Regional Community Development News – September 16 & 23, 2009 [regions_work]


Regional Community Development News – September 16 & 23, 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 - .23

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .13

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .03

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .03

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

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


Top Regional Community stories

1. Regional Council Self-Assessment and Resource Toolkit – NADO News Release

The new on-line “Regional Council Self-Assessment and Resource Toolkit” is intended to assist executive directors of regional councils, along with policy board members, in conducting a basic organizational analysis.

The toolkit is based on extensive interviews, observations and input from national, state and local leaders involved in the regional council industry (including EDA’s 381 Economic Development Districts). The toolkit is intended to help policy officials and executive directors think through the various aspects and challenges of governing and operating a highly successful regional council. It does not necessarily cover every aspect of regional council management, but it does provide a starting point for conducting an honest self-assessment of the overall condition of the organization.

Regional councils serve a unique role in public management. The positions of regional council executive director and policy board member offer major challenges and opportunities. The best training for executive directors is often on-the-job training and peer mentoring, even though most directors have post-graduate degrees in regional planning, public administration, business management or public policy. Since regional councils typically lack the traditional powers of local government, such as tax and bonding authority, regulatory enforcement, and planning and zoning ordinances, regional council leaders and staff must rely on a specific set of skills. These include building consensus and ownership, establishing credibility through the power of ideas and knowledge, and serving as public entrepreneurs and innovators.

Regional councils are political entities that must function politically—yet also in a nonpartisan manner—to be effective. ...

The toolkit is organized as follows:

1. Era of New Regionalism: Positioning Your Regional Council in a New Landscape

2. Your Regional Council’s Role in a Modern Era of Regionalism: Checklist for Action

3. Seven Significant Issues Facing Regional Councils

4. Managing An Effective Regional Council Policy Board

5. Becoming an Effective Regional Council Leader: Checklists and Resources for Executive Directors

6. State Associations of Regional Councils

7. Regional Council Snapshots: Innovations and Noteworthy Practices

8. Peer Resource Exchange: Food for Thought on Key Organizational Issues

9. Concepts of Leadership

The toolkit is a product of a partnership of:

NADO - the National Association of Development Organizations -

MACOG - the Missouri Association of Councils of Governments - , and DDAA - the Development District Association of Appalachia -

Toolkit PDF:

Note: This publication should be of interest to other executives of regional organizations as well as staffers who have such a position as a career goal. Ed.

2. Editorial: Is it time to reconsider local government? - Old Colony Memorial and Plymouth Bulletin - Massachusetts, USA

Between 1643 and 1812, Massachusetts incorporated 14 county governments. …

Between 1997 and 2000, eight of the states’ counties were abolished; six, including Plymouth County, remain, although three of those were reorganized into different forms. … The reason for their abolition: They provided minimal services and were deemed unnecessary, wasteful and inefficient … The vast majority of government services were performed by either the state or the cities and towns. And there was a growing desire for regional approaches to planning and the administration of certain services that viewed county structure as irrelevant.

Yet, how efficient is municipal government, based on political boundaries established many years ago that yielded 351 cities and towns, all with local governments? That’s a lot of police and fire departments, public works departments and school districts…

Is there a better model for local governance? Tom Calter thinks so.

Calter, D-Kingston, is serving his second term as a state representative. … He’s seen the inner workings of town government. And he doesn’t like part of what he sees.

“Municipalities can’t make the current form of government work,” he told a gathering of regional business and civic leaders … “Quite simply, they are no longer able to increase their budgets to provide the next level of services our citizens have come to expect.”

It’s time for local governments to consolidate services, he said, just as business has been doing for decades. And he said the fastest way to do that is by using county government.

“We can’t afford to keep everything local,” he said. “We need to regionalize schools, police officers and fire departments. Although we may end up with the same amount of police, firemen and teachers, we could do away with costly bureaucracies, sell surplus buildings and benefit from greater economies and operating efficiencies.”

3. Massachusetts Regionalization Month

There are countless examples of regionalization across the Commonwealth. With the help of 13 Regional Planning Agencies in the state and the collaborative effort of neighboring municipalities, there are many opportunities for cities and towns to combine resources. Shared services can have a positive impact on the participating communities, providing more efficient processes and cost-saving solutions. Whether it is by creating regional 911 communication centers, intercity recycling programs, or sharing local accounting programs, there are a number of successful examples that communities can learn from as they consider regionalizing certain local services that make sense for their community.

Note: See listing of Resources including MA Regional Planning agencies. Ed.

4. Meadowlands trains-to-game show potential of regional rail - The Star-Ledger - - New Jersey, USA

The inauguration of the special game-day trains marks a small but important first step in the regionalization of passenger rail service, whereby trains from the three commuter railroads that serve New Jersey and New York will, for the first time, run on one another's tracks.

This autumn, before 1 p.m. kickoffs for either Jets or Giants games, three NJ Transit trains will run from New Haven, Conn., through New York's Penn Station to the Secaucus transfer station, where fans will switch to trains to Giants Stadium.

… all three commuter railroads are setting new ridership records annually and expect more growth before the big projects come on line. Facilities like Penn Station must be used more efficiently at nominal cost.

Running trains through the station will not require new platforms or tracks. By not "dwelling" at a platform until its scheduled return trip, as most trains do now, a train that runs through creates a new platform slot for another to use.

This seems a simple and inexpensive idea, but it has eluded railroads for years because of a lack of vision in the statehouses, an entrenched rivalry among the railroads and their managers, and geographically restrictive labor agreements.

"The barriers to regional rail are less geographic and more institutional, labor and political," said Elliot Sander, who pushed for the football trains while MTA chief, as did NJ Transit's chief Richard Sarles.

