Regional Community Development News – December 9, 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 - .25

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .21

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .10

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .05

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .03

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

Bold Italic highlights search terms and/or phrases of interest.


Note: I see “Regional Community” development as a multi-decade marathon for its visionaries. The RCD News is a humble effort to follow the emergence of “regional communities of communities.” Thinking Tuesdays might be better for readers and scanners of the News, in 2010, the as of date for publication will move to the 2nd and 4th Monday. The goal of this and other products of the Regions Work Initiative is to begin a small repository of references to the regional communities thesis. As the world’s inventory of problems grows, persistent cross-boundary problem-solvers respond. For this we can be thankful. Ed.

Top Regional Community stories

1. 5 Ways We Are Already Acting Like a Region - Pop City - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

You hear it a lot these days: "we need to act more like a region." While I agree with the statement 100%, I tend to cringe when I hear it because we fail to recognize the many wonderful and effective regional approaches already underway addressing and fixing big problems in Southwestern PA.

So here's my list of five regional strategies, some of which might be new to you. What's on your list?

1. Pittsburgh's the safest place in the world, thanks to PA Region 13 Task Force. … Just last month during the G-20 Summit, the FBI and Secret Service recognized Pittsburgh as one of the best coordinated security regions in the country. And when help was needed for Flight 93, the QueCreek Mine accident or the Hepatitis A outbreak in Beaver County, Region 13 responded with incredible speed.

2. We're not only safe, but we're smart and efficient, too. …

3. Water knows no boundaries! And everyone needs it. That was the impetus behind the University of Pittsburgh's Institute of Politics' creation of the Regional Water Task Force in 2006. … With the help of 17 task force members and over 100 technical volunteers from 600 municipalities, the task force developed and agreed upon a regional water resource planning and funding prioritization plan to be implemented by the Southwest Planning Commission. []

4. CONNECT the dots – or Communities. Getting tired of waiting for the City and County to consolidate, … a different course: establish a Congress of Neighboring Communities otherwise known as CONNECT. …

5. Steelers vs. Browns, maybe. But Pittsburgh working with Cleveland, definitely. We can still diss the Browns and cheer for the Steelers, but Pittsburgh and Cleveland simply must work together on economic development and that's what the Tech Belt Initiative is all about. …

2. State panel hears of cooperative efforts by local government - Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH, USA

Northeast Ohio's fledgling and tentative moves toward regionalism had the ear Friday of a state panel looking at ways to reform local government and make it more efficient.

The local efforts, which include a tax revenue sharing plan being developed by local mayors, have all received attention and debate around Cleveland. The hearing was a chance for members of the panel drawn from across the state to hear ideas as it prepares findings to deliver to the governor in June.

Though the nuts and bolts of the different efforts dominated the hearing of the Ohio Commission on Local Government Reform and Collaboration, presenters stressed a few common themes -- that support for regional economic development is strong here and that officials are seeking ways to cut costs.

They also said that cooperation involves giving up control and opens officials up to criticism, so the state should either reward collaboration or force it.

"If there is a way to build in some credit, some sort of political cover for those doing the right thing, it gives an impetus to move things along," said Bob Jaquay, vice president of the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of 100 charities created to look at ways to improve the overall economy.

Lake County Commissioner Dan Troy, co-chair of the commission, said giving "attaboy's and gold stars" for partnerships can help but the state may need to create real financial incentives or threats of losing state money.

"There really is no plus for officials to work with officials outside of their community," he said.


3. Ten months in, Obama housing officials are paying more in attention than cash - Medill Reports - Chicago, IL, USA

Ten months ago, President Barack Obama came to office trumpeting the role of America’s cities in his plan for economic recovery, saying he would create a new Office of Urban Policy to recast the relationship between the federal government and metropolitan areas – in which 80 percent of the population lives.

Since then, officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development have visited Chicago regularly, a stark contrast to the absence of officials during the George W. Bush era. But they have been, for the most part, fact-finding missions aimed at crafting a new approach to federal investment in urban areas, community developers say.

The economic stimulus package that passed shortly after Obama took office provided a test case for this approach, but community developers and urban planners are looking forward to the 2011 budget and an upcoming transportation bill as major tests of the Obama approach.

That approach has two major tenets.

First, it will attempt to force disparate federal agencies to adopt similar criteria when determining who will receive federal money and then coordinate those investments, said MarySue Barrett, the president of Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago.

The second and perhaps bigger shift is that administration officials say they hope to apply these criteria across vast swaths of the metropolitan landscape instead of parsing them out to interest groups.

“In almost every respect, the distinctions between cities and suburbs – and the challenges they face – are blurring,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said last month in a speech summing up changes in philosophy under Obama. “In fact, in many ways the most important frame for place today is the metropolitan area.”

This idea, known as regionalism, has been incubating for years in the urban policy divisions of progressive think tanks like the Brookings Institution. …

But the approach – … not without critics. …

4. Counties to join forces in water emergencies - Baltimore Sun - Baltimore, MD, USA

When millions of gallons of water erupted in mid-September from a ruptured 72-inch water main flooding dozens of Dundalk homes, Baltimore County executive Jim Smith got help quickly from state and local officials all over central Maryland.

"You need everybody in these situations," he said Tuesday, standing between large utility vehicles in a Howard County public works yard in Ellicott City with county executive Ken Ulman, Anne Arundel's John R. Leopold, and Harford's David Craig.

With the signing of a written agreement between the four county executives who represent about a quarter of Maryland's population, help will be automatic and fast when water or wastewater pipes fail. Best of all, the agreement costs the participants nothing but ink and paper.

The initiative is called MD WARN, which stands for Maryland Water Agency Response Network and it's part of a national effort to lay all the legal and logistical groundwork ahead of any disaster, whether it is the failure of one water pipe or a Katrina-sized hurricane.

"All the legal issues are put in place," said Steve Gerwin, Howard's Chief of Utilities. "Now, instead of sharing resources and holding your breath, everything is in place," Gerwin said. Problems of liability if equipment is lost or damaged, for example, will be resolved according to clear methods arranged in advance.

"There's a lot of talk about regionalism, but this puts regionalism on the map," said Leopold. Craig pointed out that the agreement also covers the towns of Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace in his county. "It's not just sharing tools, but people" and expertise, he said.

Baltimore City owns the metropolitan water system, but counties help maintain it. Ulman said the local governments already help each other.


5. Guest columnist Preserving Metro bus service in a difficult economy - Seattle Times - Seattle, WA, USA

THREE years ago, citizens of King County overwhelmingly supported Transit Now to expand Metro bus service. Despite the current financial situation that has reduced Metro's revenues, citizens expect their bus service to continue and have asked government to increase efficiencies by doing more with less.

The King County Council listened and avoided cutting 310,000 annual transit service hours, …

The Metro budget adopted by the County Council on Nov. 23 continues bus service …

The council's short-term work of saving transit service for the next two years is completed, but now it's time to turn our focus toward a long-term solution for transit. When service cuts seemed eminent earlier this year, the regional conversation about such a loss became divided along geographic lines with little agreement about where the cuts should fall. We would like to see stakeholders rise above the fray and think regionally. King County has spent several decades building one of the largest, most successful bus systems in the nation. What is our future vision for that system?

Let's bring the many stakeholders in the Metro system together for a regional summit to find new solutions for delivering efficient, integrated bus service. Let's look at a more rational way for allocating new service and — if need be — service cuts. And finally, let's talk about the best way to stably fund transit and grow our system to meet the needs of our changing region.

