Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.
Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet … 11.01 - .15
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .03
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .04
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .03
Bold italic highlights “grist for the mill of local-regional thought and action.”
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS are, as the saying goes, in straitened circumstances. The recession has shrunk budgets and forced painful decisions, which hasn't improved anyone's mood. What once seemed like cracking good ideas now may look like marginal whimsies; in this every-man-for-himself mode, regionalism is an easy target. So maybe it's time to say a word for our avatar of intergovernmental cooperation in these parts, the George Washington Regional Commission. [ http://gwregion.org/ ]
The GWRC does regional planning and seeks new industry for Planning District 16: Fredericksburg and the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, Caroline, and King George. There's a lot to keep the commission busy, because, of the state's 21 General Assembly-designated planning districts, No. 16 is the fastest-growing. Our population has shot up a net 80,000 since 2000. If you're reading this, the chances are about one in three you're part of that surge of humanity.
What specifically does the GWRC do? A wide variety of things, from running GWRide Connect, which sets up commuters with car pools, van pools, and mass-transit options; to keeping track of the disposition of the region's homeless population; to providing technical planning assistance to PD 16's five member governments and to non-governmental organizations hereabouts. Some of its programs benefit specific counties. For example, the Regional Rural Transportation Planning Program facilitates the mobility of King George and Caroline residents.
Finally, and most prominently, the GWRC staffs FAMPO (the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization), …
… It's difficult to name a regional or local topic concerning which the GWRC hasn't played a constructive role, always while deferring to PD 16's member governments. Like the nerve cells in a ganglion, the commission's many activities stitch our region together and help fit it with a unique identity. In the years ahead, this process can only raise our quality of life, defending our "differentness" against the encroachments of those who would presume to define us.
2. News from the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber - Times Record Contributor - Brunswick, ME, USA
President & Executive Director’s Message: Regionalism and collaboration. Seems as though these are the buzz words of 2010-11. If you say them, you are perceived as a solution maker. … we all know that as times get tougher, the need to share assets and work together becomes more necessary.
However, as a region, are we really doing a good job at collaborating? In my opinion, the answer is “no.”
First, true collaboration is much more than just having reoccurring informational meetings about a certain subject or the region. …
… We can say that “it isn’t our fault; ever since grade school we’ve been taught to protect our turf.” All associations, to include unions, have the task of protecting, serving, or increasing our organizational value to their membership base. Not to do so is failure.
Yet today’s leaders are not in grade school anymore. Our region needs more than just management of status quo. We need change. We need true collaboration. We need to work as a region. In certain situations, we need to forget about town lines and who serves on what boards. We need to find ways to get to the “deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.”
I believe there are areas where we can forge meaningful collaborations right away. Thanks to a recent study sponsored by the Midcoast Council of Governments [ http://www.midcoastcog.org/ ] and Governor’s Office, we know our entire area shares one common characteristic: we believe in innovation.
We’ve got the tools — the spirit of innovation — to make our region the best in the state. We’ve got exceptional leaders to pave the way. Now, we need a deeper level of collaboration to get the job done. The result will be a much better region to live, work and play in.
Gov. Rick Snyder's first budget …
Cities that adopt "best practices" like consolidation and cooperative agreements can compete for a share of $200 million in statutory revenue-sharing dollars, Snyder has said.
But details are scant. … Snyder plans to release more details during a March address.
… sharing services may be easier said than done.
… state must be willing to eliminate many of its mandates on local government, now that it has eliminated some funding, said Conan Smith, executive director of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance and a Washtenaw County Commissioner.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said his county tried in the past to get its local governments to collaborate on regional service sharing, to no avail. But Snyder's recent budget actions could change the conversation.
More than two years ago the county set aside about $400,000 to commission a study by Southfield-based Plante & Moran PLLC on regional collaboration, which developed specific proposals for at least six of the county's 61 communities. None followed up, he said.
"We were actually turned down by all six governments we had involved. We finally had to stop because we realized we would just be wasting money. People in communities seem to like their unique identity, and nobody wanted to entertain that discussion," he said.
"Maybe now, some new economic realities will drive a different decision."
"A lot of the meaningful collaboration that has to happen now is very hard to do. The local communities are looking at that and understand the spot the state is in but need the tools to better equip themselves," …
"What we've found is the economies just aren't there," she said. "It's expensive to do up front, and if you're not getting long-term savings why would you do it? The state needs to remove barriers to shared services."
4. Regional planning office sifts through technologies looking for ways to make government work more efficiently – SMART-GRI.TMCNET.com – Norwalk, CT, USA
Even with the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, technology and social media have proven valuable assets for the government-funded agency in providing services.
The red tape often associated with government agencies has been speeded up. SEIRPC files most of its grants online at grants.gov, which cuts down on processing time. In fact, most of the commission's correspondence with the federal government is done electronically.
"There's been a big reduction in paper in the last six years," said Mike Norris, director of the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.
The agency does a lot of web-based reporting with the Iowa Department of Transportation, and much of its work with the I-Jobs program was done online.
"With the state, there is a lot more paperwork," Norris admitted, because the state hasn't fully embraced the thought of a paperless society.
SEIRPC is looking into establishing its own Facebook page. Other agencies around the state already have jumped on the social network site.
"Facebook is a good public tool," said Zach James, planning director at SEIRPC.
"So many people are using it and are on it all the time," Norris added. "You distribute it (information) to so many people. Getting input from people on Facebook would be convenient." For the time being, SEIRPC puts a great deal of information on its website, www.seirpc.com . All the commission's services are listed on the site, along with applications for grants and other programs.
On the technological side, SEIBUS switched from a Motorola radio system to a Nextel phone system. SEIBUS is the commission's transportation service to help residents get from place to place in southeast Iowa.
SEIRPC also uses a Comet Tracker service, which involves GPS.
Geographic Information Systems is another tool SEIRPC could use more in the future.
5. New Jersey is important to Philadelphia’s food supply - NewJerseyNewsroom.com - NJ, USA
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission just issued "Eating Here: Greater Philadelphia's Food System Plan."
"Eating Here" builds on a 2010 study of regional agriculture, food processing and local food distribution and supply chains, as well as health and nutritional trends. The plan's clear message is that we must do more to safeguard the long-term sustainability of local food sources — including making agriculture a viable career choice for aspiring farmers.
Farmland in the foodshed — the area within a 100-mile radius of downtown Philadelphia — is threatened by a burgeoning population and spreading residential and commercial development. Market forces, like cheap food prices, drive farm profits down, making it tempting for farmers to sell their land.
