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


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

Published on line since November 11, 2003.



Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .40

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .22

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .11

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .06

Financial Crisis …14.05

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

Note: Next issues will be April 22 and May 13 to accommodate early April travel to the Regional Studies International Conference in Leuven, Belgium and to the American Planning Association National Conference in Minneapolis, MN, late April. Ed.


Top Regional Community stories

1. EDITORIAL: Tuition guarantee - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - Tupelo, MS, USA

An innovative education initiative that swept Northeast Mississippi in 2008 will have to wait a while to go statewide, but its time will come.

Eighteen of this region's 31 school districts will guarantee community college tuition to all high school graduates, beginning with the graduating class of 2009. The funding will come from a combination of local government money and private grants.

Lee County kicked off the initiative in partnership with the CREATE Foundation last August. The Three Rivers Planning and Development District [] stepped in to help get similar programs established in Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lafayette, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union counties. Clay County and Corinth also have tuition guarantees.

The cost of the program is relatively modest, since the guaranteed funds kick in only after all other forms of scholarship aid and governmental financial assistance have been exhausted. In Lee County, it amounts to about $300,000 a year, split between private and public sources.

It's a given that dropping out of high school - which is far too common in Mississippi - is a sure ticket to a dead-end job or no job at all. But increasingly, post-secondary education of some kind is becoming essential in today's economy. The severe economic downturn has only magnified the importance of higher educational attainment for individual lives and the economy as a whole.

Taking the community college tuition guarantee statewide speaks to a need that extends well beyond the counties that have already embraced the concept.

Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, introduced a bill in the current session of the Mississippi Legislature that would expand the program to the entire state, but it wasn't successful.

2. Supporting Integrated Planning and Decision Making by Joining Up Housing and Transportation - Metropolitan Policy Program Update - Brookings, Washington, D.C., USA

Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee, Robert Puentes examined the linkages between housing and transportation, calling for increased awareness of these connections and a federal policy that simultaneously promotes the economic vitality and environmental quality of metropolitan areas:

Good morning Chairman Olver, Ranking Member Latham and members of the Committee. I am pleased to appear before you this morning and very much appreciate the invitation.

The purpose of my testimony today is to discuss the connections between housing and transportation and the need for integrated planning as a way to drive decisions that lead to productive, sustainable, and inclusive growth. In so doing, I would also like to share some thoughts on how federal policy can strongly influence those decisions.



Unfortunately, at the precise time when the nation desperately needs to prioritize its limited investments and resources, given the economic downturn, federal policy is only slowly coming into focus. There are several problems:

First, the federal government is absent where it should be present on such critical matters as stimulating metropolitan problem solving or integrated decision making.

One of the fundamental issues frustrating efforts to address the global problems of the 21st century is that the scale of our issues—housing, transportation, global warming, economic vitality, environmental quality—is a mismatch with our political boundaries and institutions. And while there was at one time a federally-funded regional planning network, the funding, authority, and vigor of that institutional framework has waned. Little federal funding is dependent on approaches for achieving regional outcomes and where it is dependent the outcomes and their deadlines do not typically require many changes from current practice to achieve them.

With the exception of the strengthening of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), the federal government has mostly withdrawn from its past efforts in the 1960s and 1970s to actively promote regional planning.14 Few conditions on the award of transportation, housing, environmental, or other categorical or block grants provide incentives for the development of more effective regional planning and governance. And little effort has gone into linking city and suburban leaders into a national learning network or catalyzing local testing of improved regional governance models.

Unfortunately, most metropolitan area leaders do not have the ability to master change and determine outcomes by themselves. Metropolitan leaders simply lack the jurisdictional reach to master the vastness of the economic, social, and environmental currents enveloping them, whether they be the cross-boundary nature of housing networks or the drift of transportation problems across city, state, and even national lines.

The weak standing of metropolitan actors combined with the fragmentation of most U.S. metro areas makes imperative the development of such cross-jurisdictional governance. Moreover, the nation's strong interest in well-functioning regions combined with the large number of metropolitan areas that cross state lines has long begged for a national role in helping regions develop more ways of working more cohesively and decisively across intra-metro jurisdictional lines. Fifteen of the 50 largest metropolitan areas cross state lines.

Next, federal policies addressing housing and transportation are compartmentalized and ultimately fail to make the necessary connections with land use

In the real world, families know that issues like transportation and housing and education are inextricably linked. It is in the specialized, stove-piped universe of federal bureaucracy where these issues are broken apart and kept separate. ...


14 Jim Wolf, Robert Puentes, Thomas W. Sanchez, and Tara Bryan, "Metropolitan Transportation Planning in the Post-ISTEA Era: What Happened and What Do We Do Now?" Washington: Eno Foundation, 2007.

Metropolitan Regional Planning Networks and Non-Metro networks: National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) and National Association of Development Organisations (NADO)



Map of Regional Councils in the United States:

3. Metro Atlanta Chamber ready for transportation funding bill - Atlanta Business Chronicle - Atlanta, GA, USA

The Metro Atlanta Chamber keeps hoping for a transportation funding bill to come out of this year’s General Assembly.

At its board meeting Thursday, chamber leaders heard from Tommie Williams (R-Lyons), president pro tem of the Georgia Senate, who said governance must come before new funding.

That has been the position of Gov. Sonny Perdue since he unveiled his plan to change the governance structure of the state’s transportation agencies.

Under Perdue’s plan, the Georgia Department of Transportation would become more of a maintenance agency and a new State Transportation Authority would hold the power and the purse strings.

Metro Atlanta Chamber President Sam Williams said the president pro tem explained the business community should do all it can to try to get the two different funding proposals -- a regional approach in the Senate and a statewide approach in the House -- to conference committee.

“The practical view is that we’ve been at this for the third year in a row with a bill ready to present, and it just hasn’t been done,” Linginfelter said. …

Part of the political tension is that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is behind the Senate version, which calls for regions being able to vote a penny sales tax to address their transportation needs; and that House Speaker Glenn Richardson is pushing the statewide penny sales tax.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber has just come out this week with a definite preference for the regional approach.

“We certainly like the idea of the regional T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax),” Linginfelter said. “We know there are alternative ideas, and we know there will be compromises along the way. But in the end, local accountability and matching local dollars with local projects is what has passed across the country. …

RC: Atlanta Regional Commission

4. Homeless count up 20% from 2008 - AZ - AZ, USA

More single adults, families and youths are living on the streets in metro Phoenix.

A Maricopa Association of Governments [] survey counted 2,918 homeless people throughout the county this year, a 20 percent increase from the 2,426 counted in 2008.

The Homeless Street Count found 230 families living on the streets, up 370 percent from last year's count of 49 families. The number of youths living on their own rose to 139, more than triple last year's count.

Each January, hundreds of agency workers, police officers, city employees and volunteers hit the streets to count the homeless. Their findings are used to request federal funding for homeless services and to improve and expand services for non-profits.

This year's increase in the homeless population comes after a 15 percent decline a year ago, said Brande Mead, a human-services planner with the Maricopa Association of Governments.

The count does not include the number of people living in shelters, which numbered nearly 5,000 last year, she said.

The state Department of Economic Security is conducting this year's shelter survey; the results could be available early next week, Mead said.

The bad economy is to blame for the increase in the homeless population, experts said.

"We're seeing more elderly, more disabled (homeless)," said Mark Holleran, CEO of Central Arizona Shelter Services, or CASS, in downtown Phoenix. "It just appears to be the overall result of what's happening . . . with the loss of jobs and the shaky economy" and with government agencies cutting back. There is also an uptick in the number of homeless veterans, Holleran said, which he thinks could further increase as a result of the war in Iraq.

