Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.
Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet … 11.01 - .15
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .05
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .04
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .04
Bold italic highlights “grist for the mill of local-regional thought and action.”
Several hundred members of One Southern Indiana gathered ... focus … economic regionalism between the cities and states that make up the area.
Bringing home that point was Greg Fischer, Louisville’s mayor, who has business roots in Southern Indiana. “For 18 years I crossed those bridges,” he said, noting his past work experience in the area.
He tarred roofs in Corydon in his younger years, then later on in life purchased SerVend in Sellersburg. Growing the company from a bankrupt operation to an international corporation took teamwork between employees, he said, adding that growing the region into a global power will take the same.
“Louisville and Southern Indiana should be working together as a greater team,” he said. “The world is rapidly urbanizing. We need to grow as a region.”
Just before he took office, he, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — along with transportation officials from both states — met and formulated a plan to reduce the cost of the proposed Ohio River Bridges …
“It was really great teamwork,” he said. “I fully intend to get the bridges under construction before the end of my first term.”
Additionally, he said, the states have worked together on funding the revamping of the Big Four Bridge. The former railroad bridge is being converted into a pedestrian crossing between the two states.
“We need to think and act like the super region we are,” he said.
Fischer spoke about initiatives his administration is taking to improve the region’s profile. Growing capital investment dollars, increasing entrepreneurship and internationalization of area companies, creating a Louisville office of innovation and removing business impediments are among his goals.
Regardless of the river that divides the area “we all live together in this great region called Kentuckiana,” he said.
It's time to think and act like a region and to better support and leverage our economic strengths.
These were the strong messages of more than 1,000 Toronto region leaders who attended the third Greater Toronto Summit in mid-February to develop responses to many of the region's most pressing economic, social, and environmental challenges and opportunities, including transportation, regional economic development and immigrant integration.
Organized by the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance - founded as the Toronto City Summit Alliance in 2003 - the two-day event highlighted the business benefits and opportunities that come with greater regional collaboration and collaboration with other sectors.
Previous CivicAction summits have led to successful initiatives including the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, Greening Greater Toronto, the Toronto Region Research Alliance, the Emerging Leaders Network, DiverseCity and Luminato.
Regional Transportation: Building a regional transportation network to better serve businesses and people moving across the Toronto region was one of the summit delegates' highest priorities. …
Regional Economic Development: … They respect the need for municipalities to market their own strengths, but called for a broader regional effort engaging governments, businesses and other stakeholders in marketing the region overall.
Leveraging Diversity: Delegates also agreed the region must better leverage and market its greatest and most unique strength: its diversity. … The region's future economic growth depends on continuing to attract and integrate immigrants, but it is attracting 17 per cent fewer immigrants than it used to, and is losing valuable economic class immigrants to other Canadian cities.
Wrapping up two intense and exhilarating days, CivicAction chair John Tory captured well the summit's enthusiasm and sense of possibility for the future of the region, saying, "Toronto should not just be the best city region in the world, but the best city region for the world."
3. How Black is the Japanese Nuclear Swan? - The Automatic Earth Blog
Ilargi: You may not be have been aware of it until now, but The Automatic Earth has an in-house full-blown nuclear safety expert. ... analysis of the situation in Japan:
Stoneleigh: The Japanese earthquake is a tragedy of epic proportions in so many ways. The situation continues to evolve, and the full scope of the disaster will not be understood for a long time. ...
Proponents argue that the energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) for nuclear power is sufficient to power our societies, that nuclear power can be scaled up quickly enough as fossil fuel supplies decline, that there will be sufficient uranium reserves for a massive expansion of capacity, that nuclear is the only option for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and that nuclear power can be operated with no safety concerns through probabilistic safety assessment (PSA).
I disagree with all these assertions. Looking at the full life-cycle energy inputs for nuclear power, it seems to be barely above the minimum EROEI for maintaining society, and the costs (in both money and energy terms) are front-loaded.
Scaling up nuclear capacity takes extraordinary amounts of both money and time. While construction can be speeded up, where this has been done (as it was in Russia), the deleterious effect on construction standards was significant. Uranium reserves, especially the high-grade ores, are depleting rapidly. …
In my view, nuclear power represents an unjustified faith in the power of human societies to control extremely complex technologies over the very long term. Any activity requiring a great deal of complex and cooperative control will do badly in difficult economic times.
Also, no human society has ever lasted for as long as nuclear waste must be looked after. …
We need to evaluate the potential for a nuclear future in light of the disaster in Japan. This was not unpredictable, and should have been accounted for in any realistic assessment of nuclear potential. It cannot realistically be described as a black swan event.
4. Our View: Rock River Valley returns to regionalism - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL, USA
Cynics could have had a field day at the Regional Sustainability Summit, a new collaborative approach to public funding of local projects.
But cynicism doesn’t accomplish anything. We prefer to have faith — faith that a new planning process, embraced by three agencies of the federal government, will be what the region needs to move forward.
Taxpayers can’t afford the old way, a formulaic, “check-the-boxes” approach that wasn’t customized to local needs and often resulted in urban sprawl. New businesses often considered only one option: locating in cornfields, which required expensive infrastructure such as extensions of sewer, water and roads.
Avoiding that result is even more important as property values decline and tax revenues fall.
“The climate is perfect because nobody has any money,” Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said.
Morrissey was among officials from Boone and Winnebago counties who visited the Editorial Board before last weekend’s sustainability summit …
In advance of the summit, 30 municipalities and organizations from the two counties signed on to the concept of sustainability planning.
The concept is getting off the ground with a three-year, $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also cooperating in the project are the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The reason for the agencies’ partnership? A new highway, for example, would affect housing, the environment and other factors.
After so many years of bringing up the rear in the race for federal funds, this region received one of only 45 grants awarded nationwide. That’s exciting and encouraging.
Another positive sign is who’s leading the effort.
This time, the grant writers and planners who actually do the work — rather than the politicians who talk about it — are front and center. Regular citizens will play a role, too.
5. Connecticut Governor Joins Assault on Regional Library Services - LibraryJournal.com
Connecticut's governor has become the latest in a long line of state officials who are attempting to unravel the fabric of regional library services.
In his proposed biennial budget for FY12/13, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to cut $704,000 from the Connecticard program (about a 55 percent reduction). The program has been in place since 1976 and allows state residents to borrow books from every public library in the state.
He also wants to eliminate funding ($266,000) for the Connecticar program, the interlibrary loan delivery service that last year delivered 2.7 million items at a cost of 21¢ a transaction to 225 libraries. The program also receives $306,000 in federal funding.
"It would undo 30-plus years of cooperation and regionalism," Debbie Herman, the president of the Connecticut Library Association, told LJ. "Regionalism is being promoted heavily in our state government, and here's a shining example of a long history of regional cooperation that would be completely undone."
