Regional Community Development News – April 18, 2007

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

Published on line since November 11, 2003.

1. UB Regional Institute Member of Macarthur Foundation Network on Building Resilient Regions
UB News Center - Buffalo, NY, USA

Kathryn A. Foster, director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, will serve as co-investigator for the Network on Building Resilient Regions, a recently launched initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The network will pursue a major national analysis of how regions respond to national demographic, economic and social challenges, while examining factors that contribute to "regional resilience, " or the capacity for regions to make short-term decisions that yield long-term success.

The MacArthur Foundation grant provides $3.2 million over three years to the University of California, Berkeley, lead agent for the research and policy effort, which will re-grant awards to the 13 network members. The Regional Institute will additionally receive a sub-award of approximately $200, 000 for management, administrative and research support to the project.

Among the network members are experts in regional planning, economics, political science, sociology and local government from Berkeley, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

2. All-transit fare card is on way - Chicago Tribune - Chicago, IL, USA

Commuters in the Chicago area may soon have the means to make transferring between trains and buses much easier: a single fare card that works on Metra, CTA and Pace.

After a long history of resisting the idea, the agencies are putting the finishing touches on a plan to offer a joint transit pass, officials confirmed.


The release last month of a top-to-bottom state audit of the Chicago area's transit system was key to prodding the agencies into getting serious about finding ways to better coordinate their operations.

The audit concluded that the current Regional Transportation Authority system is flawed and requires restructuring, along with reforms in how mass transit is funded.

An integrated fare system for the CTA, Metra and Pace was among the changes the audit recommended.

… a transportation expert with the civic group Chicago Metropolis 2020, called the plan important and long overdue.

"Absolutely. It's not the only solution, but it's an important part of moving toward an integrated system in helping people move around the region."

One of the major obstacles to fare integration in Chicago has been dealing with the different types of service. CTA and Pace riders simply pay per trip, while Metra riders pay on a per-distance basis.

Worldwide, there are very few truly integrated transit fare systems, Redden said. Even the Paris transit system, often identified as the standard, does not have integrated fares with the commuter rail lines serving the suburbs outside Paris, she said.

RC: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

3. Community Connections invites 14-county region to join in 250th anniversary celebration
Uniontown Herald Standard - Uniontown, PA, USA

Community Connections, an initiative of Pittsburgh 250, has invited neighborhoods, communities, civic organizations and individuals throughout the 14-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania to propose exciting and meaningful projects and activities that they can undertake to help celebrate the region's 250th anniversary.

Community Connections projects will support the broad theme of "Pride & Progress." Projects will be divided into three classes - regional, grassroots and affiliated. Targeting $1 million in total grant funding administered by The Sprout Fund, the number of projects undertaken will depend on the ideas generated following today's launch.

Community Connections is open to individuals and organizations from the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland.

Regional grants of up to $50, 000 will go to civic or community groups whose project, event or activity would affect larger populations or distinct groups. Grassroots grants of up to $5, 000 will go to communities, civic groups or individuals whose project, event or activity affects citizens in a single county or community.

Additionally, a third class of affiliated projects will be endorsed and promoted as part of Community Connections, but will not receive monetary support. These ideas will run in conjunction with regional and grassroots projects while supporting the vision of Community Connections. A decision making panel representative of the entire region will decide who is to be awarded regional and grassroots grants.

RC: Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

4. Regional light-rail talk gains ground - Kansas City Star - MO, USA

Beginning soon, four of the area’s top elected officials will meet monthly.

With the departure of Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields, Johnson County Commission Chairwoman Annabeth Surbaugh is now the senior elected official in the region. As such, she has invited Mayor-elect Mark Funkhouser, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Unified Government Mayor Joe Reardon to join her for monthly 90-minute meetings.

Surbaugh said all three men had agreed to do so. Regional transportation will be one of the critical issues up for discussion, she said.

Mayor-elect Mark Funkhouser wants to put Kansas City’s light-rail plan on a new set of tracks.

