Regional Community Development News – November 25, 2009 [regions_work]


A compilation of news links about and for regional communities pursuing local and regional development.

Published on line since November 11, 2003.



Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .15

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .08

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .08

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .05

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

Custom search: region, regions, regional communities … 15.

Bold Italic highlights search terms and/or phrases of interest.


Top Regional Community stories

1. A broken heartland - Albany Times Union - Albany, NY

To those of us who have actually governed, balanced budgets and kept infrastructure functioning in the Rust Belt, hope dawned bright when Barack Obama was elected president. His policy team understands the urgency of coordinating policy across the many federal agencies, rather than leaving them to work in silos.

But the President's trip to China underscores how high the national, state and local hurdles are for restoring economic growth to the nation's midsection, between the Hudson and Mississippi rivers and between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River.

Our Rust Belt metropolitan regions know about jobless recoveries, because nobody has seen job growth or population growth in a generation. The Rust Belt's decline is America's unfinished business. We hope it's not a prelude to America's future.

Here -- where America used to make cars, steel, tires and chemicals, and where we still make college graduates -- are abandoned cities, sprawling suburbs, shrinking tax bases, brownfields and dozens of little municipalities within metro regions. Washington's response consists of make-work projects and ever-bigger payments for welfare, Medicaid and Medicare as our populations grow older, poorer and smaller. Manufacturing, where it continues to exist at all, is still vulnerable to an international trade regime that favors low-wage producers overseas.

We are two former officials who tried to jump-start pro-regional, pro-urban reform movements at the local level because we realized that 19th-century governance structures, especially those that give all power over land use to what urban policy author and consultant David Rusk calls "little box" governments, keep our metros poor.

For a while, we generated positive regional momentum. But we ran up against federal indifference to calls for linking spending to regional economic impact rather than to the old definitions of cities, as if cities can still be detached from their suburbs.

2. RDA remains focused with grant to Porter - Gary Post Tribune - Gary, IN, USA

Few things can stop true progress, particularly if it's people driven by sheer myopia. The Regional Development Authority proved that when it recently approved giving $1.8 million to the town of Porter for a new entrance to the dunes.

RDA officials made the move despite Porter County's attempts to withdraw from the regional group, a move that remains questionable at best and illegal at worst.

And the approval is a fine reminder of why regional efforts must be legislated so they are impenetrable by the picayune politicians of the day.

This vote is the very definition of regionalism.

The town of Porter has created an impressive Lakeshore Gateway Project, which creates a new entrance from Interstate 94 to the state and national parks along the lakeshore. The initial $1.8 million funding is a start to the total $19.7 million cost.

The idea is to create an entry that is worthy of the dunes, among the most precious economic and environmental assets of the region.

To make this regional effort, regional taxes will be used.

The whole point of the RDA specifically, and regionalism generally, is that we share the burden to make the entire region a better place to live and provide more economic opportunities.

Those who are against regional efforts -- namely, Porter County Council members and commissioners -- consider the RDA vote to be a political ploy.

No, it's progress. It's moving foward. It's a reinvestment in the region, just as …

An unfortunate byproduct of progress is that it takes a while to see what comes of the investment.

So ask yourself, if myopia had reigned for the last 100 years, where would we stand now?,edit-rda.article

3. Regional initiative sparks opposition - - Willoughby, OH, USA

The proposed 16-county Northeast Ohio "Regional Prosperity Initiative" is certainly being heard on both sides, especially for or against a small Lake County city sharing its voter-approved levy or income tax money with an urban city in another county.

The anti-regional idea was heard Monday by the Lake County Mayors and City Managers Association, and all comments will be heard Dec. 4 at a regional meeting …

At the mayors/city managers meeting at Dino's Restaurant, the sharing idea was strongly disputed by Alex D. Kelemen, a former Painesville Township and Willoughby resident who now resides in Hudson and owns a Solon company focusing on global marketing.

"The RPI model creates a Cleveland-center bureaucracy with contempt for growing suburbs and ignorance of business. The model is based on mandated tax redistribution and return of power to city-based political alliances," Kelemen said.

"It's the nation's most sweeping form of regionalism in the largest geographic area ever attempted. Politics will attempt to steer new growth to difficult-to-develop urban areas. Most of the 'gurus' and 'experts in new growth' have a decided bias towards redeveloping cities and against suburban/rural area."

As for the 65-member RPI committee including Cuyahoga and other counties and itself broken up into subcommittees, Keleman added: "No Lake County county, city or school officials are currently represented on either committee."

At an earlier association meeting, pro-RPI Pepper Pike Mayor Bruce Akers said he favors a revenue-sharing pool of municipalities.

"To the extent that (regional towns) are working together rather than competitively against one another, we can help turn this region around. In a pool, everybody wins," Akers said.

Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski said he understands why an urban city might need revenue sharing help. "If Cleveland continues to go down, it isn't going to help us, is it?" the mayor said.

4. 'It's over,' Pignatelli says - Berkshire Eagle - Pittsfield, MA, USA

Citing the reduction in the state reimbursements for regional school transportation, State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli says the state's push for rural schools to form districts "is over -- it's not going to happen."

The state Department of Education has been urging rural school districts like Berkshire Hills Regional School District and the Southern Berkshire Regional School Districts to look into a more extensive regionalization plan this past year. That initiative has lost considerable momentum in the wake of the latest round of state budget cuts to schools.