Herman testified Tuesday before the Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly …
"Our position is that you get from these two very popular and well-used programs the benefits of a county library system without a county library infrastructure," she said.
"This program has been one of the most elegant ways of equalizing access to resources," she told LJ. "So, as the fourth wealthiest community in the state, we've been proud to open our doors and share our resources."
One-third of Westport's circulation, or 284,000 items, were loaned to people "who don't sleep here," Bleiweiss said. Westport is the number one net loaner of material in the state.
… "Let's not dismantle one of the most cost-effective services that feeds the backbone of our economy-the transfer of knowledge into the hands of those who need it."
6. Regionalism is a two-way street - The Tidewater News - Franklin, VA, USA
… Navy’s proposal was not and is not mission-critical. … Franklin Mayor Jim Councill’s dogged persistence in pushing the Navy project … believes deeply in regionalism, Franklin’s obligations to Greater Hampton Roads and his own image among the region’s leadership. He didn’t publicly push that angle, in my view, because it doesn’t play well politically with local citizens, who see much more give than take in Western Tidewater’s relationship with Hampton Roads.
For decades, Franklin and Southampton County have faithfully paid their dues to Hampton Roads organizations, at times to our fiscal disadvantage (read: SPSA). Six years ago, we staked our economic future almost entirely on regional cooperation, joining the Hampton Roads economic-development clique in hopes that leaders there would steer jobs our way. We accepted a bypass highway at the expense of our downtown commercial districts. We built public housing for citizens the big cities no longer wanted.
If the political leadership of Virginia Beach and Norfolk is serious about Western Tidewater becoming a partner in a viable regional economy, at some point our rural area has to become more than a fix for metropolitan problems.
… Virginia Beach has not done enough to help itself. Over the years, the greed of unrestrained residential development has outweighed the need to protect Oceana and the thousands of jobs it provides for that city and the region.
Meantime, Franklin, in exchange for fire trucks, Navy-specific airport improvements and a breakeven contract, is expected to come to the rescue of Hampton Roads’ economy.
… ask the leaders of a particular city to the east for a revenue-sharing agreement with Western Tidewater localities. If we cured that city’s problem, the least it could do is share some of the economic largesse derived from the solution.
Only fair, right?
Sixteen months later, no response.
7. Analysis: Regionalism’s Challenge in Economic Development - Nashville Chatter Class - Nashville, TN, USA
Since Mayor Karl Dean took office, regionalism on economic development has taken a substantial hit. But it’s not entirely his fault.
You could argue economic development related regionalism took a hit under his predecessor Bill Purcell as Williamson County lured companies from Nashville, …
As mayor, however, Dean has chosen to respond. Or, depending on your perspective, he’s been forced to respond. He widened the rift when he argued that redeveloping the Tennessee State Fairgrounds was necessary to compete with Williamson County, and when he used tax breaks to convince Asurion to stay in Nashville instead of going to Cool Springs. Dean still hasn’t bitten on May Town Center as way to compete with Williamson County, however. Nonetheless, there definitely has been an “us versus them” when it comes to jobs.
There’s the “rising tides lifts all ships” reaction to jobs going to Williamson County or elsewhere outside Davidson County. But that’s consolation talk. Of course, Nashville wants to have jobs and build the tax base. Williamson County wants that, too.
But perhaps there’s a more creative way to approach regionalism on jobs and tax bases, one that recognizes Nashville as Middle Tennessee’s cultural and sports center and the outlying counties to help pay for those amenitities beyond just their citizens coming here to use the facilities. Actually, it’s not all that creative, just borrowing best practices – to use business consultant speak – of peer competitors in other parts of the country.
For several years now, area leaders have talked about the need for greater regionalism. So far, mass transit is the only area in which regionalism is working between Middle Tennessee governments. It’s anyone’s guess whether there would be such discussions if federal law didn’t require a regional approach to get federal dollars.
8. Intellihot president uses, promotes regional cooperation - The Register-Mail - Galesburg, IL, USA
California has the Silicon Valley, the Naperville area in northeastern Illinois is known as the Silicon Prairie and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina is dubbed the Research Triangle. Sridhar Deivasigamani, president of Intellihot Green Technologies, thinks Galesburg, Peoria and a couple of other central Illinois cities could form a “green” technology center.
The Green Prairie? The Environmental Enclave?
It could be said that Intellihot, which plans to begin manufacturing tankless water heaters here this spring, is the first example of what regional cooperation may mean. The company’s research and development is done at Peoria NEXT, an innovation center on Main Street in Peoria. Meanwhile, the manufacturing will be done here in the former Carhartt building, 2900 W. Main St.
“The region benefits from it,” Deivasigamani said of regional cooperation. He suggested other cities could become part of a regional center for the manufacture of environmentally friendly products.
“An environment like that seems to foster innovation,” he said. “Networking, entrepreneurship, financing; with the advent of the Internet, you really don’t need to be in Chicago.”
Deivasigamani said having R&D in Peoria and manufacturing in Galesburg looks like it will work well.
“They’re close enough, what goes on here (Galesburg) affects what goes on there. (Peoria) Maybe we can interest a couple of other cities, like Bloomington, Decatur. Perhaps it can be the (research triangle) of the Midwest,” he said. “I’m a firm believer in the collaborative environment.”
Galesburg Economic Development Director Cesar Suarez likes the concept, as well. He said Peoria NEXT and Intellihot already are proving this is a good idea.
“It already speaks of how regional the resources need to be,” Suarez said. “It runs the gamut from conception to launch.”
9. The End of Sound Money and the Triumph of Crony Capitalism - Ludwig von Mises Institute - Auburn, AL, USA
The Henry Hazlitt Memorial Lecture at the 2011 Austrian Scholars Conference by David Stockman.
Shortly after Nixon closed the gold window in August 1971 Secretary Connally famously told an assemblage of foreign central bankers that "the dollar is our currency, but it’s your problem." The esteemed Secretary had studied at the Wright Patman School of Texas Finance, of course, not the University of Chicago.
But he nevertheless shared Professor Friedman’s assurance that floating the dollar would eliminate the nettlesome problem of the U. S. current account deficit; that is, such trade adjustment as might be needed would be done by the non-dollar speakers in the global economy.
History now says otherwise – and resoundingly so. Indeed, once relieved of the immediate pain of self-correcting, contractionary drains on our domestic money markets and banking systems, the U.S. was free to embark upon on a monumental borrowing spree denominated in the world’s reserve currency.
At the same time, there emerged – up and down the East Asian main – rulers enamored with a development model amounting to export mercantilism. This scheme produced a plentitude of factory jobs and social quietude internally, while generating massive external surpluses that could be recycled into vendor financing for ever-expanding export volumes.
The resulting mutant symbiosis between the American economy and the East Asian mercantilist exporters spawned a long-term outcome that Milton Friedman held to be impossible under floating exchange rates; namely, 33 years of continuous, deep current account deficits at 3–5% of GDP – external deficits which have now cumulated to more than $7 trillion since the late 1970s.