Ever since voters approved a light-rail proposal in November, the city has been locked in a struggle over how to make it work. Clay Chastain, the plan’s author, who was in town this week, maintains it should happen now with no revisions. Federal and local officials say it needs at least some revamping.

Funkhouser has his own plan: Take the tracks beyond Kansas City, and take the time to make that happen.

“We do need light rail, and it has to be regional, ” Funkhouser said. “You have to be able to get a train across the state line and north and south of the river.”

And regional means perhaps a third bistate tax election, he said.

Although Chastain strongly opposes changes and delays to his plan, area officials said this week that Funkhouser’s good-government, frugal image could help open some doors on both sides of the state line, particularly to bistate tax talk.

“We are going to have a whole lot better cooperation in the metro area, ” said Johnson County Commission Chairwoman Annabeth Surbaugh. “I think the most important issue facing the metro area today is some form of metrowide transportation system.”

RC: Mid-America Regional Council Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance

5. Smart Growth advocates key in on regional cooperation - Danbury News Times - Danbury, CT, USA

It seems counter-intuitive, but it may take regional cooperation to preserve good neighborhoods within a town.

On Wednesday, panelists at a forum on Smart Growth discussed the need for the state to take a different approach to development -- one that preserves open space, slows the spread of suburban sprawl and rebuilds the state's inner cities.

"It's not a question of whether we grow, but how we'll grow, " Heidi Green of 1000 Friends -- a pro-Smart Growth organization, who spoke at the forum sponsored by the Universalist Unitarian Congregation of Danbury.

Green -- along with urban planner David Kooris and Steven Patton, director of the Nature Conservancy's Devil's Den preserve in Redding and Weston -- spoke of how people in the state are increasingly starting to recognize that some problems are not well-served when there are 169 independent towns to deal with.

Green said under the current political structure, towns must compete against neighboring towns for development to build up their tax revenues, largely to pay for the ever-increasing cost of running a public school system.

"They need to get as much tax revenues out of development as possible, " she said.

The end result is housing and development patterns that constantly push out from urban centers, eroding the state's existing open space.

It means people spend more time commuting than ever, more time on the road, and more money on gasoline. That means heavier commuter traffic and more air pollution.

Kooris is a senior planner with the Regional Plan Association, which helps towns and the three states of the greater New York City metropolitan region. The entire region is facing the same challenges as Connecticut.

RC: Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials

6. Area's leaders must think regionally - Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia, PA, USA

America was founded in Philadelphia by individuals who wanted the freedom to lead themselves. For the most part, the founders did not doubt themselves, their goal of freedom or their influence, nor did they submit to the tyranny of low expectations of themselves, much less to the tyranny of the crown in England. Citizens of Philadelphia today should take some pointers from these early leaders.

Leadership is action, and it requires jumping in, taking risks, being uncomfortable and moving in the right direction for worthwhile accomplishments. We, as Philadelphians, can make the decision to lead our community in any direction we choose. To work cohesively for the good of the entire community, however, we must step out of our comfort zones and our immediate neighborhoods and think more broadly about the greater Philadelphia region.

In my opinion, the image of Philadelphia correlates with the internal mindset of Philadelphians. If we continue to see ourselves as a second-class city, or limit ourselves to thinking only in the confines, and comfort zone, of the neighborhoods where we live, we cannot become a world-class city. Though one of the most attractive aspects of Philadelphia is the richness and diversity of our neighborhoods, it may also be the most limiting in terms of our leadership efforts. If citizens of neighborhoods think in isolation, their efforts are weakened and the city and region as a whole are the losers.

It will take dialogue and ideas from across the region to overcome the challenges that plague us. Urban problems, for example, are not limited to a few square city blocks; they are an important issue to all in the region. If we draw from our leadership resources across neighborhood and county lines, we will all benefit.

RC: Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

7. Program to revive Appalachian Mountain ecosystem, tourism - Pittsburgh Post Gazette, PA

From the Appalachian Trail to the Allegheny National Forest, a wide swath of Pennsylvania could benefit from a new federal initiative to preserve, restore and reinvigorate natural ecosystems and new economies throughout the mountains of the mid-Atlantic region.