The incentive for schools to regionalize into districts was the state's reimbursement of their transportation costs, Pignatelli told Selectmen on Monday.

However, he said, "The state has never reimbursed districts 100 percent, which is something they promised to do for years. But that reimbursement is now the lowest it's ever been. If there is no incentive for districts to regionalize, it won't happen."

This year, the state's regional transportation aid evaporated, leaving schools districts in a financial bind.

Berkshire Hills faces immediate cuts of more than $600,000 this fiscal year, a scenario which may force up to 35 school personnel layoffs. By far, the largest piece of that cut is a $390,000 reduction in state transportation aid.

Patrick vowed not to cut local aid, and he has not, conceded Pignatelli. But, the state representative said, Patrick's slash in regional transportation money has dropped the rate of reimbursement to regional schools across the state to about 29 percent per district.

Town Accountant Lauren Sartori suggested that the school district contact the private schools who are also transported by the district. The school district, in addition to paying the transportation costs of public school students, also cover the cost of transporting local students to the many private schools in the area.

5. Hard Times Demand Municipal Reform - Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

Government reform and regionalization has been discussed for the past decade, but little has been accomplished - or attempted - in any meaningful way. ...

Regionalization is too often thought of as an excuse to make thoughtless cuts, settle political scores or bust unions. Rather, it should be about first measuring the efficiency of services and then implementing necessary change in broad, meaningful and thoughtful ways.

Here's how an assessment could be conducted, to get Connecticut on a path where government reform and regionalization of some services could become a beneficial reality.

•The Right Process. Everything begins with a process that measures the effectiveness and accountability of municipal services. Are they as cost-effective as can be? Are the right investments being made in technology and key resources? Can things run more smoothly, more seamlessly? Having the right measurements in place can answer these questions.

•Examine Benchmarks. Once the process is developed, benchmarks can be examined to identify what works and what doesn't work. This way, government services will not be fused together haphazardly or without thought. But if there is some consolidation needed, the areas best suited to it will have been carefully identified.

•Use Data to Implement Reform. The data gathered through the first two steps can be used to bring about change and reform, because now it will become evident — based on new, reliable data — what changes can and should be made.

•Municipal Participation. Lastly, the state can play an essential role in providing municipalities with incentives to regionalize. One way is by tying a portion of municipal aid to a mandate requiring towns to regionalize certain services, such as 911 call centers or public safety departments. Another is to devise easier ways for cities and towns to privatize some regional services.


6. New Hampshire EMS Covers Two States, 10 Towns, Full-Time -

Chief Harry Brown goes everywhere with a packet of maps. … the territories covered by the North Country's new ambulance service, the 45th Parallel.

… It's a true regional system, where a group of communities developed a shared plan, came up with a budgeting formula and helped fund an independent nonprofit organization to provide round-the-clock ambulance coverage to their small, rural communities. "You can't get anywhere from here," Brown said recently, gesturing toward one of his many maps. Yet these communities now have something that many of Concord's rural neighbors lack: a full- time, advanced life-support ambulance.

It's a model that experts say is popular nationwide, even in areas far less rural than northern New Hampshire. But regional ambulance services have failed to take root in New England, where clashing community cultures and a tradition of volunteer ambulance services keep most service local. Up north, local leaders say the advantages of the new system are clear: more reliable service, better-trained staff and stable costs to many towns.

But selling the plan politically was a long and fraught process. Upper Connecticut Valley Regional Hospital

The towns had limited call volumes and limited tax revenue but still wanted a reliable, professional EMS service. …

The 45th Parallel deals with realities that would likely be unacceptable in more densely populated areas. …

… a regional system could … spread out the big costs - ambulances and full-time staff. But an ideal system could still make use of local volunteers. Local "fast squads" could respond immediately to medical calls to provide CPR or other first aid so patients on the outskirts of the system could still get speedy care … "It is one way in which you can gain cost-effectiveness, by serving a greater population of people with some shared resources," …

7. Vice President inaugurates a Conference on “Emerging China: Prospects for Partnership in Asia - Press Information Bureau (press release) - Government of India

It was here that Jawaharlal Nehru, with his vision of Asia forged in the fires of the struggle for freedom that raged across the entire continent of Asia, organized the Asian Relations Conference in 1947 as a non-governmental gathering.

Human societies live in time and space. A historian has noted that in the year 1500 each one of the great centres of world civilization was at a roughly similar stage of development, some more advanced in one area but less so in others. Subsequent events were to show that initiative, technological innovation, intellectual liberty and a flourishing economic base provided the critical mix that allowed the West to dominate the world for almost five centuries. The Asian Relations Conference was held at the end of one era and at the threshold of another. One theme of the Conference was the contours of the awakening of Asia; another was cooperation and partnership among the countries and peoples of Asia. The objective was spelt out by Nehru: “We propose to stand on our own feet and to co-operate with all others who are prepared to co-operate with us.”

Six decades later, the continent stands at the threshold of another Asian era. In this period the Nehruvian vision of Asia, indeed the geographical unity of the continent so to speak, has ceased to matter for geo-politics or economics. Asia developed, but the development was perceived and reflected in individual countries, sub-regional and trans-regional groupings. ...

Partnership and cooperation among Asian countries is a necessity to take advantage of the opportunities emerging as a result of the region’s increasing economic integration, as also to face the common threats of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, energy shortage, security of sea lanes, pandemics, natural disasters and others. China is an important element of this architecture of cooperation, as are India, Japan, Korea, ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and all other Asian sub-regions.