The stability of Metro bus service impacts our regional economy and quality of life. By bringing stakeholders together and focusing on regionalism, we can overcome the challenges Metro faces and find solutions that benefit all users of the system.

6. Joel McNally: The hollow rhetoric of regionalism - Capital Times - Madison, WI, USA

Many Milwaukeeans are justifiably paranoid whenever they hear talk about regional economic development. That comes from years of watching corporate leaders move jobs out of the city into surrounding counties.

Now the co-chairman of the Milwaukee 7, an organization allegedly formed to promote economic development within seven southeastern Wisconsin counties including Milwaukee, is publicly opposing any preference in the city for hiring its own citizens hardest hit by unemployment.

Gale Klappa, chairman of We Energies and co-chairman of the Milwaukee 7, attacked the city’s modest 5 percent bidding preference for contractors located in Milwaukee as an “anti-regional attitude.”

Well, since when isn’t the city of Milwaukee part of the region?

The argument demonstrates the indifference of many area leaders to one of the most visible reminders about how little people in power really care about those suffering the worst economic devastation. When work finally does come to Milwaukee, through major construction projects or even street repairs right in their own neighborhoods, Milwaukeeans of color -- African-Americans, Latinos and others -- rarely see anyone working on those jobs who looks like them.

That continues to be true even when city, county and state officials assure everyone that contracting requirements intended to promote minority and gender fairness in hiring are not only being met, but exceeded.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between what a company’s work force looks like on paper and what it looks like on the job.

That’s why Milwaukee Ald. Ashanti Hamilton wrote legislation adding a 5 percent local preference in evaluating bids on Milwaukee contracts.

The requirement affected only two city contracts since taking effect in August, …

This issue becomes even more important as the city begins receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal economic stimulus funds to create more jobs. ...

7. EDA 'moves forward' - Brewton Standard - Brewton, AL, USA

Members of the Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority [ ] board recommitted to regional cooperation Wednesday, and hired a consulting firm to help lead the next round of fundraising for the five-county organization. Coastal Gateway is an economic development marketing authority for Escambia, Conecuh, Monroe, Clarke and Choctaw counties. “We owe it to our investors to do the best job we can,” board President Yank Lovelace said. “If we don’t go forward, regionalism is dead for a good long while.” Other board members agreed that the regional approach was necessary for the area to succeed at economic development. “I want to see regionalism move forward,” board member Pete Black of Monroeville said.

The group formed nearly five years ago as the Tri-County Industrial Development Board, with Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties. Clarke and Choctaw counties joined last year.

Board members also said they plan to look at some structural changes for the organization and will expand their communication efforts with investors. Funding for the CGREDA comes from county and municipal governments as well as corporations and businesses.

Board members agreed that they wanted to launch a new fundraising effort, but three board members voted to delay the decision for another month. The majority agreed to hire National Community Development Services, which will begin a months-long fundraising effort to seek pledges for operating money for the next several years.


RC: Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh & Monroe - Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission -

RC: Escambia - South Alabama Regional Planning Commission

8. Mountain Top could benefit from regionalization - Citizens Voice - Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA

Mountaintop on the Move has some projects under way intended to unite the communities and citizens of the area. It is a regional approach to betterment of the larger community, which shares a name that actually is not the official moniker of any municipality.

Fairview Township, Wright Township, Rice Township, Dorrance Township, Slocum Township and Nuangola Borough generally make up what is considered Mountain Top." The area's school district uses the name Crestwood.

Mountaintop on the Move is working to get business-supported banners on Route 309, hoping to foster a "downtown" image as part of a revitalization idea.

While banners might be an OK idea, MTOTM is not tackling what some consider more vital issues: municipal ability to sustain or improve basic services such as police, fire and ambulance. And MTOTM apparently has no plans to get into these bread-and-butter issues, even as the communities face new challenges.

There are no regionalization concepts on the table in Mountain Top. Folks there tell me that towns are facing budget problems, as are other communities (and Luzerne County), and it's getting tougher to find part-time cops to staff small police departments that rely on rent-a-cops. Ambulance response time have been an issue and volunteer fire companies are in the same boat as those around the region, state and nation: Manpower is down and costs are rising.

Emilia Kramer, spokeswoman for MTOTM, said the organization "does not bother too much" with the big-ticket regional issues, but if the towns "come to us and ask us to help, we will."

Mountain Top does have a Council of Governments, but this is not all-inclusive. …

Mountain Top is one of those clusters of communities ready-made for regional entities. Route 309 and Interstate 81 provide unity to towns in which citizens could benefit from a regional police department, …

RC: Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA)

9. City-region drive offers answer to doubts on strategic direction - PlanningResource (subscription) - United Kingdom

It remains to be seen whether it merits the adjective "new", but the concept of localism will be widely discussed in the months ahead.

For many council leaders, however, it simply boils down to shrugging off unrealistic and unpopular housing targets laid down by regional assemblies or, under latest legislation, development agencies and leaders' boards.

Many in the planning community are alarmed at the prospect of lowest common denominator plan-making, fearing inertia on development decisions as authorities struggle to forge agreement. A return to structure plans is being talked about in some quarters, even though the surviving counties are becoming less feasible as territories for spatial planning with every decade.

Perhaps the "new sub-regionalism" offers a way out. As Janice Morphet reflects in this week's RTPI News, the planning role of city-region partnerships has been gaining ground since the Treasury's 2007 sub-national review. Multi area agreements have given them greater stability, although their essentially voluntary nature and a lack of clarity about governance arrangements pose obstacles to progress at this juncture.

So the agreement struck last week between ministers and the pilot Leeds city-region is an important step. A housing and regeneration board will lead key programmes, allowing local leaders to decide spending priorities.

The focus will rightly be on delivery, implementation, local leadership, co-ordination and resource sharing. Above all, it will be about what works on the ground across 11 authorities from the conurbation core to its rural fringes.

The partnership faces tough discussions and decisions in the months ahead as it refines its programme. However, it offers a way forward for place-making on a real strategic canvas without descending into divisive all-out local government reorganisation - a solution that looks ever more irrelevant given the multiplicity of players.

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

In this and section 11, links to websites of organizations are added to the news excerpt when this is the first time an organization has been found. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the U.S. in a news story as well as recognizing other regional organizations. In most cases, where a full name is present, a Google search will quickly get one to that organization. News reports do not always get the organization name correct. Contents

.01 State Salvations: Local Consolidation

Milford Daily News – MA, USA

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray recognized the trend at a conference on regionalization in Worcester in September. "Now, given the budget realities facing communities across the commonwealth, we must move even more swiftly on a range of fronts, including joining forces to provide services on a regional basis that historically have been provided by each community individually," he said. ... Massachusetts has 264 emergency call centers, about one for every 24,000 people. Maryland has 24 centers - one for every 233,000 people. The difference comes from the fact that most states conduct business at a regional or county level, Massachusetts has a strong parochial tradition, where towns and cities, founded two to three centuries ago, are the epicenters of services. ... When Quincy, Braintree and Weymouth collaborated on trash collection, Quincy saved about $160,000 out of its $226.5 million budget, said John Sullivan, Qunicy's waste and recycling manager. Steve Poftak, research director for the Pioneer Institute, a public policy think tank, said Braintree achieved similar savings, which represented a more significant figure out of its $83 million budget. Municipalities are "so desperate for savings in some of these cases," Poftak said. "Regionalization isn't necessarily a cure-all, but it's important." ...