5. Energy efficiency - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - Bluefield - Princeton, WV

A new report by the Appalachian Regional Commission is calling for a bold strategy of energy efficiency by the Appalachian region.

Specifically, the report concludes that the 13 Appalachian states could create thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in energy costs by aggressively pursuing a regional strategy of energy efficiency by 2030.

The 233-page report released Wednesday is titled “Energy Efficiency in Appalachia: How much more is available, at what cost and by when?” It warns that unless bold steps are taken, the 23.6 million residents of the Appalachian region, which includes West Virginia and Virginia, could see a 28 percent rise in energy consumption by 2030. That’s in comparison to the estimated 19 percent consumption increase predicted by 2030, the Associated Press reported.

Meeting the unprecedented energy demand will require 40 new coal-fired electric power plants and 182 million barrels of oil, according to the report prepared by the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance for the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The report also suggests a number of energy saving proposals for the 13-state region, including more stringent building codes and incentives to retrofit old heating and cooling systems that could reduce energy consumption by 24 percent in 2030

The report also predicts that the path to energy efficiency could lead to new jobs — lots of new jobs. It specifically estimates 16,231 jobs by 2010. That estimate increases to 77,378 new jobs by 2030. This includes architects, engineers, construction workers and other related jobs that will play a role in achieving energy efficiency.

It is important to note that West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine are already taking steps to meet many of the recommendations included in the Appalachian Regional Commission study to achieve energy efficiency in the Mountain State and the Commonwealth.

PDF report:

6. JACK SPILLANE: The 'R' word will take some 'splainin' around here – - New Bedford, MA, USA

You know that Massachusetts cities and towns are really worried about going down the drain when they start talking about sharing police chiefs, or school superintendents, or even veterans agents for that matter.

In Massachusetts, we pride ourselves on "local control."

You know how it goes: "I'm from Marion, not Mattapoisett."

Or, "We need a police station in the West End, and we need one a mile-and-a-half down the road in the South End too."

But this 2009 economy is no joke.

So elected officials from local cities and towns are engaging in serious discussions about that previously dreaded word, "regionalization."

The Southcoast Regional Summit held its second meeting Thursday night at Dartmouth Town Hall and both elected and appointed officials talked seriously about sharing costs for government services.

They've gotten religion this winter since watching their state local aid budgets disappear into thin air for the second time in 10 years.

"You think it's a no-brainer but in reality, when you sit down and are dividing it up, it's a whole different thing," Dartmouth Selectman Joe Michaud said.

Everyone thinks sharing services is going to be a good thing when they're under the impression that their own community is still going to make the decisions, he explained. It's different when they realize they're going to have to cede power to another community or communities.

But the selectmen, city councilors and state reps who gathered in Dartmouth last week know they have to do something.

They agreed to fill out forms listing the areas in which they'd like to consolidate. And they asked the legislators to start thinking of ways the state could help them regionalize, even being assertive about it.

It can only get better from here.

But it's going to be a long road back.

RC: Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District

7. County proposes regional office to study townwide efforts - Barnstable - Register - Yarmouth Port, MA, USA

More money might soon be available to pay professionals to study the regionalization of services between Cape Cod towns.

Barnstable County commissioners have proposed creating an “office of regional coordination,” financed by matching an annual state grant with county funds. They have included in their fiscal 2010 budget an allocation of $155,000 to match the existing state grant that already pays for “technical assistance studies.”

If approved by the Assembly of Delegates in May, the county match would raise available funds to more than $300,000, enough to hire professional researchers to delve into services or tasks that the towns believe may be ripe for regionalization.

The county is quick to point out the initiative will not create a new level of bureaucracy.

“It will be a coordinated effort involving the appropriate county departments. There won’t be any single point person – we aren’t hiring anyone or creating any new department, and the office itself could turn out to be ad hoc. It may only exist until we get initiatives in place,” said Sheila Lyons, chairwoman of the board of commissioners.

“Does everyone in the assembly support it? No, but many do,” she added.

Lyons credited Harwich Board of Selectmen Chairman Robin Wilkins for proposing the idea for a regional coordination office.

“It was during that League of Women Voters forum at Harwich Community Center [in January],” Wilkins recalled. “I decided I wasn’t going to any more of these regionalism meetings without a proposal. There’s been a lot of rhetoric about regionalism, so I wanted to plant a seed.”

While Cape Cod Commission [ ] would administer grant allocations, the program falls under the authority of the board of commissioners, Lyons noted.

8. Property value drop trims Detroit Zoo's ambitions - Chicago Tribune - United States

Giraffes and children starred in slick ads warning the Detroit Zoo needed help and voters came to the rescue, overwhelmingly approving a special property tax last August to fund zoo operations.

With $12 million to $13 million expected in tax revenue this year, zoo officials are breathing easier. But plummeting property values across the region mean the zoo won't receive as much money as it had anticipated, forcing officials to trim some ambitions.

... projecting a 10 to 15 percent decline in each of the next two years in revenue from initial expectations.

What's to blame? The Detroit area's miserable housing market. Taxable property value across southeastern Michigan is expected to drop 8.5 percent in 2009 and an additional 6.3 percent in 2010, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

That means lower tax bills for homeowners, but also less revenue for local governments and institutions like the zoo that rely on property taxes, said Brian Parthum, senior planning analyst for SEMCOG. Such declines are being seen nationwide, he said.

At Ohio's Toledo Zoo, which has relied on property-tax levies for decades, an unexpected 2 percent shortfall in tax revenue for operations last year led to cost-cutting measures, including energy conservation and leaving an employee parking lot unplowed during the winter …

… Kagan said the Detroit Zoo's operations are safe for now, an enviable position as many zoos and aquariums across the country are squeezed by the recession and cuts in government funding. Zoos have many "inflexible costs" that are difficult to trim, said Steve Feldman, spokesman for the Silver Spring, Md.-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"These are living collections. You can't stop buying hay, or food for the polar bears," he said. "Animal care and welfare can't suffer and it's a daily occurrence at the zoo."

RC: Southeast Michigan Council of Governments,0,107171.story

9. With state aid dropping, cities, counties explore funding ideas - Finance and Commerce – Minneapolis, MN

Necessity, as it turns out, is also the mother of re-invention. Faced with reductions in state aid payments, to counties and cities, government officials statewide are examining different ways to make ends meet.

Expecting 2010 local government aid (LGA) of $54 million – less than half what the state’s largest city received in 2003 – Minneapolis officials began a debate Tuesday on a variety of alternatives to supplement those funds.

The same day, state Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, announced introduction of legislation to merge Stearns, Benton and northwestern Sherburne County to form a new entity, with a Garrison Keillor-inspired working moniker of Lake Wobegon County.

Cities also are battling with falling LGA payments, particularly Minneapolis.

Revenue-generating ideas presented to Hodges panel included a “cost-recognition” LGA concept for cities that are regional centers and have higher police, fire and infrastructure needs; fees for programs or facilities used primarily by non-residents; the half-cent local option sales tax; and redirecting funding currently generated by the Minneapolis Convention Center to the general fund.

However, most of the above proposals would require obtaining a waiver from the state or legislative approval – raising doubts about how quickly they can be put in place.

What can the city do right now?

“I think the answer is we fight like hell for all the LGA we can get at the Legislature this year,” Hodges said.

Echoing Hodges was Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden: “It’s hard to think about LGA doing anything except munching around the corner” of city funding needs, she said. “What’s the way we can adequately support all these regional and state facilities? We must have special funding mechanisms to support regional and state-wide facilities.”