"Eating Here" reaches a grim conclusion: With existing and forecasted food needs outstripping the available local food supply, the foodshed currently can't meet the region's food demand. That means more food imported from more distant places, at great expense in energy and pollution — and higher prices to boot.
To turn the "foodshed tables" and ensure adequate local foods, here are the plan's top recommendations:
* Encourage farmers to protect natural resources and use alternative energy for their operations, and compensate them for ecological services they provide;
The plan also cites plenty of things individuals can do right now — from starting home gardens to joining land trusts that help preserve farmland and open space.
Food, as the study puts it, "can be viewed through the lenses of homeland security, emergency preparedness and human services, private industry and business, environmental stewardship, land use, and public utility, among countless other categories." But through any lens, strengthening the link between people and local food is a benefit!
You can download and read the entire Greater Philadelphia Food System Study at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission website at: http://www.dvrpc.org/food/SustainableFoodSystems.htm
6. Coordinating Metro Cebu’s development - Cebu Daily News - Cebu, Philippines
The Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC), through its various planning consultations, has long recognized the need for a metropolitan body to coordinate the planning, project implementation and monitoring of Metro Cebu-wide programs and projects. Thus, in December 1997, it passed a resolution approving the creation of the Metro Cebu Development Council (MCDC) with the mandate to coordinate the actions of local government units and national government agencies in Metro Cebu. ….
Since its creation, however, the MCDC has not done much to address the common concerns of LGUs in Metro Cebu. Each member city and town continues to do its own thing without regard to what the others are doing.
What is wrong with the MCDC? Conceptually, there is nothing wrong. What is missing is the interest of some LGUs to join the council for one reason or another, like not wanting to report to another higher person, for example. …
In December 1999, …
In August 2005, …
Why the slow motion?
The obvious reason is the failure of LGUs to realize, not only the importance of coordination to solve their common problems and pursue their common interest but also the role that metro cities and towns, working as one, play in contributing to the growth and development of the nation. Right now, about half of the world’s population already live in cities or its aggrupation, the metropolis. Much of the world’s output of goods and services also comes from these areas, and the more competitive the cities or metropolis are, the higher is their share of the national output. Many countries, including China, already take it as a challenge how to make their cities become more competitive and grow.
Given these, we ask, is Metro Cebu prepared to compete with other growing cities and metropolis in and outside the country? …
7. Stop the train! NWI wants share of rail boom - nwi.com - Munster, IN, USA
Northwest Indiana business leaders want to capitalize on the coming deluge of trains expected to move through the region in the next two decades, but first they have to find a way to get some of those trains to stop here.
At a Dec. 15 rail summit at the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, railroad representatives explained most products delivered to Northwest Indiana by long-distance rail actually go into Chicago first and then make their way back to the region by truck or short-haul railroad.
"Those are just the facts of life," said Chuck Allen, a transportation coordinator for railroad Norfolk Southern. "There is a huge investment in distribution facilities in Joliet (Ill.) The Kmarts, the Home Depots, do they want to come to Northwest Indiana and build distribution centers?"
Allen's mention of Joliet was a reference to the BNSF Railway's intermodal yard and the 3,600-acre logistics park opened by CenterPoint Properties in Elwood, Ill., in 2002. …
Northwest Indiana missed out on landing any intermodal facilities built in the Chicago region during the last rail boom, but still hopes to cash in on the economic recovery that is starting now.
The region remains one of the most rail-intense regions in the nation, where six of largest railroads squeeze hundreds of trains per day into Chicago through a 15-mile rail corridor. But according to summit participants, the area does not realize the large potential economic and jobs spinoff because most of those trains are merely passing through.
"It's just an enormous opportunity given our geographic location, so we are really focused on this," said Mark Maassel, CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, the region's largest private economic development group. "It's all about jobs."
That's not to say the region doesn't realize benefits now. …
8. Council adopts mutual aid law - The Republican – Northampton, MA, USA
The City Council took a step toward ensuring that Northampton will be indemnified from liability during emergencies last week, adopting the provisions of a new state law on mutual aid.
The law signed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick last July spells out in detail the responsibilities and immunities of municipalities whose fire departments respond to requests for mutual aid in other communities.
Under the new law, municipalities are responsible for damage to their own equipment incurred during mutual aid operations, as well as for personal injury to firefighters and payment for services. The law also authorizes communities to provide mutual aid to neighboring states and to go onto federal property. ...
In a letter to municipalities across the state advocating adoption of the law, Kurt N. Schwartz, the acting director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, cited the 2008 ice storm that devastated the hilltowns as an example of an emergency in which widespread mutual aid would have mitigated the disaster and facilitated the clean up. The law, Schwartz said, provides "a mechanism, or system, for cities and towns which are impacted and overwhelmed by a public safety incident or disaster to ask for, and receive assistance from municipalities that may have resources to share."
The legislation also spells out guidelines for other public safety and public works mutual aid. Higgins said the city is waiting for the language in those sections to be fine-tuned before it considers adopting them.
POWERS AND DUTIES OF CITIES AND TOWNS
Public safety mutual aid agreement; procedure for joining agreement; requests to receive assistance; rights and responsibilities of requesting and sending parties
Public works municipal mutual aid agreement; procedure for joining agreement; advisory committee; requests to receive assistance; rights and responsibilities of requesting and sending parties
9. Cities credit regional collaboration for cost-saving streetlight deal - Dayton Daily News - Dayton, OH, USA
Regional cooperation has long been a buzzword, but local cities are turning it into cash in recent months through a new streetlight contract and electric service deal with two Dayton Power&Light subsidiaries.
The Miami Valley Communications Council [http://www.mvcc.net/ ] gathered 17 cities, some that had done their own streetlight contracts in the past, for a 2011-15 deal that will cut streetlight costs between 12 percent and 20 percent.
“This savings is a result of multijurisdictional collaboration,” said Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman, who was part of the negotiating team. “For DPL Energy and all of the cities involved, it was a very positive process, which hasn’t always been the case in the past, because the individual cities didn’t have the negotiating power.”
Some city officials said the prices in previous streetlight contracts were excessive, as DP&L companies are the only providers in the area. DPL Energy President Scott Kelly declined to address that complaint, while calling the new contract “competitive.”
“If there were ill feelings, we’ve mended those and we’re moving forward cooperatively,” Kelly said. “It’s all about partnerships, and now we’re working with them on the electric contract as well.”
MVCC Executive Director John Weithofer said the electric deal, which is awaiting approval from city councils, will pile up savings even faster than the streetlight deal for 20 cities and two local agencies. The deal will cover electric service provided to city facilities, with MVCC estimating $2.1 million in savings in 2011 and 2012.