The future weight and success of Asia is the sum of the success of each of these national and regional components and the tenacity of their inter-linkages. Long-term security and stability in Asia is dependent on the ability of Asian countries to build mutual stakes in one another. Every framework that can further this process should be encouraged and welcomed. A few caveats however would be in order:

1. No partnership architecture or process should be exclusive or exclusionary. It should seek to bring into the fold as many Asian nations as possible and articulate an inclusive, open and transparent process of community building.

2. Community building in Asia should not be a reflection of the emerging redistribution of global or regional power nor should it be a platform for projection of narrow economic and political interests of a nation or group of nations.

3. Soft regionalism based on informal dialogue and consultation mechanisms, consensus building and open structures is a better alternative to hard regionalism based on rigid and definitive institutional structures, inflexible mechanisms and formal dialogue.

4. A multitude of formal cooperation structures could lead to a pick-and-choose policy for ‘forum shopping’. The “noodle bowl” of free trade agreements and comprehensive partnership agreements is overflowing and the impact of these numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements on trade efficiency is an open question. Eventually, there would be no alternative to effective and functioning global multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, IMF, the World Bank and the WTO to ensure that there is a fair, transparent, open and rules-based global political and economic order.

Before I conclude, and in a gathering of strategic thinkers and analysts, it is relevant to recall the words of a master of statecraft of the 19th century. Nations, he observed, travel on the stream of time which they neither create nor direct but upon which they can “steer with more or less skill and experience.” I am confident that this conference would make a contribution to this compendium of skill and also come forth with some practical suggestions about how trans-Asian connectivity can be achieved in an early time frame.

8. Regional Growth (Part 2) – What Affects One Affects The Whole - Our Big Earth - Courtenay, B.C., CA

... people often come to the Valley for its open spaces – larger lots with privacy, character and practical uses for work like gardening.

It’s a tricky balance – providing enough growth restriction to not be faced with unregulated sprawl alongside enough leeway to accommodate people who come here to get away from the City.

Local residents, governing bodies and municipalities have been debating what exactly that balance is for more than a decade.

The Regional Growth Strategy is the solution being offered.


The political background for the growth strategy begins years ago when disagreements between local municipalities and rural areas were increasing as each looked at ways to accommodate the amount of people rapidly moving to the Valley.

It had already shown how the negative effects of individual municipalities making sweeping planning decisions in a region where communities are closely interlinked.

All of this was compounded by tension on the Comox Strathcona Regional District board which represented the geographical area spanning from Fanny Bay to places like Zeballos and Kyoquot.

The range was too big, said some involved, making the business of the board inefficient.

Some directors resented that decisions affecting the Comox Valley could be voted on by representatives from places such as Gold River.

So, in July 2007, the provincial government dropped a bomb — splitting the CSRD into the Comox Valley Regional District and the Strathcona Regional District.

The news shocked nearly everyone involved, but the language of the letter from then-Community Services Minister Ida Chong was clear: sort out your issues with region-wide planning policies.

The new Comox Valley Regional District was directed to produce a Regional Growth Strategy and a Regional Water Plan. It wasn’t a request – it was a requirement.

Part 1:

9. Top screen role for the woman who's putting the regions back in the picture - Yorkshire Post - Yorkshire, UK

It didn't take long for Ruth Pitt to deliver her opening salvo.

Just a few weeks after being appointed, the new executive director of Screen England wrote an impassioned editorial in the journal Screen International which rejected the perceived notion that anything good in film, television and computer gaming comes out of London and those toiling in the provinces can only ever be second-best.

"If there's one word I hate, it's 'regional'," she wrote. "Whichever way you cut it, it still smacks of some ghastly bargain-basement store at a designer outlet in Grimsville, where everything is cut price, low-quality and past its sell-by-date. We've tackled racism, sexism, even ageism – and now the only kid in the playground we feel free to mock is the one from out of town who suffers from that embarrassing disability –regionalism."


"It is important for people to see their region represented on screen," says Ruth.


And great films also have a positive knock-on effect on regional economies. The recent remake of Brideshead Revisited, partly filmed at Castle Howard, not only created jobs in the region in the short term but also brought a lot of inward investment in the longer term through tourism from America and elsewhere.

It is those "unseen" benefits the screen agencies bring to a region that Pitt is keen to promote.

"We need to be better at explaining our value to people; what we give back to a region," she says. "This is an exciting time in the creative media industries. The winds of change are blowing and we have to work out how we remain standing. The best way is to be proactive and stay ahead of change."