RC: Minnesota Regional Development Organizations

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

Bold font words are Google search terms. Bold italic words considered worth noting. 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 Top Metros of 2008

Site Selection Magazine

Big Oil has long been the big money maker in Houston, but the largest city in Texas lured capital from many other industries in 2008, enough to capture the No. 1 metropolitan area ranking for corporate facility projects from Site Selection. ... Led by first-time winner Dayton, the state of Ohio placed four cities in the top 10 among all metro areas with populations between 200,000 and 1 million. ... Claiming its second consecutive win in the tier-three category of communities, Sioux City doubled the output of its closest competition –runner-up Springfield, Ohio, which had 10 corporate real estate deals in 2008. ... Note: begins at contents page.

.02 Forget Regional Cooperation, City Should Go Global

Hallmark hasn’t quite gotten around to designing the corresponding greeting card, but that hasn’t stopped perennial Richmond überbooster Rick Tatnall from declaring 2009 the Year of Richmond. If it sounds like a gimmick, that’s because it is. Tatnall, best known as executive director of Citizens Against Crime, has managed to track down more than 80 places named Richmond around the world in hopes of fostering some sort of ongoing network of cooperation among as many of these cities as he can. It might be a tall order considering that our Richmond has yet to figure out how to cement regional cooperation with its neighbors. So why not try it globally? The new Web site of Tatnall’s organization,, asks Richmonders — that is, Richmond, Va., residents — to donate time and $20 a year to the cause. He wants to solicit a million dollars and a million volunteer hours annually to “help build a Proud, Unified Richmond Regional Community.” …

.03 Order Creates Economic Partnership

WOWK - Huntington, WV, USA

Gov. Joe Manchin signed an executive order that officially recognizes Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson and Morgan counties as the Western Potomac Economic Partnership (West-PEP). “This region has so much to offer West Virginians and future residents,” Gov. Joe Manchin said. “This will enable local governments to work together, as a region, to promote economic development opportunities, while highlighting our state’s many benefits, ... I look forward to working with the entire Eastern Panhandle delegation on promoting this region.” … Under Executive Order No. 05-09, West Virginia Development Office will provide assistance to West-PEP by encouraging businesses to expand or relocate within West-PEP and also package current incentives and evaluate prospective development tools that may be needed. ...

.04 Plan to keep SPSA from sinking would raise tipping fees

The Virginian-Pilot - Norfolk, VA, USA

Norfolk and Chesapeake officials have crafted a bailout plan for SPSA that could drive up trash disposal fees to keep the regional trash authority afloat until it can sell off some of its assets. Top executives with the Southeastern Public Service Authority say the agency will not be able to pay basic operating costs by April or May if nothing is done. They said the new proposal appears doable." Essentially, the proposal would infuse millions of dollars into SPSA over the next 16 months, until the agency can unload key assets, use that money to pay off $240 million in debt and eventually shrink to a much smaller group that mainly handles waste management contracts for the region. ...

.05 Coosa Valley RDC resolves city representation issue

Rome News-Tribune - Rome, GA, USA

The issue of how cities will be represented on the Coosa Valley Regional Development Commission board has been resolved until the Committee becomes a regional commission in August. Each of the 10 counties in the CVRDC was represented during a Thursday, March 19, meeting in which the members voted to return to their original bylaws which allow the largest city in each county to have a representative on the board. The issue came up during the a previous CVRDC meeting after the governor mandated the state's committees be reorganized into commissions, according to Rome Mayor ...

.06 Census: D-FW adds more residents than any other US metro area

Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA

North Texas' late entry to the economic slowdown allowed it to keep adding people last year – fewer than before, but still more than any other metro area for the second straight year, new census figures show. The figures, to be released today, show that the Dallas-Fort Worth area added 146,532 people in 2007-08, even as the region grew at a slower pace than 23 other metropolitan areas. ...

Online: Metropolitan population estimates

.07 Official: Morris 'not an island' when disaster strikes - Parsippany, NJ, USA

... since 2001 Morris County has been part of a planning group that formulates emergency responses for a seven-county New Jersey area that includes Essex and Hudson counties, and a still-larger group whose plans concern New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. "Morris County is not an island," he said. "We have to look at the risks, and then look at the plans." The planning models reflect what emergency management coordinators learned from the response to the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Among those lessons, he said, are the need to plan for a potentially catastrophic event, prepare at levels not seen before in New Jersey, regionalize planning, the need for additional resources and include the private sector in the planning. ...

.08 Linda Koop: Our growing population can't wait for new transit options

Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA

Linda Koop is a member of the Dallas City Council and chair of North Texas' Regional Transportation Council. ... Thankfully, our Legislature has, at last, heard our pleas. The Texas Local Option Transportation Act, introduced by Sen. John Carona and mirrored in the House by Rep. Vicki Truitt, provides the options we need to finally develop long-term solutions for traffic and air pollution relief. ... The bill would allow voters to choose from an assortment of new, innovative funding sources to expand passenger rail service and pay for roadway improvements. ...

.09 Favorable reception to bus service at city-county meeting

Burlington Times News - Burlington, NC, USA

After a presentation by Piedmont Area Regional Transit Director Brent McKinney outlining demand and usage among the bus service's 10-county region, commissioners and council members seemed to agree that a basic park-and-ride service is necessary. Alamance and Rockingham counties are the only ones in the area that do not pay for or receive direct park-and-ride service. Federal and state grants would cover 90 percent of the startup costs. The county would have to provide the rest - about $100,000 to start with. Burlington already returns about $1 million to the state annually because it doesn't have mass transit. ... Not everyone was in favor of a county-funded transit system. Though absent due to scheduling conflicts, Commissioner Tim Sutton said in a phone message early Tuesday that he is "against taxing anyone for public transit ... I object to having people pay for other people's ride, no matter how small the cost."

.10 SEPTA is our key to a green future

Philadelphia Daily News - Philadelphia, PA, USA

THE OBAMA administration plan for America's future calls for the U.S. to create jobs, jump-start growth and transform our economy to compete in the 21st century. This includes becoming the world leader in green technology and adopting progressive environmental policies. As the nation's sixth-largest city, with the fifth-largest regional public transit system, our impact is huge, our responsibility profound. Given the stimulus money that will flow to the city and the state, we face hard choices about priorities. Philadelphia is uniquely positioned to respond to this call ...

.11 Official will appeal Metro money ruling

Belleville News Democrat - IL, USA

The head of the East-West Gateway Council of Governments said Thursday he plans to appeal a federal agency denial of the council's 11th-hour attempt to restore Metro bus service cuts. ... The council had tried to avert the service reduction by asking the Federal Transit Administration to "flex" $12 million away from a pool of money originally earmarked for the relief of highway traffic congestion. ... But the federal transit agency rejected the request, contending that the proposed new bus routes do not comprise new transit service, as required under federal rules. ...

.12 Hinds fighting for road funds

Jackson Clarion Ledger - Jackson, MS, USA

Hinds County and Jackson are getting short-changed under the state's plan to distribute $12 million in economic stimulus money for roads in the metro area, 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said. His concerns have led the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to reconsider its plans for the funds, which means Madison and Rankin counties may not get as much money. ...

.13 Crossett Airport Commission Gets $10000 Grant

Ashley County Ledger - Hamburg, AR, USA

During the 2007 Arkansas legislative session, the General Assembly appropriated $2,000,000 to the eight development districts for general improvement projects in local communities.

Under Act 812 of 23007, the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc. (SEAEDD) was appropriated $250000 of General Improvement Funds. In order that the funds be distributed as equitably as possible across SEAEDD's service area, the SEAEDD board voted to allocate the grant money by house district. ...