“What makes the story intriguing is this group came out of a 2009 Dayton Daily News editorial suggesting that with a larger group, our leverage would be greater,” Weithofer said. “I was skeptical at first, but when we found (a provision in Ohio law) that allowed multiple municipalities to negotiate one price schedule, I thought it had fantastic merit.”
Delicious Bookmarks: http://delicious.com/I.see.regions.work
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 Council pushes for PTCOG merger - High Point Enterprise- High Point, NC, USA
Enhanced regionalism is something on the minds of High Point leaders as they consider endorsing a merger of two multicounty planning organizations. Next month, the City Council will vote on resolutions on combining the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments with the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments. According to proponents of the idea, the new, 12-county COG will be better able to lobby for state and federal funds on behalf of Triad communities because it will provide for a larger, more unified voice. City leaders said one way a merged organization could help High Point is in guiding strategic planning efforts along the U.S. 29/70 corridor in and around the city. ... The merger will give Triad local governments more influence at the state and national level and is expected to facilitate better planning across jurisdictional lines when it comes to economic development, transportation and environmental issues, proponents said. In addition, a single Triad COG could make the region more competitive with Charlotte and the Triangle, which have similar lead regional organizations. ...
.02 Facts don't faze Scott's world
St. Petersburgh Times - St. Petersburgh, FL, USA
There will be no second coming for high-speed rail, because satisfying the tea party movement is more important to Gov. Rick Scott than regional collaboration and hard facts. Scott killed the project (again) Thursday, declaring that Florida would not accept $2.4 billion in federal money for the Tampa-to-Orlando line no matter how well the state would be financially protected. Logic and bipartisan support are no match for a stubborn ideologue. Scott's predictable announcement came on the eve of today's deadline that federal officials set for Florida to reconsider the governor's initial rejection. The move came after four days of intense, closed-door talks among federal, state and local officials and Scott's attorneys. Rail supporters had worked out a plan to insulate the state from any cost or legal obligations. ... Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio was right to fault Scott's reasoning and his refusal to even allow private companies already interested to put a bid on the table. "In effect," she said in a statement, "the message being sent to eight worldwide business (consortia) across the globe and the United States is don't bother." The only silver lining: The Interstate 4 region was united like never before. Business and government leaders from Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando stepped up to save a project that could have moved the entire region forward. ...
.03 Malloy being pressed to OK his first mass transit project
CTmirror.org - Hartford, CT, USA
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is faced with his first major transportation policy decision: After a dozen years of planning, should the state proceed with its first true rapid-transit project, a $570 million Hartford-to-New Britain busway? With a press conference today, environmentalists, regional planners, and business and labor representatives stepped up efforts to nudge Malloy to give his OK for a busway already approved for major federal funding. "This is a project that can happen tomorrow," said Rep. Tim O'Brien, D-New Britain. "It is a project that is ready to go--almost." ... Lyle Wray, the executive director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments, a regional planning agency, said a dedicated busway is considered state of the art for a medium-density region. ...
.04 Name The Twin Cities Transit System
KMSP-TV - Eden Prairie, MN, USA
The Metropolitan Council looking for ideas about what to name its developing system of bus and rail transitways across the region. This system includes light rail, such as the existing Hiawatha Line and the new Central Corridor line currently under construction. .. . "We’re anxious to see what creative ideas the public has for this exciting new element of our transit system,” said Arlene McCarthy, director of metropolitan transportation services for the Met Council. “We’ll be looking for name ideas that identify this service as a distinct part of our system, while incorporating aspects of the character of the Twin Cities region.” Suggestions will be accepted through 5 p.m., Friday, March 18, either through an online form at metrocouncil.org or by submitting your suggestion to the Regional Data Center ... When you submit your suggested name, you’ll also be asked to include the rationale behind your suggestion. Be sure to include why you think this name distinguishes the service and how it relates to this region. ...
.05 KIPDA Launches Tri-County Coalition to Eliminate Diabetes in Vulnerable Populations: Bullitt, Henry and Shelby Counties in Kentucky
PRWeb - USA
The KIPDA Rural Diabetes Coalition, under a $2.5 Million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant, expects change in the diabetes prevalence statistics seen from Shelby, Bullitt, and Henry Counties. ... Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency (KIPDA) through its Division of Social Services in partnership with the University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work received the grant through the CDC. The National Program to Eliminate Diabetes-Related Disparities in Vulnerable Populations, including the elderly, minorities, and low-income populations. ... An interesting component of the coalition ... is the photovoice project in which residents will document and share their community-specific environmental challenges to a healthy lifestyle by taking photographs with a disposable camera and discussing the activities in a focus group. This, among other investigative initiatives, will set the stage for community involvement and social interaction in the coalition. Barbara Gordon, Director, Division of Social Services, of KIPDA which actually covers seven counties in Ky., and two in Indiana, believes that this type of grant can fundamentally change the modeling we do in our communities and even affect economic development planning. “The first phase of research allows people to take a snapshot of their community looking at needs, gaps, and resources. Potential disparities to healthcare access involve evaluation of a number of communities. We know that individuals with diabetes should be eating healthier, but do they actually have access to fresh markets for vegetables and fruits? And can they afford it? We map the community and look at problem areas,” she said. ...
.06 Sustainability summit sends message about cooperation
Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL, USA
The message at the Regional Sustainable Communities Summit sounded good to Dyanna Chandler. Now she’ll have to wait three years to see whether the latest effort at reinventing how the region’s people work, live and play gets past the planning stage. “Is this just another plan that will go into a filing cabinet?” Chandler pondered after four hours of presentations today at Northern Illinois University-Rockford on how Boone and Winnebago counties will put a $600,000 federal grant toward restoring the region’s long-lost economic mojo. ... From a planning perspective, sustainability means taking a balanced approach when dealing with social, economic and environmental issues. “To be sustainable, a community cannot overemphasize any one of these areas at the expense of the others,” said Genevieve Borich, executive director of the Rockford Region Economic Development District. [http://www.myedd.org/] Morrissey, Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton, Boone and Winnebago leaders, and more than two dozen other municipalities and organizations are behind the latest push to produce a 20-year plan for the region. And there’s added incentive to make it work: money. The Rockford region is one of 45 to get grants to build a new framework to carry out federally funded sustainable-communities projects. ... What local officials like about the Sustainable Communities grants is that they give local governments latitude to use money to solve problems they’ve identified. ...