The fly in the Friedmanite theoretical ointment, of course, is that by pegging their currencies, the East Asian exporters and Persian Gulf oilies have permanently forestalled balancing their external accounts by accepting cheaper and cheaper dollars as prescribed by Texas-style monetarism. In thereby retaining their outgoing export surpluses, the mercantilist exporters have accumulated treasury bonds from the backhaul.
Accordingly, the $9 trillion of current global forex reserves – mostly held by the aforementioned peggers – are not monetary reserves in any meaningful sense; they are effectively vendor financed export loans, and they are what make the present economic world go round.
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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 'Sunburnt' cities have a shot to remake themselves
USA Today - McLean, VA, USA
... "There's an extraordinary potential for 'sunburnt' cities to embrace the idea of smart decline" — doing more with less, whether it's fewer people, fewer home buyers or fewer jobs, says Justin Hollander, urban planning professor at Tufts University and author of Sunburnt Cities, which was published March 1. Boomtowns that have been scorched by the housing crisis could learn from struggling Rust Belt communities, Hollander says. Sunburnt cities have a chance to limit growth for growth's sake by allowing dense development and reducing parking requirements to encourage walking, public transportation and more green space, Hollander says. "In each place there are a lot of opportunities to think smaller," he says. "It hasn't happened yet. Largely, these cities are in denial."... Shelley Lauten, president of myregion.org, says the mayors and county leaders in 86 Florida cities and seven counties meet regularly to tackle regional issues, including water and transportation — all part of a "How Shall We Grow" plan the organization drafted. "Florida has always traditionally known cheap housing and cheap labor," Lauten says. "We're all struggling with the same thing ... better uses of land." She says the region will emerge from the slump in better shape because it is being forced to diversify its economy. "For me, it's a perfect time to change the mindset," Lauten says. "Think about the lessons of Detroits that did not diversify their economies." ...
.02 Experts say Gov. Rick Scott's growth management stance based on faulty premise
St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Six weeks after he took office, Florida's new governor, Rick Scott, visited the state's Department of Community Affairs. Scott told the employees gathered in the lobby that they were doing a great job. Then he told them to stop. Scott wants to gut the DCA. He contends the agency in charge of managing Florida's growth is a red-tape-crazy job-killer standing in the way of economic recovery. As an example, he cited a development in Collier County that needed "75 or 78 permits, just for the land." Legislative leaders, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and home builders have chimed in to agree with Scott. They're pushing for a sweeping overhaul of the state's 1985 growth management law. There are proposals to get rid of regional planning councils, eliminate requiring developers to show the need for new subdivisions and make it nearly impossible for anyone to sue to stop an unpopular project. The pro-growth-management group 1,000 Friends of Florida is predicting this session of the Legislature will be the "worst in Florida's growth management history.'' What's underlying this push, say experts, is a desire to go even further. It's a rejection of anything that might stand in the way of restarting Florida's growth machine – even local comprehensive plans, said Merle Bishop, president of the Florida chapter of the American Planning Association. ...
.03 Planning district bill would ease regional cooperation
Richmond Times Dispatch - Richmond, VA, USA
Regional cooperation may be about to get easier. A bill simplifying the process through which neighboring localities can help one another sailed through this year's General Assembly and awaits Gov. Bob McDonnell's signature. House Bill 2364, sponsored by Del. Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover, was the centerpiece of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission's legislative agenda. If signed, the legislation would allow localities across the state to easily enter into contracts with one another to share resources, like personnel and equipment, and transfer funds. "Short of a declaration of emergency, these types of things are not easily effectuated now," Peace said. "In a time of economic challenge where state aid is being reduced and local revenues are tighter, it just makes sense that there can be this type of reciprocal relationship between localities." Another of the RRPDC's top priorities — rail transportation funding — also advanced as part of Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation package. ... THE following are key actions from the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety (www.daretoprepare.org ):
House Bill No. 2364 § 15.2-1300.1. Joint aid agreements by localities. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?111+ful+HB2364
.04 When will Northwest Indiana learn to cooperate regionally?
nwi-com - Munster, IN
Once again, Northwest Indiana is upstaged by Illinois. While politicians in Northwest Indiana view regional cooperation as a sign of weakness, Illinois moves ahead with a plan for a southeast suburban commuter train line. While Northwest Indiana politicians seek only individual political advantage, Illinois continues to take a regional view of infrastructure growth. This lack of cooperation has slowed down, and possibly killed, any expansion of the South Shore Line. ... Residents of Northwest Indiana say they want more good-paying jobs brought to the region. But what company would consider locating in an area where the infrastructure continues to deteriorate, where regional cooperation is nonexistent, where any change is usually defeated and where politicians make little attempt to get along with the state government? History tells us that most would rather have the regional cooperation available in Illinois despite higher taxes and debt than deal with the chaos that is Northwest Indiana. When will we ever learn?
.05 Residents are urged to be prepared in the event of a catastrophic earthquake
Fontana Herald News - Fontana, CA, USA
The old saying it takes something drastic to happen to make us take notice is more prevalent than ever. Recent natural disasters such as the devastating earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand, Haiti and Chili underscore the importance of individual preparedness, said Tracey Martinez of the San Bernardino County Fire Department. "California's Emergency Management System is the envy of the country, with Fire, Law Enforcement and Emergency Management Mutual Aid available across the state," Martinez said. "Even so, volunteers from programs like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) may have to provide help and rescue until the first responders can arrive." Fontana, like many other cities, has an active and ready CERT team. Martinez said that San Bernardino County Fire stands prepared to respond to a major earthquake. "We are one of eight California fire departments that are certified by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services to host a Regional Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force. A Regional USAR Task Force includes 29 personnel specially trained for USAR duty," she said. ...
FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue Response System http://www.fema.gov/emergency/usr/participants.shtm
.06 Lexington County wise to stick with RTA
The State - Columbia, SC, USA
We commend Lexington County Council for sticking with bus service provided by the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, although we understand that council members made a strictly dollars-and-cents decision rather than one that considers cost along with the many other good reasons to stay involved. Not only does this ensure that service now available in the county continues, but it bolsters regional cooperation and keeps open the prospects of a transit system that one day serves the Midlands’ suburbs, helps promote economic development and combats pollution. … While Lexington County intends to continue weighing its options, it’s evident that — at least for now — it has acknowledged that it can’t get a better deal by reinventing the wheel and getting into the transit business. The best, most cost-effective and efficient option is for Lexington to join forces with Richland County, Columbia and the transit authority. … The fact is that as this region grows, there is going to be an increased need to devise a smart, comprehensive system to help combat congestion and take people to the places they need and want to go. Having Lexington County aboard now, even in a very limited way, could prove critical to the future of transit throughout the Midlands.