.14 Despite Distance, Memphis, Halifax Become Close Allies

Memphis Daily News - TN, USA

Political and business leaders from Memphis and Halifax, including the Memphis Regional Logistics Council and the Halifax Gateway Council, have signed an agreement to pursue mutually beneficial cargo connections and promote each other’s transportation assets when it comes to global trade. ... cargo comes to Halifax, then Canadian National Railway Co. hauls the U.S.-bound shipments to Chicago or Memphis. ... Memphis has a similar agreement with the port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, on Canada’s West Coast. ...

.15 Taylor, Belleville, Ypsilanti join Aerotropolis development efforts

Metromode Media - metro detroit, MI, USA

Wayne County's Aerotropolis initiative is gaining momentum now that three new municipalities have signed on – by signing big checks. Taylor, Belleville and Ypsilanti have joined the regional corporation that will develop about 60,000 acres of land from Detroit Metro Airport to Willow Run Airport. They each paid $25,000 to become part of the Aerotropolis Development Corporation, ...

.16 Buddy up, schools

The Plain Dealer - - Cleveland, OH, USA

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson again broached the topic of regionalism and education in a recent Cleveland City Club speech. Good for him. Greater Clevelanders have a deep attachment and loyalty to their local school systems and neighborhoods. But the business model of Ohio's cheek-by-jowl school districts needs a radical overhaul. ... Local school systems can no longer act like separate and expensive islands of learning. It's time to work together or risk falling apart.

.17 Q&A with Tom Sparkman, chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments

Norwich Bulletin - Norwich, CT, USA

Q: A lot of your members chuckled at a recent meeting when discussing Gov. Rell’s offer to help towns that practice regionalization. Why?

A: I think the governor may be encouraging what we’re already doing. We help each other. I know when we used to do our own spring cleanup, we would have trucks come in from places like Sprague and Canterbury. Some of our neighbors might not have a piece of equipment they need, especially for a weather-related problem, so we lend them ours.


.18 Recession hurting Puget Sound arts groups: Survey

Puget Sound Business Journal - Seattle, WA, USA

A new survey of the Puget Sound region’s arts sector reinforces recent findings that the economic recession is threatening the financial health of several local arts groups. But the survey of 28 local organizations also offers a hint of optimism by suggesting new approaches for funders to use that could help the arts sector weather the storm. ...

.19 Local development groups trumpet region's 'wins'

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Remember when the rest of the country laughed at Pittsburgh? Guess who's laughing now? Yesterday the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliate, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, offered plenty of reasons for the region to toast its good fortune: 290 to be exact. That was how many "wins" Pittsburgh and the surrounding nine counties had in 2008 with 33 commercial developments in the region and 257 capital investments in businesses here. ...

.20 Stokes envisions economic benefit in extension of scenic byway

Winston-Salem Journal - North Carolina, USA

"The main point is to get more people to come to the area," said Marc Allred, a rural planner for the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments. The expansion would create a 12-mile loop that would go through Danbury and connect back to N.C. 66, Allred said. Having the byway pass through Danbury would give tourists an opportunity to visit the shops, restaurants and other businesses in town, he said....

.21 Schwarzenegger backs California constitutional convention

Sacramento Bee - CA, USA

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed a California constitutional convention – last used in 1878 – as a way to fix what he described Thursday as the state's "dysfunctional" system. Schwarzenegger said legislative term limits should be extended so state lawmakers have time to build sufficient experience. He said the initiative process should be changed to prevent well-heeled groups from pitching bond measures the state can't afford. … Convening a new constitutional convention requires two-thirds legislative approval, a major barrier, advocates said. To skip that step, the Bay Area Council wants to place two initiatives on the November 2010 ballot – one allowing voters to call a convention, as well as a proposal authorizing an immediate convention. …

.22 Crapo Will Have to Corral Congress One More Time on Owyhees

New West - Missoula, MT, USA

“We have to move away from clash and battle and into collaboration.” When Crapo discovered the books and theories of Dan Kemmis, a Montana legislative leader and mayor with progressive ideas on managing the West’s core issues, he became a disciple – and practitioner. ... Kemmis believes that the unique character of the West (or any individual region) requires ordinary citizens, interest groups, and local governments to take responsibility for their regions and work with the federal government to manage lands, and that a collaborative process allows Westerners more power over their lands. ...

.23 NH's Shaheen urges funding for Northern Border Regional Commission

Seattle Times - Seattle, WA, USA

The Northern Border Regional Commission would help parts of New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and Vermont strengthen local economies and create jobs. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Economic Development Administration is authorized to transfer $50 million to regional economic development commissions. .... senators urge the department to allocate as much of that money as possible for the commission.

.24 Gilbert must be regional player, candidates agree

Gilbert Republic - Arizona

Question: How important is it that an elected Town official work to make Gilbert a "regional player" in Southeast Valley and Valley economic development and future regional infrastructure planning? What is your philosophy on the amount of time elected officials should spend cultivating relationships with other government entities beyond the town's borders? MAYORAL CANDIDATES John Lewis: "We are at a critical point in Gilbert's history with regard to economic development. To protect our Town interests, prepare for future sustainability, and provide leadership on policy issues such as transportation, it is imperative that Gilbert be a 'regional player.' ...

.25 High-Powered and Low-Key

Washington Post - United States

Jarrett, 52, serves as senior adviser to the president, and she oversees the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs. She is the principal contact for groups wanting to reach the White House, a stated focus of an administration that prides itself on transparency and outreach to an unprecedented array of grass-roots organizations. ...

.26 NIRPC approves region list for federal stimulus funds

Chesterton Tribune - Chesterton, IN, USA

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Executive Board on Thursday unanimously approved a list of 123 regional projects totaling $45.1 million proposed for funding through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. ...

.27 UDOT ahead of schedule on use of nearly $150 million in federal stimulus funds

Seattle Times - Seattle, WA, USA

... UDOT is getting $149.5 million of the $213 million in stimulus money being spent on transportation projects in Utah. The rest will go to regional transportation planning groups such as the Wasatch Front Regional Council, which is the largest regional planning organization for roads and represents 60 percent of the states population. The council covers Weber, Salt Lake, Davis, Morgan and Tooele counties. The council will get nearly $50 million in federal stimulus money.

.28 Jobless rate in KC area hits 8.2%

Kansas City Star - Kansas City, MO, USA

... dismal numbers and outlook delivered in separate reports Thursday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Frank Lenk, chief economist of the Mid-America Regional Council. Lenk, in his midyear forecast to members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said the jobs outlook was much worse than his forecast in October. ...

.29 Pittsburgh, Allegheny County to expand joint buying

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

"Our initial joint purchasing agreement was extremely successful, resulting in $6.2 million in savings for taxpayers," Mr. Onorato said in a news release, adding that joint purchasing is first sign of the benefits of consolidation in city-county operations. ...

.30 Metro police dispels Wal-Mart threat rumors

WTOC - Savannah, GA, USA

... Metro Police Savannah Area Regional Intelligence Center (SARIC) has been working closely with surrounding law enforcement agencies to include the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) and the South Carolina Information and Intelligence Center (SCIIC). All three Intelligence Groups have confirmed this is an ongoing National Hoax that is NOT TRUE. Additionally, Metro Police has no independent evidence to support these threats in the Savannah-Chatham area. ...

.31 Commission approves look at Clean Air Campaign - Fayetteville, GA, USA

Clean Air Campaign services are available to commuters and employers, Williams said. Clean Air Campaign commute specialists work with Atlanta Regional Commission and 9 other transportation management associations in providing programs such as telework assistance, carpool partnering and the Guaranteed Ride Home service. ... For more information, individuals and companies can visit

.32 Budget Woes Hit Mass Transit as Tax Revenue Falls

Wall Street Journal - USA

Just as mass-transit ridership has reached a historic high, tax revenues that fund rail and bus service have dropped, leaving transit agencies nationwide with huge budget deficits and the prospect of boosting fares. In the New York City region, state lawmakers are locked in a dispute over how best to close a $1.2 billion mass-transit budget gap. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs public transportation in greater New York, says that without an emergency cash infusion it will be forced to boost fares 23%, and severely cut service to meet its $11 billion annual budget. ...