10. U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.

In this and section 11, links to websites of organizations are added to the news excerpt when this is the first time an organization has been found. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the U.S. in a news story as well as recognizing other regional organizations. In most cases, where a full name is present, a Google search will quickly get one to that organization. News reports do not always get the organization name correct. Contents

.01 Porter County Council RDA suit hearing set

Gary Post Tribune - Gary, IN, USA

A decision in Porter County Council's lawsuit against the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority could arrive within two months. ... Attorneys for both sides met Monday in an administrative hearing at Jasper County Court, which is presiding over the case, to review issues of the case and schedule hearings. The Porter County Council filed the suit in late August to withdraw the county from the RDA, a Northwest Indiana regional partnership for economic development projects with Lake County. ... The Indiana Attorney General's office, which is representing the RDA with attorney David Hollenbeck issued an opinion in September saying the county has no legal right to withdraw from the group. The opinion states the Indiana General Assembly did not provide for a way for counties to leave the RDA, so Porter County has no authority to do so. ...,rda-porter-suit-1124.article

.02 Top 10 Books - 2010


Planetizen is pleased to release its ninth annual list of the ten best books in urban planning, design and development published in 2009. This year's assortment ranges from an impassioned argument for making transit fun to a low-key and practical guide to smart growth. And of course, Jane Jacobs makes an appearance. The Planetizen editorial staff based its 2010 edition list on a number of criteria, including editorial reviews, popularity, Planetizen reader nominations, number of references, sales figures, recommendations from experts and the book's potential impact on the urban planning, development and design professions. ...

.03 Kids in the Hall - An aggregator of Lansing government happenings

Lansing City Pulse - Lansing, MI, USA

Welcome to what is being called the “new normal” — where our city government, every year seeing reduced revenues, is going to get smaller and smaller. (Or, if you’re an optimist, some of the service will get regionalized.) “New normal,” it seems, has replaced “structural deficit,” as the term used in city government to describe a downward spiral of increased costs and declining revenue. On Tuesday, Mayor Virg Bernero announced that because of a $3 million mid-year deficit, the city would institute nine furlough days between Christmas and June ... Bernero said on Tuesday that the $3 million mid-year deficit is a “blip com pared to what’s coming.” Some possibilities for the future, he said, could include a 36-hour workweek in the city, and was “hopeful” that the city could reduce expenditures through attrition and mergers (regionalization). The tax-assessing department, Bernero said, might be ripe for regionalization in the form of a countywide tax assessor, as opposed to each government doing its own. ...

.04 Hamburg Voters Approve Town Board Downsizing

WBFO - Buffalo, NY, USA

By a nearly 1,600 vote margin, Hamburg residents Tuesday voted to reduce the size of their Town Board. Hamburg is now the fifth town in Erie County to cut lawmakers' seats. Beginning in 2012, Hamburg's board will change from a five-member to a three-member body. Regionalism advocate Kevin Gaughan led the Hamburg downsizing effort. He says Tuesday's vote is a reflection of the democratic process. …

.05 Federal proposal would give $9 billion to community colleges

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

... part of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which passed the House in September. Pending before the Senate, the bill includes the American Graduation Initiative, which would provide about $9 billion of direct assistance to community colleges, said David Baime, vice president for government relations for the American Association of Community Colleges. Such federal efforts to aid community colleges never occurred before, said Martha J. Kanter, undersecretary for the Department of Education. ... Perhaps most crucial about the House bill are its requirements that community colleges work with regional employers to train students for jobs the companies offer, ...

.06 Last town nixes joint district

Beacon Villager - Concord, MA, USA

After considering the pros and cons of joining forces, the Littleton School Committee voted Nov. 19 not to pursue regionalization with the Maynard School District. The vote could free Maynard to pursue construction of a new high school. ... Among the major drawbacks, Avella noted that additional construction would be required to expand the new Littleton High School and would also entail the loss of athletic fields. Avella also said that the small town nature of the school would be dramatically altered as the student population would nearly double. In addition, he raised concern about transportation costs and the length of the commute for students. In addition the MSBA has not indicated how it would fund the regionalization effort and construction associated with it. ...

.07 Moran: Put strings on stimulus funds

The MetroWest Daily News - Framingham, MA, USA

This $11.6 million windfall sounds to me, and should to other regional planners, like a tremendous opportunity to finally force our local fire departments to take some serious steps toward regionalization. The sharing of very expensive fire fighting equipment, as well as the regionalization of fire protection and emergency dispatch, has been a focus and certainly a talking point of the Patrick/Murray administration for years. Hopefully, it was not just more talk and empty promises. ...

.08 Peabody going in on the megavoke

The Salem News - Salem, MA, USA

City lawmakers last night changed the future of vocational education in Peabody by choosing to join a regional school district that will give students access to a $133 million high school in 2013. ... The state has pledged nearly $100 million to pay for it, including $77.5 million from the Massachusetts School Building Authority and a commitment of $21.1 million from the governor. The regional district's cities and towns are being asked to pay $31.2 million. ... The concept, initially supported by former Mayor Peter Torigian, has been in the planning stages for 12 years. ... Comments ... I recommend that Peabody folks who are against this school take a trip to Worcester and take a look at their new vocational high school, which this one is being modeled after. Tons of national awards, Dell Computers and Reebok participate in the schools to give the kids hands on experiences that guarantee them high paying jobs when they graduate. Think of the kids. Visit North Shore Tech in Middleton to get a test of how happy the students are. Go to their restaurant for a gourmet meal that rivals 5 star restaurants yet will cost you all of $5, and it is all done by the students. In the long run, this will be less expensive than trying to keep the local voke at state standards …

.09 Many benefits to regional food system - FL, USA

As we look to the future, we need to reflect on what localized strategies need to be developed, especially given the challenges facing the current food production system. One approach gaining momentum as a way to counteract these challenges is the move toward local, community or regional food systems. This approach is based on the formation of more direct linkages between farmers and the local community. This shortens the chain from production to consumption and allows more of the food dollar to get back to the individuals who grow the food. Florida, unlike other parts of the country, has been slow to adopt this movement. Nonetheless, there are now numerous movements working to foster these connections, including farmers' markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) projects, and farm-to-school programs. ...