For regional rail to fully blossom, one technical obstacle that must fall is the different ways railroads collect electricity. …

The rail agencies believe the three-year football train pilot will show they have set aside rivalries to operate a high-quality service between states. Already, tickets are available on the commuter railroads for the entire trip.

5. Governor Rell Announces State’s First-Ever Comprehensive Economic Strategic Plan - State of Connecticut - News Release September 16, 2009

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced the release of the state’s first-ever Economic Strategic Plan – a detailed, statewide blueprint for keeping and growing jobs, making the state more business-friendly and investing in the infrastructure and technology that will keep Connecticut competitive in the 21st Century.

Governor Rell said: “The plan outlines the smart, targeted investments we need to make in housing, our transportation system and work force development. It spells out the commitments needed from government leaders in both the Executive and Legislative branches to work together to eliminate roadblocks to growth and build on a climate for success. And it makes clear that these steps must be taken with the principle of Responsible Growth foremost in mind – preserving the charm and character of our state for our children and for generations to come.”

The full text of the nearly 550-page plan is being posted today on the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Web site at

As the plan was being developed, DECD held public meetings in 10 cities and towns in late 2007 and early 2008 to gather input from residents, business leaders and lawmakers. Since then, the global economic downturn has taken a tremendous toll on Connecticut families and employers, causing tens of thousands of job losses and leading to multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits

Recommendations include:

* Creating a $100 million, public-private student loan partnership, offering loan forgiveness in most-needed occupations such as science and engineering and depending on the length of career spent in Connecticut after graduation.

* Creating a $25 million International Opportunities Program to encourage global technology companies to locate their North American headquarters in Connecticut

* Implementing an Angel Investor Tax Credit, giving a tax break to individuals, corporations or institutions that invest in qualified start-up enterprises in areas such as biotechnology, digital media and “green” technology.

* Continuing the development of regionalism – programs and policies that have cities and towns working together rather than competing with one another.

Full Release

6. Passenger rail service brought $7B in investments, jobs, developer says - Dayton Daily News - Dayton, OH, USA

A land developer from Maine visited Dayton on Tuesday, Sept. 15, to tell local business and government leaders that Maine’s investment in passenger rail service has delivered benefits exceeding what planners expected.

Martin said Maine invested less than $100 million, and that triggered over $7 billion in additional construction investment, almost 7 million square feet of new commercial space and 18,000 new jobs. “It’s been like that all over the country, and there’s no reason to believe Ohio can’t be the same,” Martin said.

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission [] hosted Martin’s visit to Dayton to highlight the potential benefits of Ohio’s 3C “Quick Start” passenger rail plan.

The 3C plan would establish rail service connecting Ohio’s big three cities — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — with service to Dayton and other cities. The Ohio Rail Development Commission officially gave its approval this week for efforts to secure $400 million in federal stimulus funds to finance the development.

Critics have questioned whether such a large investment in rail service is justified in Ohio particularly when operation of a train system will require continuing government subsidies. Some question whether enough people would use passenger trains in Ohio to make the project worthwhile.

Martin said the same questions were raised in Maine in 1995 when a smaller proposal for rail service from Boston, Mass., to Portland, Maine, was proposed.

The service, which started in 2001, has exceeded all ridership projections. Among the major related investments, Martin said, was Mattsun Development’s redevelopment of a more than 100-year-old mill property on Saco Island, Maine, for residential, commercial and recreational use.

About 30 people attended a presentation by Martin at the planning commission’s Center for Regional Cooperation in Dayton

7. Joel Cayford: Ministers are grabbing the real power for city's planning - The New Zealand Herald - Auckland, NZ

Who will plan Auckland? Answers to this question are hard to find in the public discussion about transition, Maori seats and Auckland's boundaries.

But it is an important question and it is important it gets answered publicly because Auckland planning - the lack of planning, the costs of planning, or the adequacy of planning - were high on the list of arguments in favour of restructuring Auckland local government.

Few disagreed with the need to strengthen Auckland's regional governance - particularly of regional infrastructure like water, wastewater and transport - and that the planning of regional infrastructure needed to be integrated with land-use planning.

However, there has not been universal agreement about the institutional arrangements needed to deliver this sensible objective - hence the efforts of a royal commission and a parliamentary select committee.

Important questions about organisational structures, political representation, and the jobs of more than 6000 local government employees need to be answered, but so does the question about how Auckland will be planned, and who will plan it.

Recent events suggest Government wants Auckland to be planned in Wellington by ministers, and not by councillors elected to the proposed Auckland Council.

The strongest and most worrying indication of this shift in decision-making are the pet transport projects being peddled by Minister of Transport …

… Government-driven interventions strike at the bedrock of Auckland strategic planning. Built up decision by decision, Auckland's current strategic plan started with a Metropolitan Urban Limit policy in 1999, included a transport strategy in 2005 supporting freight, private and public transport, and today recognises strengthened regional governance is needed to deliver integrated urban development …

Auckland might be the city of sails, but it will not take kindly to being treated as some sort of Third-World infrastructure development project run out of Wellington.

8. The Business Case for the Arts - Pop City - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

The arts allow us to imagine a new way to live and envision the world. Artists and cultural organizations create a world in which art and business collaborate to spur development and revitalization in Pittsburgh, serving as a model for cities around the globe.

It is no surprise that Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Andy Warhol Museum and Pittsburgh's Creative and Performing Arts high school were selected to host the main White House events during the Pittsburgh Summit.

The arts also contribute to the economic fabric of the region. The non-profit arts and culture industry in Allegheny County generates $341 million in economic activity —$230.7 million by the organizations themselves and an additional $110.7 million in event related spending by audiences. In addition, the industry supports over 10,192 full-time equivalent jobs and $33.7 million in local and state government tax revenues.*

Locally, there is a history of successful business-arts partnerships. The world renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra acts as ambassador for our city through its international tours and performances. The Orchestra has partnered with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its affiliate the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance on tours to Europe and Asia, bringing business opportunities to Western Pennsylvania.

deeplocal, a Pittsburgh based multi-media company, has created "in-residence" fellowships for businesses and artists. For the artists, the term "in-residence" means the artists are in a location, free to create and design new artwork or compose new music. For businesses, this translates to innovative problem solving, creating efficient business models or finding methods to increase productivity.

