Dear Readers –
Today is the ten year anniversary of the newsletter part of the Regions Work Initiative. It is, among other things, an effort to make the notion of "regional community” a viable term relating to community development at multi-jurisdictional scales
This term comes from my experience as a regional planner for Virginia Planning District 7, then the Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission, where I began work in 1973
By the early 1990’s, after two decades of being together as a regional commission, the region began to make progress on a number of joint projects including: management of a regional tire shredder, a Minimum Instream Flow Study for the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, a Civil War Battlefields Heritage plan, and VDOT funded rural transportation planning for the Planning Districts.
Part of that success had to do with a retreat from the fear that the Planning District Commission would become a directly elected Service District Commission, as had been provided for in the 1968 Virginia Area Development Act. Planning District Commissions which, at the start, could not implement programs were given that authority in legislation.
It was also assisted by my creation of the regional name "Northern Shenandoah Valley" in 1983. That became an everyday community identifier, now extensively used in business advertising.
Such regional community emergence was occurring in other Virginia Planning Districts, as well as for Regional Councils and Councils of Government throughout the U.S. in the 1990's.
In total I could see that, regions did work, yet a question was: "What's a region?" Academics and pundits of various stripes thought that the boundaries of existing regional councils were all wrong.
At the 1998 World Future Society Conference in Chicago I began to explore this question with the launch of the Regions Work Initiative, an individual effort.
November 11, 2003, the on-line newsletter Regional Community News was begun, noting:"The focus is on things done at the multi-jurisdiction regional level in the U.S. and around the world." It was based on the TransportationCommunications Newsletter published by Bernie Wagenblast, which is still going strong.
January 4, 2006, the term “Development" was added, since that appeared to be a key objective of regional efforts. In 2008, I committed to another five years, which bring us to this day, November 11, 2013.
In 2012, the effort became: Greater/Regional Community Motivation - News and Thought. Distribution of new stories shifted to a daily stream via Twitter, Flipboard and Google+. Thought pieces are on the blog and distributed via Yahoo Groups.
Another concept I sought to develop has been a geocode to enable aggregation of data by political geography, since alphabetic FIPS codes could not do so.
Success can be reported in this area with the upcoming publication of: “Prototype Global Coding of Political Geographies for Library and Data Management-Wikipedia Example” in the Papers of the Applied Geography Conferences. Materials are online http://goo.gl/7C0iIE.
These efforts will continue. There is a growing need for human unity and cooperation in the world. Community motive, the term used by Aldo Leopold in 1944, is another concept that would benefit the world, as it balances the lesser profit motive.
Feedback is always welcome.
Tom Christoffel, FeRSA, AICP, Editor
Why focus on COGs/Regional Councils in the U.S.? "the substate district is essentially an administrative tool of states"
The prior three posts which demonstrate the levels of the global geocode will raise the question, "Why focus on COGs/Regional Councils in the U.S.? The following excerpt from the paper: "Prototype Global Geocoding of Political Geographies for Library and Data Management - Wikipedia Example," a paper to be presented at the Applied Geography Conference, October 31, 2013 in Annapolis, Maryland.
4. SUBNATIONAL GEOCODING OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHIES FOR REGIONS
"The historic primary substate political region of States is the county or its equivalent. It is for these areas that Census data is collected and maintained. Four states have independent cities for which census data is collected. Virginia has 39, while Maryland, Missouri and Nevada each have one. Though Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have eliminated some or all counties, census data is compiled for historic counties which have no current governance function. State data is collected on the same geography and is a resource.
"As previously noted, though Federal programs have encouraged and funded multi-jurisdictional regional approaches, the substate district is essentially an administrative tool of states. Generally there are a variety of agency based multi-jurisdictional substate district systems used by departments and agencies for program administration. While they may interface with localities and local officials for planning and programming, there is rarely a representative organizational structure. The Federal Metropolitan Planning Organization process is an exception, but it is confined to the defined urbanized areas and is for transportation planning only. Regional councils are, or can be, multi-issue in their planning.
"The prototype uses the state based COG/regional council alignments as the substate region. Most states have complete systems.For Delaware and Hawaii, the county is the substate region. Compared to other systems of substate regions, the COG/regional councils have the advantage of local government representation appointed by the member local governments, the responsibility for a variety of planning processes which include local government planners, and, in many cases, the ability to implement or promote the implementation of regional programs. Having worked together for over 40 years in some regions, there is some “regional community” social capital. Staffs work with communities and their data, in effect cultivating “regional intelligence.” Multi-state councils enable coordination across state lines, while operating consistent with regional council requirements of each state. A national, single-layer of substate regions is the base product. If substate region boundaries are renegotiated, as is underway in Connecticut, the codes can be changed to match new alignments. Multi-state regions are the sum of substate components."
Sub-State Region Maps for the U.S.
In 2011, two posts were made showing substate region maps for COGs/Regional Councils and alternatives for those with incomplete systems by state. Part 1 - Maine to Texas and Part 2 - Michigan to Hawaii
If you are interested in more information, send me an email for the current paper and related information. Tom.Christoffel (at) gmail.com
Global Geocode Library Organizes U.S. Sub-state and Multi-state Region Wikipedia Pages Geographically
The Global Geocodes were designed to support analysis of sub-national political geographies. In the case of the United States, there are sub-state regions – counties or their equivalent, and multi-jurisdictional regions of these political entities, within a state or multi-state and, including municipalities within those units.
For this level, the nation code 5140 with its two digit decimal number, has a two digit field for multi-county regions and a two digit field for counties or county equivalents within that region. Within regions, codes are assigned using the directional path North to South, then East to West (NSEW).
In this example, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia are shown. The District is at the center of several multi-state regions. The components in Maryland and Virginia are, for the most part, also in organized regional groupings.
For the purpose of this work, the County or equivalent is considered the original sub-state region. Delaware, with three counties, has no multi-state regions, but the coding accomplishes putting them in geographic order north to south.
A map follows of the Mid-Atlantic States showing multi-jurisdiction regions. It includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia which have different approaches to multi-county regions.
Some information is in the "Geocode Introduction" sidebar. If you are interested in more information, send me an email for the current paper and related information. Tom.Christoffel (at) gmail.com