.02 This Import Might Preserve American Jobs

As the U.S. unemployment breaches the 10 percent mark — with manufacturing sector rates even higher — policymakers and industry representatives in the Midwest are seeking strategies to keep the Rust Belt from getting even rustier. In this war for economic survival, groups in cities like Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago, as well as the million-plus-members-strong United Steelworkers Union, have turned to a model borne of another war-torn region: the Mondragón Corporation in the Basque area of Spain. The Mondragón Corporation (MCC) is a multilayered organization with worker-owned cooperatives and participatory governance at its core. The corporation is a group of cooperatives and cooperative members, a seat of governance as well as planning, researching and generating funding for new businesses — a kind of meta-cooperative. The bulk of profit is reinvested into the cooperative network: to an education fund, to research and development, to cover potential losses, etc.; a percentage is directed to regional cultural institutions, maintaining vibrant community life. …

Mondragón Corporation (MCC) - The Mondragón Co-operative Experience 1956-2008

.03 Where will we be in 2010? Still looking in rearview mirror?

The Tribune-Democrat – Johnstown, PA, USA

Another prediction for 2010 is that the seeds of regionalization will continue to germinate, often in the most unlikely places – where elected officials are more eager to discuss the future rather than to be anchored to the past. The desirability by some municipalities and public-safety entities within our region to move forward in forming new partnerships to reduce the costs of new equipment purchases, or to contract for services with other municipalities, is a step in the right direction – where economics and not parochialism drives the agenda. No doubt in the past when the local economy was more robust and predictable, spending by local governments did not keep pace with local revenues. However, that is not the case today, especially in this time of a weakened and fragile economy. To their credit, local elected officials are making a concerted effort to hold the line on increasing expenditures without raising taxes. Though their efforts may be heralded by taxpayers, the need to consider regionalization is relevant and way overdue in the long term. ...

.04 Goal! Great Lakes Bay Region to host 14-state soccer tourney in 2012

The Ann Arbor News - – MI, USA

Tournaments at the soccer complex throughout the year bring in about $3 million annually to the region, he said. Without the push for regionalism, the bid for the tournament would have been impossible, Rummel said. “Regionalism absolutely was the critical turning point for us acquiring this piece of business,” Rummel said. “If Saginaw County had gone in without Midland County or Bay County, we would not have gotten this business.” The bureau, formed by the merging of the Saginaw, Bay and Midland Convention and Visitors Bureaus in September, estimates the five-day tournament will bring in at least $7 million to the region. Attendees at the tournament are likely to book all of the hotel rooms available in Saginaw, Bay and Midland counties, as well as some in northern Genesee and eastern Iosco counties. ...

.05 Community values are focus of CRREO research group

News Pulse - SUNY New Paltz, NY, USA

Through its Regional Well-Being Project, the college’s Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) is seeking to identify shared community values in the Mid-Hudson region. The project, a major effort of the center, is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, obtained with the assistance of New York’s U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Since January 2009, a research team of CRREO staff, faculty and students – working with a diverse group of community leaders in facilitated meetings – has been determining key measures of the desired economic, environmental and social character of Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties. The four-county area was selected because nearly one-third of the college’s student population comes from these communities. The size and population of the area is also of interest; nearly one million of the people live in these counties. ...

.06 Editorial: Regionalization Is Smart

KSBW - Monterey, CA, USA

The ongoing discussions this week about the cities of the Monterey Peninsula cooperating to form a Regional Special Response Unit is encouraging. This special response unit would essentially be assembled using shared resources and would compose a SWAT team, a tactical medical team, and a crisis negotiations team. Over the past decade, our KSBW Editorial Board has often advanced the concept of Central Coast regionalization to increase operational efficiencies and lower costs. When we have posed the issue to local officials, it’s usually led to foot-shuffling, eye-rolling, and occasionally finger-wagging, but we continue to believe the “R word”, regionalization, is not some dirty word. ...

.07 Changes looming for health departments

Meriden Record-Journal - Meriden, Connecticut, USA

Pressure from the state to move local health departments into regional organizations is meeting resistance at the municipal level. Health Director Charles I. Motes Jr. said regional health offices would be much larger than existing health districts which cover only two or three towns. ... Motes said about 30 years ago when the state still had county government, regional health offices were operated by the state Department of Health. ... Executive Order 26 issued in May, created a Governor's Council for Local Public Health Regionalization which must submit a report on the subject to the governor in January. ... Town Manager John Weichsel said regional health offices would have autonomy and vote as they see fit. "There is a great tradition of home rule," he said, which could cause many municipalities to resist any change to local control. If regionalization became a requirement, Weichsel said the organizations may be run similarly to the existing Regional Planning Agencies that help oversee federal and state transportation funding for municipalities. "It might be they do certain things better," he said. ...

.08 Pooling police force

Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster, PA, USA

... Fiorill said, "I'm a big proponent of regionalization. It's a practical way to provide services and eventually keep costs to a minimum. You're going to be able to get a little more out of that [tax] dollar." ... But the politics of full-scale regionalization are perilous. Chief Keith Sadler, of the Lancaster (city) Bureau of Police, a former division captain with the Philadelphia Police Department, recalls how "the more affluent neighborhoods always accused the police of spending too much time in the areas of high crime, while people in high-crime areas accused the police of spending all their time in the affluent neighborhoods." Under a regional agreement, municipal officials might wonder "if they're getting the right amount of policing they're used to getting," Sadler said. If there are 10 municipalities in a regional department, "You're only getting one-tenth of the authority." "On paper, it all makes sense," Sadler said. That doesn't mean officials, or citizens, will embrace it. ...

.09 Planners: Too soon for a rail referendum (UPDATE)

The Daily Reporter - Milwaukee, WI, USA

Regional planners oppose a Dane County vote that would dictate whether they can consider commuter rail when outlining transit strategies. “If commuter rail is such a good idea,” said Dane County Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz, “then why are they saying no to a referendum about it?” Bruskewitz is seeking authority from the Dane County Board of Supervisors for the advisory referendum in spring. She said she was prompted to settle the commuter rail debate by people who are upset because they never had a voice when the county last month created a regional transit authority. ... Bruskewitz said the county has spent enough time and money considering its transit options, including those outlined in the Transport 2020 plan. That plan, she said, highlighted the need for expanded bus service. Rail, she said, has no place. “I want to kill it,” Bruskewitz said, “right out of the starting gate.”

.10 Cities buy Brushy Creek wastewater system

Austin Business Journal - Austin, TX, USA

The Brushy Creek Regional Wastewater System was sold today to the cities of Austin, Round Rock and Cedar Park. The cities signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lower Colorado River Authority in June and agreed in the final deal to assume all debt related to the system ... Cedar Park Mayor Bob Lemon said. “This is another great example of regionalism and how neighboring cities can work together to create a win-win situation for everyone involved.

.11 Oakland County executive says he's set to run in 2012

Detroit Free Press - Detroit, MI, USA

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Tuesday that he's in good health and hopes to run for re-election when his term expires in 2012. "My enjoyment is politics, so why would I walk away?" Patterson, 70, said ... In a wide-ranging speech, Patterson said that regionalism is alive and well, despite the perceived acrimony between the suburbs and Detroit. ...

.12 Agreement Supports Regional Food System

BARN OnAir & OnLine 24/7/365

NAFB-USDA has signed a cooperative agreement with the Fair Food Network, a Michigan-based organization working toward improving consumers’ access to healthy foods. The agreement lays the foundation for creating a regional food system with a strong urban-rural link. The agreement will help conduct research and match small and mid-size farms in rural Southeast Michigan to emerging urban markets, particularly Detroit, where there is need and unmet demand for locally-produced fresh foods. ...