The Mid-Atlantic Highlands Action Program, a multi-state partnership administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a first-ever attempt to coordinate environmental conservation and economic revival in the middle of the Appalachian range.

The governors of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia announced yesterday they had signed the charter formally establishing the partnership mandated by an act of Congress in 2001.

Gov. Ed Rendell said the program, which in many ways parallels the state's Pennsylvania Wilds eco-tourism project in northern-tier counties, will seek to balance the region's array of recreational opportunities with various economic interests.

"Our challenge, " he said, "is to seek common ground and develop policies that will manage the many demands on this land, while preserving the natural beauty and heritage of the Appalachian Mountains."

The states, under the coordination of the EPA and using an initial $2.5 million federal grant, will survey the region's ecologically important highlands areas and identify pilot projects to aid ongoing community conservation efforts and local economies.

"It's a fairness return for Appalachia, " said Paul Zeph, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's program coordinator. "For many years the resources of the Appalachian region -- coal, other minerals, timber -- have been extracted, leaving behind damaged ecological landscape and economically devastated communities.

"This program envisions helping those communities restore their ecosystems and the economies that would come with mine reclamation or rails-to-trails projects or stream restorations."

... Map in newsrelease

An Ecological Assessment of the United States Mid-Atlantic Region: A Landscape Atlas

8. “The Old Methods Of Government Have Not Addressed Poverty” – Nepal

In a country with rampant poverty, how do you justify investment in e-governance?

It is quite clear that to seriously address much of this poverty, the new technology must be brought to bear. The old methods of government have not addressed that poverty. Despite hundred or more years of traditional administration, poverty is there. The new ideas need to be brought to build new capabilities and that capability is to particularly use the new technology. Most poverty alleviation program world wide begins with the idea that the best way to address many aspects of poverty is to give people knowledge and information- which are power of people how to do things differently and find a way out of poverty. Information technology is extremely good at bringing knowledge to people whether they are in the remote areas or in more developed areas. This is what it is all about. Information technology is about information and information is a key to alleviate poverty.

How is your work going on in Nepal?

I am really enjoying Nepal . I have worked in more than 20 countries and Nepal is a very nice place to live as people are relaxing, and friendly to deal with. It is a good place to be.

As a country where access to electricity is less than 40 percent and telephone service is yet to cover large areas, how do you see the possibility of e-governance?

Well, part of our proposal includes how to bring technology into areas where there is very limited power supply. We are concerned about that but we need to solve their problems and we have various ideas on that. I think that there would be proposals within our framework for investment into that area.

9. Supercity vision lacks key support - New Zealand Herald - Auckland, New Zealand

Dick Hubbard's dream to build an Auckland "supercity" has hit a snag, with the Green and Maori parties refusing to support plans for a radical council overhaul.

The Auckland City mayor and his fellow regional mayors were asked to vote secretly in December on a new governance model for Auckland and have been pushing to replace the Auckland Regional Council with a new authority - the Greater Auckland Council.

He preferred a forum with over-arching powers so it could govern the growth strategy for the region, as well as transport and environment issues, without weakening "grassroots" councils.

"In a sense, it was just a revamped ARC with a different name, " Locke said. "But we didn't like the Lord Mayor concept of some all-powerful mayor or the idea of government appointees."

Last September, Auckland's four metropolitan mayors launched a bid - which failed - to carve the region into three cities, to be presided over by a Lord Mayor. Days later, the coup was squashed, but the Government asked Auckland's eight councils to vote on a preferred model of regional governance.

The Herald on Sunday revealed the secret plan after obtaining documents outlining the three options:

* Retention of the status quo but with a regional forum established with representatives from all councils to prepare "one plan" for Auckland.

* The ceding by councils of some power and autonomy to a regional assembly of appointed representatives from existing elected councillors.

* The creation of a new regional authority to effectively replace the ARC.

"Everyone agrees regional governance needs to be strengthened, but the problem is that the councils are concerned that their powers will be taken away, " he said. "The reality is, you can't have one without the other."