.10 Metro Unveils New Regional Connector Plan

Rafu Shimpo

The new plan would add $200 million to the cost of building the Regional Connector, in addition to the estimated $910 million in 2008 dollars. Earlier this month, the Little Tokyo Community Council voted to oppose both aboveground and underground build alternatives presented by Metro and urged the team to come up with another plan. A fifth option opened up after Jonathan Kaji of Kaji and Associates, developer of Nikkei Center, indicated that they would be open to having a station at their site. Metro also met with officials from Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple to assure them that they would not be impacted by the new proposal. ...

.11 Massachusetts To Improve Teacher Quality With Six Regional Readiness Centers

The Gov Monitor – Miami, FL, USA

… Readiness Centers will each be managed by a regional consortium that includes institutions of higher education, educational collaboratives, educational services providers and business and community partners. These entities will work in partnership with early education and care providers, school districts and other stakeholders to deliver a broad array of targeted, aligned and coherent instructional and professional development services. …


.12 AgeWise Benefits Navigation Center - Atlanta Regional Commission

Community Radar - “United We Know” – Atlanta, GA, USA With AgeWise Connection’s online Benefits Navigation Center, a click of a mouse will take you to one place where you’ll find information and resources relating to insurance, Medicare benefits and managing personal health information. The online Benefits Navigation Center, a program of the Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging, provides: • Help in navigating the Medicare system • ...

About Community Radar – “From years working in condo and civic associations, we learned that the 2 most common organizational problems are: 1. The availability of volunteer resources. 2. Inconsistent communication or lack of information sharing.”

.13 ITIF Study Finds U.S. Lags World Leaders in Mobile Payments

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation - Washington, D.C.

Mobile payments systems (e.g., using a cell phone as an electronic “wallet”) promise significantly increased economic productivity and personal convenience. But unlike many new applications that require only an enterprising firm to develop it, the widespread deployment and adoption of mobile payments systems requires action from a complex ecosystem of organizations (e.g., mobile phone service providers, banks, retailers and others) to create a mobile payments system. Because of this, only a few nations, notably Japan and South Korea, have been able to coordinate the complex ecosystem required to extensively deploy a widely used mobile payments system. In contrast, most other nations, including the United States, lag far behind. For lagging nations to take full advantage of the opportunities of mobile payments, they will need to develop and adopt national mobile payments strategies. ... “The Far East and Western Europe will be the top two regions for mobile commerce by 2013, accounting for 60 percent of the [anticipated] $300 billion global transaction value.” ... the United States needs more collaboration and incentives, both at metropolitan, regional, and national levels to achieve deployment of interoperable contactless smart card systems for mass public transit in the United States. ...


.14 Economic Developers and the World of Social Media

EDA Update

Social media–in the form of tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and blogs–are starting to transform how we live our lives. When it comes to the world of economic development, social media usage is growing, but not yet as a consistent part of the practitioner's tool kit. A recent survey sponsored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Development Counsellors International (DCI) took a deeper look at the state of social media among economic developers. ... The survey found that of those using social media, most groups are using it in a "broadcast mode," i.e. to share organization news, promote new and existing programs, or to publicize events. And, most of these communications are to people within the organization's region or community. Wider outreach to external audiences is more limited. ...

.15 Munroe: Innovation alive and well in America

The Oakland Tribune - Oakland, CA, USA

Even though innovation is the principal factor triggering economic growth, corporate investment in research and development has declined in the current recession. The good news is that tinkerers are back again at work. Not at Kitty Hawk or a garage in Palo Alto, but in engineering schools across the country. This is a welcome trend at a time when America is struggling to maintain its innovation edge in a highly competitive world. ... The trend has spilled over beyond the engineering departments of our colleges and universities. An innovative, member-run institution called "Hackerspace" has emerged. ... Hackerspaces in the Bay Area are BetaLab in Oakland' Hackerdojo, in Mountain View; TechShop, in Menlo Park [ ] and Ponoko in San Francisco. I also found out that there are hundreds of Hackerspaces in the U.S., and Northern Europe. India, China and Australia also have a growing number of these unique innovation incubators. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Hide: Speech to the Passing Go Conference (press release) – New Zealand Government

Reform of Auckland governance is a priority for the Government. Auckland's future depends on critical decisions being taken at a regional level. We need regional governance to overcome the competing interests, parochialism and factionalism that have for decades held back Auckland's progress to the status of a world-class city. Our vision for Auckland is of an economic powerhouse for the country. It will be a city that attracts people from around the world with its vibrant and diverse communities, and its creativity, culture and heritage. It will be an exciting city where people feel stimulated, welcome and safe ...

.02 Firmly separate politics and religion: Liberhan

The Economic Times - India

Retired judge M.S. Liberhan, who probed the razing of the 1992 Babri Masjid, has called for a firm separation of religion and politics and sought "exemplary punishment" for those using religion for political ends. "The events of Dec 6, 1992, and the many subsequent events have already shown to the nation the danger and the disruptive potential of allowing the intermixing of religion and politics," Liberhan said in his over 1,000-page report placed in parliament Tuesday. He went on to say that the "use of religion, caste or regionalism is a regressive and dangerous trend, capable of alienating people and dividing them into small sections". "I must recommend that the de-merger of religion and politics must be studied and implemented at the earliest. "It is inherently unfair, and immoral and legally dubious, to hold democracy hostage to religious and casteist blackmail," the report said in the chapter titled "Recommendations". The report sought statutory power for the National Integration Council (NIC) so as "to implement secularism as envisaged by the constitution". ...