.13 Route 58 project needed

Tidewater News - Franklin, VA, USA

Now’s no time for Isle of Wight County officials, who have been consistent and welcome advocates of regionalism in recent years, to go parochial. ... The Route 58 project would have benefits for the entire region. A regional transportation commission, with good reason, ranked it the third most important highway project in all of Hampton Roads. ...

.14 Strong chief status stays

Wicked Local Boxborough - Boxborough, MA, USA

The options under consideration were a strong chief, weak chief, shared chief, public safety director and regionalization of the police department. The strong chief model is the current arrangement and the benchmark to which the other options were compared. “After extensive consideration, we came to the conclusion that weak chief and shared chief are not valuable for Boxborough at this point, and we decided not to pursue them any further,” said Selectman Raid Suleiman. “It came down to basically that the public safety director and regionalization seemed to be something that is valuable, unfortunately something we can’t implement in the near future and requires some more study.” ...

.15 Proposal may consolidate county transportation service

Scranton Times-Tribune - Scranton, PA, USA

A proposal to regionalize shared ride services for seniors and the disabled will be the topic at a public hearing this week in Scranton. The state is considering consolidation of the 67 shared ride providers - in Lackawanna County, referred to as coordinated transportation - into multicounty regional agencies, said Ted Dallas, executive deputy secretary of the state Department of Public Welfare. Coordinated transportation provides transportation for senior citizens and people with disabilities to medical appointments, grocery stores and senior centers. In fiscal 2008-2009, coordinated transportation made 145,000 trips related to a federally funded medical assistance shared ride service, said the agency's manager John Tomcho. Though he has heard of the regional approach to shared ride service, Mr. Tomcho said the proposal is still preliminary and he isn't sure how such a plan would affect his agency. ...

.16 A move for the better

Medina Sun - Medina, OH, USA

Call it regionalism, if you will, but we like the step leaders of Medina city and county took recently when they made the decision to merge significant portions of their safety forces. With one apparently well-discussed and thought-out move, the city has managed to head off potential growing problems regarding its aged jail facility and the county has added to and strengthed its SWAT team. It isn’t all that often that two such positive moves can come in one package, and it’s a credit to Medina Police Chief Patrick Berarducci and County Sheriff Neil Hassinger, the point men of the operation, and other officials on both sides who helped facilitate the moves. ...

.17 Shasta Regional Community Foundation growing despite bad economy

Record-Searchlight - California, USA

Despite a tough economy that has seen many rein in their charitable giving, the Shasta Regional Community Foundation in Redding saw its assets grow 7.6 percent from 2007 to 2008. The nonprofit charitable organization had the second-highest growth rate among the 28 League of California Community Foundations - and was among just three members whose assets grew, league spokeswoman Caron Castagnetta said. ... "I think it has a lot to do with the work they have put in place over the past several years," Alan Pardini, senior adviser of the League of California Community Foundations, said of Shasta Regional Community Foundation. "They have good relationships with nonprofits and, most important, a very thoughtful long-range strategy to work with philanthropies and individuals in Shasta County to aid them in charitable giving." ...

.18 Peering into our future, with a different set of lenses

The Daily Planet - Telluride, CO, USA

The Regional Economic Task Force was one of the small groups that sprouted out of the Regional Sustainability Visioning Project, a project kicked off in January that aimed to piece together an understanding of the region in terms of economics, ecological resources, affordable housing — so that the community can make itself more sustainable. ... Because while development and real estate has dominated the economy in recent history, other sectors of the economy “have not flourished in a way that supports a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable regional community,” reads a press release from the event’s organizers. “And our recent economic drivers escalated our region’s greenhouse gas emissions in a way that we now know is unacceptable for the future.” As the economy and the community shift, the release says, “members of the task force hope to shape the future of the region in a way that supports community values by measuring all decisions based on those values.” ...

.19 AP changes roles for 6 news editors, 4 photo eds

The Associated Press - USA

The Associated Press has named six news editors to oversee expanded multistate territories and has assigned four interim regional photo editors as part of a restructuring of U.S. news management to ensure the continuing strength of the news cooperative's state reports. ... The moves keep AP state reports strong and get the most out of news talent in a tight time, Senior Managing Editor Mike Oreskes said Friday. "No news organization has a deeper commitment to state-by-state coverage of the United States," Oreskes said. "These appointments put strong news managers in charge of vital territories. Their job will be to bolster our state news reports, in text and photos, while also continuing to strengthen our coverage of the United States for all our members and customers." These changes are part of the overall regionalization of AP's U.S. news operation, which has been decentralized to four regional hubs in the West, Central, South and East. Most editing is done in those hubs, giving news editors the flexibility to spend more time working with AP journalists in the field on planning and executing coverage. ...

.20 The apathy of today's generation is warranted

Northwest Missourian - Maryville, MO, USA

... Two years ago, I would have said apathy is hands down the world’s greatest evil. Now I can understand why people do not care enough to throw themselves fully into some political issue, or completely participate in the discourse of any such issue. The issues themselves are oftentimes pointless once you strip away the rhetoric and propaganda. And even if a particular issue is resolved within a country that is portrayed to be bad or undemocratic or whatever, there is always another country or another issue to take its place. Our world leaders- whether elected, appointed or placed through the idea of right by force- are nothing but squabbling children, stamping their feet over the most trivial things. I see no positive policies implemented for the universal good. I see nothing but causes of nationalism, religion, ethnicity, regionalism, tribalism and so forth. Each of which are causes of division when unity should be sought, and not that of a nation or of a state, but the unity of all mankind for goals that every single person shares with every other single person- life and happiness. ...

.21 EDITORIAL: Florida's gray area

The News Herald - Panama City, FL, USA

It’s good to see state Sen. Don Gaetz and state Rep. Marti Coley make separate requests to Attorney General Bill McCollum for an informal opinion on whether a regional development agency is subject to Florida’s Sunshine Law. The subject of the inquiry is Florida’s Great Northwest, which since being created in 2000 has become a powerful agent in regional economic development. Since 2007, it has distributed more than $2.5 million to 22 regional organizations. Recipients include private companies, colleges, school districts and area economic development agencies. Nearly 60 percent of its funding comes from public sources, either directly from federal grants, or indirectly from membership dues paid by taxpayer-funded economic development groups. Despite its use of tax dollars, Florida’s Great Northwest maintains it is a private non-profit that does not have to abide by the state’s Sunshine Law on open meetings and records. ...

.22 The Great American Migration Slowdown: Regional and Metropolitan Dimensions

Brookings Institution - Washington, D.C., USA

Mired in housing debt and struggling through the Great Recession, more Americans are choosing to stay put rather than uproot themselves and their families. In a new report, William Frey uses Census and IRS data to analyze recent migration trends across the United States showing significant shifts in how frequently, and to where, Americans are moving. Analysis of U.S. domestic and international migration patterns through 2008–2009 reveals that: * In 2007-2008, the overall U.S. migration rate reached its lowest point since World War II. The slowdown was especially pronounced for long-distance moves, which remained flat through 2008–2009, as well as for single people and renters. Both long-distance and short distance movers were less likely to cite housing reasons for their moves. ... * The metro areas that experienced the greatest recent migration declines were those that reaped the most migrants during the mid-decade housing bubble. On the other hand, outmigration areas in northern states and along the coasts have bucked their long-term trend, retaining residents. …

.23 Tom Hughes tosses his big hat into debate about region's future

More and more, in recent years, people across the region ask me: Why do we need the Metro Council? Why do we need a regional government? Whatever you might think the right answer to be, the fact that it’s being asked provokes another, more important question: Aside from the polls released every now and then by the Metro Council assuring us that we all still belief in Metro’s goals, is the organization showing an ability to grow with the times we live in? It’s that question that made Tom Hughes, the longtime Hillsboro mayor, decide this week that he will aggressively seek to be elected as the next president of the Metro Council. Hughes got in touch with me today to tell me I was to blame for his decision, that after my Nov. 2 column suggesting his candidacy would give voters a true choice, he was bombarded with requests to run for the position. ...