10. U.S. regional communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles. Highlighted words are Google search terms. In this and the following section, 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. In most cases, where a full name is present a Google search will quickly get one to that organization.

.10 What's in a name? Regionalism
The Saginaw News - Saginaw, MI, USA

A new name for a tourism agency represents a push toward regionalism. The Saginaw County Convention & Visitors Bureau now goes by Saginaw Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. ...

.11 Two compete in mayoral race
Beloit Daily News - Beloit, WI, USA
Another one of his top issues is regionalism, meaning Edge would work with surrounding communities to decide if sharing services will benefit all of the communities. …

.12 Economic possibilities on bright horizon
Winston County Journal - Louisville, MS, USA

While promoting the community is key, Mills noted that economic development is based more and more on the resources of a region - not on those of a single city or county - and when developing a plan for prospects, those regional resources can really come into play. …

.13 Tax department switch to regional service will save the city money
The Advocate - Newark, OH, USA

RITA is Regional Council of Governments established under Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 167. It provides services to 130 municipalities in Ohio. Its mission is to provide members with high quality, cost-effective municipal-tax collections with the cost shared by member cities. Each city appoints its own delegate to the RCOG; each delegate has a vote, and equal say, in RITA's operations. …

.14 Downstream water study merits attention upstream
Hagerstown Morning Herald - Hagerstown, MD, USA
Maryland officials should pay close attention to a new regional commission's study on Northern Virginia's future water needs. ...

.15 Trade-off looms for arid US regions: water or power?
Christian Science Monitor - Boston, MA, USA
This water-versus-energy challenge is likely to be most acute in fast-growing regions of the US, such as the Southeast and the arid Southwest. ...

.16 Study reveals economic role of regional clusters in rural America - Evergreen, VA, USA
Regional groups of industries that share common markets, suppliers or work force skills are the key to stimulating economic development in rural areas, ...

Washington Post - Washington, DC, USA
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has announced a year-long project aimed at reducing the region's emissions of greenhouse gases. ...

.18 City Considers Housing Effort
Arcadia Weekly - Arcadia, CA, USA
One proposal which drew skepticism from several council members was for Pasadena to cooperate in the establishment of a housing trust fund through the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. Councilman Paul Little said a number of San Gabriel Valley cities have shown a reluctance to address the affordable housing issue, and he didn’t want to continue the impression that Pasadena is prepared to address all the regional needs. ...

.19 Green Bay-Area Leaders Discuss Response to Green Bay Ordinance
WBAY - Green Bay, WI, USA
I believe there's time to look at it, to analyze it, and come up with a regional solution to it, " Pulaski village president Keith Chambers said. ... One idea tossed around was a "safety zone ordinance" limiting where sex offenders can go instead of limiting where they can live. ...

.20 Hudson Valley is experiencing a new regionalism, says Pattern chief
Mid-Hudson News - Newburgh, NY, USA
... your own identity – no one ever wants to give that up – there is virtue to incorporating yet one other way to decision making, and that’s regionalism.” ...

.21 Cities seek to tweak ragged boundaries
Deseret News - Salt Lake City, UT, USA
In years past, the cities have tried to change their boundaries — which were formed arbitrarily by residents who chose which city they wanted to belong to ...

.22 Temecula Winegrowers Position Themselves for Growth
Primenewswire (press release) - Los Angeles, CA, USA
The guidelines, believed to be first ever adopted by a regional wine association, stress a set of shared values that will serve as a foundation for the association as it moves forward as a unified group that represents the premiere winemaking region in Southern California, …

.23 Census errors shortchange counties from federal grants
Rock Hill Herald - Rock Hill, SC, USA
In the 2000 census, South Carolina had the second lowest response rate of all the states, behind Alaska, he said. "Our response rate was 59 percent, " … spoke this week with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments about what they could do to make sure the same mistakes aren't made in 2010. ...

.24 Sierra Economic Development District has varied palette
Auburn Journal, CA - Apr 15, 2007
One of the first things the recently named president of the Sierra Economic Development District and Sierra Planning Organization realized when he stepped into the job is that the community may not realize the services available through the two ...