.07 Five east suburban communities to share police services, equipment in critical situations
The Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH, USA
Five East Side suburbs will work together to provide mutual aid in the event of a critical situation requiring extra police help. Shaker Heights Police Chief Scott Lee said his force, along with Beachwood, Euclid, South Euclid and University Heights, will establish EDGE -- Eastside Departments Group Enforcement -- to share police personnel, services and equipment. ... "We all have the same needs. As everybody's budgets get tighter, we've asked how can we continue to maintain our high level of services. The formation of EDGE is a huge win-win situation. In the event of a critical situation, Lee said, additional resources can be brought in as needed. EDGE allows the police departments to share services, much as fire departments have been doing. Lee also said the need for costly, overlapping services and rarely used equipment will be eliminated. EDGE will allow the five police departments to combine SWAT teams into one unit. ...
.08 Thinning the local borders
Associated Online - Wayne, MI, USA
This week, the Westland City Council signed off on a proposed Neighborhood Acceptance Plan with the City of Wayne, effectively making the Wayne-Westland community a large neighborhood with a shared parks and recreation department. Residents of each community now qualify for resident rates at the others’ recreational facilities, for classes and programs and at special events. This is a great idea, long overdue. It comes on the heels of Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal, in which he essentially stated that he would do away with statutory revenue sharing and replace it with a smaller pot of money that would be given to communities that embraced ‘best practices’ and showed regional cooperation. This puts Wayne and Westland in good standing for that, particularly if, as officials from both sides have said, it’s the first of many such agreements. As regional cooperation goes, this was a pretty easy decision to make and, in theory anyway, a pretty easy one to put into practice. ... Joint recreation programs have been very successful in other communities, notably the city of Northville and Northville Township, where tax dollars have been further stretched through a cooperative effort that includes the school district, too. Wayne Mayor Al Haidous said he thinks the plan is a step in the right direction. We do, too, and hope there are many more footsteps to follow.
.09 Regional 911 center is a go for towns: Six towns vote to start construction this year
The Daily News of Newburyport - Newburyport, MA, USA
Amesbury and five other towns — Beverly, Wenham, Topsfield, Middleton and Essex — have decided to go ahead with a regional emergency dispatch center without waiting for other North Shore communities to join the project. Area towns that make a decision to join the regional call center will now have to be approved by the project's charter members, Topsfield fire Chief Ronald Giovannacci said. "The other communities weren't able to make a decision in a timely way, so we chose to move forward," he said. "If another town chooses to join tomorrow, it would be up to the charter communities on whether they would fit with the team." ...
.10 Capacity Crowd Brain Storms at First Regional Sustainability Event
CherryHill.inJersey.com - NJ, USA
What’s the buzz about sustainable communities? More than 160 people from 35 communities across Camden, Gloucester and Burlington Counties were part of capacity event held at Camden County College sharing ideas and challenges concerning sustainability efforts including coordinating community and municipal “green team” programs, getting volunteers and taking advantage of state and federal incentives. The Tri-County Sustainable Communities Forum sponsored by Sustainable Cherry Hill and Sustainable Jersey was the first event bringing people together from throughout the region to work on issues ranging from expanding bike and pedestrian paths to connecting people from all walks of life in the sustainability effort. ...
.11 Courts invalidate regional affordable housing guidelines
Lexology.com - London, UK
On Feb 24, 2011, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey invalidated the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) Regional Affordable Housing Development Program Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines were adopted on Sept. 9, 2009, in response to A-500, the 2008 amendments to the Fair Housing Act that required regional planning entities to identify and coordinate regional affordable housing opportunities with municipalities in accordance with available infrastructure, employment opportunities and public transportation. See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-329.9(c)(2). The Guidelines encompass the following regional planning entities: Meadowlands Commission, Pinelands Commission, Fort Monmouth Planning Authority, Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. See N.J.S.A. 52:27D-329.9(a). These regional planning entities encompass 181 of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities. ... The question now is whether COAH will in fact adopt regulations. In the aftermath of the Appellate Division’s decision, no regional planning regulatory authority exists that permits municipalities to share affordable housing obligations. As such, municipalities in the Pinelands and Highlands are now confronted with affordable housing obligations still determined by COAH for the Third Round. See In re: the Adoption of N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97, 412 N.J. Super. 468 (App. Div. 2010). It will also be interesting to see if COAH actually adopts rules and regulations given the present uncertainty regarding the future of the Mt. Laurel doctrine, the possibility of new legislation and the pending petitions for certificate of In re: the Adoption of N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97.
.12 Water authorities break ground on new line
WaterWorld - Tulsa, OK
Representatives from the Greater Johnstown Water Authority and Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County ceremoniously broke ground Thursday for the 14-mile line that will bring water from Johnstown over Laurel Ridge to Ligonier. The 16-inch line will provide 522,000 gallons each day for 20 years, according to a contract between the two authorities. The Westmoreland County authority will pay at least $231,000 each year for the water. "We are setting an example and a model for governmental cooperation, not commonly seen in Western Pennsylvania," said Chris Kerr, resident manager of the Westmoreland utility. "A lot of people are talking about regional cooperation, but we are doing it." Senator Don White of (R-Indiana) said the cooperation between the two governments is "ahead of the curve." "That's the kind of cooperation we're going to need in the future." According to Kerr, the water line is "absolutely essential to address the development for growth" in the Ligonier Valley. ...
.13 Terrific 'Traviata'
Ventura County Star - Ventura, CA, USA
Opera Santa Barbara, teaming with Opera San Jose, brought a bounty of sighs, swoons and, most importantly, impressive singing to the stage of The Granada in Santa Barbara last weekend for a pair of performances of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” Regional cooperation is the mode of the day for arts organizations, and the two companies combined some of the best stage and technical talents from each, along with a fresh but experienced cast of guest artists. Joining forces allowed for striking sets and gorgeous costumes for the opera, which was reset to 1889 from Verdi’s original use of the 18th-century. ...
.14 Mutual aid Berkshires boon
Berkshire Eagle Staff - Pittsfield, MA, USA
You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours. That's the prevailing idea behind a mutual aid firefighting system in which departments from around the county help battle blazes in neighboring communities. Evidence of that system was on display this week as various regional departments responded to three devastating house fires in three days. Homes in Becket and Lenox were destroyed on Monday, while a waterfront home in Otis was left in ruins on Wednesday. Despite efforts to save the structures, all three were declared total losses. Officials have yet to release official causes for the fires, but wood-burning stoves are suspected in two cases and a faulty clothes dryer in the other. "Berkshire County has had a great mutual aid system for many years," Great Barrington Deputy Fire Chief Edward G. McCormick said Friday. "Mutual aid is extremely important to all our communities. We have to depend on our neighbors for manpower." ...