.24 DeSoto questions MPO benefit

DeSoto Times Today - Hernando, TN, USA

DeSoto County Supervisors are openly questioning the benefits they receive from the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Organization, otherwise known as the MPO, a regional group based in Memphis that doles out federal road project funds to participating entities. However, supervisors begrudgingly admit if they don’t pay annual contributions of about $46,000 they might not be eligible for more than $1.4 million in Surface Transportation Program road construction funds. DeSoto County receives about that much annually. Counties and/or cities make a 20 percent match on any construction funds for the urbanized areas that receive the money. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has made annual contributions in the past to the group that includes Shelby County, Tenn., Fayette County, Tipton County and northern DeSoto County. MDOT announced more than a month ago that it would not be making the MPO contribution any longer. DeSoto County’s northern-most cities, Southaven, Horn Lake and Olive Branch, have received STP funds in the past for a variety of road projects. ...

.25 Economic ideas floated at local jobs summit

Philadelphia Inquirer - Philadelphia, PA, USA

"With the economic crisis, everyone's scared to death to lend any kind of money," said Patrick Burns, chief executive officer of Fresh Grocer, a Drexel Hill regional chain ... Burns said loan guarantees "are so essential" and might even be more helpful than tax credits. Regionalism matters. The economic crisis has demonstrated the need for urban-suburban cooperation, particularly on common issues such as transportation. "Public transportation - if we build it, they will come," said Patrick Eiding, who heads the Philadelphia Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO. He asked the group to imagine the job-creation benefits that would accrue from a railroad that ran parallel to Route 422 in the suburbs. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 EU2020: greener, fairer, more sustainable growth, but why not more local?

The Committee of the Regions - Press Release - European Union

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso unveiled his proposals for a new strategy – dubbed EU2020 – on 24 November, launching a consultation process that will last until 15 January 2010. Detailed proposals based on the result of this consultation will then be presented to EU heads of state and government at the Spring European Council meeting in March. Speaking at the at the CoR Plenary Session on Thursday ahead of the adoption of her own-initiative opinion on the successor to the so-called Lisbon Strategy, Chapman said: “I am very concerned that the Commission’s consultation document fails to give explicit recognition of the important role played by local and regional authorities across Europe in delivering Lisbon on the ground: the words ‘regional’ and ‘regions’ are used only four times in the paper. When referring to the importance of engaging regions the document calls for ‘national parliaments’ to be involved, which is certainly something I support, but why doesn’t the document mention the role of regional parliaments, like the National Assembly for Wales, or indeed local and regional governments? This is very disappointing, and I urge local and regional authorities to make clear to the Commission in their responses to the consultation that we expect better, and that this must be corrected in the proposal that is sent for agreement at the Spring Summit in 2010.” ...

.02 Leeds city-region deal 'is just the first step'

Greater Leeds will aim to win further powers from Whitehall over regeneration spending after admitting that it sees its new statutory city-region deal as the first step towards much greater devolution. The deal, signed between the Government and the 11 councils in the Leeds city-region (LCR), will see Whitehall devolve more powers over funding for housing, regeneration, business development, transport, employment and skills. The deal ushers in two new boards: a joint investment board between national regeneration quango the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and the LCR that will plan spending on housing and regeneration across the city-region; and an employment and skills board that will gain powers over the commissioning of adult skills services in the city-region. The agreement also sees more freedoms and flexibilities over transport and business development handed to the LCR. ... - Leeds City Region Forerunner Plan is available via

.03 A love letter to Toronto from an ailing visionary

Toronto Star - Toronto, ON, CA

In an open letter, an ailing David Pecaut has issued a call to arms for those who love Toronto, urging collective leadership, not negativity, to ensure the region's success. It's his blueprint for success – for his adopted hometown and the whole region. Imagine "a city where civic entrepreneurs are everywhere and the process of bringing all the parts of civil society together to solve a problem is really how the city defines its uniqueness," writes Pecaut, a civic visionary who has devoted seven years to heading the Toronto City Summit Alliance. Under the leadership of this Boston Consulting Group executive, the non-partisan group has led the way on pushing diversity, investment in research, green initiatives and income security for low-income residents – all to make this city better. ... Pecaut, who until his illness often had been mentioned as a potential mayor, writes that with municipal elections looming in 2010, the profound question will be: "What really is our collective vision for Torontothis city region five million of us call home?" ...

.04 Manchester city region confirmed as low carbon area

Crain's Manchester Business - Manchester, UK

Greater Manchester has been designated the UK's first Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) for the Built Environment by the government. The Low Carbon Economic Area in Greater Manchester, which is the fourth LCEA to be announced by the government overall, is expected to save 6 million tones of carbon, create an additional £650m to the economy and support 34,800 jobs. The LCEA will involve a five-year "retro-fit" programme, which will improve the insulation of thousands of homes and offices in the Greater Manchester area. Small-scale renewable energy technologies will also be installed and smart meters introduced so people can see how much energy they are using. A low-carbon laboratory will also be established. focusing on the research strengths of the universities along the Oxford Road corridor area of the city, where new technologies will be developed and tested. ... “It has the potential to benefit everyone living in our region and will help nurture Greater Manchester's recovery from the recession.”

.05 From Cold War to Post-Cold War Mediterranean relations

Malta Independent Online

Before the Union for the Mediterranean initiative can be successfully implemented, there is thus a necessity to build and nurture both a mental conceptual blueprint and physical infrastructure of regionalism in the Mediterranean. In other words, the peoples of the Mediterranean need to believe that they share more than a common history. They must also believe that they share a common destiny, be it at a political, economic or cultural level of analysis. To date, this is not the case. ... In a globalised world, a common regional platform that ensures stability is essential if the Mediterranean is to continue to prosper. The Euro-Med Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean follow up should be regarded as vehicles of regional promotion that are seeking to enhance political and economic relations between the countries across the basin. ...

.06 CoR rapporteur says EU 2020 needs to be linked to cohesion policy

The Committee of the Regions - Press Release - European Union

The lack of reference to cohesion policy in the European Commission's recently published consultation document on the EU 2020 agenda is 'alarming', according to Michael Schneider (DE/EPP), Chairman of the Commission for territorial cohesion policy in the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and rapporteur on the future of cohesion policy. On the invitation of Michael Schneider, almost 100 cohesion policy experts from EU institutions, regional and local authorities and their representative associations gathered in the Committee of the Regions today to discuss the future of the 'competitiveness and employment' objective in EU cohesion policy programming after 2013. In the EU's current budgetary framework, this objective, also called 'objective 2', helps regions to anticipate and promote economic change by co-funding projects in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, environmental protection and human resources. ...