Nationally there is a trend to connect art and business sectors in order to generate new ideas, ingenuity and efficiency. In February 2004, Harvard Business Review exclaimed, the "MFA is the new MBA," giving master of fine arts degrees the same relevance as a master of business degree in the business sector.


9. Megaregions and America’s economic recovery: A look at opportunities for megaregional planning across the U.S. SPUR - Urbanist

It has been almost five years since the concept of "megaregions" surfaced and gained recognition among urban planners and regionalists in the United States. My organization, America 2050, in the course of advocating for a national infrastructure plan, has worked with partners around the country, including SPUR, to bring this concept of a new, expanded urban scale to the fore in discussions about America's changing demographics, land-use patterns, transportation demands and energy needs in the 21st century.

The idea that our planning processes ought to take into account the scale at which travel patterns, electric grids, business relationships, housing markets and natural systems actually occur is straightforward. But the concept has been slow to take hold in federal policy — except in transportation. There, the recent infusion of funding for high-speed rail has highlighted the important role of megaregions in planning and building support for high-speed rail corridors.

While high-speed rail may set the stage for megaregions' debut in national policy discussions, this framework for spatial planning and coordination has many more applications. Right now the nation is experiencing not only an economic recession, but a profound transformation. How the nation emerges from this recession in terms of the structure of its economy, infrastructure, energy supply, workforce and approach to the natural environment will largely determine our ability to compete and prosper in the 21st century. As we contemplate a transformation in each of these areas, we also must look at the spatial dimension of our planning, governance and implementation systems.

Over the course of the past year, America 2050 has held a series of megaregion forums around the country with the aim of identifying infrastructure priorities that could be included in a national infrastructure plan. Last December's conference in Sacramento, "Investing in America's Competitiveness," co-sponsored by SPUR, the Bay Area Council, MTC and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Councils of Government was part of this series and focused on infrastructure challenges in the Northern California megaregion.

Our reasoning for regional organization is this: …

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

Bold font is used to add emphasis to key words and phrases. 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 Brookings: Sacramento region's economy is weak

Sacramento Business Journal - CA, USA

The Sacramento region’s ailing economy is one of the nation’s weakest, hobbled by the fast-rising jobless rate and the free-falling home prices this year, according to a closely watched quarterly report released Tuesday. The four-county region was one of the 40-worst markets in the nation during the second quarter, joining the ranks of Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland and Phoenix. The capital is in good company, with every California region also falling in the 40-worst category. Bakersfield, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose joined Sacramento in the second-worst tier at spots No. 61 through 80. Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino and Stockton were listed among the 20-worst markets nationwide, joining Detroit, Las Vegas and many cities in Florida and Ohio, according to the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. … The best cities for economic recovery? Austin; Baton Rouge, La.; and Columbia, S.C. The Golden State fared poorly in the survey, with no region in the top 60. The complete report is available at

.02 Region's Big Four leaders support regional cooperation on transit

Crain's Detroit Business - Michigan, USA

The Big Four didn’t quite hold hands and sing “Kumbaya,” but the tone at a Friday panel discussion at the Tri-County summit at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn Friday was friendly, if subdued. The four regional leaders — the Big Four is a nickname for the mayor of Detroit and the leaders of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties — talked about regional cooperation on transit, with Paul Gieleghem, chairman of the Macomb County Commission, calling transit a “game changer” for the area. Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson said his office has received a rough draft of a regional transit mission statement from John Hertel, CEO of Detroit Regional Mass Transit. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he hasn’t had time to digest the latest wave of transit plans, but said he supports the concept. Detroit’s financial condition underscores the need for regional success — if Detroit goes into receivership, Oakland County will lose its prized Aaa bond rating, Patterson said. ...

.03 Green Coast goes to Washington — Area leaders convene in capital

Pacific Coast Business Times - Santa Barbara, CA, USA

With the Obama administration nudging climate change toward the top of the political agenda, the new energy economy was a timely topic as 25 business and community leaders from the Tri-Counties convened for a day of discussions hosted by U.S. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. Capps said she was encouraged by efforts to develop a regional economic development plan to encourage clean technology companies under the umbrella of a Green Coast Alliance. “This is an opportunity for the entire region to develop jobs at a time when the economy is weak,” Capps said. “We come from a position of being in a deficit compared to the rest of the world.” ...

.04 Regional gang initiative grant award announced

Reno Gazette Journal - NV, USA

The Carson City, Lyon County and Douglas County Sheriff's Offices have been notified by the Office of Criminal Justice Assistance of the award of approximately $350,000 for the conceptual formation of a tri-county Regional Gang Initiative, ... Gang issues in the three counties have been a priority concern for some time, the sheriff said. "In many cases, officers are doing double duty on patrol and gang enforcement. These officers also face jurisdictional boundaries. The grant acknowledges that gangs do not recognize our county lines. They often live, function, and create discord in many different areas at the same time. By their nature, they are often transient and move to areas with the least gang enforcement presence. "This characteristic requires intense multi-agency cooperation and communications. ...

.05 3-state collaboration receives national grant to address nursing shortages

Warwick Beacon - Warwick, RI, USA

Tufts Health Plan Foundation in Watertown, Mass. has been chosen as one of 19 foundations nationwide to receive funding from Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future, a national initiative to help address the long-term shortage of nurses across the country. To develop solutions and lead efforts within Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, the foundation has been awarded a two-year grant of $250,000 to support an extensive collaboration in the three states that will develop a regional approach to nursing education. Rhode Island nurse leaders from academic and practice settings across the state will participate in this three-state collaboration, “Creativity and Connections: Building a Regional Nursing Education Framework.” ...