.25 Council opposes regional toll fee
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Monroeville council members voted unanimously Tuesday to send the governor, the Turnpike Commission and local lawmakers a letter objecting to a proposed $1 "regional mobility charge." …

.26 Jon Hammer: Cities can learn from the way suburbs operate

Allentown Morning Call - Allentown, PA, USA

… pitting urban vs. suburban residents in the regionalism debate is not the way to go. … Instead of municipal regionalization, let's first look at better inter-municipal cooperation. …

.27 Library celebrates 50 years in regional system
Winston County Journal - Louisville, MS, USA

The Winston County will celebrate 50 years of forming and participation in the Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System this year. …

.28 Fountain may grow up more prosperous than first projected
Colorado Springs Gazette - Colorado Springs, CO, USA
The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments produced the forecast as part of a plan for using tax money to build highways. Fountain officials argued such a ...

.29 Route 70 task force must think regionally
Cherry Hill Courier Post - Cherry Hill, NJ, USA
Plans to improve Route 70 in Cherry Hill must be considered based on their impact on all commuters and towns. The task before 14 Cherry Hill residents is ...

.30 Area emergency personnel map plans for disaster response
Rocky Mountain News - Denver, CO, USA
"Where’s the government response? People want it now and they want it quick, " said Robert Flowers, regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency....

.31 Moniteau Regional Economic Development Board meets
California Democrat - California, MO, USA

The emphasis of MRED is the economic development of Moniteau County, but since economic development of the county would affect the surrounding counties, the board is considering not restricting membership but centering it roughly in Moniteau County.

.32 Regionalization will hurt, not help, local towns
Kennebec Journal - Augusta, ME, USA

What Monmouth townspeople, Monmouth officials, and Monmouth educators have worked for years to develop and nurture will be taken from us by another unwise decision of state government. …

.33 Killeen city officials discuss the implementation of an emergency response calling system
KCEN-TV, TX - Apr 17, 2007
The Central Texas Council of Governments paid the initial set up fees. If it passes, the city would pay around 10 cents for every household it calls in an emergency.

11. Other in the news: Highlighted words are Google search terms.

.10 the world’s largest regional organisation meets in New Delhi
Mauritius Times - Mauritius

SAARC is the world’s largest regional organisation covering approximately 1.47 billion people, which is just a little less than a quarter of the world’s population (world population: 6.6 billion people)! …

.11 Wales doesn't have the striking, iconic images of other regions like the Angel of the North
ic Wales - Cardiff, UK
"We're saying it would be like the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty. Nobody knew they wanted them until they arrived, but they became embraced. We want these landmarks to raise the profile of Wales."...

.12 Region Ten taking eco-adventure tourism path
Stabroek News - Georgetown, Guyana
... growth for Region Ten (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) and the region has launched a five-year tourism development road map and a ten-month consultancy, ...

.13 Regions to believe in our system
ic Wales - Cardiff, UK
Since its inception in 2003 the switch from clubs to regions has been more about off-the-field problems than on-the-field success. ...

.14 Ramping up the regions - new economic policy
Scoop-co-nz - New Zealand

We have come a long way from the purity of thought and deed that dominated government thinking in the 1990’s. That thinking saw no, or negative, value in governments engaging in developing industries or regions or the economy as a whole. I use the word "engaging" carefully and deliberately. …

.15 Cohesion Policy 2007-2013: more growth and employment to the regions
European Business Guide - Brussels, Belgium
... introduction of a 'programming scoreboard' available on the Regional Policy website displaying in a table all developments related to the finalisation of the National Strategic Reference Frameworks and the adoption of the Operational Programmes....

.16 Pressure grows in coastal regions
The Age - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

… The 2004 Great Ocean Road Region Strategy aims to manage growth, infrastructure, tourism and the environment in the coastal region over the next 20 years. …

.17 New map shows solar electricity potential of European regions
GreenPrices - Netherlands
... service map allows very specific calculation of the amount of energy that can be generated in any given location in Europe and its neighbouring regions. ...