.07 REGION FIVE DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION: Identifying the path to the future
Brainerd Dispatch - Brainerd, MN, USA
Sustainability. Land use. Jobs. Housing. Transportation. Nearly 200 people gathered Wednesday in Baxter to consider what this region could be in 20 years on all those fronts and how to get there from here. It was the kick-off session for a Region Five Development Commission [ http://www.regionfive.org/ ] regional plan. ... Region Five was recently awarded an $825,050 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning program with four main work areas — housing, transportation, land use and economic development. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who spent time with Region Five in Brainerd last month, sent a video message to the gathering. “This is about quality of life in every sense,” Klobuchar said, noting this regional planning effort is a collaboration that is looking at the big picture with public and private partnerships. The Region Five group outlined a plan utilizing a consortium of 200 members with workgroups of about 35 each looking at four main topic areas. Partners in the endeavor include resources and research from the University of Minnesota. The project is bringing together HUD, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation. ... The University of Minnesota is doing scenario planning for the project by taking gathered information on what exists here, what the imagined future could be and paths to it. The effort looks at plausible scenarios taking into consideration uncertainties such as gas prices and population growth. The group expects to implement the regional plan with specific steps to reach the desired future. Along the way, they plan to include diverse opinions. Phil Hunsecker, a workgroup team leader, stressed the conversations will and should include passionate discourse but the talk needs to incorporate heavy doses of civility. ...
.08 State jobs plan starts at 'bottom`
Journal-Advocate - Sterling, CO, USA
... Gov. John Hickenlooper says he understands that the number one priority of the residents of the state of Colorado is to rebuild the economy and create jobs. To do this, the Governor`s Office and the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade have partnered with Colorado State University`s Office of Engagement and Extension to engage Coloradoans in a statewide conversation about Economic Development. The governor is asking for residents across the state, county by county, to share their stories, challenges and strengths by developing a strategic economic development plan for their county. These county plans will then be rolled up into 14 regional economic development plans, which collectively will be rolled up into a statewide economic development plan. After conducting a first round of regional meetings around the state, a second round of "Next Steps" Regional Meetings are being scheduled during the remainder of February and the month of March. ... These regional meetings will provide an overview of the process, timelines, tools and resources, as well as identify the objectives, outcomes and roles of counties, regions and the state for this process.
.09 Corning to fund Western New York Middle Mile network project
FierceTelecom.com - Washington, DC, USA
Corning (NYSE: GLW) has become the latest vendor to put their stamp on a fiber project. Following in the footsteps of Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) well-chronicled Fiber to the Home (FTTH) project, Corning is making a major investment in a 235-mile fiber-based middle mile network in Western New York. The project is the effort of the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (STC). After the STC was turned down by the NTIA for broadband stimulus funding, the STC applied for funding on Google's Fiber Project, but then decided to work with Corning when the Internet search giant decided it needed more time to assess the flood of applications it received. ...
.10 Meeting brings Indian Valley towns together for regional look at recreational facilities
Montgomery News - Fort Washington, PA, USA
For the third time in as many years, representatives of a group of area towns met Feb. 22 in Upper Salford to talk about ways of making more connections for trail systems and other recreational programs. The meetings began from a suggestion by the Upper Salford Park & Recreation Board, Kevin O'Donnell, a member of the Upper Salford Township Board of Supervisors, said. “We're all active in open space and recreation. We thought it would be good if we got together and shared some information,” O'Donnell said of those at the meeting. Towns represented included Souderton, Lower Salford, Upper Salford, Telford, Franconia, Lower Frederick, Marlborough and Perkiomen. There are regional planning groups for the Indian Valley, Central Perkiomen and Upper Perkiomen areas, but this meeting extends the work done by those groups, Matt Schelly, senior community planner with Montgomery County Planning Commission, said. “It's larger than the planning regions because it involves a full one and parts of two others,” Schelly said. ... “We all know the status of the county budget. It's not in great shape and trail development has come to a halt,” Wood said. ... “Even though it's come to a screeching halt, we are one of the forefront leaders of trail development in the country,” Wood said. “The goal is that I don't even have to drive to get to a trail.” ... Wood was also asked about trails as an economic development tool. “It really has to be a destination trail because what you're trying to do is attract some people from outside the area who are going to spend some dollars,” he said. ... “It's only a few hours that we get together each year, but it seems to be pretty successful,” O'Donnell said.
.11 KATHY LUTHER: Clean, safe water is never free, so save it
nwi.com - Munster, IN, USA
Kathy Luther is director of environmental management for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. Her column appears monthly in The Times. Water, and this time of the year, snow, falls out of the sky whether we like it or not, in a seemingly endless supply. And yet, when we think about it clean, safe water is never free. If are you on a public water supply, through your water bill you pay for the water to be pumped, treated, stored and tested. Then, after you use it, you pay a sewer bill so it can be pumped away from you, cleaned and safely discharged back into the environment. If you have your own well, you have to pay for the energy to pump it to your faucet and maybe for a softener and, sometimes, for maintenance. If you have a septic tank, that also requires maintenance. (If you haven't been pumping yours out every three to five years, it's not working right!) No matter where you live, water isn't free. Maybe it's not as costly as life's other essentials, but sometimes a little saving can go a long way. According to a recent survey commissioned by our Northwest Indiana MS4 Community Partnership [http://www.nirpc.org/environment/MS4.htm], 15 percent of you use native landscaping in your gardening and 13 percent have a water timer to control irrigation use. Some other great ways to conserve water on your land include ...
.12 Philadelphia, Camden defend fire mutual aid
WPVI-TV/DT - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Philadelphia and Camden have a plan to share firefighters during times of catastrophic need. Departments are stretched thin because of budget cuts, and people are concerned and even objecting to helping thy neighbor. "The mutual aid agreement was signed in 2008, not something recent, but something that was signed back in 2008," explained Philadelphia Deputy Mayor, Everett Gillison. Philadelphia and Camden officials gathered together in front of the Municipal Services Building to refute any notion that this was some new agreement reached to help Camden after a severe budget crunch forced that city to lay off 67 of its firefighters, a third of its department. ... But almost three years later, Philadelphia fire hoses cannot hook up to fire hydrants in Camden. They are incompatible. ... "They're still not prepared from what they did three years ago? I'm no rocket scientist, but something seems to be wrong here," said Bill Gault, President of the Philadelphia Firefighters' Union. ... Help is being offered only in the event of a catastrophe or emergency. Official reiterated that they were confident that lives in Philadelphia would not be at risk while they were in Camden helping out, because Philadelphia Firefighters were among the best in the country.
.13 Need for Speed Downtown? Ride a Bike
Chattarati - Chattanooga, TN, USA
If you plan to travel from Coolidge Park to the Chattanooga Choo Choo during peak traffic hours, the fastest way to do is to hop on a bicycle and pedal 2.5 miles down Market Street.