.06 Shining Light Awards Honor Three for Outstanding Commitment to Region

Reuters -

The 2009 "Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards" will be awarded to Judge Damon J. Keith, Mariam C. Noland and Brittany Galisdorfer for the important contributions they have made to regional cooperation, progress and understanding in Metropolitan Detroit. ... This award recognizes an individual in the public spotlight who is taking risks and demonstrating courage to improve regional cooperation and understanding. ... The Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition launched the Shining Light Awards in 2007 to highlight the critical importance of regional cooperation to the success of Southeast Michigan. ... The Metropolitan Affairs Coalition, established in 1958, is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving greater Detroit's quality of life and creating economic opportunity through regional cooperation. Visit its website

.07 Civic Innovation Lab Has $9.4 Million Economic Impact on Cuyahoga ...

Reuters - USA

The investments and activities of The Civic Innovation Lab, the Northeast Ohio grassroots economic development organization that provides mentorship and $30,000 in funding to early stage entrepreneurs, generated economic impact in Cuyahoga County. The Lab generated $9.4 million in economic output in 2008, added 128 jobs, increased household income by $4.1 million, and generated $1.2 million in taxes. The study was conducted by the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University and assumes that these 32 companies and organizations would not have existed without the initial funding from the Lab. Economic impact is the estimate of the economic benefits an organization creates in a given region. ...

.08 Salazar Launches DOI Climate Change Response Strategy - U.S. Department of the Interior – Press Release

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar launched the Department of the Interior’s first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America’s land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources on September 14. The secretarial order establishes a framework through which Interior bureaus will coordinate climate change science and resource management strategies. Under the framework:

* A new Climate Change Response Council, led by the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and Counselor, will coordinate DOI’s response to the impacts of climate change within and among the Interior bureaus and will work to improve the sharing and communication of climate change impact science, including through ;

* Eight DOI regional Climate Change Response Centers, serving Alaska, the Northeast, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Midwest, the West, Northwest, and Pacific regions – will synthesize existing climate change impact data and management strategies, help resource managers put them into action on the ground, and engage the public through education initiatives; and …

.09 Metro Atlanta foreclosures swamp last year's record

Atlanta Journal Constitution - Atlanta, GA, USA

With three months left in 2009, the number of metro Atlanta foreclosure notices has already surpassed last year’s record, a sign of how deep the recession has been as well as a portent of further trouble as the economy struggles to regain its footing. ... “When you can’t sell property, that takes away one of the largest remedies for curing default. Right now, the market is pretty slow.” The biggest increases in foreclosure listings are in Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee and Forsyth counties, said Dan Immergluck, professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Tech. “Certainly it partly reflects the worsening regional labor market since 2008. It also reflects a continuing suburbanization of the foreclosure problem and a shift to higher value homes. ...

.10 Seattle's version of sharing: Scraps for Tacoma, good stuff for us

Regionalism died last week. Don’t blame Russell Investments. It took cynical advantage of provincial rivalries for fun and profit. Its owners in the cosmopolitan city of Milwaukee decided Russell needed a fancier address. Getting an office tower for 40 cents on the dollars didn’t hurt either. I just wish they would have told us so we could have avoided the humiliation of trying to keep the company in a town it had no interest in. No, regionalism was killed by Seattle and state leaders who preach it only when it benefits Seattle. At the same time that it views itself as a global city, its business and political powers act provincially. ...

.11 Taylor says regionalism will help state economic development

Planet Weekly - Alabama, USA

Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), is promoting regionalism in development for the State of Alabama. "It is a team approach. It brings more resources together in a common approach." Taylor, the former CEO and president of Mercedes Benz U.S. International, ... As Taylor has contacted development officials throughout the state, he saw no lack of motivation, desire and commitment, but he also saw a need for support, ideas and direction. "We need to bring more people to the party....We will continue to work with communities." Taylor had a meeting that afternoon with three counties to join together for one effort. ...

.12 Coast fielding statewide hopefuls

Hattiesburg American - Mississippi, USA

Regionalism has strongly influenced the inner political workings of the Legislature over the years, pitting representatives from the Delta against those from northeast Mississippi hill country and senators from the piney woods against those from the coastal marshlands. Outside the Capitol, there's little to be gained - and much to be lost - by any group of candidates campaigning as a geographical bloc. Mississippi is a long state north to south, encompassing several cultures. It's more than 360 miles from the Civil War battlefield in the Appalachian foothills outside Corinth to the shrimp boats and casinos in coastal Biloxi. Folks in one part of the state tend to view those in far-flung places as foreigners.

.13 RDA debate draws 200

Gary Post Tribune - Indiana, USA

The future of the Regional Development Authority and Porter County's role in it were the hot topics at Tuesday night's symposium in Valparaiso. ... Much of the discontent with the RDA has come from Porter County. In April, the Porter County Council voted 4-3 to leave the RDA, which it joined in 2005, and to stop sending money collected from the County Economic Development Income Tax to pay its portion of RDA funds -- about $3.5 million each year. The money is gathering in an escrow account while a judge considers the legality of the council's move. Morris said the RDA was created to tackle four projects: expanding Gary/Chicago International Airport; implementing the Marquette Plan for the Lake Michigan shoreline; extending the South Shore train line into Porter County and southern Lake County; and establishing a Regional Bus Authority. "Regionalism is becoming more and more important," Morris said. "Times are tight and resources are scarce." Supporters of the RDA cited the organization as the only way to get transformational projects accomplished, and they said the demand for public transportation will grow as energy costs grow. ...,rda0923.article

.14 Urban Land Institute will use greenways to start connecting ...