.15 Head of planning district commission retires
Southside Sentinel - Urbanna, VA, USA
After more than 24 years as executive director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) [ http://www.mppdc.com/] , Dan Kavanagh announced his resignation last week. Kavanagh, 61, will retire on March 1, 2011. The MPPDC has been successful uniting the six counties and three towns it serves into working toward regional solutions to local problems and opportunities. Kavanagh noted that he “works for the board members” of the commission, and gave credit to them. ... Middlesex County Administrator Charles Culley was planning director in King and Queen County in 1986 when Kavanagh was appointed director of the MPPDC, which was then a two-person office. “He’s grown the organization,” said Culley. Culley noted Kavanagh was “a leader” in introducing GIS mapping technology, getting grants, implementing the Chesapeake Bay Act, getting housing grants in King and Queen, and forming the public access authority. “A ton of ideas have spun out of the MPPDC,” said Culley. ...
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 NATO Waits for Regional Support for No-Fly Over Libya
The Epoch Times - New York, NY, USA
NATO wants to see strong regional support for a no-fly zone over Libya before it will take action, announced NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday, following a special session on Libya. On Thursday NATO announced it will intervene to aid Libyan rebels only if there is demonstrated need, clear legal basis, and strong regional support. ... The regional support that the West is looking for mainly refers to endorsement by the League of Arab States. ... the African Union “jealously guards the sovereignty of its member states,” and is unlikely to support establishing a no-fly zone over Libya. ...
.02 Tunisia promotes revolution tourism
Magharebia - United States Africa Command
Tourism officials in Tunisia are betting on the popularity of the revolution to attract visitors. Despite a recent drop in foreign visitors to Tunisia, tourism workers are optimistic that the country will recover its most popular industry. The Tunisian revolution emptied nearly all tourist sites, hotels and cafes. But people who work in the sector expect a speedy recovery, envisioning a brighter future for the tourism industry. "Thanks to the revolution, our country is now famous in the whole world. I believe that was the best publicity. I want to tell our friends that now they can come to Tunisia in an ambience of peace and freedom," Tourism Minister Mehdi Houas said at a February 9th press conference. Though tourism revenues dropped by around 40% in January, the minister expressed optimism about the first six months of the year. The number of European tourists dropped from 98,958 in January 2010 to 59,689 this year and that of Maghreb visitors decreased by nearly half. Despite the drop-off, the Tunisian revolution will have a positive impact on the future of the tourism sector, according to marketing and tourism specialist Noureddine Salmi. "I am optimistic. I am convinced that this peaceful revolution is a historic opportunity for a true breakthrough for the Tunisian tourism," Salmi added. ...
.03 The regional implications of Egypt's power transition
Al-Masry Al-Youm - Cairo, Egypt
The 25 January uprising called for the fall of the regime while rejecting its dire legacy. For some, rejecting that legacy meant demanding a shift in Egypt’s regional role, in particular Egypt’s unwavering alliance with the United States and the way Egypt has handled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Analysts agree that Egypt’s current priorities revolve around re-establishing a sense of economic and social stability. Currently, Egypt is still committed to all of its international agreements, according to Egypt’s Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster on 11 February. However, many believe that once the country regains a stable footing, a general shift in Egypt’s political posturing will ensue. “If the democratic changes happen as we hope, Egyptian foreign policy will act with more autonomy, and reflect [the will of the people] more thoroughly,” said Emad Gad, a political analyst with Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Over the past 20 years, Egypt’s engagement with international politics has gradually diminished, leaving the military and Egypt's future government with the question of how to steer Egypt’s foreign policy in the future. “Egypt had an understanding with the Americans before. It entailed leaving internal matters up to the Egyptian government, in exchange for Egypt’s support of American policy domestically and internationally,” Gad said. ...
.04 North Kosovo: Dual Sovereignty in Practice
International Crisis Group - Brussels, Belgium
Note: In case you think your regional cooperation issues are difficult, read this. Ed.
The dispute between Kosovo and Serbia is most acute in Kosovo’s northern municipalities. The North has not been under effective control from Pristina for two decades; its sparse and predominantly rural Serb population uniformly rejects integration into Kosovo. Though small and largely peaceful, it is the main obstacle to reconciliation and both countries’ European Union (EU) aspirations. A Kosovo-Serbia dialogue mediated by the EU began on 8-9 March 2011 and is likely over the coming months to look at some of the consequences of the dispute for regional cooperation, communications, freedom of movement and the rule of law. For now, however, Belgrade, Pristina and Brussels have decided that tackling the North’s governance or status is too difficult before more efforts are made to secure cooperation on improving the region’s socio-economic development, security and public order. For some time, the North will remain in effect under dual sovereignty: Kosovo’s and Serbia’s. Kosovo seeks to rid the region of Serbian institutions, integrate it and gain control of the border with Serbia. It is willing to provide substantial self rule and additional competencies as suggested under the Ahtisaari plan, developed in 2007 by the then UN Special Envoy to regulate Kosovo’s supervised independence. But local Serbs see the North as their last stand and Mitrovica town as their centre of intellectual and urban life. Belgrade will continue to use its influence in the North to reach its primary goal, regaining the region as a limited victory to compensate for losing the rest of its former province. Serbia and Kosovo institutions intersect and overlap in the North without formal boundaries or rules. ...
.05 Review BIMP-EAGA strategies – Musa
Borneo Post Online - Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia Philippines-East Asean Growth Area) can be a major contributor to the realisation of an Asean economic community, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman. However, there must be better connectivity in order to facilitate a freer movement of goods and people to transform EAGA, he said in his key note address at the official opening of the BIMP-EAGA expo here yesterday. ... “Regional cooperation and economic integration is no longer a matter of choice but a necessity. Our economies are small if compared to Asia’s twin economic giants, India and China. “But together, Asean is a formidable grouping with a combined market of 550 million and a GDP that is the third largest in Asia,” Musa said and stressed ‘for Asean to remain relevant, we must pursue economic integration at the sub-regional level’. He added, “our proximity within nations and our capacity to produce significant volumes of similar agriculture commodities are critical factors in the development of an integrated production base and an efficient value chain. ...
.06 Croatia needs regional reorganization to benefit from development funds
Croatian Times - Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia is in urgent need of new regionalization in order to reap the benefits of European Union development funds, some experts warn. Croatia’s northwest (Zagreb and five northern counties) has already surpassed the 75 per cent of the European Union average, which disqualify it from using any of the EU funds allotted to regional development. According to the GDP of 19,800 Euros per capita, the Croatian northwest is at 79 per cent of the EU average.
An economic advisor to Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, Zeljko Lovrincevic, believes that now would be a good time to redraw Croatia’s regional borders, ahead of local elections scheduled for two years from now. Other states like Ireland and Slovenia have realized this in time and have thus annexed richer regions to poorer ones in order to bring down the averages and take advantage of EU funds. The statistical regions do not have to be and are often not equal to administrative regions. ...