And, more often than not, the bicycle is the fastest way to go from one destination to another in downtown Chattanooga, a pilot study from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA) shows. The study measured the time lapsed from when participants started at one front door to when they ended at another front door using four modes of transportation: driving, riding mass transit, walking and cycling. The reason for the bicycle’s speediness over the other modes, the automobile for example, is due to the time it takes to walk to a car, navigate multiple traffic stops, park, and then walk to the final destination, said David Baird, senior transportation planner with the RPA. ...
.14 Residents discuss roadway options
Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp. - Worcester, MA, USA
A two-year study commissioned by the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission contains many recommendations, big and small, for improving regional mobility. Earlier this week at Union Station residents offered many suggestions in reaction to the study, prepared for CMRPC by VHB/Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. ...
.15 Planning Commission outlines plan for HOV lanes, transit system
Shelby County Reporter - Columbiana, AL, USA
The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham is making plans to bring high-occupancy vehicle lanes and a bus transit system to northern and central Shelby County through its Mobility Matters Project. In a study the Planning Commission recently presented to the project’s steering committee, the commission laid out plans for HOV lanes on Interstate 65 from the Valleydale Road exit in Pelham to the University Boulevard exit in downtown Birmingham. The study also called for a bus transit system around the Birmingham metropolitan area, including Alabaster, Pelham and Hoover. The new HOV lanes would be the innermost lanes on I-65, and would use exits and on-ramps independent from the other lanes of traffic, said Planning Commission Public Affairs Officer Greg Wingo. ... Wingo said the commission originally considered creating additional general purpose lanes or toll lanes, but found the HOV alternative would better address the I-65 congestion issue. Shelby County officials have already finalized plans to construct a park-and-ride lot near the Shelby County Airport, and the study calls for additional park-and-ride lots near I-65 on Shelby County 52 and Alabama 119 in Pelham. ... The transit stops in Alabaster, Pelham and Hoover would not only help local commuters travel to work in Birmingham, it would also help those commuting to Shelby County. ... Though the Planning Commission is still trying to identify funding for the transit project, rising gas prices could put the project on the fast track, Howard said. “It’s not as difficult as people think to create a transit system,” he said. “It’s very conceivable that, depending on gas prices, we could see this very quickly.”
.16 Profile theme has answer to local woes
The Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA
... theme is a fitting one as our community has embraced, in the last year, the concept of regionalism. That’s a fancy way of saying simply: working together. Profile 2011: A Community of One, was inspired by those regionalism efforts. Improving our community is as simple as one. If we realize that we are all in this together and work as one, the community will improve. But also, if we just look at ourselves as individuals and ask, “What am I, as one person, doing to help?” well, that would get us moving in the right direction, too. Also today, in conjunction with Profile, we’ll publish our annual Citizen of the Year and Unsung Heroes list, a tradition that began in 1986.Former Natchez Mayor Tony Byrne earns our selection as the 2011 Citizen of the Year for all of his work through the years. Particularly interesting is that Byrne was the first Natchez mayoral candidate to openly reach across the arbitrary race line and seek support from all aspects of our community. Byrne may be the best example of someone who understands both the power and the importance of working together, as one.
.17 Don't just jump in the car, walk there!
Metro Regional Government - Portland, OR, USA
View a video about walking that will help you get moving, stay safe and make your way around the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. One of the best and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to use your feet. Walking also improves your health, reducing your chances of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases. Check out this KGW "Going Green" video featuring Metro's Walk There! (30 sec. video)
.18 Cities contribute more than their share to prosperity, experts say - The Kansas City Star - Kansas City, MO, USA
… current practice of poaching businesses across the state line was not viewed as a wise economic development strategy for either state. “Moving the deck chairs around the Titanic won’t create long-term success for the states,” Berube said. “It would be good for the states to team up with regional leaders for a shared investment strategy.”
Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Regional Development Council, the organization responsible for marketing and promoting the bistate region, said the Brookings report and its recommendation were “right on target.” “Here in Kansas City, it’s clear the metros are major drivers of economic activity for both Kansas and Missouri,” he said.
“The bulk of the tax dollars generated for both states comes from major metros. It’s all about job growth.”
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 How the Arab world can prevent another Qaddafi: share a regional bill of rights
The Christian Science Monitor - Boston MA, USA
The world has watched and cheered at the peaceful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. But observers in the West have expressed fears that future autocrats might steal their victories. And citizens in Tunisia and Egypt can still be legitimately concerned about the possibility of an Iranian scenario. Will a populist government ignore the rule of law, steal future elections, and develop an adventurous nuclear program? ... To prevent future political leaders from stealing the fruits of their democratic revolution, these countries should start a process of regional democratic integration, delegating the protection of core principles to regional courts and institutions. ... When democratic forces emerged from the ashes of Nazi rule in Europe, the US actively promoted the efforts of the democratic leaders of the European integration movement. ... In 1957, European leaders signed two collective treaties in Rome. One instituted the European Community of Atomic Energy (Euratom), which the US recognized quickly by signing the US-Euratom Treaty in 1958. The Euratom Treaty ensures that nuclear development does not take precedence over the rights of a country's citizens. At its center, we find two democratic principles. ... Last October in Cairo, members of the European Commission presented the Euratom approach to interested Arab diplomats. ... As new bills of rights will be written in future constitutions in the Arab world, democratic leaders in Tunisia and Egypt should invite their counterparts to write a regional bill of rights that will incorporate new thinking, regional legal traditions, and use previous international bills of rights as reference.
.02 Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito Beach join forces
Sign On San Diego - San Diego, CA, USA
The cities of Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito Beach are joining forces to build a single metropolitan region with the aim of improving planning and seeking more financial resources, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante said Friday during a visit to San Diego. Bustamante discussed his regional vision with reporters following an appearance before the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), his first since he took office in December. The goal of Tijuana's new Metropolitan Planning Institute is to work more closely with the other two cities so they can plan jointly for critical issues such as water, transportation and public safety, he said. By working together, the cities have greater access to federal funding, the mayor said. Last year, Tijuana worked with Ensenada and Rosarito Beach to to create a single Metropolitan Tourist Police as a way of winning back the trust of tourists who visit the coastal areas. Bustamante said his new idea involves broader collaboration on a range of issues affecting Tijuana, Tecate and Rosarito Beach. Bustamante also spoke of improving commercial ties and tourism between Tijuana and San Diego. With a new convention center under construction on the border of Tijuana and Rosarito Beach, Bustamante is hoping more visitors to San Diego cross the border. ...