Memphis Commercial Appeal - Tennessee, USA

Improving regional dialogue on important issues is the most pressing of seven new initiatives recently established by the Urban Land Institute Memphis, the new chairman says. "Right now, regional topics don't get the focus they deserve," said Russell 'Rusty' Bloodworth, who chairs the five-year-old Mid-South chapter. … new chairman of Urban Land Institute Memphis, which promotes "responsible" use of land. Sustainability, connectivity and more green space, exemplified by Schilling Farms in Collierville (backdrop), are some of the institute's concerns. The overarching goal of the institute is to promote the "responsible" use of land and to help create sustainable, thriving communities. ... The institute will begin promoting regionalism in earnest with "Greenways for the Mid-South Region: Connect the Dots," a workshop in early November ...

.15 UB Report Shows Little Savings from Downsizing

WBFO - Buffalo, New York, USA

The UB Regionalism Institute and the UB Law School released a report Thursday that examined the benefits and costs associated with downsizing governments. The institute did an analysis of all 44 local village, town and city governing boards. The study comes at a time when some municipalities are considering downsizing the number of legislators representing them. … Joyce Kryszak talked with the Institute's Director Kate Foster to find out why. (Audio)

Link to full report:

.16 Secrets of the city

Detroit Metro Times - Michigan, USA

The battered abandonment, the veritable concrete jungles and the wrecked streets give Detroit its ghostly and troubled tone. It also makes the once glorious metropolis one of the world's most enigmatic modern cities. It's true. Blunt and simple: People dig Detroit, but nobody's rushing to move here. It's a wonder to outsiders — from Bloomfield Hills to Yokohama, Japan — why those residents who've the means to move away continue to stay, and how a city on life support continues to grasp onto what's left. "What is left?" they ask. But those who don't regularly navigate Detroit's busted up avenues have yet to discover the regionalism and power of Detroit life. … There's a beating Motor City heart — which was once found in dozens of monstrous factories — that now exists in cockeyed places, like in those that produce art. …

.17 Two-town alliance pondered

Nashoba Publishing – Massachusetts, USA

The Regionalization Planning Committee voted unanimously at its Sept. 1 meeting not to pursue the three-town system it had envisioned. In a way, it was no surprise. As the deadline approached, proponents were clear about the sticking point -- state transition money. Although not promised, there was hope it could be found, somewhere. It was not. "We never heard back from the governor's office," after a meeting at the Statehouse last month, Simmons said. "The board felt it was an insurmountable road block." ... "We still think the three-town region is the best option," Simmons said, but absent that, there may be opportunities for collaboration between Ayer and Shirley school districts, which already have close ties. ...

.18 Charity forms regional alliance

Winston-Salem Journal – NC, USA

Eight local corps of the Salvation Army have formed an alliance to better publicize the work they do in the Triad region. "We really hope it will increase an overall awareness of the services that are comprehensive and available to folks throughout this service area," Maj. Terry Israel, the corps officer in Winston-Salem, said yesterday at a news conference. The corps involved in the alliance are in Asheboro; Burlington; Davidson County; Greensboro; High Point; Mount Airy; Rockingham-Caswell counties; and Winston-Salem, serving Davie, Forsyth, Stokes and Yadkin counties. ... Israel said that the alliance will eliminate unnecessary duplications of administrative tasks and structures, and help the corps benefit from the strengths of each unit and share best practices.

.19 Muskegon County Road Commission considers crushing roads to gravel

The Muskegon Chronicle - MI, USA

Looking to stop putting patchwork Band-Aids on three rural roads, the Muskegon County Road Commission is considering crushing them back into gravel as a longer term cost-saving measure. ... More than 20 of Michigan's 83 counties have turned rural roads to gravel with no immediate plans to repave, according to the County Road Association of Michigan. Approximately 50 miles have been reverted in the past three years. ... Comment: ... We used to live on a blacktop road, Brunswick Road north of Holton in Muskegon County. The Muskegon County road Commissioner ordered it ground it up last fall. We now have a big slimy mess with more pot-holes than we ever had before. …

.20 Prisoners of the Census: How the Incarcerated are Counted Distorts our Politics

Stateside Dispatch - Progressive States Network

Currently the Census Bureau counts prisoners as residing at their place of incarceration. While this serves the constitutional purpose of the census - determining the relative populations of the states for congressional reapportionment - it has in the past few decades resulted in significant unintended consequences. The two main secondary purposes of the census are state and local legislative reapportionment, and determining funding for federal grants that are based on population or demographics. For these uses the distortions in population counts caused by prisons can and do throw the process out of whack.

.21 AP source: Census worker hanged with 'fed' on body

The Associated Press

A U.S. Census worker found hanged from a tree near a Kentucky cemetery had the word "fed" scrawled on his chest, a law enforcement official said Wednesday, and the FBI is investigating whether he was a victim of anti-government sentiment. ... Investigators have said little about the case. FBI spokesman David Beyer said the bureau is assisting state police and declined to confirm or discuss any details about the crime scene. "Our job is to determine if there was foul play involved — and that's part of the investigation — and if there was foul play involved, whether that is related to his employment as a Census worker," said Beyer. Attacking a federal worker during or because of his federal job is a federal crime. Census employees were told Sparkman's truck was found nearby, and a computer he was using for work was found inside it, she said. He worked part-time for the Census, usually conducting interviews once or twice a month. Sparkman has worked for the Census since 2003, spanning five counties in the surrounding area. Much of his recent work had been in Clay County, officials said. Door-to-door operations have been suspended in Clay County pending a resolution of the investigation, Scurry-Johnson said. The Census Bureau has yet to begin door-to-door canvassing for the 2010 head count, but it has thousands of field workers doing smaller surveys on various demographic topics on behalf of federal agencies. ...