.07 Lami signs up to the World Disaster Reduction Campaign
Scoop - New Zealand
In a signing ceremony held in Lami on 8th March 2011, Special Administrator Suva/Lami Mr. Chandu Umaria signed Lami’s Certificate of Commitment to Disaster Resilience for the 2010-2011 World Disaster Reduction Campaign “Making Cities Resilient“. Lami is the first Pacific island city to join the global campaign coordinated by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). “Making Cities Resilient” addresses issues of local governance and urban risk while drawing upon previous ISDR Awareness Campaigns on safer schools and hospitals, as well as on the sustainable urbanizations principles. The campaign has been regionally adapted to: Making the Pacific Resilient – My community is getting ready! The Campaign objectives are to 1) Know more - Raise the awareness of citizens and governments at all levels of the benefits of reducing urban risks; 2) Invest wisely - Identify budget allocations within local government funding plans to invest in disaster risk reduction activities; and 3) Build more safely – Include disaster risk reduction in participatory urban development planning processes and protect critical infrastructure. UNISDR encourages Pacific island cities, towns, villages and other urban communities to commit to addressing one or more of the 10 Essentials for Making Cities Resilient – a ten-point checklist to serve as a guide for commitments by local governments to work to reduce disaster risks in their jurisdictions. ... http://www.unisdr.org/english/campaigns/campaign2010-2011/
.08 IFI Chiefs: Global Economic Recovery Gaining Traction
Automated Tranders - UK
Senior officials from the world's international financial institutions said the economic recovery is becoming more robust, but warned that the pattern of growth may not be sustainable, and expressed concerns about rising food prices. ... "We...believe concerted actions at a global and regional level are needed," the officials said. "We will work with clients to avoid harmful policies, create safety nets and promote more resilient and productive agriculture." The IFIs said they will work together to help countries in North Africa and the Middle East, some of which are undergoing profound political transformations. ... The regional development banks are the African Development bank, the Asian Development bank, the European Investment Bank, the European bank for Reconstruction and development and the Interamerican Development Bank.
.09 Fisheries Minister Launches a Sub-Regional MCS Project
FOROYAA Online - Banjul, The Gambia
The Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, Lamin Kaba Bajo on Thursday 10 March launched the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) project of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) at Laico Atlantic hotel in Banjul. Delivering his statement, Minister Bajo said the launching marked an important stage in the implementation of the project which is designed to strengthen sub-regional cooperation in the monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities in the maritime zone of the SRFC. He said the fisheries sector plays a vital role in efforts of the respective governments in reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition and also promotes the socio economic development of the concerned countries. “This fact is manifested in the high priority accorded to the sector by our governments”, he said. He said the fisheries sector offers numerous opportunities for cooperation and plays a unifying role in cementing the bonds of friendship between the member states of the SRFC. ...
Partnership for African Fisheries - http://www.africanfisheries.org/index.php
.10 Regional Tourism Blues!
Nepal Mountain News - Kathmandu, Nepal
As in the past, this year too the fourth joint secretary level meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Working Group on Tourism took off in Kathmandu with much promise. ... There is no doubt that intra-regional tourism potential in the South Asian region is tremendous. However, despite the rich cultural heritage, ancient civilization and sheer magnificence, surprisingly tourism still largely remains an untapped sector in South Asia. The region barely receiving a pathetic one per cent of the world’s tourist traffic substantiates the case in point. It is imperative that the countries of the region join hands on the issue, rise above petty interests and devise common strategies to make the regional tourism sector more vibrant and dynamic so as to contribute to the region’s overall economic growth and all round development. ... the contentious issues and the age-old political differences between India and Pakistan, the main actors of SAARC. It has taken a heavy toll on the regional grouping even leading to postponements of a few SAARC Summits in the past. Therefore, SAARC, founded in 1985, has remained a sitting duck – a victim of the constant bickering between the two archrivals of SAARC. ... Nepal gearing up with Nepal Tourism Year 2011 now and also dependent on regional tourism to fulfill its stated objectives, waits in anticipation with its toes and fingers crossed. Hopefully, this time round the fourth joint-secretary level meeting of the SAARC Working Group on Tourism and a periodic review of implementation of the Action Plan will get things moving. Smaller SAARC nations like Nepal are still hopeful!
.11 The built environment in regional integration
The Gleaner - Kingston, Jamaica
... By the built environment, I include our villages, towns, cities, urbanism, engineering, architecture, and heritage issues representing our collective experiences as Caribbean people, the tangible evidence of our development process, or, as some may argue, the lack thereof. The natural environment and sustainable development were on the conference programme. However, there was the glaring neglect of any specific built-environment matter. The built environment is intrinsically tied to regional economic generation and gross domestic product (GDP). ... Smith continued that the Commonwealth is home to 32 small states, adding that 25 of these are small island states. Therefore, the Commonwealth has always placed great importance on advocacy for small states. Recognising that in the region, the country of the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as a legal entity on October 10, 2010, and that two new countries were born on that date - Curaçao and St Maarten - CARICOM now has new opportunities for growth. From its noble beginnings as the 'Commonwealth Caribbean', CARICOM may now desire to pursue a vision and purpose for advocacy under the regional small states agenda, with greater emphasis through the current integrated environmental biosphere theme of the 'Insular Caribbean'. ...
.12 New parking charges are planned
BBC - UK
The Department of Regional Development is planning to raise millions of pounds in revenue by increasing car parking charges. Thirty towns could have to start paying for parking for the first time. Fines for parking illegally may go up to as much as £90. Currently only three cities in Northern Ireland have on-street parking charges - Newry, Lisburn and Belfast. The proposal is for these charges to be extended to 30 other towns and cities. ... SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt, who backs the planned charges, said: "There's no question that we need to take control of parking in our city centres. "The problem with the minister's suggestion is that whilst on the one hand he is trying to take control of parking on the other hand he is making no further investment in public transport."
.13 Stakeholders urged to use sports as a tool for development
Ghana News AGency - Accra, Ghana
The Volta Regional Sports Development Officer, Gabriel Yao Missodey has appealed to all stakeholders to use sports as a tool for development in the Region. Missodey said sports is one of the major events that can bring people of different culture, religion and race backgrounds together and it must therefore be seen as an important tool for community and nation building. ... Volta Regional Secretariat of the National Sports Council. Missodey said the Council has plans and objective of ensuring that the youth are giving the necessary opportunities of developing their talents to get meaningful employment to contribute towards the socio-economic development of their communities.
.14 East Africa: Eala Calls for Collaboration Among Regional Parliaments
AllAfrica.com - Washington, DC, USA
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is calling for enhanced collaboration and co-operation between regional parliaments in Africa. EALA Speaker, Abdirahin H. Abdi, stressed the essence of closer ties when he received the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) Secretary General, Dr. Esau Chiviya, over the weekend in Arusha-Tanzania. "There is a need to strengthen the Pan-African Parliament, "he said in a written statement. The SADC-PF Secretary General was in the region on a three day study tour of EALA to learn about the mandate and operations of the EAC parliament and to explore possible areas of best practices that SADC-PF can borrow. Abdi stated that EALA had made significant contributions towards the attaining the objectives of the EAC in the ten years of its existence. ... Chiviya, commended EALA for its vast contributions to regional integration and pledged that SADC-PF was both willing to closely work with and learn from EALA. SADC-PF is in the process of transforming from a consultative body into a fully-fledged regional Parliament. ...