.33 State water plan called critical

Fort Worth Star Telegram - Fort Worth, TX, USA

For Tarrant County and the rest of North Central Texas, known as Region C, the state water plan calls for $13.2 billion in capital costs to provide water for a population expected to reach 13 million by 2060. "Insufficient water supplies could cost Texans $9.1 billion in 2010 and $98.4 billion in 2060," says State Comptroller Susan Combs’ report on water, Liquid Assets, which was released this year. "State government could lose $466 million in tax revenue in 2010 and up to $5.4 billion by 2060 due to decreased business activity as a direct result of insufficient supply." Despite the current economic crisis, state Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Natural Resources, said it is critical that the water plan move forward. …

.34 Wind energy partnership follows region's economic strategy - MI, USA

Michigan ranks 22nd in the nation in the amount of power generated from wind, Berge Project Manager Jose Gonzalez said. It's 14th in "wind abundance," indicating an untapped market opportunity, he said. ... "We believe this state is at a turning point. It's ready to lead the Great Lakes region into alternative energy," Gonzalez said. ... Economic developers have targeted alternative energy as a key sector to grow as the domestic auto industry declines. The region's manufacturing acumen is transferable to alternative energy in producing components for wind turbines, Klohs said. The Right Place has identified some 700 manufacturing companies in the region that can potentially play in the alternative energy arena, she said. ...

.35 Regionalism Activist Unveils Downsizing Government Website

WGRZ-TV - Buffalo, NY, USA

Regionalism activist Kevin Gaughan has launched a new website called: The new site includes information on Gaughan's study regarding duplicated services in local town governments and a place for volunteers and supporters to get information. ...

.36 Poll: Most believe recovery plans unfair to expensive regions

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - CA, USA

Federal recovery plans that set limits on income are unfair to residents of regions with high cost of living such as much of California, an overwhelming majority of those who took the most recent Business Pulse survey said. Three out of four readers of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal said Washington's economic recovery programs treat regions like theirs unfairly. ...

.37 6th annual Mayors' Roundtable Breakfast - Denver, CO, USA

The Metro North Chamber of Commerce is honored to host the 6th Annual Mayors' Roundtable Development Council Breakfast ... Regionalism at its best, the event will cover city specific issues along with region opportunities. If you live, work or have a business in the Metro North region this is a must attend event. The following Mayors will be participating: ... Note: 13 Mayors listed

.38 Bigger Is Always… Bigger

Cape Cod Chronicle - Chatham, MA, USA

But the justification for regionalization now seems to be that this will help stem the tide of young adults leaving Cape Cod. Like maybe lower taxes? Or better schools because they're bigger and cheaper? ... This is how I summed up a query on Facebook, posted to friends who grew up on the Cape but have since moved away: 1) Why did you leave? and, 2) What would induce you to return? ...

.39 New Data Track Evolution of a Landscape

New York Times - United States

THE marriage of satellite imagery and digital mapping has produced a 21st-century bird’s-eye view of how Connecticut’s landscape has changed over the last two decades. ... The Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials’ planning director, Richard Lynn, also used CLEAR data for his region, but what struck him was how much more farmland had been lost than he thought. “In a region that prides itself on its agricultural heritage,” he said, “to see that much of its ag land going out of production is of concern.” ...

.40 Bulldozer reported stolen decade ago found buried at Weatherford golf course

Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA

Criminal charges are pending against the owners of a Weatherford golf course after authorities found a bulldozer that was reported stolen more than 10 years ago buried under a fairway. ... face felony charges of insurance fraud, said Tyler Farrell, a detective with the Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force. ... the Mickles used the bulldozer and a tractor to build the golf course, which they began in 1996. Both pieces of equipment were later reported to their insurance company as stolen. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Central America in "crossfire" of drug war: UN


Central American states are "caught in the crossfire" of the drug war affecting Mexico and the United States, the top U.N. crimefighter said on Wednesday and he called for regional moves to halt the violence. Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), praised U.S. steps taken Tuesday to tighten security on the U.S.-Mexico frontier to try to stem cross-border flows of drugs, arms and cash. But he urged more regional cooperation to confront drug gang violence which killed more than 6,000 people in Mexico last year and has also hiked murder rates in Central American countries along the drug routes north to the United States. "These are countries which are caught in a crossfire -- between the major drug producing countries in the south, in the Andean region, and the major drug-consuming countries in North America," said Costa, speaking in a phone interview from Guatemala. He visited Panama this week and will also go to El Salvador to seek support for a regional anti-drug initiative. …

.02 British thinktank warns of "global pandemic of unrest"

Monsters and - USA

A leading British thinktank Friday warned of the 'grave threat' of social unrest in response to the global recession over the next two years. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in a paper published Friday, rated the risk of upheaval that could 'disrupt economies and topple governments' as 'high or very high' in 95 countries. 'Popular anger around the world is growing as a result of rising unemployment, pay cuts and freezes, bail-outs for banks, and falls in house prices and the value of savings and pension funds,' said the EIU paper, entitled Manning the Barricades.


.03 North Korean Satellite Would Threaten Regional Peace, Ban Says

Bloomberg - USA

North Korea’s planned launch of a missile carrying a communications satellite would “threaten regional peace and security,” and might violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. ...

.04 Are the police spread too thin?

Globe and Mail - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

As gang violence rages, so too does the debate about the need for a regional police force that, supporters say, would offer a more co-ordinated approach in a province with 11 municipal forces and 126 RCMP detachments - more than a dozen police forces in Metro Vancouver alone. But critics are also taking aim at the large web of players who deal specifically with gangs, suggesting, in essence, that the good guys are spread too thin among too many teams against an army of gang members linked to 33 shootings - 15 of them fatal - across the region since the beginning of the year. ...

.05 Tertiary bodies thinking regionally will lead globally

The Canberra Times - Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Australia's 14 regional universities generate more than $3.015 billion in total revenue, employ the equivalent of more than 20,000 full-time employees, spend more than $1.594billion on wages and related costs, and enrol more than 200,000 students. They are an integral and significant part of the economic, social and cultural infrastructure of many of our regional communities. Regional universities are important drivers of their region's economic and social development. They typically place a high priority on regionally focused and collaborative research, and provide local businesses, government and community groups with access to professional, technical and consulting services. Every dollar of income or every job directly attributable to a regional university is estimated to generate between two and three additional dollars of income or employment. Policy priorities for regional universities should include developing mission-based compacts tailored to each university; specific funding for local community engagement; and research funding that recognises regional universities' particular strengths.

.06 Microbial societies do not like oligarchy

AlphaGalileo - U.K.

Bacteria and humans tend to live in highly diverse and complex communities. Most interestingly, bacteria and humans appear to prefer to live in a democracy. ... Biodiversity is a complex term that includes taxonomic, functional, spatial and temporal aspects of organismic diversity, with species richness (the number of species) and evenness (the relative abundance of species) considered among the most important measures. Using experimental microcosms with bacterial communities, this paper shows that initial community evenness is a key factor in preserving the functional stability of an ecosystem. ...

.07 Indonesia, Malaysia push sub-regional cooperation

The Jakarta Post - Jakarta, Indonesia

Indonesia and Malaysia are pushing private sector and regional administrations to initiate sub-regional development cooperation. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday the two countries had pledged to work together within the sub-regional framework of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). ...