.03 Today, we are all Asians

SFGate - San Francisco, CA, USA

"America has traditionally been defined by its very strong transatlantic ties, due to its demographic makeup, which is still mostly ethnically European," says Ji-Young Choi, an assistant professor of political economy at Ohio Wesleyan University whose research has focused on globalization and Asian regionalism. "But things are changing dramatically now: America's economy has become more and more intertwined with Asia's; America's affinity with Asia has been growing due to its huge exposure to and consumption of Asian cultural products; and now you have a president who identifies with Asia, who is more open than any of his predecessors to seeing Asian countries as equal partners." Obama has the potential of being the right president at the right time, a uniquely prepared leader for an era in which America is re-orienting itself, pun not intended, to a landscape where Asia looms staggeringly large ...

.04 Studying interreligious cooperation as salve for urban violence

Fresno Bee - Fresno, CA, USA

… Question: What motivated you to study models that can prevent urban violence?

Answer: There was urban violence in Los Angeles in 1992, following the Rodney King verdict. I was surprised to learn there was Christian/Muslim conflict in the post-industrial city of northern England, the areas surrounding Manchester and Bradford. What are some of your conclusions? In Cardiff, there were examples of successful interreligious cooperation. One was that religious leaders held regular meetings to discuss goals they held in common. They also worked to diffuse potential misunderstandings. …

.05 Welcome to Ontario, Here's Your Tourism Tax - Thunder Bay, ON, CA

... what the McGuinty Government has come up with is raising prices on tourists by boosting the Provincial Retail Sales Tax by up to three percent as a way to generate more tourism. Forget that once the McGuinty HST is in place the combined tax of 13 per cent will hit many tourists like a mini-jackhammer, now that could be raised by up to three points more. This is a matter of billing the guests we get, charging them for the advertising that it took to get them here. The Minister adds, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your extensive feedback on the regional tourism strategy. We value your input. Ministry staff are taking into account feedback received at last month’s Ontario Tourism Summit and the 17 planning sessions held throughout the province this past spring. Additionally, staff are reviewing a number of proposals for developing regional boundaries and destination marketing and management organizations (DMMOs) that have been submitted by our partners from across the province".


.06 Australia Invests In Community Festivals

The Gov Monitor – Miami, FL, USA

Arts Minister Peter Garrett today announced funding of $420,500 for arts and cultural activities at 27 community festivals around Australia. “Festivals in outer regional and remote communities will have the opportunity to add special arts and performance projects to their programs, such as dance workshops, storytelling, circus arts, puppetry and film,” Mr Garrett said. “These new projects add exciting elements to the celebrations and help regional tourism, as well as community spirit, in these towns.” ...

.07 CoR and Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities renew cooperation and make fight against corruption a priority for 2010

EUROPA – Gateway to the European Union - Press Releases RAPID

On the occasion of the meeting between the Presidents of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRA), Luc Van den Brande and Ian Micallef signed a revised cooperation agreement which extends the areas of cooperation currently enjoyed by the two bodies. They also used this occasion to define priorities for their actions for 2010, identifying four main areas: cross-border co-operation, intercultural dialogue, monitoring of regional and local elections, and the fight against corruption at local and regional level.

.08 Strategy and Information Officer

Inside Housing - UK

Circa £20K to £30K – Leeds - The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single national housing and regeneration agency for England, with a budget of over £5 billion a year to invest in creating and regenerating thriving communities where people want, and can afford, to live. This is an excellent opportunity to apply your knowledge of Housing, Planning and Design Policies in a key role. Join us, and you'll assist with regional governance, strategy, information and investment and policy development. You'll work to ensure our teams and stakeholders take a consistent approach whether working on a local, regional or national basis. We'll expect you to support our communications and information strategy to external stakeholders and internal teams. You'll also represent the HCA at meetings with RSLs, Local Authorities, the National Housing Federation and other bodies ... Closing date is midday Friday 11 December 2009. ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Identity Theft for Cities - How poor regional planning can suck the life out of cities.


Regionalism is all the rage. The Obama Administration is betting big on regional planning as a way to make smarter decisions on transportation, climate, the economy—all those things that don’t respect political boundaries. The Administration plans to reward communities that work together across jurisdictions toward common goals and, by implication, punish those that do not. Who can argue with that? I certainly can’t. But as I sit here in a brand name suburban motel room situated on a highway that could be anywhere, all my doubts about the wisdom of regionalism resurface. I can walk to the Shell station for some Fig Newtons, and I see a Checkers across the street, but there’s too much pavement between here and there to make the trip. I happen to be in this motel in City A because I landed today in City B for a meeting tomorrow morning in City C. Got that? All three cities, plus two others, happen to share a single region. On their own, all of these cities have distinct charm. But string them together with the highway sprawl so familiar all over the country, and it sucks all the charm out of the idea of regionalism—fast. In this case, the sum is decidedly less than its parts. This is by no means the only region to suffer this fate. In fact, it is more the norm than the exception. ...