.07 Citizens And Ratepayers Councillors Vote For Super City Wards Gerrymander

At Auckland City Council's Regional Governance Committee today, Chair David Hay and all his Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillor colleagues voted down a motion by Councillor Northey to ask the Local Government Commission to split its proposed 160,000 two-Councillor Supercity wards into accessible and representative single-member wards. The C&R Councillors also voted down specific motions to split the proposed huge south and eastern suburbs ward stretching from Orakei to Onehunga into two wards with common interests and concerns and to split Mt Albert and Mt Roskill into two separate single-member wards. Labour Tamaki-Maungakiekie Ward Councillor Richard Northey said, "I am bitterly disappointed that C&R have, for reasons of political advantage, rejected the heartfelt appeals from residents and businesses at public meetings in Onehunga, Otahuhu and Panmure to retain their distinctive local ward representation. ...

.08 CAR needs P81 million for autonomy

Manila Bulletin - Philippines

At least P81 million is needed by the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) to bankroll an effective and efficient grassroots level information and education campaign for regional autonomy in the next two years in order for the Cordillera to realize its long overdue dream of becoming an autonomous region. This developed as the RDC-CAR en banc approved a resolution submitting to President Arroyo a total of P81 million funding requirement for 2010 and 2011 to ensure the widespread information campaign on the desire of the region to be under self-rule. ...

.09 Lee Pledges Balanced Regional Growth

Korea Times - Seoul, South Korea

President Lee Myung-bak said Friday that the governing camp would push planned regional development projects regardless of its move to transform Sejong City in South Chungcheong Province into a multifunctional industrial city. He downplayed concerns that the revision would discourage firms from making investments in other industrial cities, dampening efforts to promote balanced national development. "Some people irresponsibly say that the government will pay little attention to other regions. That is not true,'' Lee said during a groundbreaking ceremony for the 182-kilometer-long railroad section for high-speed trains between Osong in North Chungcheong Province and Gwangju. ...

.10 NSARDA Business Retention and Expansion Website

Nova News Now - Nova Scotia, CA

A new economic development website was launched to help Nova Scotia businesses access the resources and services they need to grow and compete. The new website for the Business Retention and Expansion Program, or BRE, provides information on the award-winning program. The website also features a portal for the regional development authorities’ economic development advisors to share best practices and business intelligence. BRE helps existing Nova Scotia Business stay and grow and is offered across Nova Scotia by the 13 regional development authorities. ...

.11 Vision for world class aquaculture region (press release)

The vision for the Bay of Plenty to be a world class aquaculture region moves a step closer on Monday with the official launch of a regional aquaculture strategy, which forms part of the wider Bay of Connections economic strategy for the region. ... “Aquaculture is the fastest growing seafood sector and we have a unique and exciting opportunity to become a world class aquaculture region,” Regional Governance Group Chair John Cronin said. “Our goal is to have export sales of $250 million by 2025. With the current achievements and progress underway, the Bay of Plenty is now well on its way to building the foundations for that goal,” he said. Chairman Cronin said the Government is committed to developing the aquaculture sector and can see the huge economic potential of this relatively new sector. ...

.12 Isolationism alive in village?

Comox Valley Record - British Columbia, CA

... Continuing with a Cumberland-centred and isolationist tone, Greening said she wants the village to “do it for themselves.” Cumberland can be excused for feeling wary about being lumped into a regional strategy with larger municipalities and their own agendas, which might compete with the village’s. Going it alone, however, is not the way to do it these days. The provincial government is increasingly mandating regionalism in the Comox Valley. It doesn’t mean a single, regional government, but co-operation is necessary because decisions made in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland often have implications for neighbours. ...

.13 East African Community launches OLPC as a regional Initiative

On Laptop per Child (Press Release)

On Friday, November 20, the East African Community launched One Laptop per Child as a regional partner, during the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Secretariat Office in Arusha, Tanzania. This annual Summit is the highest organ of the East African Community and it gives general directions and impetus for the development and achievement of the objectives of the Community. ...

.14 The Telangana issue and rise of regionalism

Merinews - India

... if Telengana is declared, the disputes over border would be endless. The issue about Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam etc will create a hostile environment in the state. The moment when the "T" bill is introduced in the Parliament or when/if an SRC is constituted, the government will be forced to consider the plights of Gurkha land in west bengal, south Tamil Nadu in in the south along with the proposal of Konkan state. The list is endless. Breaking the country into such smaller units increases regionalism in indian politics. Further it is a multi-core task for the government and funds for the formation of so many states cannot be accommodating in the forthcoming budget. Although the claim for separate state is ridiculous, governments must understand the need to maintain uniform and sustained growth through out the state. ...

.15 Basics in short supply

Albany Great Southern Weekender - Albany, Western Australia

THE basics of survival – food and housing – are in short supply in Albany in the lead-up to Christmas. Community organisations, such as the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul are falling short in their efforts to help needy families make ends meet. Salvation Army spokesperson Warren Palmer said there had been a substantial rise in demand for services since the economic downturn. He said up to 25 per cent of people seeking assistance had not asked for help in the past. “While each regional community can have its own unique social needs, we have certainly experienced a call for help not seen in many years,” he said. ...

.16 China Enters Central Eurasia’s Water Wars

Window on Eurasia
Because China’s action is so threatening, Russian ecological commentator Dmitry Verkhoturov argues in his report on this development, both Moscow and Astana are seeking to force China to accede to the 1992 Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-Boundary Watercourses ( ). That accord requires that upstream states ensure that downstream states receive water in roughly the same amount and same quality as the former took in from rivers passing through both, in the absence of separate bilateral agreements modifying such rules. Of the three states involved in this dispute, however, only Kazakhstan is a signatory to the Helsinki Convention. …

.17 Olympic marketing pushes brand Canada to (almost) top of tourism list

Vancouver Sun – Vancouver, BC, CA

What people aren’t likely to know is that Canada is interesting, widely varied from region to region, has vibrant cities and a unique culture (which, by the way, isn’t multiculturalism because McKenzie says that idea frightens some people and keeps them away). CTC is obviously doing something right. “Canada continues to do an exceptional job with its branding,” said the experts at FutureBrand. “It promotes the experience of adventure, friendly people, diverse culture and beautiful landscapes.” Those experts bounced Canada to No. 2 from No. 12 in this years’ ranking of countries. The U.S. topped the list on the strength of Barack Obama’s winning the presidency. Australia is No. 3. Using the Olympics as a springboard, Canada appears well-placed to remain at the top. Here’s why: ...

.18 Govt brews global branding plans for tea industry

Economic Times - India

The Union commerce ministry has turned to four wise men in the tea industry to secure the identity of Indian tea across the world markets. Tea industry hotshots ... will be part of a core committee that will formulate a global branding strategy to market Indian teas worldwide. What's more, iconic adman Piyush Pandey, who used to be a tea taster in Kolkata many moons ago before he joined the advertising industry in 1982, will hand-hold this elite panel to ensure teas of other origins don't masquerade as Indian tea in overseas locations. Significantly, the commerce ministry plans to create an umbrella brand for Indian tea under which all categories will be exported across world markets. While the umbrella brand concept is yet to crystallise fully, several options are being tossed. For instance, all `Made in India teas' could have a single uniform logo along the lines of famous `lion logo' that distinguish Sri Lankan teas marketed worldwide. ...

.19 International Survey Reveals How Globalization Is Defining Workplace Skills (press release)

Responding to globalization of the workplace, employees worldwide are developing a new suite of cross-cultural and language skills that will equip them to prosper in a more multinational environment, according to recent findings from a global workplace survey. The survey, by global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB), finds that individuals across all generations believe the experience they gain in a globally oriented environment will be critical to their careers. ...