.08 Findings on land use in Upper East Region presented

Ghana Business News

Research findings on land use plan in the Upper East Region revealed that most of the lands institutions in the region only operated with development plans without land use procedures. The Advocacy Officer of Trade Aid Ghana, Mr. Richard Ananga, who presented the report at Bolgatamga, expressed worry about the spate of sales of lands in the region to estate developers. ... Findings of research carried out in 7 districts out of the nine districts in the region, said there was no effective collaboration between the land user agencies and offices. The report said that most of the urban areas were planned but the outskirts were not planned and land boundaries were not created. ...

.09 Liverpool city region’s jobseekers’ figures in 18-year record jump

Liverpool Daily Post - Liverpool, England, UK

THE stark impact of the world economic crisis on families in the Liverpool city region was exposed with the release of the latest unemployment statistics ... The monthly increase for the region’s six authorities – Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, Knowsley and St Helens – is the largest since July, 1991, and follows a recent trend of sharp increases. ...

.10 Learning the Skills of Being a Regional Power

The Moscow Times - Russia

Many people believe that the crisis will cause a regionalization of the global community. In other words, it could lead to a strengthening of separate centers of power. For example, China would become one such center, spreading its influence across Eastern and South Eastern Asia as well as the EU. These centers could also be considered new poles in the 21st-century multipolar world. ...

.11 Networked cars driving transportation vision

Business Edge

... according to Saito, the real potential of the fully networked car is just about to reveal itself. He believes that around 2010, global telecommunication infrastructure will begin to change, including the switch from analogue to digital TV, the expanded internet addressing scheme called IPv6, and the migration of traditional networks to internet protocol. He also argued this is a crucial time to think about putting telecommunications in vehicles. If cars are going to be so smart, they may as well talk to each other and to things around them like the highway. ...

.12 New center aims to boost ties between Korea, Asean nations

JoonAng Daily - South Korea

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Korea Centre, an intergovernmental body designed to cement ties between Korea and Southeast Asia, was officially launched ... The Asean member nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ...

.13 International water pact necessary

Malaysia Star - Malaysia

Improving transboundary co-operation - Water has always been both – a blessing and a source of conflict. On an international scale, countries where water systems are shared will tend to try and gain the most control over the water as rivers play an important role generally in the agriculture and economic development of these states. … Transboundary cooperation in this instance will strengthen regional economic development and cultural preservation. Countries need to cooperate in sustainable water management to reach for new heights of economic development. ...

.14 Fiscal Cuts or Common Sense? Fiscal Decentralization in Japan

Japan Focus - Ithaca, NY, USA

All intergovernmental fiscal systems involve a trade off between the opportunities and risks of fiscal autonomy, on the one hand, and the constraints and protections of fiscal dependence on the other. In this respect, the United States and Japan can to a large extent be considered as the opposite ends of a spectrum. The former emphasizes local autonomy in finances whereas the latter stresses inter-regional equity. This equity approach still has considerable support in Japan where it is deeply entrenched in a broad network of administrative and political institutions. Metropolitan Tokyo may chafe at the restraints that the central government can impose on it, but poorer regions appreciate the flow of funds from the centre even if their spending patterns get skewed. ...

.15 Regional Voices in Global Governance: A Natural Progression (Part I)

The Globalist -

The "geometry" of global summitry is in flux. A new global governance forum will eventually emerge from the existing G-8 and G-20. As Lex Rieffel explains, several factors point toward the emergence of a G-15 consisting of five "old powers," five "new powers" and representatives of five otherwise under-represented regions. ...

.16 Madagascar: island even more isolated after coup

Christian Science Monitor

Swaziland is expected to hold a summit of regional nations next week to discuss possible sanctions against Madagascar. Last week, the African Union suspended Madagascar's membership in the organization. ...

.17 “Internet monitored and controlled, even in democracies”

Reporters Sans Frontiers – Paris, France

Reporters Without Borders today issued a report entitled “Enemies of the Internet” in which it examines Internet censorship and other threats to online free expression in 22 countries. “The 12 ‘Enemies of the Internet’ - Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam - have all transformed their Internet into an Intranet in order to prevent their population from accessing ‘undesirable’ online information,” Reporters Without Borders said. ...

.18 Pacific Islands Meet to Save Marine Turtles

Solomon Times Online - Honiara, Solomon Islands

... members of government, non-governmental organisations (NGO's) and marine turtle specialists to meet and update on implementation of the regional Marine Turtle Action Plan (MTAP) 2008 - 2012. Bringing everyone together to discuss this, also allowed for opportunities with donor organisations to understand and learn more about the different turtle conservation developments on the ground. ...

.19 New tactics for the camel plague

ScienceAlert - Australia

A key emphasis of the conference was on management to reduce impacts rather than attempts at eradication. This recognises that camels are in Australia to stay,... Collaboration, the report highlights, is the only approach to management of camel plague that will ultimately be successful – cross-jurisdictional, cross-tenure, cross-boundary and cross-sectoral, involving Aboriginal land managers, pastoralists and conservation land managers.

.20 Where is East Asia? Central Asian and Inner Asian Perspectives on Regionalism

The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991-92 precipitated a new burst of interest in Central and Inner Asia on the part both of Japan and China. Japanese interest in the region is nowadays subsumed under the canopy of “Silk Road studies” or “Eurasian studies”. An energetic Chinese push into the region takes the form of a new millennium program called “Develop the West”, prioritizing economic development while tacitly encouraging ethnic Chinese immigration into, the Western regions with their large Mongol, Tibetan, Hui and Uyghur populations. The drive is also related to China’s international policy. Since 1996 China has been leading a regional multilateral forum initially called the Shanghai Five (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan), styled since 2001 as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In August 2004, Japan initiated its own Tokyo-centered regional dialogue called “Central Asia plus Japan". ...

.21 In global economy : What must Sri Lankan organizations do?

Ceylon Daily News - Ceylon, Sri Lanka

Little is accomplished in the new global economy without collaboration across national boundaries. In hiring leaders and managers to effectively compete in this new economy, companies must look for individuals who thrive on team work and global collaboration. ...

.22 Russia Transport and Logistics 2009

Transport Intelligence - UK

Systemic structural problems combine with the vast geography of the country; mountainous and desert regions as well as an inhospitable climate to make the challenges facing the transport industry unique. However despite these problems, the Russian market continues to offer some of the best long term prospects in Europe for logistics and express companies. Note: Pan-European Transport Corridors Map – info for paid report.

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 City Council weighs swapping dumpsters for better recycling, plus new water conservation rules

Bull City Rising

While some press articles in the fall mentioned here-and-there restrictions on the way for various cities in the Triangle, I can't recall seeing much that emphasized the regional nature of these changes. In the wake of the drought, water managers from the various systems in the Triangle (including Durham's, Raleigh's, Cary's, and OWASA's) met to come up with a streamlined, unified set of water use restriction levels that would form year-round conservation methods, along with a new set of drought stages that could be unified across the region. The Theory? ...

.02 Four messages from Western Australia

World Streets

3. Regional planning to ensure regional transit systems and associated TODS.

Transit Oriented Developments have begun to work well in US cities but they are scattered rather than in coherent corridors, rather like the transit systems which sometimes defy rationality in the routes they take. This is because regional planning is weak in US cities. The MPO system could be strengthened as in Denver and Portland where coherent regional solutions are now happening. Australian cities, and Perth in particular, has strong regional governance on its transit and land use planning. It works. ...

