor to the 2030 Group, and Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, a researcher with the CRA and contributor to this blog. We were very pleased with their openness, generosity and support of our academic pursuits. We set up a 30-minute interview with Mr. Buchanan, but he generously gave us two hours of his time. We talked a little about everything – politics, his Maryland roots, transportation, education and the future of the region. He was candid throughout the interview and impressed upon us the critical importance of having a coordinated regional approach in planning the future of the Washington Metropolitan Region.
For example, currently, there are no housing policies in place to address an income mix that the region will need in order to keep its competitive edge in the future. There are also no regional transportation infrastructure policies to help reduce the traffic congestion that will only worsen over time. The aims of the 2030 Group is to help stakeholders understand that the future of the region does not rest upon any individual infrastructure project; instead, it takes a regional approach to planning.
We were also pleased to find that Dr. Stephen Fuller and Dr. Lisa Sturtevant were equally generous and thought-provoking. The historical studies and forecasts into the region’s housing, migration, regional economic development and education provided us with the background and the reasons why the 2030 Group was formed. The information and insight we gleaned from these interviews helped us better understand the dynamics of the region. Armed with the forecast research published by the George Mason CRA, we were able to see the region’s potential and the challenges facing the Washington region.
What we took away from this research project and these interviews was the understanding of the larger problem at hand and the tremendous potential and opportunity in the Washington Metropolitan Region. Housing, transportation infrastructure, and work force education needs will be staggering. As students and professionals in real estate development, this research project has turned into a call to arms for us and our colleagues as we prepare for the future. We need to focus on what is at stake. It takes a regional perspective to see the opportunities for what they are. Most importantly, we realize what the 2030 Group is trying to accomplish – to create a better quality of life for the region.