.03 Collaboration’ emphasised at Regional Futures Summit
University of New England - Armidale, NSW, Australia
“Collaboration and partnerships are the way forward,” said the Chancellor of the University of New England, ... Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon. Simon Crean MP, formed part of yesterday’s Regional Futures Summit ... “Regional development can’t be about Government handouts,” Mr Crean said. “It’s about plugging a market gap.” “Local people should invest locally, and be creative in identifying the market gap,” he added. In answer to a question from the audience about local government council amalgamations, Mr Crean said that the “forced” model had “shown its deficiencies”. “The answer has to be driven from the local perspective,” he said. “There has to be local belief that it makes sense to merge.” Mr Crean, like the other members of the panel, emphasised the importance of greater cooperation between councils. ... Mr Crean urged his regional audience to “take ownership of the future”. “Localism produces not only efficiency, but an agenda that no government can afford to ignore,” ... Vice-Chancellor of UNE, Professor Jim Barber, said: “We want to start a fresh debate on these issues across the entire regional community, and the University can lead this debate.”
.04 Aging workforce on horizon
yorkregion.com - York, Ontario, Canada
York Region is ahead of just about everyone else in bracing for an inevitable labour shortage, an expert says. The region is among the first organization to study seriously how aging baby boomers will impact the local economy, and to take steps to avoid a severe labour shortage, according to Dr. Rick Miner. The former Seneca College president addressed an audience of more than 300 in Markham Tuesday, the culminating event in a year-long study by the region. “My objective today is absolutely to depress you ... and then show you some light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. ... The region launched the $500,000 study last year after receiving provincial funding. ... Key facts highlighted ... 80 per cent of employers have no plans to deal with the wave of retirees and 70 per cent of those retirees want to find some way to remain active in the workplace. While some will continue to work for financial reasons, many may want to keep working if they have the flexibility to do so. ... The final report, Beyond the Boomers, covers a range of issues, including steps employers can take to retain employees after the age 65 to the value of training and other tips for adjusting to the new paradigm.
You can learn more and read the full study report at investinyork.ca
.05 China Launches First Ocean Economic Zone
China's first ocean economic zone in the coastal province of Shandong was inaugurated Friday when it signed contracts worth 38.6 billion U.S. dollars, signaling the country is enlarging its economic focus from the land to cover the ocean, as well. The Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone inked at a promotional conference in Beijing a package of contacts that include 23 programs valued at 255 billion yuan (38.6 billion U.S. dollars). The programs covered agricultural technology, new energy utilization, international logistics, tourism and culture, said Fei Yunliang, head of the construction office of the economic zone. ... The Shandong provincial government also signed strategic cooperation agreements with 12 banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and six insurance firms to support construction of the economic zone. ... The Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone is one of three regional ocean economic zones approved by the State Council, or the Cabinet, in April last year as pilot zones for the development of China's marine economy. ... the marine economy accounts for no more than 10 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP), and it is mainly centered on traditional industries such as fishing, transport and tourism, which together account for two-thirds of the total marine output. ...
.06 Getting Asia on the Global Stage
The Globalist - Washington, DC, USA
In the face of the global crisis, Asians have continued to focus on efforts at the national and regional levels, giving these more attention than global institutions. By and large, Asians have been regionalists — rather than globalists looking for global solutions to global problems. This preference is shaped in considerable part because they have not found global institutions effective or responsive to their needs. In the Asian crisis, the IMF was seen by Asians as unhelpful and indeed counterproductive. Thus, the crisis of 1997 sparked Asian regionalism as Asians sought a way of dealing with globalization and problems resulting from their interdependencies. Even as global institutions, such as the IMF, institute reform that enhances Asia’s role, Asians have continued to focus more on their own regional processes. The crisis that began in 2008 has fanned intra-Asian efforts to bring the region closer together to cooperate for regional fixes to the global mess. In pushing forward with the G20, a key issue is how this will relate to the region. Asian participation has undoubtedly gained from the G20. Only Japan was a member of the G7. ...
.07 MMRDA welcomes Railway Budget’s proposal of Metro coach factory in India
India Infoline News Service – Mumbai, India
The nodal agency for Metro project in the region, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), has expressed its pleasure over the provisions of the Union Railway Budget that was presented on Friday. The Railways initiatives, especially pertaining to the local railways in Mumbai and proposal of setting up Metro coach factory have been welcomed by the Authority. Mr S V R Srinivas, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA said, “Being a key planning and implementing authority for the country’s one of the major and biggest metropolitan regions, MMR, we appreciate the support and initiatives of railways which would benefit directly and indirectly to the region.” Mr Srinivas further said, “It would be a good value addition of the metro coach factory’s establishment, if it is on the PPP model, in the country. This would enable the long term and economically sustainable regional development plans. The overall transportation sector would gain momentum with such progressive steps and that would widen the scope of our National Mass Transit Training and Research Institute (NaMTTRI).” ...
.08 Goals and initiatives reinforced
The Observer - Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
THE Gladstone Foundation's goals and initiatives were reinforced at the Living in Gladstone Community Forum, according to the Gladstone Foundation's chair Jim Petrich. “I've been around regional development for 20 years and done consultation with smaller and larger crowds than on Thursday night and I believe overall it was a very positive night,” Mr Petrich said. … “I think the result at the end of the night by getting 60 ideas out there that the council can pursue, I can only put down to a positive result,” Mr Petrich said. “It reinforced the value of the Social Infrastructure Strategic Plan (SISP) that was done last year. “There is a common theme that is happening in the areas of health, transport, roads and employment and those sorts of things will be what we will be looking at in the Gladstone Foundation.” The Gladstone Foundation was the outcome of the SISP where voluntary industry and government funds would be filtered through to the social infrastructure of Gladstone. Social infrastructure includes a wide range of services and networks of organisations that include community facilities like schools, hospitals, police/ fire/ ambulance stations, child-care centres, youth facilities, cultural facilities like libraries and theatre and recreation and sporting facilities. …
.09 Constraints put on community
The Observer - Gladstone, Queensland, Australia
THE state and federal governments are continually putting constraints on the Gladstone community, according to the Gladstone Regional Council. [http://www.gladstone.qld.gov.au/ ]“Most people know of the increasing constraints put on local governments particularly in this region,” Cr Clyde Cameron said at the Living in Gladstone Community Forum on Thursday night. “Let me mention a couple of acronyms, the GSDA (Gladstone State Development Area) and the ULDA (Urban Land Development Authority), but that doesn't stop us (the council) acting when we can and acting strongly and compassionately when we can't.” Cr Cameron said there were many positive aspects of industrial progress, but progress came at a price and the natural assets in the Gladstone region made progress inevitable. “But the price we as a community pay must be acceptable,” Cr Cameron said. “The real value of industries' monetary contribution to community should not be clouded by the inclusion of their own business infrastructure into the equation. ... The concern state and federal governments are ignoring Gladstone by side-stepping local laws via state development land is growing both from the Gladstone Regional Council and the local Gladstone community. ...