.03 Mega-Region Reshaping - Seize the Initiative

Your Ideas

... what does Florida suggest we focus on? First, the idea of mega-regions is central to future economic success. Contrary to Friedman’s argument that the world is flat, Florida maintains that the world is and will remain ‘spiky’ – ‘…place still matters in the modern economy—and the competitive advantage of the world’s most successful city-regions seems to be growing, not shrinking … world’s 40 largest mega-regions ... So regions, cities and nations wishing to achieve and maintain economic success need to hook into these regions in some way. ... Considering how we Irish, much like our English and Scottish neighbours, have long taken our cue from our North American cousins, this suggests that we, too, shall require a new kind of geography. ...

“The rise of the mega-region” - Richard Florida, Tim Gulden and Charlotta Mellander

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 2008, 1, 459–476


.04 Transforming the Metropolis


Megaregions are networks of metropolitan centers and their surrounding areas, connected by existing environmental, economic and infrastructure relationships that will contain two-thirds of the nation’s population by the middle of the 21st century (Amekudzi, Thomas-Mobley, Ross, 2007). By the year 2050, approximately 10 such megaregions will exist in the United States. ...

.05 Connecticut Groups Call for Congestion Pricing

Mobilizing the Region

Today, Tri-State joined a coalition of civic, environmental, and transportation groups that called on elected officials to implement congestion pricing on Connecticut’s roads. ... Ten groups joined the press release, including the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, the MetroHartford Alliance, Regional Plan Association, Connecticut Chapter of Sierra Club, the Connecticut Citizens Transportation Lobby, ...

.06 Metro's options for balancing the budget

Greater Greater Washington - Washington, DC, USA

... Some explanation of WMATA bus service and union/non union issues is necessary: The way bus service works (by agreement between the jurisdictions) is that there are "regional" routes run by WMATA. There is a set of criteria that define "regional" routes but basicly they either cross jurisdictional lines or travel on major arteries and service major activity centers other than Metrorail stations. The cost of these routes are shared by all jurisdictions by a formula that is somewhat like Metrorail. This formulation was developed to insure that riders in each jurisdiction had access to major employment/activity centers in other jurisdictions. ...

.07 Atlanta can overcome challenges to create an Aerotropolis; lessons of Atlantic Station


Similarly, as this spring arrives, it is a daunting time to be attempting the most ambitious mixed-use redevelopment to date south of downtown – Aerotropolis on the site of the former Ford plant in Hapeville. But the most remarkable and significant parallels between then and now are not the challenges we confront but, rather, the opportunities at hand. While economic, political and social cycles come and go, significant long-term trends persist: ...

.08 Want to get in the Van Gogh mood?

Put A Lid On It project

This is an ongoing community collaboration in the works for the Quad-State region of West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania is already getting the attention of citizens from as far away as California. This project started with just a seed of an idea and is starting to blossom. While growing, it is uniting people, inspiring them, and collectively we are doing something positive for the environment by saving the non-recyclable lids from going into the landfills. The project is also educating the community on the power of art and the imagination and collaboratively we are creating works of beauty for the community in which we live. ...

.09 Joliet’s Rusty city council

will county watcher

(2) Cooperation between private developers, local officials, and community residents is needed to solve complex issues. One sector on its own does not have all the answers. The experiences of communities throughout the Joliet and Will county region, plus interactions with community leaders, elected officials and real estate professionals, provide guidance to communities throughout the country working to improve their future and if we as a community work together we can build something to be proud of.

.10 One Solution

Marketplace of Ideas Blog

Not surprisingly, reports Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, state and local spending has grown faster than federal government spending since 1970. As you might expect from their namesake, the Goldwater Institute isn’t particularly a fan of the job state and local governments have done in all that growth, citing “local governments that have grown unsustainably numerous, large, intrusive, and irresponsible.” The Goldwater Institute’s solution is “A New Charter for American Cities: 10 Rights to Restrain Government and Protect Freedom,”


WAMI -- Women Against Misogynist Imperialism

... other countries came in not because they believed in repelling aggression, but because they wanted a piece of the Congolese cake. The country was ravaged by "armies of business", commanded by men who "carefully planned the redrawing of the regional map to redistribute wealth," the UN declared. The UN experts knew this because the Rwandan troops did not head for the areas where the génocidaires were hiding out. They headed straight for the mines like this one in Kalehe, and they swiftly enslaved the populations to dig for them. ...

.12 The Geopolitics of Food


... even though the food crisis has abated for the moment due to temporary trends, the future of food, agriculture and food security is very closely tied in with global warming. Things are only going to get worse unless a global collaborative solution is found. ... The food crisis led to new kinds of trade agreements being signed, as food-importing countries sought to buy or lease large blocks of land to farm in other countries. Libya, which imports close to 90 percent of its grain, leased 250,000 acres of land in Ukraine to grow wheat for its people in exchange for access to one of its oil fields. Egypt is seeking land acquisition in Ukraine in exchange for access to its natural gas. China is currently looking out for long-term leases of land in other countries, including Australia, Russia, and Brazil. ...

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Ready or Not? A Conference on Issues and Solutions for Adapting to Climate Change - April 30th and May 1st - Washington, DC

Global warming is already threatening developing countries with increasingly severe weather events, droughts, disruption of water and food supplies, and negative impacts on health. The poorest communities in both the developing world and in the United States suffer disproportionately from the impacts of climate change. Recognizing the pressing need for increased education and collaboration with the environment, development, foreign policy, and faith communities, this flagship conference is an important opportunity to advance adaptation policies that effectively address the impacts of climate change on poverty.

We are at a moment of critical opportunity. Please join leading experts, practitioners, and advocates as we address:

* What are the challenges and opportunities for vulnerable communities to build climate resilience?

* What solutions are working at the local, state, national and global level to address the devastating impacts of climate change? What still needs to be done?

* How can the United States government lead and fulfill its responsibility to address the impacts of climate change domestically and internationally?

Sponsors: ActionAid, American Public Health Association, CARE USA, Center for American Progress, Friends of the Earth, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, Heinrich Böll Foundation, InterAction, Jubilee USA, League of Women Voters, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, National Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Oil Change International, Oxfam America, US Climate Action Network, William Velasquez Institute, and the Women's Environment and Development Organization

RSVP to while space is available.


.02 Call For Papers: International Conference - Going Caribbean! New Perspectives on Caribbean Literature and Art - Centre for Comparative Studies - University of Lisbon, November 2 – 3, 2009

In an age of intensifying globalization and interdependencies, being Caribbean means more than fashioning a particular identity. Being Caribbean refers to a complex, particular condition, which transcends regional boundaries. Who is Caribbean? And who is going Caribbean? Are we all Caribbean now because we live in urban archipelagoes (Clifford)? Around the globe, cultural archipelagoes are quickly emerging as a result of the complex process of creolisation, which is taking place in regions and nations far beyond Martinique, Aruba or Jamaica. In the heart of Europe, for instance, —something nobody would have thought of a few decades ago—where nations claim separate cultural identities, from Scotland to Cataluña and the Balkan.

In spite of this exciting and celebratory view of the Caribbean as the paradigm of creolisation, critics still lack a deeper understanding of the intra-Caribbean reality, for a simple reason: in approaching the Caribbean we have almost never crossed linguistic and national boundaries. ...

Deadline for submission of papers: May 31, 2009.

.03 Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2009 on: Health, Housing and Wellbeing - Friday 27th November 2009, London, UK

Call for Papers. Contributions are welcomed on the following themes:

• Health and welfare at the local and regional scale

• Happiness and wellbeing: definitions and indicators

• Poverty, exclusion and wellbeing

• Social impacts of housing

• The personal, social and financial costs of housing

• Funding public health, housing and care

• Social justice, quality of life and standards of living

• Healthy lifestyles and healthy living

Please submit offers of papers in the form of 400 word abstracts through the Regional Studies Association on-line conference portal by Tuesday 30th June 2009.