.18 Crank-up public transport investment,
Scoop-co-z - New Zealand

Greater Wellington is currently reviewing its Regional Land Transport Strategy setting out how the land transport network in the Wellington region is to be managed over the next ten years and beyond. …

.19 GLOBAL EXPANSION: Expanding Companies Find Belgium To Be at the Center of Europe
Expansion Management - Cleveland, OH, USA
“At the scale that GCG now operates, a regionalized approach is the most effective solution, ” said Kevin Cazabon, regional consumables director for GCG. ...

.20 Science journalism is key to good governance - UK
At the heart of many of these issues lies the key contribution that journalism can make to good governance. The concept of the journalist as a defender of ...

.21 Resilience – in spite of our Government
Cayman Net News - grand cayman, Cayman Islands
But, when all is said and done, Cayman has thus far demonstrated a gratifying degree of resilience in the face of governments of various shades of ...

.22 i-flex aims to start feasibility study for regional center - Chile
Business News Americas - Santiago, Chile
"The idea is not only to support our customers in Chile but locate a regional development, support and customization engine. So we need to have local people ...

.23 Outside View: Wasting money in Iraq
United Press International - USA
According to US companies, this country, which was a regional power only a few years ago, has now become a place that lacks the skill to build a road. ...

.24 Infrastructure and human resources vital in improving tourism
Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon, Sri Lanka
COLOMBO: Formulating a set of standards and regulations in consultation with stakeholders and communities is very important in improving Intra Regional Tourism...

.25 Multilevel governance key to development policy, Danuta Hübner tells the Commission on Growth and Development, in New York


... Commission on Growth and Development ... importance attached to multilevel governance, decentralization and the involvement of local authorities in the EU's approach to development policy. ...

.26 Spy Chief’s Plan: Deja Vu All Over Again
Congressional Quarterly - Washington, DC, USA
... wistful when he talked about his visits to regional “watch centers, ” where representatives from a wide array of intelligence agencies work together. ...

.27 The Benefits and Uses of Hosted Contact Center Solutions for Municipal Government
TMCnet - USA
We find a lot of governments that really do want to put the citizen first and do want to provide better service. This whole idea of 'government ...

12. Blogs: Highlighted words are Google search terms.

.10 Its That Vision Thing!
By The Community Alliance(The Community Alliance)
The plan seeks to tackle many of the issues we've been addressing at The Community Alliance, including housing, preservation of open space, sustainable development, transportation, school taxes, and that ever-elusive regional planning. ...

.11 Unconventional Action Organizing Against the RNC & DNC
Unconventional Action is an emerging network looking to complement the work of organizers in Denver and the Twin Cities with regional organizing throughout the rest of the country. Our goal is to build a horizontal, inclusive framework ...

.12 A blind leading a blind
By Göran Hansson(Göran Hansson)
... paraphrase Francis Fukuyama’s description of the social ideologies of the past two centuries) and that the answer must be that the political power - and control of funds - needs t be brought closer to the people (ie regionalism). ...

.13 The rise of the English regions?
Rotch Library - STACKS JN297.R44.R57 2006.
New Additions to the MIT Libraries:... -

.14 By the Numbers: Population Losses - Who was hit the hardest?
By Creativity Group
This week, we turn to those regions that were hit the hardest – which regions lost the greatest number of residents? Just like last week’s “By the Numbers” we’ll show comparisons for large, medium, mid-sized, and small metros. ...

.15 Engaging regionally: Five questions for donors
By Enrique Mendizabal
Working at the regional level poses a series of challenges for donors. DFID’s Regional Assistance Plan (RAP) in Latin America aims to influence regional policy by working with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, ...

.16 Two groups
By boz(boz)
On the other side of the region, the countries involved in Plan Puebla-Panama are meeting this week. PPP began as a Mexico-led energy integration initiative with Central America. In the past few years, the organization has quietly taken ...

.17 Mexico: Campeche PPP summit draws protests
By Bill Weinberg
Mexico, Colombia and seven Central American nations held a 24-hour summit April 10 in Campeche, issuing a nine-point plan for revitalizing the regional development alliance known as the Puebla-Panama Plan (PPP). ...