.02 Is "Regionalism" stripping cities of their identity

Toellner Tells it

I stumbled across an interesting blog posting over at Good today written by Carol Coletta -- the President and CEO of CEOs for Cities and the host of the nationally-syndicated public radio show, Smart City. In the article, she shares an experience of flying into one city, to speak in another city, but staying in a suburban hotel in a different city -- that all share the same region. ... Does this sound like she's in Kansas City? Staying in Shawnee and speaking in Overland Park? Kansas City is lucky to have some good suburbs -- each with areas that have their own, distinctive downtown areas. Downtown Mission, Merriam, Blue Springs, Overland Park, Parkville, etc all have interesting little downtowns that make them distinctly, and uniquely, themselves. However, sprawl has caused most of cities to mostly look primarily the same, with very little differening them from each other. Colletta says that a lack of regional focus has caused this problem across the entire US: ...

.03 Community Updates from the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham

Your Town Alabama Blog

... residents of Fountain Heights comments and public input were insightful for guiding the future development of the 16th Street Corridor Plan. The Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association and the City of Birmingham have requested assistance from the Regional Planning Commission through the Building Communities Program to complete this study. ... The City of Jemison's Master Plan was completed and adopted in recent months. The plan addresses growth and future development within the next twenty years and examines the city's current policies that relate to the changing conditions in the area and region. ...

.04 Are we a bioregion yet?

Slow Coast

Bioregionalism seems to be in the air lately. The theme of the BC Food Systems Network’s annual gathering back in late September was bioregionalism, and this theme recurred just last week at an event that I helped to organize. So, what is bioregionalism, anyway? Wikipedia offers the following: ... Sounds great, doesn’t it? But it’s pretty clear that we’re going to have to let the concept of our bioregion emerge over time, as we learn more about the characteristics of this area which unite it with other places and the ones which set us apart. And how do we get started with that kind of work? Well, last Thursday and Friday, a group of about 25 food-security activists, farmers and friends of the local food economy in the Powell River region and along the Sunshine Coast got together in Pender Harbour to talk about how we might collaborate better together across the Jervis Inlet. ...

.05 Individual rights versus Community rights

HOA Nut House

Communitarianism is the foundation for the emerging supranational government. This is not a conspiracy theory. ... Communitarians are convinced independent nations are no longer necessary. They preach changes in the U.S. Bill of Rights (and sometimes they cleverly change the meanings of the words used to write it). They insist all current national political systems must be adapted to comply with supreme global law. Besides the numerous new laws implemented under sustainable development and environmental protections, new constitutions must be written that change every nation into a regional global community. If a communitarian constitution will not pass with the national voters in the "free" countries, free trade agreements may be substituted if they accomplish the same regionalization goals. For an inside glimpse into their tactics, do a search for what happened after the Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty. Read what the globalists say they have to do next. ... This website exposes the entire communitarian agenda as a fraud against all free people. Our mission states our position. ...

.06 Regional Cloth Bag Program

Aviva Community Fund

It's in the Bag! The goal of this program is to replace plastic shopping bags with high quality, fairly traded natural fibre bags, bring a large quantity into our community, and make them available to merchants and community groups to purchase in smaller quantities at the bulk cost price and silkscreen locally with their own logos or artwork. ... Our approach to the problem is a Regional Cloth Bag Program. The goal of this program is to source a suitable, high quality, fairly traded natural fibre bag, bring a large quantity into the community and make them available to merchants and community groups to purchase in smaller quantities at the bulk cost price and silkscreen locally with their own logos or artwork. ...

.07 Investing in China: Why the Nine Nations Matter

Seeking Alpha

Last week I published an interactive feature at The Atlantic online called “The Nine Nations of China.” In it, I described how we should look at China, not as a single homogeneous entity, but as a mosaic of nine distinct regions. Many readers commented that they found it a useful primer for understanding this complex and often overwhelming country. But the Nine Nations framework is more than an antidote to cultural curiosity; I believe it offers an essential practical tool for anyone – investors, CEOs, policy-makers – who need to think strategically about China. To understand why the Nine Nations matter, it helps to know how and why I came up with this framework in the first place. …

.08 A Social Innovation Tool from a Historian 136.0


Professor Anderson saw the insight and defined it as the key ingredient of nationhood in his book, “Imagined Communities.” The good Professor’s insight on nationhood: “It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” I believe these images define nations more than citizenship, location, physical borders or ethnicity. ... The good professor says that what defines these images is simultaneity. ... Professor Anderson further says that the test of simultaneity is disinterestedness given that the “ties are not chosen.” This feeling of belonging is unconditional. ... I ask, can these concepts be used with anticipated history for community-building? ... It may seem contradictory to talk about the nation and ASEAN in one breath. Yet, it is precisely because of my anticipation of the need for a regional supra-community that this call to distill our own nationalism becomes important.

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Local Employment Dynamics U.S. Census Bureau

The LED partnership is the cornerstone of a program designed to develop new information about local labor market conditions at low cost, with no added respondent burden, and with the same confidentiality protections afforded census and survey data. This partnership between state labor market information agencies and the Census Bureau supplies new measures - the Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) - on labor markets that:

* Is Local, at the state, county and sub county level.

* Supplies statistics on Employment, job creation, turnover, and earnings by industry, age and sex.

* Provides Dynamic information on the rapidly changing economy.