.22 Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West


Dead forests, of course, are fuel for the dramatic, massive wildfires you now see so regularly on the TV news. We had quite a few of those wildfires this summer in Utah, but -- what with southern California burning -- they didn't make the evening news anywhere but here. That statement can be made all over the West. Both the frequency and size of fires are on the rise in our region. Early in the summer of 2008, while more than 2,000 separate wildfires raged across his state, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a point that many Western governors might soon be making. He claimed that California's fire season is now 365 days long. The infernos that licked the edges of the Los Angeles basin this August were at once catastrophic and routine.


.23 VeriFone VTS Taxi Payment & Media Systems Now in Maryland

Reuters - USA

Barwood is the first taxi company in the Washington, DC, metro region to equip its cabs with PIMs that speed acceptance of credit and debit cards, while also providing access to video services. Barwood, which handles about 1.2 million rides a year, expects to have monitors in its entire fleet of 435 taxis by the end of the year. ... "Across the country, forward-thinking fleet owners and municipal transportation planners are recognizing that technology available today can improve passenger convenience while bringing new efficiencies to management of taxi services."

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Top 100 Urban Thinkers


Planetizen readers have spoken. After more than 14,000 votes, the urban planning community has named the 100 top urban thinkers. Atop the list: Jane Jacobs.

The poll was active for one month, from August 7th to September 7th, 2009. We would never claim that this is a definitive list; voters were given free reign to submit and vote for whomever they liked. Overall, the list includes some of the brightest, most influential and most controversial figures in the development of cities and places.

The Top Ten Urban Thinkers:

1. Jane Jacobs

2. Andres Duany

3. Christopher Alexander

4. Frederick Law Olmsted

5. Kevin A. Lynch

6. Daniel Burnham

7. Lewis Mumford

8. Leon Krier

9. William H. Whyte

10. Jan Gehl

See the full list of Planetizen's Top Urban Thinkers:

.02 Media seminar on secularism and militant regionalism

Merinews - India

WITH THE upcoming of Maharashtra state elections starting October 13, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication (SIMC) and the Press Club of Mumbai organised a seminar on increasing regionalism in politics … Sudhaman who initiated the discussion, stated that despite all its setbacks, India is one of the few countries in the world where democracy has thrived in such a large scale. “One simply can’t deny the fact, democracy has actually led to substantial development of the country”, Sudhaman stated. He also credited Rajiv Gandhi for completely changing the political thinking in the country. … Ganesh Kanate, editor, TV9, opined that the root cause of militant regionalism was due to lack of ideology in political parties in India. “The problem is, since 1960, there has been no change in the main policies affecting the functioning of the country. This is because there is no original thought”, he said. The main idea espoused by almost all of the speakers, is that the suppression of regional needs and aspiration is the main cause of the rise of regionalism in India. But they also agreed that the media plays a big role in a democracy. They said that as members of the fourth estate, it becomes the duty of the journalist to keep problems such as corruption at bay by acting as the whistle blowers of the society.

.03 Battlelines drawn to save region's assets


"The war’s not yet over." That’s the word from Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee who says the government’s flip-flop on the Rodney district’s supercity boundary is "an outstanding victory". And the reversal, announced on Monday, shows there’s still a chance the southern boundaries could also be redrawn, Mr Lee says. ...

.04 Council of Atlantic Premiers Launch “Let’s Right the Future” Wellness Campaign in Canada – Canada

Helping children to live active and healthier lives is the goal of a new Atlantic wellness social marketing campaign, “Let’s Right the Future,” launched today by the Council of Atlantic Premiers in Saint John, New Brunswick. Premiers kicked off the campaign by highlighting the English and French TV ads and the campaign website The objective of the campaign is to inspire an Atlantic wellness movement and to make wellness everyone’s business. … The Council of Atlantic Premiers was formed by a memorandum of understanding between the four Atlantic provinces in May 2000, and is committed to identifying and pursuing opportunities for joint action among the region’s provincial governments. This commitment builds on a strong foundation of regional unity and intergovernmental cooperation spanning more than three decades. …

.05 $100 Bil. Set for Regional Development

Korea Times

The government will spend a total of 126 trillion won over the coming five years on the country's regional development. The five-year project was reported Wednesday to President Lee Myung-bak during a Presidential committee on regional development meeting, said the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. A total of 126 trillion ($104.2 billion) will be spent through 2013 on the long-term growth scheme, in which all Korean provinces are regrouped into seven regions with differentiated outlines to bolster business and secure global competitiveness, as well as build up the quality of life for residents. ... Under the plan, each area will autonomously develop key projects in industries, manpower and social infrastructure under the supervision of a special committee headed by governors. ...

.06 Chile's Mapuches Call for Regional Autonomy

World Press Review -

Leaders of Chile's indigenous Mapuche community have seized upon the death of activist Jaime Mendoza Collío to rev up their long-standing campaign for land reform and political autonomy in southern Chile. Simmering tensions that periodically burst into brief fits of violence have come to mark the Araucanía in southern Chile, the area in which most of the country's 900,000 Mapuches live. ... The Chilean government's reaction to Mapuche acts of land seizure and vandalism has attracted international attention and criticism for its harsh severity, calling into question Chile's reputation as one of the hemisphere's most strongly consolidated democracies. ... Now Mapuche political leaders are taking the logic of land reform one step further and demanding regional autonomy for Wallmapu, as Mapudungun speakers call the Araucanía. ...

.07 Progressive internationalism

Jamaica Gleaner - Jamaica

P.J. Patterson, this year's recipient of the Order of CARICOM has said, "Mature regionalism will remain a pipe dream unless authority is vested in an executive mechanism with full-time responsibility to ensure the implementation, within a specified time frame, of critical decisions taken by the heads or other designated organs of the community". Some formula must be found and agreement reached for what Dr Rainford calls 'collective sovereignty' and "enhanced governance arrangements". ...