.14 West Vancouver council’s acceptance of Regional Growth Strategy threatens North Shore forests
Straight.com- Vancouver, BC, CA
... the majority of council voted to accept the Regional Growth Strategy even though it proposes urban development of the Upper Lands that is far above the limits of development proposed in the West Vancouver Official Community Plan. The RGS has an Urban Containment Boundary that outlines the area for urban development called General Urban, which is defined in the RGS as residential neighbourhoods. The RGS Urban Containment Boundary approaches the ridge of the West Vancouver mountains up to 2,600 feet of elevation. It covers most of the south face with the General Urban regional designation. ... Residents spoke passionately against acceptance of the RGS. …
.15 ‘Turkey one of most active economies in Black Sea region’
Today's Zaman - Istanbul, Turkey
The senior executive of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the financial arm of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), has said Turkey is one of the most economically active countries in the Back Sea area, involving a great deal of inbound and outbound trade. ... The bank was mandated by its founders to assist economic development in the member countries and to promote regional cooperation and, according to Kondakov, each project is assessed according to this dual mandate. “Projects create jobs, promote exports, investment and trade among the Black Sea countries. It will be of double importance for us if the project can somehow promote regional cooperation while also leading to economic development,” he said. ... “The share of projects promoting regional cooperation is growing. I am not sure I'd give you the right amount, but I think we're looking at 15-20 percent and maybe even more. ... Public projects play a crucial role in promoting regional cooperation, while they enhance economic growth. ...
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
.01 Open Innovation and Regional Economic Development
Hypothesis: If Pittsburgh knew what Pittsburgh knew, it would be unstoppable. The amount of research and development talent in Western Pennsylvania -- in universities, government-sponsored research enterprises, and corporate R&D facilities, not to mention small labs, garages, and studios -- is extraordinary. There are an awful lot of great people in town doing an awful lot of great, innovative work. But too often, they don't know each other, and for want of collaboration, great innovations go undeveloped or are underdeveloped. ... Can Open Innovation succeed in an economy dominated by a zero-sum mindset? If a positive-sum mindset is required, does the region have enough positive thinking juice to sustain an OI model?) The Innovation Access Network is hardly the only example of Open Innovation practices. Proctor & Gamble's "Connect and Develop" program is the most successful model that I have encountered. But the Innovation Access Network is the only one that I know that tries to tailor a formal sharing model to the interests of regional economic development. A regional model has challenges -- and opportunities -- that are distinctive. ... How should the economics of innovation be linked to the sociology of innovation -- and to the geography of innovation? ...
.02 Unions and State Economies: Don’t Believe the Hype
Creative Class Blog
... While there have been many studies of the effects of unions on corporate profits and productivity, surprisingly few assess their effects on state economies. (One exception is a careful 1988 study by Harvard labor economist Richard Freeman, “Union Density and Economic Performance,” which finds that union density improves earnings and income, but exacerbates unemployment and hurts growth.) But that was over twenty years ago. And so, with my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute, I decided to take a close look at current data and trends for unions across the 50 states. ... For starters, there’s huge variation in unionization levels across the U.S. states (see map ... Nationally, the percentage of union members declined by almost 20 percentage points (17.4) from 1964 to 2010. ... The basic fact that unions are positively associated with so many key measures of prosperity suggests that their existence has little to do with state budget problems. ...
.03 What our Blog is about
Regional Cooperation - a blog on interregional & crossboarder cooperation
This blog aims to become the link for all projects promoting regional cooperation, a hub where ideas, comments and news will be shared. We noticed all these years that although dozens of projects promoting Regional Cooperation work and provide innovative and useful tolls and products, there was no-where that you could find all them together and -without losing precious time- to be able to find related sources and materials. On the other side, all projects do need to promote their work; to inform about local and international events, exhibitions, newsletters. And even to interact with relevant projects. ... Let's prove together that Regional Cooperation in Europe is really about results, about interaction, about getting closer to the citizens. …
.04 Regional Inequality
The latest Economist has an interesting feature on inequalities among regions within countries. The article compares countries on their ranges in GDP per head (the ratio of richest region to poorest). ... I have calculated regional convergence rates for Canada (provinces and territories), the U.S. (states and D.C.), and the European Union (member states before 2006) over various periods. ... This evidence suggests that decentralized federal systems do a pretty good job of getting rid of regional inequalities, even without equalization programs. In a paper currently under “revise-and-resubmit” at an economic geography journal, I present much more formal and systematic evidence to this effect. If and when it is published, I will revisit the topic.
.05 2011 World Streets Bright Awards: City of Basel Mobility Ticket
World Streets Blog
... first of these 2011 Bright Awards is thus being made to the City of Basel for their development of the Basel Mobility Ticket. ... Like all truly great ideas it could not be simpler, so much so that you will wonder why you or your city had not thought of it before. It works like this. Every visitor who stays in a hotel in the City of Basel in Switzerland is immediately handed without charge a Basel Mobility Ticket which is valid for the length of their stay in Basel (valid for local transport up to 30 days). ... The ticket offers the visitor free transport on the city’s public transport system, the TNW Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz, good for unlimited travel in the central areas on the city’s buses and tramways. It is thus a partnership between the transporter and the city, with the cooperation of the city’s tourist office and all the local hotels. The service is paid for by the general visitor’s tax which is added to all hotel bills. It is not a huge deal. It’s interesting to us that while the great idea has been around since start-up in 1999, it is the only city we know that has so far adopted this Bright idea and stick to it ( Swiss persistence you might say). ... The Basel ticket provides us with a clear example of what we like to think of as “learning systems”, concrete ways of breaking the mental gridlock of unsustainable transport and unsustainable lives. ...
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
The webinar will include an overview of social media uses and demographics, as well as case studies of two regional planning and development organizations effectively using social media in their outreach. Speakers include Mia Zmud, NuStats; Jeremy Holmes, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission; Amy Lowe, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission; and Jeff Moore, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, as moderator. The webinar has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM credits. The webinar is free but requires registration, which can be done online at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/887145003
.012 Call for Presentations - National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference - August 24 – 26. - Washington, DC
NADO is seeking presentations for the National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference. Attendees are regional transportation planning professionals and stakeholders from rural and small metro areas served by RPOs and small MPOs. The deadline for proposals is April 15. The submission format can be found online: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BU7W9KEC3
Contact: Carrie Kissel email@example.com
.02 Atlas of Rural and Small Town America – Economic Research Service - USDA
The Atlas of Rural and Small-town America, developed by USDA's Economic Research Service, provides county-level mapping of over 60 statistical indicators depicting conditions and trends across different types of nonmetro regions
The objectives of the Atlas are:
* To provide a spatial interpretation of county-level, economic and social conditions along four dimensions: people, jobs, agriculture, and county classifications.