.20 Necessity Is the Mother of our Creative Invention

Huffington Post - USA

Necessity was the mother of their invention. Surviving demanded creativity. If history repeats itself, these economic hard times are forcing our hands once ... We believe in work, reputation and growth. Great work transforms businesses. It steals market share. It turns indifferent brands into beloved brands. And it attracts clients to our agency. For these clients, we work around a central premise of global networked creativity, the belief that ideas come from anywhere, which is why we need to be everywhere. With 200 offices in more than 90 countries, we're defining a boundary-free future -- free from geographical, media and historical constraints. What bridges time, geography and culture is our central communication philosophy -- that we create ideas people want to spend time with. Creative ideas inspire people to spend time with a brand. More time means more bonding and ultimately more loyalty to the brand.

.21 Enterprise Business Intelligence: A growing need in regional oil & gas, telecom and banking sectors

‘Enterprise Business Intelligence’ is a growing need in the oil and gas, IT, telecom and banking sectors in the Middle East, amidst the rising challenge for organisations to define an enterprise-wide architecture and a Business Intelligence (BI) strategy, according to SAS, the leading provider of business advisory and analytical intelligence. In line with this, the company is encouraging regional enterprises to set up ‘Business Intelligence Competency Centres’ (BICC), a permanent organisational structure consisting of representatives from the business and IT departments, dedicated to advancing and promoting the effective use of BI to support a company’s business strategy. ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Promoting Transparency in Government

Open Government Blog - The White House

Posted by Peter Orszag on December 08, 2009 at 10:52 AM EST

On his very first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all federal agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve. As an example of the steps taken in response, the White House, for the first time ever, now publishes the names of everyone who visits. We are also publishing online never-before-available data about federal spending and research. At , for instance, what started as 47 data sets from a small group of federal agencies has grown into more than 118,000 today – with thousands more ready to be released starting this week. … at the end of May, the Administration launched the Open Government Initiative (OGI). … Since the OGI outreach ended, we’ve been pouring over the suggestions. We’ve talked with outside experts. We’ve evaluated and re-evaluated the steps we want to implement government-wide. And as a result, today we are releasing two documents:

The Open Government Directive (download as pdf, txt, doc or view on Slideshare)

The Open Government Progress Report to the American People … Peter Orszag is the director of the Office of Management and Budget

.02 Community Resilience: The Third Roundtable


The Community and Regional Resilience Institute conducted its third invitational Community Resilience Roundtable in Washington on December 1. The purpose of these roundtables has been to assemble a diverse group of resilience stakeholders, ... CARRI presented an early draft of its work, “Toward a Common Framework for Community Resilience.” CARRI intends that the common framework described in this document will be the starting point for a broader development process that includes practitioners, researchers and a wide variety of other stakeholders. ... Those wishing to participate in this second review should contact the Community and Regional Resilience Institute at

.03 Resources for rural communities

Prairie Farm and Ranch

Rural communities can be some of the most peaceful, idyllic communities around, with beautiful scenery, unparalleled access to nature, and quaint towns. But they can also be under-served by governmental and communication services, and economically-dependent on the vagaries of the agriculture industry. If you’re the kind of person who likes to play a big role in their community, if you have plans for your community’s development, or you simply need to access information about your own, or neighbouring, communities, the Canadian government’s Rural Secretariat may have some of the resources you need. The Secretariat’s mandated objectives are: “the innovative development of untapped potential; enhancing rural competitiveness; and realizing new value from rural amenities.” One of their main projects to facilitate access to community information and support regional development, is their Community Information Database, available at The online tool provides information on different regional assets and their diverse economic, social and cultural statistics. ...

.04 What about the Regional Development Authorities (RDAs)?

Community Development

I've had some folks ask, "What about the regional development offices, ... is it not their job in Nova Scotia to look after development in the area?(... continued) Taken at face value, that may seem like a fair question but, ... think about it. Look, I have just enormous respect for these people in our regional development offices and for the work that they do. However, I believe that no matter how good they are, it is entirely unreasonable for us to expect a small office staff in a region to bear responsibility for all development in a region. ...

.05 Ideas for Cities: Citizen Branding

Cities could be responsible for helping citizens understand and communicate their own story and talent effectively. They could provide services that function as a cross between talent agency and media agency. Every citizen would receive this service to help recognize, package, celebrate, and accelerate his or her value to themselves and the community. This is part 27 of a continuing brainstorm on the future of cities, inaugurated at the CEOs for Cities Velocity conference in September, 2009. ...

.06 Local Currency

Colorado Permaculture

These are times of immense transition and we have a clear calling to create a sustainable and resilient community. The rallying cry of "Buy Local" is heard loud and clear by those who realize the importance of a local economy but we lack a crucial mechanism for supporting a robust bioregional infrastructure. Regional currencies have a strong tradition in our shared American history and recall a time when the local economy was both resilient and decentralized. Our new private voluntary barter currency, called the "Gaian" is a one ounce .999 fine silver piece that has a community barter value of "fifty". This means a merchant is willing to exchange fifty dollars of goods or services for a 1oz Gaian. …

.07 ROAR Religios On and Around the River (Hudson) --Part Three

The Hudson River Birder

ROAR Statement of Commitment - Recognizing the importance of having both a local and global awareness of issues, and in the context of its mission statement, ROAR is committed to:

• Living out its mission statement, especially in our relationship with the land that we “own” where land seen as subject, not object, fosters decisions based on respect and rights of all, including non-human communities of life

• Networking and partnering with environmental groups and people of faith around key Hudson River Bioregion issues

• Sustainability, especially around Earth’s natural resources, such as water, air, land, and, in particular, with properties “owned” / or used by our Congregations

.08 Thinking about the Asia Pacific Community

East Asia Forum

The idea that regional architecture in Asia and the Pacific is not up to the tasks it now needs to serve has been around for some time. It has been inspired in part by worries about the untidiness in the competing structures — across the Pacific, of APEC, and within East Asia, of ASEAN +3 and the East Asia Summit (EAS). There has also been a hankering after ‘robust’ regional institutions modelled on the arrangements in Europe or North America, however unsuited they are to Asia Pacific circumstances. What is different about the thinking that led to Prime Minister Rudd’s Asia Pacific Community proposal is that these worries are incidental to its main strategic motivation. The Rudd idea is grounded in the reality of the big shifts taking place in the structure of regional and world power. ...

.09 Our Place


Our Place is a 5-day field environmental philosophy daycamp that combines reading, hiking, and writing. Classes are limited to six students to ensure the highest quality educational experience. “Our place” is the Nonotuck bioregion, a geography bounded on the south by the Holyoke range, the north by Mt. Toby, and on the east and west by the hills that cradle the Connecticut River: In the philosophical sense of the term, “our place” refers to how we fit in to the ecological processes and systems of our bioregion, and to its human history, past and present. ...

.10 Facebook Hones Privacy Settings, Scraps Regional Networks

Qrsvideos's Blog

Some five months after Facebook began testing a series of changes to its privacy controls, CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday announced that the popular social network has now decided to make them official for its 350 million users worldwide. The company will soon eliminate regional networks as a way of connecting users, and it will also add settings that allow users to control who sees each individual piece of content they create or upload. ... Facebook’s regional networks are essentially online communities for a school, company or geographical region. “This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students,” Zuckerberg explained in an open letter on the Facebook blog. “However, as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we’ve concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy,” he added.

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Make your voice heard with the White Paper on Multilevel governance! – Committee of the Regions – European Union

With the start of a new cycle of governance in the European Union, the Committee of the Regions is proposing a political project to "build Europe in partnership" through its White Paper on Multilevel governance . The Committee has launched in June 2009 a public consultation to sound out authorities, associations and other stakeholders on how best to promote multilevel governance in Europe.