.08 Acquiring political points on quarrels: Serbia and its neighbors with same problems from the past

Blic Online

“Strained relations and frequent incidents among the states from the region are not unusual and unexpected after the earthquake which happened during the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Although we are always named as the region of the western Balkans, we are not the region and these parts are not related. The only thing that connects us is a desire to join the EU and that is the reason why it is important to keep the dynamics of getting closer to the EU. The only thing which prevents us from returning to our old pace is our common European future,” says Predrag Simic, the Professor from the Faculty of Political Science ... “All leaders from this region are excellent allies, because instead of solving far more difficult problems of the borders, unemployment and of attracting foreign investments, they give each other a chance for opening old battlefields. Thus they cover up their inability to solve real life problems. This will be a problem for a long time in the region and the real solution lies in Brussels,” said Komsic.

.09 Tadić tells party end of crisis is "near"

DS leader Boris Tadić told his party's main board meeting in Belgrade on Saturday that the end of the economic crisis is at hand, but that it is "not over yet". However, he warned against complacency. ... He also spoke about political goals to say "there are no changes there – Serbia's most important goal is EU membership". ... Speaking about the country's regionalization, Tadić said that this must not amount to ideas about creating "new centers of power and quasi-states on Serbia's soil", adding that the process would require "several years" to complete. …

.10 Rotterdam rules set to usher in a sea change - The Wall Street Journal

A new international convention, known as the Rotterdam Rules, on the carriage of containerized freight by sea and involving an inland journey, is taking shape. The draft United Nations (UN) Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea will be open for signature by all member states at a ceremony on 23 September in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, and afterwards at the UN headquarters in New York. The convention, which took a decade in the making, will require ratification by at least 20 states. ... According to Nicollette van der Jagt, secretary general of the European Shippers Council, the proposed convention does not fully address multimodal (carriage of goods using different modes of transport such as roads, rail and sea) issues. The new rules could prevent worldwide multimodal solutions from being developed for many years. “Because of that, the Rotterdam Rules could accelerate rather than restrain regionalization in this area as they appear to contain loopholes as to their mandatory application”, she said. ...

.11 Forest conservation: who has the right idea?

The Thai government’s recent U-turn on its decision to remove monks in temples in environmentally-protected areas has once again underlined the conflicting ideologies over forest conservation in Thailand. Last week, the Thai Natural Resources and Environment Ministry abandoned its plan to evict temples encroaching on protected forest. The eviction was fiercely opposed by the monks because of their long-standing tradition of meditating in the forest (a practice since the time of Buddha) and because they regard themselves as protectors of the area, unlike some government-approved commercial operations. Despite this, the monks - like forest villages - have no legal rights or recognition. Around 5,331 villages have registered their community forest programmes with the Thai Royal Forestry Department, but their entitlement, authority and use of the land is dependent on the liberalism of the regional RFD officer. Pearmsak Makarabhirom, a former officer at the Regional Community Forestry Centre, who made proposals on the issue of forest monks more than 10 years ago, told Sideways News: “Thai communities have been so strong and tried their best to protect and manage forests without any legal support, but many cases are still being sent to court.” ...

.12 Carbon Financing and Community Forestry

The following is a text of a Call for Action issued after the First Regional Forum for People and Forests: Carbon Financing and Community Forestry. The three-day event brought together key people to analyze the risks, opportunities, and constraints that carbon financing presents for Asia-Pacific’s forest-dependent people. ... As forests in the Asia-Pacific region can potentially absorb a large proportion of global carbon dioxide emissions, the need for healthy and sustainable forest ecosystems cannot be understated nor undersold. But we must go beyond carbon to promote and ‘sell’ biodiversity, watershed conservation, and sustainable forest management as an essential holistic package. Local people hold the key to healthy forests in this region. They have the closest direct stake in forest resources and will affect the outcome of any forest management strategy, including those aimed at climate change mitigation. For carbon financing to succeed, it must learn from three decades of community forestry experience and actively engage and benefit local people.

.13 Oh No! Global Warming Is Affecting Beer Production

The quality of Saaz hops, which are required to make pilsner lager, has been decreasing lately, and climatologist Martin Mozny of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute thinks he knows why: Global warming. Indeed, Saaz hops are delicate and the higher air temperatures in the Czech Republic are affecting them negatively. ... But of course climate change doesn't stop at the borders of the Czech Republic. Regions of eastern Germany and central Slovakia have noticed similar changes in their crops. Beer is just an example here. Lots of other crops, plants and animals are being affected by global warming. ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Transit Summit spells out need for regional cooperation

Racine Post

A "Transit Summit" was held in Milwaukee last week to lay out the need for cooperation on bus and train service throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Kerry Thomas, executive director Kerry Thomas, executive director of Transit NOW, the group pushing for KRM from Kenosha to Milwaukee, attended the pro-transit summit and wrote a summary of the gathering, which is printed below. Here are a few key points:

* Scott Bernstein, a national expert on transit and regional economies, said southeastern Wisconsin is competing with 400 other regions for federal money to aid economic development. The money is needed because the Milwaukee region, which includes Racine, now ranks 336th out of 392 regions as a place to live and do business. Declining transit is a major region for the decline, Bernstein said. ...

.02 40/40/20 demonstrates the pitfalls of regional transportation planning

I’ve had a couple arguments in recent weeks over the merits of regional transportation governance reform, ... Now, I don’t question the need for regional transportation planning and cooperation; buses, trains, cars and trucks cross city and county lines, so it would be stupid for our roads and transit not to interoperate. And I don’t question either the need for suburban buses, or the fact that service to these less dense areas necessarily requires a larger subsidy per passenger mile than more crowded, and thus more cost-efficient, city routes. (The fare to expense ratio in Metro’s Seattle-centric West area was roughly 26% in 2007, compared to 14% for the East area.) But when the political compromises necessary to facilitate “regional governance” result in rigid, sub-area allocations like Metro’s 40/40/20 rule, or Sound Transit’s subarea equity provisions, it can’t help but hamper the ability of Seattle taxpayers to provide themselves the level of service they want and need. ...

