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In the information age, spectrum is a valuable natural resource. Currently, there is a great deal of ongoing research into architectures for spectrum (or more generally, radio resource) management for next generation wireless communications systems. This article proposes a framework for unified spectrum management (USM), where both licensed and license-exempt bands are managed by a hierarchical band management method. An outline for developing the required entities in this architecture is introduced, as well as the protocols that are required for USM operation. We also discuss spatial and temporal coordination of resource usage in such a heterogeneous wireless environment. Finally, a number of open research issues for future study are outlined.