NEWS : the deadline for sending in contributions has been extended until 31 December 2009. Please send your contributions to

In order to facilitate the consultation process, stakeholders are invited to read the indicative list of questions prepared by the CoR's Forward Studies Unit accompanying the consultation process. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to provide more targeted food for thought, by narrowing the focus on some key issues. Furthermore, stakeholders are invited to comment on both the concrete proposals and the more general points expressed in the White Paper. In particular, we would like to know which proposals set out in the White Paper seem most relevant to you, and that you would therefore support. In addition, we would find your experience with - inter alia - experimentation mechanisms, coordination instruments, tripartite agreements or your involvement in territorial pacts very valuable.

For further information, a complementary list specifically addresses the international / global dimension.

.02 Call For Papers - Annual International Conference 2010 - Regional Responses and Global Shifts: Actors, Institutions and Organisations - Pécs, Hungary - 24th – 26th May 2010 - Regional Studies Association

Keynote speakers include: Dirk Ahner, Director-General, EU Regional Policy, European Commission; Gerhard Stahl, Secretary General, Committee of the Regions


A. Innovative strategies and practices of firms in regional development

B. Labour markets and labour organisations and their continued relevance for regional development

C. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO): facilitators of regional development?

D. Regional policies: government and quasi-government initiatives

E. Reassessing EU Regional Policy

F. People in regions: leadership, collective action and regional development

G. Financing regions: global financial crisis and beyond?

H. Cooperation across borders

I. Global environmental change and the future of regional development

J. Theory and research in regional studies

K. Spatial planning in cities and regions

L. Experience economy and experience society. Culture, leisure and experiences in spatial strategies

M. Creative regions in a creative economy

N. Regional Policy and Development in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe

PDF call for papers:

For more information and registration information:

.03 Research Network on Creative Industries and the Regions - Regional Studies Association

The network aims to address trends and issues around the development of the creative and cultural industries at the regional level in UK, fostering a multi-disciplinary debate among researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the field.

The network has been initiated by Dr Roberta Comunian from the School Geography of the University of Southampton, Dr Caroline Chapain from the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies of the University of Birmingham and Nick Clifton from the Cardiff School of Management of the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Topics for this Research Network have emerged for research that the three organisers have been doing in the field in UK and internationally. The network and its seminar activities are supported by the Regional Studies Association.

.04 Community newspapers deliver - The Newspaper Works – Australia

Community newspapers and their websites are hyper-local. And as a result, they are able to target their region like no other medium as this Canadian study reveals. ... More research on Regional and Community Newspapers ... Engaging Communities (2009) ... The Wanted Ads (2008) ... Local Media Websites trusted far more than other sites (2007) ...

.05 Creative Tampa Bay

Creative Tampa Bay was formed in 2003 to serve as a catalyst for economic and social development in the region by promoting principles of the creative economy and support our creative industries. Our goal is to serve as a connector of people, ideas, experiences and places. We believe that business, economic development, arts/culture, social and environmental principles must work together to create vibrant, sustainable communities.

Read more about CTB’s mission…

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 No Escape From TARP for U.S. Banks Choking on Real Estate Loans -

As the U.S. economy pulls out of a recession and the biggest banks return to profitability, mounting defaults on commercial property may keep regional lenders from repaying bailout funds until at least 2011.

Unpaid loans on malls, hotels, apartments and home developments stood at a 16-year high of 3.4 percent in the third quarter and may reach 5.3 percent in two years, according to Real Estate Econometrics LLC, a property research firm in New York. That’s a bigger threat to regional banks, which are almost four times more concentrated in commercial property loans than the nation’s biggest lenders, …

The concentration makes regulators less likely to let regional lenders … leave the Troubled Asset Relief Program, analysts said. Smaller banks would remain stuck in TARP, while bigger lenders, including Bank of America Corp., repay the government and free themselves to set their own policies on executive pay.

Community and regional banks basically became real estate banks in the past 25 years, and now real estate is on its back,” said Jeff Davis, an analyst at FTN Equity Capital Markets Corp. in Nashville, Tennessee. “The largest banks have other areas where they can make money, be it consumer lending, capital markets and asset management.”

Bank Failures

The stakes for taxpayers include whether they’ll get back $36.6 billion held by 35 of the largest regional lenders that received TARP money. Souring commercial real estate loans pose the biggest threat to the U.S. banking industry, according to October testimony to Congress by Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan.

Regulators have shut 130 banks this year, all regional or community lenders, costing the FDIC more than $33 billion. Non- performing commercial property loans caused a majority of the failures, …

.02 Debtwatch No 41, December 2009: 4 Years of Calling the GFC - Steve Keens Debtwatch

I first realised that the world faced a serious financial crisis in the very near future in December 2005, as I prepared an Expert Witness Report for the NSW Legal Aid Commission on the subject of predatory lending.

My brief was to talk about the impact of such contracts on third parties, since one ground to overturn a loan contract was that it had deleterious impacts on people who were not signatories to the contract itself. I was approached because the solicitor in the case had heard of my academic work on Hyman Minsky’s “Financial Instability Hypothesis”.

Minsky’s hypothesis argued that a capitalist economy with sophisticated financial institutions could fall into a Depression as an excessive buildup of private debt occurred over a number of financially-driven business cycles. I had built a mathematical model of Minsky’s hypothesis in my PhD, which generated outcomes like the one shown below: a series of booms and busts lead to debt levels ratcheting up over time, until at one point the debt-servicing costs overwhelmed the economy, leading to a Depression.

Figure 1 ...

When I began writing my Report, I started with the comment that “debt to GDP levels have been rising exponentially”. But since I was an Expert Witness in this case rather than the Barrister, I knew that I couldn’t rely on hyperbole–and if the trend of growth wasn’t exponential, then I couldn’t call it that. I expected that there would be a rising trend, but that it wouldn’t be quite exponential, so I would need to amend my initial statement.

I downloaded the data on Australian private debt and nominal GDP levels from the RBA Statistical Bulletin, plotted one against the other, and my jaw hit the floor: the trend was clearly exponential. The correlation coefficient of the data since mid 1964 with a simple exponential function was a staggering 0.9903. The only thing that stopped the correlation from being absolutely perfect were two super-bubbles (on top of the overall exponential trend) in 1972-76 and 1985-94.

Figure 2 ...

I expected that the situation in America would be as bad or worse, which was confirmed by a quick consultation of the Federal Reserve’s Flow of Funds data. Though not as obviously exponential as in Australia’s case, the correlation with simple compound growth was still 98.8%.

Figure 3 ...

.03 World's housing markets recovering unevenly: Q3, 2009 - Global Property Guide

Housing markets in the world’s leading economies continue to recover, says the Global Property Guide's summary of housing statistics for the year to end-Q3, 2009.

Many housing markets in leading economies remain distressed. Of the 27 countries which have already published their Q3 data, more countries have experienced house price falls (17 countries) during the year to date, than have enjoyed price rises (10). In addition, the house price falls in several countries have been much larger than house price rises anywhere, and include unprecedentedly severe falls in Latvia (-59.7% year to date), the UAE (-48.1%), Bulgaria (-28.7%), Iceland (-21.2%), Russia (-19.5%) and Slovakia (-15.3%) (all figures inflation-adjusted)


The Asia-Pacific region’s housing markets have revived.


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.” It is my thesis that "regional communities” are emerging where multi-jurisdictional regional council organizations exist.

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 Google Search services. 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.

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Tom (Thomas J.) Christoffel, AICP -