.10 Rural ‘bonding’ studied
Red Deer Advocate - Red Deer, Alberta, CA
Research into bonds that would give rural Albertans the opportunity to invest in their community has become a classroom project for University of Alberta students. ... Olds Institute for Community and Regional Development and 14 students in the U of A’s Department of Rural Economy have partnered for a class project to take a look at the benefit of developing local opportunity bonds that are allowed under the Alberta Agricultural Financial Services Act. Stirling McLeod, past chairman with Olds Institute, said bonds could be a valuable tool for rural communities to access the capital people would invest elsewhere. “If capital moves to the urban area, then jobs move to the urban area and our young people move. ... Bonds may be useful in helping communities develop viable businesses, construct recreation facilities or other infrastructure projects. McLeod doesn’t want Albertans to miss out on the opportunity to at least discuss the possibility of community bonds. ...
.11 Stronger Economic Recovery in Amsterdam Region
NIS News Bulletin - 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
The Amsterdam metropolitan region has survived the credit crisis in 2009 and the subsequent recession relatively well. The contraction of the regional economy was smaller than in the rest of the Netherlands and the recovery is faster and stronger, according to a report presented by the city council yesterday. The Gross Regional Product (GRP) of Greater Amsterdam shrank by 3.4 percent in 2009, compared with a contraction of 4 percent for the whole of the Netherlands. ...
.12 Environment Ministry's Downscale Plan
Civil.ge – Tbilisi, Georgia
Government submitted to the Parliament for consideration package of legislative amendments envisaging significant downscale of Ministry of Environment, the move slammed by the environmental groups. According to voluminous package, which includes draft amendments into 45 laws, most of the Environment Ministry's functions will be transfered to the Ministry of Energy and some functions will be redistributed between the Ministry of Economy, Agriculture Ministry, Justice Ministry and Ministry for Regional Development and Infrastructure. ... According to the proposed package, functions related with management and use of natural resources, as well as management of geological threats and geological environment and issues related with nuclear and radioactive regulations will be transfered to the Ministry of Energy. ...
.13 Devon Gypsy fears over number of pitches
BBC - UK
A Devon Gypsy campaigner has said changes to planning guidance will make it harder for councils to provide legal pitches for gypsies and travellers. The government's Localism Bill is abolishing regional planning strategies which set targets for traveller sites. Instead the government is allowing local authorities which want to build sites to bid for money from a £4.5bn affordable homes fund. ... Sally Woodbury of the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups said without targets, councils would find it hard to establish sites. She said: "I think there is a need for targets because it made councils aware that they had to do something. ... "I willingly accept that not many travellers' sites are going to be built under the new system, but not many were built under the old system. "Not many communities want travellers' sites and of course local councils reflect that." ...
.14 Government challenged to support flood regions
The Stawell Times-News – Stawell, Victoria, AU
Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Tourism, Bob Baldwin, has hit out at the Federal Government for failing to look after flood affected communities including Halls Gap. ... million, which was required on top of its normal annual budget of $26 million. ... disappointment at the Gillard Government's move to introduce a new flood tax, which would greatly impact on business operators throughout the region who had already suffered enough because of the floods. ... "It's great the Gillard Government is funding a tourism support package for Queensland, but what about Victoria?" ...
.15 Survival of the Cooperative: A Case for Mutual Aid
In the United States most of us are taught in kindergarten that sharing is caring. That is a sentiment, however, that is beaten out of most of us over the long expanse of our educational career in which we and our classmates are constantly pitted against each other ... Yet this competitive culture is questionable when it comes sustainable development and creating sustainable societies filled with reasonably content individuals. ... In 1902 zoologist, evolutionary theorist and anarcho-communist, Peter Kropotkin wrote Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. The book chronicles his observations based on his studies of animal and plant life in Siberia, an area often profiled as the epitome of that bitter struggle for the means of existence, among animals belonging to the same species…the dominant characteristic of struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution. Yet despite the region's often brutish conditions ... Kropotkin wrote "wherever I saw animal life in abundance, ... I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species, and its further evolution…."In other words, for a sustainable culture/for sustainable development Kropotkin argues that mutual aid or cooperation plays as large a role in our literal evolution and social survival as competition does, perhaps even more so. ...
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
.01 Collective Pride, Worthy Choices by John L. Krauss
… Indianapolis is Central Indiana’s focal point. If our region were a newspaper, Indianapolis would be the banner headline. If we were sports apparel, it would be our swoosh. If we were a hit song, it would be our chorus. But while the region needs Indianapolis to be strong, Indianapolis cannot sustain and grow its national status without strong surrounding communities. In other words, to be a super city, we must be a super region. ...
.02 New Metro GDP Data Released
The Bureau of Economic Analysis yesterday released the 2009 data for metropolitan area GDP. Their headline, “Economic Decline Widespread in 2009,” should come as a surprise to no one. The BEA focuses on the year on year change. I’d rather look at the full span of the data that’s available, which is now 2001-2009. Here’s a look at percent change in total real metro area GDP during that time period ... Per capita tells is a little bit different story. ... The stunning collapse in real per capita GDP and also the erosion in per capita personal income relative to the nation is one of the key reasons I see Atlanta as a region with far more troubles than is generally assumed. ...
.03 Time perfect to set up US suburbs for future
All About Cities
US Metros are in a unique position to take advantage of the housing market collapse in order to position suburbs for the future. By contrast, Canada’s suburbs are less well positioned. Why? because in Canada the vast majority of suburban homes are occupied by content owners who are making their mortgage payments. And in order to prepare for a more transit-oriented lifestyle in a high-fuel cost environment, some suburban houses will need to be destroyed to make room for a more walkable, grid-like street network (rather than meandering crescents ending in cul-de-sac’s) as well as neighbourhood shopping districts that can be reached by foot and serve as transit hubs. Empty suburban homes provide an opportunity to do just that and more. Planners could also re-zone the areas, allowing for smaller lots, or two homes on a single lot, which would eventually bring more people in as both renters and owners. … So, is anyone noticing American suburbs being up to the challenge? And what’s the solution for auto-centric suburbs that don’t have a housing crisis?
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
The Harbor is Baltimore's most valuable asset – the history, the location, the view, the recreation, and most of all, the water itself. A city is only as healthy as its water. And our Harbor is ailing. It's poisoned, polluted, abused, and just plain sick. We've mistreated it for a long time. But it is not too late. ... The first state of the harbor conference (February 5, 2011) was a great success.