.04 Crown of the Continent

The Crown of the Continent Ecosystem covers approximately 44,000 square kilometers (16,000 square miles) and includes treasured places like Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in Montana and Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta.

The Crown of the Continent is one of the premier mountain ecoregions of the world and an integral part of the much larger mountainous landscape Yellowstone to Yukon. …

The Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council is a regional network of communities, tourism bureaus, conservation and business groups, educators, First Nations, government agencies, and others working together in the region that includes and surrounds Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in southwestern Alberta, southeastern British Columbia, and northwestern Montana. Established in 2007, the partnership’s focus to date has been collaboration with National Geographic Society on the Crown of the Continent MapGuide and the development of this website. …

.05 Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE)

The Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is a reference tool unlike any other. Its aim is not to prescribe how Americans should speak, or even to describe the language we use generally, the "standard" language. Instead, it seeks to document the varieties of English that are not found everywhere in the United States--those words, pronunciations, and phrases that vary from one region to another, that we learn at home rather than at school, or that are part of our oral rather than our written culture. Although American English is remarkably homogeneous considering the tremendous size of the country, there are still many thousands of differences that characterize the various dialect regions of the United States. It is these differences that DARE records.

.06 Regionalism (movement) – MoMA – New York, NY

About this term ... Although many artistic ‘regions’ simply reflect the geographical or spatial distance of artistic production from the presumed location (or locations) of its emergence and primary development, regional styles or ‘regionalisms’ specifically tend to appear because artists at all locations of production—either ‘centres’ or ‘peripheries’, and even within ‘centres’ themselves—must work in some ways with locally available resources and under some of the constraints of the local economy and culture.

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

Special from the recent past - Published: Friday, November 5, 1999

.01 Congress Passes Wide-Ranging Bill Easing Bank Laws

The New York Times – NY, USA

"Congress approved landmark legislation today that opens the door for a new era on Wall Street in which commercial banks, securities houses and insurers will find it easier and cheaper to enter one another's businesses.

''The world changes, and we have to change with it,'' said Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who wrote the law that will bear his …

The opponents of the measure gloomily predicted that by unshackling banks and enabling them to move more freely into new kinds of financial activities, the new law could lead to an economic crisis down the road when the marketplace is no longer growing briskly.

''I think we will look back in 10 years' time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930's is true in 2010,'' said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ''I wasn't around during the 1930's or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980's when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.''

Supporters of the legislation rejected those arguments. They responded that historians and economists have concluded that the Glass-Steagall Act was not the correct response to the banking crisis because it was the failure of the Federal Reserve in carrying out monetary policy, not speculation in the stock market, that caused the collapse of 11,000 banks. If anything, the supporters said, the new law will give financial companies the ability to diversify and therefore reduce their risks. The new law, they said, will also give regulators new tools to supervise shaky institutions.


.02 Local Economies Seek Own Revival – The Wall Street Journal - USA

Cities, counties and states across the nation are launching home-grown economic-stimulus plans aimed at spurring local spending and keeping small businesses afloat during the recession. ... Economists dispute the effectiveness of small-business loans and subsidies for start-ups. Such incentives may help a particular town poach businesses from its neighbors, but that doesn't lift the regional economy. Another weakness: Many start-ups will fail long before the public can recoup its investment. Research shows that most job creation comes from midsize, "teenage" companies, which tend to be left out of most local stimulus plans, according to Brent Lane, director of the Center for Competitive Economies at the University of North Carolina. ... But economists do see clear benefits from local efforts to finance more public-works projects, which can create jobs, improve traffic flow, make shopping centers more attractive, and, in general, keep money flowing through the community ...

.03 The Rise of the Underground – The Wall Street Journal - USA

Economists have long thought the underground economy -- the vast, unregulated market encompassing everything from street vendors to unlicensed cab drivers -- was bad news for the world economy. Now it's taking on a new role as one of the last safe havens in a darkening financial climate, forcing analysts to rethink their views. …

Economists have stressed the negative aspects of informal trade for decades. Informal businesses often don't pay taxes, and they routinely lack the capital and expertise to be as productive as big enterprises, leading to less innovation and lower standards of living. …


India's basic problem -- as with much of Africa, Asia and Latin America -- is that its economy can't create enough steady, salaried positions to absorb the millions of people entering the labor force each year. …

To alter that equation, the Indian economy would have to maintain stellar growth rates for years, says Jeemol Unni, an economist at India's Gujarat Institute of Development Research, a research center. It costs a lot more to hire full-time employees than take on temporary workers, …

As a result, much of India is now embracing the underground economy. That includes Ahmedabad, where informal jobs have played a crucial role in keeping the economy afloat in recent years.

... Mr. Gautam believes the underground economy is essential to Ahmedabad's future. … In cities like Ahmedabad with lots of informal jobs, "per capita income is less, and growth is slow, but you get your bread and butter," he says. The existence of a big underground economy is "why we are going to survive" the downturn. He says the city is now shifting to try to create more informal jobs, including setting aside new space for public markets at bus stops.

.04 Toxic Assets Were Hidden Assets: We can't afford to allow shadow economies to grow this big. - The Wall Street Journal - USA - Hernando De Soto

The Obama administration has finally come up with a plan to deal with the real cause of the credit crunch: the infamous "toxic assets" on bank balance sheets that have scared off investors and borrowers, clogging credit markets around the world. But if Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hopes to prevent a repeat of this global economic crisis, his rescue plan must recognize that the real problem is not the bad loans, but the debasement of the paper they are printed on.

Today's global crisis -- a loss on paper of more than $50 trillion in stocks, real estate, commodities and operational earnings within 15 months -- cannot be explained only by the default on a meager 7% of subprime mortgages (worth probably no more than $1 trillion) that triggered it. …

These derivatives are the root of the credit crunch. Why? Unlike all other property paper, derivatives are not required by law to be recorded, continually tracked and tied to the assets they represent. …

Ever since humans started trading, lending and investing beyond the confines of the family and the tribe, we have depended on legally authenticated written statements to get the facts about things of value. Over the past 200 years, that legal authority has matured into a global consensus on the procedures, standards and principles required to document facts in a way that everyone can easily understand and trust.

The result is a formidable property system with rules and recording mechanisms that fix on paper the facts that allow us to hold, transfer, transform and use everything we own, from stocks to screenplays. The only paper representing an asset that is not centrally recorded, standardized and easily tracked are derivatives.

… To bring derivatives under the rule of law, governments should ensure that they conform to six longstanding procedures …

.05 Frank Partnoy: Derivative Dangers – Fresh Air audio from WHYY – Terry Gross

Years before the current economic crisis, law professor and former Wall Street trader Frank Partnoy was warning about the dangers of risky financial practices.

In his 1997 book FIASCO: Blood in the Water on Wall Street, Partnoy detailed how derivatives — financial instruments whose value is determined by another security — were being used and abused by big financial firms. Partnoy used his experiences as a derivatives trader at Morgan Stanley to give the book an insider's perspective. In the preface to FIASCO, Partnoy wrote about the growing influence of derivatives:

"Derivatives have become the largest market in the world. The size of the derivatives market, estimated at $55 trillion in 1996, is double the value of all U.S. stocks and more than 10 times the entire U.S. national debt. Meanwhile, derivatives losses continue to multiply."

Partnoy is a professor at the University of San Diego law school. In addition to FIASCO, he's the author of Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets.

Partnoy joins Fresh Air to explain derivatives, credit default swaps and how they led to the current financial crisis. Note: After listening to program, check listener comments.

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

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

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