.03 Four Officials From 'Kindred Cities' of Boulder to Speak at Sept. 23 Public Forum

Huffington Post (blog)

Four prominent leaders from Aspen, Colo., Madison, Wis., Portland, Ore. and Sante Fe, N.M. will share their experiences and thoughts in an evening forum, Wednesday, Sept. 23, titled "Separated at Birth: Insights from Kindred Communities." ... several topics, including:

* How a city's image or "narrative" affects growth both positively and negatively.

* How university cities navigate issues of "town and gown."

* How cities work regionally, integrating community issues within larger growth areas.

* How cities develop sustainable "green" policies.

* How a city's success can lead to an increasing lack of economic diversity.

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 6th Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Roundtable - September 30 – October 1, 2009 - Frederick, Maryland

Smart and Sustainable – Local & Regional, State and Multi-State -

How will planning contribute to achieving these goals of the citizenry?

For: Planners and Elected and Appointed Officials, Business Persons and Citizens

Sponsored by: Regional and Intergovernmental Planning Division, American Planning Association and APA Chapters: Delaware, Maryland, National Capital Area, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia to allow no admission cost to participants.

Hosted by: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG)

Historic Roundtable Support: AMPO, NADO, NARC

Location: Cultural Arts Center of Frederick County, 15 W Patrick St., Frederick, Maryland 21701



.02 Studies Identify Trouble Ahead for Pennsylvania’s Communities Statewide - Issues PA

Three new studies are sounding a warning bell for Pennsylvania municipalities and the state as a whole: without major changes in the structures and laws that govern municipalities and the way they are financed, and unless communities are empowered to work more closely together, their fiscal and physical integrity is at grave risk and the state’s economy will continue to struggle in the coming decades. The independent studies released by three major research institutions concurrently today are:

* an assessment of the fiscal health of Pennsylvania municipalities by the Pennsylvania Economy League, called "Structuring Healthy Communities;"

* an update of the 2003 "Back to Prosperity" report, entitled "Committing to Prosperity," prepared by the Brookings Institution for The Campaign to Renew Pennsylvania; and

* "Strengthening Rural Pennsylvania," a policy brief on rural issues authored by a team of researchers from The Pennsylvania State University.

The Penn State study revealed that the trends -- both positive and negative -- impact communities of all sizes throughout the state.

"Sometimes we have a tendency to think of rural areas as being separate from urban and suburban areas, and we make decisions about each in a public-policy vacuum," said Ted Alter, Penn State professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics. "We need to recognize that policy changes often create a domino effect that does not stop when it gets to rural Pennsylvania."

The issues rural Pennsylvanians identified as most critical are parallel to those of residents of more densely populated communities. Yet, rural development policy has tended to focus on specific economic segments, rather than address the complexity of rural communities. The report outlines a place-based policy approach that works to leverage a region’s unique assets, encourages regional cooperation among local governments and between the public and private sectors, and takes a more holistic view of economic development.

.03 Genuine Progress Indicator – Wikipedia

The genuine progress indicator (GPI) is a concept in green economics and welfare economics that has been suggested to replace gross domestic product (GDP) as a metric of economic growth.

GPI is an attempt to measure whether a country's growth, increased production of goods, and expanding services have actually resulted in the improvement of the welfare (or well-being) of the people in the country. GPI advocates claim that it can more reliably measure economic progress, as it distinguishes between worthwhile growth and uneconomic growth. …

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 Why capitalism fails - Boston Globe - MA, USA

Since the global financial system started unraveling in dramatic fashion two years ago, distinguished economists have suffered a crisis of their own. Ivy League professors who had trumpeted the dawn of a new era of stability have scrambled to explain how, exactly, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression had ambushed their entire profession.

Amid the hand-wringing and the self-flagellation, a few more cerebral commentators started to speak about the arrival of a “Minsky moment,” and a growing number of insiders began to warn of a coming “Minsky meltdown.”

“Minsky” was shorthand for Hyman Minsky, a hitherto obscure macroeconomist who died over a decade ago. … He predicted, decades ago, almost exactly the kind of meltdown that recently hammered the global economy.

Minsky called his idea the “Financial Instability Hypothesis.” In the wake of a depression, he noted, financial institutions are extraordinarily conservative, as are businesses. With the borrowers and the lenders who fuel the economy all steering clear of high-risk deals, things go smoothly: loans are almost always paid on time, businesses generally succeed, and everyone does well. That success, however, inevitably encourages borrowers and lenders to take on more risk in the reasonable hope of making more money. As Minsky observed, “Success breeds a disregard of the possibility of failure.”

As people forget that failure is a possibility, a “euphoric economy” eventually develops, fueled by the rise of far riskier borrowers - what he called speculative borrowers, those whose income would cover interest payments but not the principal; and those he called “Ponzi borrowers,” those whose income could cover neither, and could only pay their bills by borrowing still further. …

Once that kind of economy had developed, any panic could wreck the market. …

.02 Is your bank ‘underwater’? Check its debt level –

Banks with heavy debt loads are concentrated in a few states. The map shows the percentage of banks in each state that ended the second quarter with "troubled asset ratios" greater than 100, meaning they have more troubled loans than capital and loan loss reserves to cover them. Click through a state to look up any bank in the U.S., using the BankTracker from the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University.

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

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 2000 regional related sites.

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.

We can see that “regional communities of 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 excerpts and 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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