* To highlight the value of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey as a new source of county data and to bring together data from several different Federal sources.
* To allow the use of socioeconomic indicators jointly with ERS county typologies to better understand the diverse opportunities and challenges facing rural regions and communities.
.03 Call for Papers - International Research Workshop “Territoriality of the Commons: Spatial Perspectives on the Governance of Public Goods in Past and Present – Leibniz-Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS) - September 29-30 – Erkner, Germany (near Berlin)
Abstract Submission Deadline: April 1st 2011
.04 Arctic Slope Regional Corporation - Barrow, AK, USA
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) was established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Incorporated in 1972, ASRC has its corporate headquarters in Barrow, Alaska with administrative and subsidiary offices located in Anchorage and throughout the United States. The past 39 years has been a time of growth and diversification for ASRC. Although Arctic Slope Regional Corporation had humble beginnings, and there was a time the company’s leaders worked for no pay, it is now the largest Alaskan-owned company – with approximately 10,000 employees worldwide. It has been the largest locally-owned and operated business in Alaska for the past 16 years.
ASRC is a private, for-profit corporation that is owned by and represents the business interests of its 11,000 Iñupiat Eskimo shareholders in the villages of Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright, Atqasuk, Barrow, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, and Anaktuvuk Pass. Some of the corporation’s shareholders live outside of the region in Alaska, with a small number residing in the Lower 48.
ASRC owns title to nearly five million acres of land on Alaska's North Slope which contain a high potential for oil, gas, coal and base metal sulfides. Additionally ASRC owns subsurface rights to certain lands, and has surface rights to other lands. ASRC, as a steward of the land, strives continously to balance management of cultural resources with management of natural resources.
Alaska Growth Capital BIDCO is a recognized leader in economic development finance, providing small-business loans and investments in economically underserved areas of Alaska. Alaska’s only BIDCO, Alaska Growth Capital, offers consulting services that range from strategy and planning for entrepreneurs to investment banking, and supports ASRC’s strategy for economic development in our region.
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 The Unanticipated Consequences of MERS - New Economic Perspectives
... Hernando de Soto, is famous for his work on private property. I highly recommend his book: The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. De Soto's primary point is that private ownership of real property allows even poorer people to mobilize their limited wealth by pledging the real estate as security for loans. The individuals can use those loans as a source of capital to become entrepreneurs. …
These two successful government programs (public recordation of land titles and transfers and public land surveys) achieved their intended goals. They made it far easier to pledge real property, which made real property more valuable. Public recordation greatly reduced the risk of fraudulent pledges. Reducing the risk of fraudulent pledges makes lenders more willing to lend and reduces the interest rates on secured lending. …
Public recordation in the U.S. became even more effective in spurring growth and efficiency with the development of Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Article 9 set out to make it far easier for lenders to access public records of liens by dramatically increasing the degree of uniformity in how and where such records would be kept. … Article 9 further reduced the risk of fraudulent pledges and greatly increased efficiency. Business, particularly lenders, strongly supported its adoption.
MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) sought to privatize key aspects of the public title system. The primary purpose was to avoid recordation fees when interests in real property were assigned or transferred. … This column … focuses on the insanity – from the standpoint of honest lenders and investors – of MERS' devastation of a public system of recordation that had served business, particularly lenders and investors, brilliantly.
.02 Bricks and Slaughter: Property is widely seen as a safe asset. It is arguably the most dangerous of all, says Andrew Palmer - The Economist - UK
… a symbol of the property cycle that still distorts the world economy, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai … world’s tallest building is literally built on sand. Its height, at half a mile (838 metres), violates a basic rule of commercial property: when land is plentiful, build outward to use up as much of it as possible. …
... This special report will argue that the effects of property booms and busts can be made less damaging, but that the asset itself is inherently unsafe. …
Why is property so dangerous? One obvious answer is the sheer size of the asset class. The aggregate value of property held by American households in the peak year of 2006 was $22.7 trillion …
An even bigger reason to beware of property is the amount of debt it involves. …
With only a small sliver of their own capital to protect them, many owners were quickly pushed into negative equity when property prices fell. …
Property bubbles almost always start because fundamentals such as population growth, interest rates and economic expansion are benign. … property markets are inefficient in several ways which make it more likely that they will overshoot.
For the lenders, property is attractive in part because it attracts lower capital charges than most other assets. That makes sense—the loan is secured by a tangible asset that will retain some value if the borrower defaults—but it can also lead to overlending. …
Collateralised lending offers a degree of protection to the individual lender, but it has some unfortunate systemic effects. One is the feedback loop …
… Unlike other assets, housing is seen both as an investment and something to consume. …
… since it is also seen as a financial asset, higher values are a signal to buy.
.03 "The Secret of Oz" – www.secretofoz.com
What’s the Movie About? It is well known in economics academia that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 is loaded with powerful symbols of monetary reform which were the core of the Populist movement and the 1896 and 1900 president bid of Democrat William Jennings Bryan. The yellow brick road (gold standard), the emerald city of Oz (greenback money), even Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers for the movie version) were the symbol of Baum’s and Bryan’s belief that adding silver coinage to gold would provide much needed money to a depression-strapped, 1890s America. We believe Baum’s symbols represent the only solution to relieve the growing economic hardship here in America – and the rest of the world. ... Movie link on YouTube follows:
.04 The Value of Simple Models, with Examples of Economic Dynamics
Better Nature Blog
Many people, including many heterodox economists, understand that the neoclassical equilibrium approach to understanding economies is futile and misleading , because modern economies are far from equilibrium. The neoclassical prediction of equilibrium or near equilibrium requires a string of patently absurd assumptions. However the development of better theories seems to be significantly hindered by a feeling that any superseding theory has to be thoroughly quantified before it can be useful, and a feeling that the neoclassical theory has set a benchmark for sophisticated mathematics that must be matched before another theory can be respectable. Less fundamentally there seems to be a common perception that empirical insights can only be gained through elaborate statistical treatments of observations.
Here I offer some discussion from my experience as a natural scientist, and some examples regarding the Global Financial Crisis, to counter these hindrances. Useful and relatively simple models can be constructed that can immediately overcome major neoclassical limitations, for example by permitting non-equilibrium behaviour. The solution of the mathematics can be done using very standard numerical integration methods that are readily available in commercial packages. Mathematical machismo is not required. There are also situations in which the empirical lesson is obvious with no analysis, as will be noted here.
I should be clear that there are certainly many modellers who operate outside neoclassical confines, reported for example in Beinhocker’s excellent survey of “complexity economics” . ...
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