LED New Data from the States and the U.S. Census Bureau (PDF)

New time series data created under the federal-state Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership provide unprecedented details about America's jobs, workers, and local economies and communities. LED creatively integrates existing data from state-supplied administrative records on workers and employers with existing censuses, surveys, and other administrative records. State-of-the-art methods to protect the confidentiality of the original respondents allow LED to release valid data for local or regional areas beyond traditional boundaries for public use on the Internet.

Almost all the states1, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in this voluntary partnership and produce new data on jobs to assist in workforce and economic development, emergency preparedness and response, and transportation planning, covering up to 150 million current workers and 190 million current jobs in the U.S.

The LED flagship product, Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI), provides information about trends in employment, hiring, job creation and destruction, and earnings, with unprecedented details of geography, age, gender, and industry going as far back as 1990. Industry Focus identifies hot industries by selected criterion for worker groups in a local economy.

OnTheMap is a mapping and reporting tool showing employment and home locations of workers with companion reports for user-defined areas. It is the first synthetic data product released by the Census Bureau. OnTheMap has been selected as a representative U.S. statistical innovation for the United Nations in 2009. …

.02 Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) - National Science Foundation

The goals of the NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program are:

* To promote scientific research in geography and the spatial sciences that advances theory and basic understanding and that addresses the challenges facing society

* To promote the integration of geographers and spatial scientists in interdisciplinary research

* To promote education and training of geographers and spatial scientists in order to enhance the capabilities of current and future generations of researchers

* To promote the development and use of scientific methods and tools for geographic research

The Geography and Spatial Sciences Program sponsors research on the geographic distributions and interactions of human, physical, and biotic systems on the Earth's surface.

.03 Bioregionalism - the place of the Slow Movement - Slow movement

The Slow Movement is all about connection, about things that matter, about understanding the interconnected nature of all things, and above all it is a moral movement. All these things are linked to bioregionalism. Bioregionalism, along with the slow movement is gaining momentum in many Western countries. And just like the concept of ‘slow’, bioregionalism is not new – it has been around for millennia, we have a long but distant history of bioregionalism. Along with our move to fast living we have moved away from the concept of bioregion to one of globalisation. If we are to live sustainably, in all senses of the word, it is now time to return to a bioregional lifestyle. Despite its wide usage, the term ‘bioregionalism’ is difficult to define. ...

.04 Transition United States

TRANSITION UNITED STATES is an informal, "social networking" site for those interested in exploring and/or implementing the Transition model in U.S. communities. This site is being created through grassroots participation, and is continually evolving. It is a spontaneously arising effort to connect interested "transitioners" with each other and to encourage and support the development of local Transition initiatives and practices.

The Transition Movement is a campaign that houses several other familiar monikers: local self reliance, appropriate technology, decentralization, localization, relocalization, post carbon, post petroleum, beyond oil.

This emerging Transition Culture will empower communities to squarely face the issues surrounding peak oil and climate change, and unleash the collective genius of their own citizens to find innovative solutions to these momentous challenges: ...

Transition Movement:

Why Transition Culture:

.05 Digital Communities - Government Technology Magazine

Digital Communities magazine is the premier information source for cities, counties and regions to explore and share experiences and best practices beyond just infrastructure and mobile innovations.

Current Issue:

Reference and Resource Library:

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 'Zombie Buildings': Are They The Next Economic Calamity?

The Huffington Post - USA

Many banks that cater to regional and community developments were largely unscathed by the residential mortgage meltdown. But now they are facing huge numbers of possible defaults by builders who erected thousands of office towers, condominiums and shopping centers with the easy credit available five years ago. With few tenants, those developments are turning into what industry insiders call zombie buildings. Commercial real estate loans generally have terms of five to seven years. Many of the loans issued at the height of the credit bubble are coming due. By mid-November, $150 billion worth of commercial properties, about 7,500 in total, were in distress, ...

.02 40+ Commercial Properties - Nationwide Online Only Auction

REDC Commercial

… including 10 FORMER HOME DEPOT LOCATIONS - December 7 -

15. Custom search: region, regions, regional communities Contents

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 2000 regional related sites.

My name is Tom Christoffel. I've worked in the field of intergovernmental and regional cooperation since 1973. As a consequence, "I see regions work.” Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on news reports as of Wednesday of the publication week

Making visible such cross-boundary planning, collaboration and cooperative action at multi-jurisdictional networked regional scales, public, private and NGO is my purpose. "Think globally, act locally" was innovative in its time. Today the local scale is often too small to address today's needs and opportunities. "Think local planet, act regionally,” is my candidate paradigm. No one said we're only allowed one paradigm.

We can see that “regional communities of communities” are organized locally and now act both to avoid tragedy in the commons and gain benefits. An effective multi-jurisdictional regional community has DNA. It is geographically Defined; has a common Name and its Alignment is inclusive of smaller communities and participatory in larger communities. So, by scanning this compilation, reading articles and checking organizations - you too will be able to see the regional communities that already exist.

News references are found using the Google News search service. Media article excerpts and links are “fair use” to transform globally scattered reports to make regional approaches visible. Links go to the publisher and do not compete with it. Such publishers are likely to have related stories and thus be seen by new customers. “Regional” is an emerging news category. There is no charge for this service and no profit is made from its use, though any user can become more aware of the topic itself.

To search previous issues since 2003 go to:

To join Regional Community Networkers and get a free subscription use this email link – no additional information required:

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Thomas J. (Tom) Christoffel, AICP -