Sustainability in the cross-border context: Exploring the potential for the ‘Cascadia’ region

Dr. Laurie Trautman

Director, Border Policy Research Institute

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Washington State and British Columbia share many connections. Despite being separated by an international boundary, there are businesses, transportation networks, families, and Indigenous nations that knit the region together, as well as ecosystems that know no borders. In the past decade, the region has faced a growing number of climate-induced natural hazards, from fires to floods, which elevate the importance of working collaboratively with our neighbors to the north on shared challenges. This presentation will provide an overview of the cross-border area known by several names: the Pacific Northwest, the Salish Sea, Cascadia. Is it a region? What are the implications of being bifurcated by an international border? How do we approach governance in a cross-border context?

WWU’s Border Policy Research Institute is one of several entities aimed at strengthening cross-border collaboration to increase economic, social, and environmental resiliency. Is it possible for us to become the ‘world’s largest sustainable mega-region' and what does that even mean?

headshot of Dr. Laurie Trautman

Dr. Laurie Trautman is the Director of the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University. She engages in a range of research activities focused on the Canada – U.S. border space, and the Washington State – British Columbia region. In addition to working with faculty, scholars, and students, she collaborates with the private sector and government agencies to inform policy solutions and advance cross-border collaboration, both regionally and globally. Laurie participates in numerous efforts that are actively engaged in the Canada – U.S. relationship. She is a Global Fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. She holds degrees from Western Washington University, Montana State University, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Oregon.

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