Notes: Baltimore Harbor is in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Improvement of the greater watershed depends upon improvement in all of the nested watersheds in this geographic region. The presentations are worth a look by any interested in understanding the complexity water quality issues and the value of planning processes that lead to community ownership of the resource.
For the challenges faced in my region, the Northern Shenandoah Valley, in the 1990's, I articulated the planning to goal a citizen on the phone once as simply to: "Take care of the water." That resonated and was later adopted as part of the Goals Matrix in the "Shenandoah Valley Regional Water Resources Strategic Plan" – online here:
The reality is that water can not take care of itself. The Baltimore Harbor goal is: "Swimmable Fishable by 2020." In water action years, that is not very long. Some of the PDFs are large and load slowly. The browser did make a difference. Enjoy and learn.
... links to ... speaker presentations ...
.02 Doing More With Less: Collaborative Leadership for Service Delivery Workshop - April 28 - Local Government Institute of Wisconsin
The Local Government Institute of Wisconsin, in partnership with University of Wisconsin - Extension's Local Government Center, has created this exciting education opportunity. This workshop is intended for local government leaders - elected officials and staff, from cities, villages, towns and counties.
Are you wondering just how you are going to provide the level of services demanded by residents with fewer resources? This workshop will provide participants with the basic concepts necessary to transform the way local government services are provided within their regions through collaboration and service sharing. The discussion-based format of the workshop is designed to support local conversations on opportunities for collaboration and to initiate regular meetings to translate these opportunities into action.
.03 1st RSAI Summer Course - June 13 – 21 – Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal
The Regional Science Association International (RSAI) Summer Course offers an integrated structure of training, active participation, and discussion for PhD students and young researchers in regional science.
The summer course will be focused on the issue Regional and Urban Economics, Theory, Analysis and Operational Models. In a format of combined lectures and hands on training provided by top-level experts that will lectures the following themes of regional science: Urban and regional economics; Spatial econometrics and Operational models of regional economies.
Deadline for Application Form (Abstract submission): 11th March
The venue is the University of Azores in the city of Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island.
.04 Third Global Conference on Economic Geography - June 28 - July 2 - Seoul, Korea
Hosted by Institute of Space & Economy, Seoul National University and the Economic Geographical Society of Korea, Space, Economy and Environment is a main theme of the Conference. Registration due: March 31, 2011
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 A Microcosm of the Market Manipulation in the US and the Repeated Failure of Ideology - JESSE'S CAFÉ AMÉRICAIN Blog
I am seeing this same sort of 'gaming the markets' across many markets and stocks that the author notes below, especially in those markets amenable to leverage and electronic manipulation such as indices driven by futures, options markets, and ETFs which more closely resemble carney games than investment vehicles.
There has always been some element of this, but it is starting to become predominant and is driving out the honest trade and investment which cannot compete, in the same manner that the mortgage frauds corrupted and distorted a major sector of the economy and drove out conventional investment, regulation, checks and balances, regulatory oversight, and finally common sense.
It is getting to be a bit much, and is going to end badly. It will end badly because like the economy which has been crafted by the same makers it is hollow, a facade, set up for the benefit of a few who transfer wealth to themselves from the many. As someone wrote to me today:
"There aren’t really many good options for people who just want to save some money for retirement and live their lives in the meantime. Not even social security or pensions for 30-year veteran teachers are safe from pirate raids and partisan deconstruction. Everything else available to the ordinary retail and retirement saver has become a Wall Street killing floor."
This is no accident. This is no error in judgement. This is not philosophy. It is a calculated white collar crime, that has co-opted many elements of society. It hides behind slogans like 'small government' and 'libertarianism' and 'free markets' but its real intent is to subvert the law and corrupt the processes of the economy and society. It is a type of financial coup d'etat.
The problem is not that there is too much government, but rather, the government which you have is tainted with corruption and needs a thorough cleaning and reform. ...
.02 What Will New Economic Thinking Look Like? - Triple Crisis Blog - Global Perspectives on Finance, Development and Environment
The crisis that erupted in 2007 has generated interest in re-thinking economics. As Mark Blyth noted earlier this week, one of the more visible efforts in this respect is the creation of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, INET, committed to promote “new thinking about how to reform our economic system and get economists to better serve our policy makers and our society”. That is certainly a good objective, but you still need to define several key words in that sentence, beginning with “economic system” and “policy makers”.
On the very positive side, INET’s executive director Rob Johnson says the Institute is still defining “on the fly what new economic thinking means”. This good news leaves the doors open for truly innovative thinking. On the other hand, several participants in the first INET conference in King’s College mention the magic words, “shifting paradigms”.
I hope INET offers the opportunity for something a bit more ambitious than just a shift in paradigm, especially if a narrow definition of “paradigm” is used. After all, when we change paradigms, we are still playing the same ball game. It is perhaps more appropriate to think of changing of ball park altogether. And if this is the task at hand, then we need to reconsider the basic building blocks of theory, as well as the nature of our discourse and the boundaries of our field. Let me give one example related to money and ethics.
.03 Why Have Nations at All? The Case for Economic Borders - The Market Oracle - UK
Why have nations at all, economically speaking? ...
The recent debt crisis in Europe illuminated in stark fashion some of the key facts that make national economies still relevant and economic borders still valuable.
... lesson here is that treating all national economies like they are the same--by dropping the currency barrier--doesn't work when they are not the same. … Treating these different national economies like they are the same just invites economically irrational behavior--like borrowing money you can't afford to repay.
Removing the currency barrier between disparate national economies also deprives them of the ability to fix certain problems by adjusting their currency value so that it accurately reflects their economic condition. Having different currencies functions something like a universal joint in engineering: it transmits torque, but it's also flexible. …
Competitive advantage is created and sustained through a highly localized process. Differences in national economic structures, values, cultures, institutions, and histories contribute profoundly to competitive success. …
… Economic policies that assume a homogeneous world, whether they take the shape of a pan-European currency or global free trade, are an attempt to defy this basic fact. And the cost of failure runs into the trillions.
…other reasons to maintain national economic borders … there is an unavoidable publicly-financed component to innovation. Despite the Silicon Valley myth of rugged individualism (which I hear all the time here in San Francisco), the reality is that government inputs to major high-tech industries from semiconductors to aircraft have been huge. And it's hard to justify spending money on supporting, say, basic scientific research if that research is just going to be commercialized abroad. Worse, without capturing its value here, we won't have the tax base to pay for the next round of research.
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