.18 The Don Imus of New Orleans
By Paul Greeberg
Ideally, if Nagin were going to bring in an urban planner, that person should not become a divisive force in the community. Nor should he necessarily be charged with uniting the community. The urban planner's sole focus should be to ...

.19 The Book of Curiosities
By Jonathan Crowe
... an 11th-century Egyptian manuscript now scanned and available online at the Bodleian Library’s web site, contains, among other things, the first rectangular map of the world as well as many other maps of the region. ...

13. Announcements and Regional Links

.10 Conference on knowledge-based regions
Cordis News - Brussels, Belgium

The theme this year is 'Innovation, ICT & Creativity : Knowledge-based regions for a competitive Europe'. The main topics will be regional good practices on issues relating to the development of the information and knowledge-based societies and the threats posed by global competitors - and how to address these in the frame of existing and emerging EU policies.

.11 Transportation Communications Newsletter

Transportation Communications Newsletter, a free daily e-mail publication which provides news and information related to all aspects of communications in the transportation field. This includes a wide variety of topics such as: public and community relations, ITS (intelligent transportation systems), traveler information, outreach, and transportation operations. All modes of transport are included.

Note: This Newsletter with a circulation of over 5, 000 was the inspiration for RCD News. Ed.

14. Subscription

.10 Rail study back on track, could consider trolleys - Charleston Post Courier (subscription) - Charleston, SC, USA

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has obtained funding for an in-depth study of regional commuter rail service and might expand that study to also consider the potential for trolleys, which have been advocated by some developers.

The commuter rail study was planned last year and would expand on a $50, 000 preliminary study that concluded passenger rail service between Charleston and Summerville is feasible and could help reduce traffic on Interstate 26.

The more detailed study will take a closer look at the cost and benefits for passenger trains, which could operate on existing freight lines and one day serve Charleston, Summerville, West Ashley, Moncks Corner and Goose Creek.

The Council of Governments has obtained $97, 000 in federal highway funds for the study from the Charleston Area Transportation Study, a transportation policy-making organization for the region's urban areas.

"We were pleased to see the funding, " said COG Planning Director Dan Hatley, during a discussion of transportation issues organized Wednesday by the Navy Yard Community Association.


.11 Metro’s pull cost of living - In-Forum (subscription) - Fargo, ND, USA

Cities such as Fargo, Moorhead, Dilworth, West Fargo and Horace, N.D., each have their charms to sway people deciding which Red River Valley community to call home.

But when it comes to attracting people from across the country, the region together has some pull.

Several amenities and a low cost of living make the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Statistical Area competitive with other cities of similar demographics, said David Martin, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead.

“We compare very favorably with our competitor communities in the region, ” Martin said. “I think you get an awful lot of bang for the dollars people do spend here when it comes to housing, health care and other things.”

Proof of that is found in a cost-of-living index compiled by the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association. The Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit publishes the index quarterly.

The study, which examines price levels for consumer goods and services in communities across the country, listed Fargo-Moorhead’s cost-of-living index at 5.1 percent below the national average.

Low cost of living

Numbers are compiled by adding up variables such as the price per pound of a T-bone steak, the cost of a Kleenex brand box of tissues, monthly rent, gasoline costs, a visit to the doctor and even the price of a can of tennis balls.

The study gave Fargo-Moorhead an index of 94.9. The study’s “average” cost of living for 274 urban areas studied was established at 100.

The indexes are designed to measure after-taxes differences in living costs. Taxes aren’t included in the comparisons.

New York’s standard of living was more than twice the national cost-of-living average, ACCRA’s latest 2006 study found. Manhattan received a 214.7 index from the organization.

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

Making visible analysis and actions at multi-jurisdictional regional scales is its purpose. "Think globally, act locally" was innovative in its time. Today the local scale is often too small to address today's needs and opportunities. "Think local planet, act regionally, " is my candidate paradigm. (No one said we're only allowed one paradigm.)

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

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

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The term “Development” was added to the name in January, 2006.

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