Regional Community Development News – December 23, 2009 & January 11, 2010 [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 - .19

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .15

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .10

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .04

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .05

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

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


Note: Beginning with this issue, RCD News will be published as of the 2nd and 4th Monday. Ed.

Top Regional Community stories

1. Trends on the Road Ahead - The Outlook: Columbia River Economic Development Council - Southwest Washington, USA

In lieu of an economic forecast for 2009 I will share my observations on the trends that will drive the regional economy over the short and near term. These are a synthesis of ideas in other posts on this blog.

…To glean the scope of local shifts the Columbia River Economic Development Council did not go to the Wall Street Journal but to the 130 business investors in the organization. …

The Primary Focus of Banks Will Be to Collect, Not Lend, Money

Banking (access to credit), especially for our regional community banks, will not return to normal in the near future. …

Development Takes a Sabbatical

I take no pleasure in pointing out the obvious: residential, commercial and speculative industrial development will not recover within the next five years. …

If You Are Looking for Growth/ Revenue, Follow the Stimulus

The development industry from consulting to contracting is focused (dependent?) on public sector projects. …

Whither Liquidity?

With the collapse of the Commercial Mortgage Backed Security (CMBS) market and the stampede for the exits by traditional long term financers (e.g. insurance companies) there is an almost total lack of capital for long term development financing. …

Manufacturing for the Niches

Manufacturing will remain a component of the regional economy. …

Definition of Incongruence: Public Expectation of Services and Willingness to Pay

Government has spent the last decade learning to do more with less. …

Retail Commercial Flips Upside Down

The Clark County retail market has moved from underserved to over-retailed in the span of two short years. …

It’s Chic to Be Cheap

Consumers are purchasing down-market products both because of necessity and because they are being effected by the negative consumer sentiment. …

For Healthcare the Gig Is Up

2. West Michigan Regional Policy Conference update in Kalamazoo an opportunity to bridge region - - MI, USA

When the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce announced its West Michigan Regional Policy Conference in 2008, its four co-chairs all came from the Grand Rapids area: Jeff Connolly, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; James Dunlap, of Huntington Bank; Doug DeVos, of Amway Corp.; and Peter Secchia, of SIBSCO.

The conference was a massive and daring undertaking for a chamber of modest size. It turned logically to the individuals of influence with whom it was most familiar to help its inaugural venture succeed, then sought the participation of nearby cities in the region.

Some, including the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Michigan First, attended the conference — many did not.

Now, as the bi-annual conference enters the year of its second gathering, it is making a stronger effort to reach out to the neighbors of this region. The Kalamazoo chamber and Southwest Michigan First will hold an update …

Have you ever heard Peter Secchia speak? If not, get thee to this event. No, seriously, it will be worth it.

Whether you agree with the business leader’s politics, you cannot deny he comes to the podium with passion and candor. And therein lies the key to true regionalism.

We need to accept that Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids are not going to agree on much. There it is, gleaming on the table.

Can we overcome it? Can we reach agreement on any business issues? Can we come together as a region?

If we can’t bridge these divides, I fear what it means for the future of our state.

But the key qualities we possess in common in West Michigan are passion and candor, and those we can build a region upon. Those outside Michigan may not understand us, but we must learn to understand each other.

3. Dreaming big with wish list for new year - Buffalo News - Buffalo, NY, USA

The new year means new starts, new hopes, new ideas and—for some—a new hangover. Welcome to the first day of 2010. Drink in one man’s wish list for the next 12 months:

A job-generating industry— Hey, if you cannot wish big, why bother? I have lived here nearly 30 years and I— we—still await an economic engine half as powerful as the steel mills and full-throttle auto plants that once fueled Buffalo’s growth and polluted its skies.

There is plenty of promise and pretenders. Bioinformatics remains more about potential than payoff. …

Until we find job-growing industries, the landscape will not change. God, are you listening?

Less government— Our clutter of boundaries inflates the number of local politicians, jacks up the cost of delivering services and reinforces the small-picture thinking that keeps us battling among ourselves instead of fighting together for our share of the global economy. Any elected official who claims he is indispensable should be sent to Charlotte to report back on how its regional government manages with one-fifth as many politicians as less-prosperous Greater Buffalo. Now that would be a public service.

Regional sanity— Little makes less sense to me than the stretch of small manufacturers lining Walden Avenue far outside of the city. The outer-suburbs location separates the army of inner-city poor from decent-paying, lower-skilled jobs. It encourages sprawl and undercuts public transportation. It ignores the existing network of roads, rail, sewer and water lines in the city. While hardly the only example, it stands as Exhibit A of the painful consequence of our lack of regional planning. More than 10 years after national experts at the Chautauqua Regionalism Conference laid this all out, we still hardly have a clue.

4. Regionalizing transportation a core value behind creation of RTA - Arizona Daily Star - Tucson, AZ, USA

One of the most effective and unifying endeavors by our citizens was the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), sculpted in large part by its Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), on which I was honored to serve.

The CAC brought together diverse groups and "communities" to sit down together to address Pima County's transportation quagmire. One term that was pounded into all CAC members to embrace was the term "regionalism," a concept to urge decision-makers, elected or not, to shed our narrow views that had historically been focusing only within our city/town limits and instead expand them to look upon Pima County as a shared "region."

If we couldn't or wouldn't make this conceptual leap, the RTA was doomed to fail.

Second to the RTA's success, we were lectured, was the urgency to include in the plan an invigorated and updated Sun Tran/public bus system. The CAC listened for hours to passionate presentations from public transit proponents and battle lines were drawn between those wanting more road construction versus those who wanted more public transit emphasis in the RTA plan's financing.

As a new-car dealer at the time, needless to say, I didn't hang my hat in the "more public transit funding" camp. I've always questioned the economic rationality of taxpayers subsidizing the cost of public transit based on its very limited ridership.

However, in the spirit of regionalism and cooperation, talks evolved within the CAC to the point where I made a motion that would devote approximately 30 percent of the RTA budget toward public transportation. The motion passed and, in 2006, the RTA plan was approved by the voters.

5. Group's focus is on region - Winston-Salem Journal - Winston-Salem, N.C.

For more than 40 years, civic and elected leaders have lauded regionalism as a worthy economic pursuit that is just waiting for somebody to get the ball rolling.

Yet, it has proved difficult to persuade those same leaders to pour money into a joint account to assist economic initiatives with potential regional impact. Equally challenging has been getting elected officials to provide money for projects in other counties.

The latest, and perhaps most ambitious, attempt at regionalism is coming from the Piedmont Triad Leadership Group.

The group, whose chairman is Kelly King, the chief executive of BB&T Corp., has received pledges from more than 30 investors worth a combined $6.5 million over five years.

That includes …

The Piedmont Triad Partnership has identified four industry sectors to benefit from the money: home furnishings, logistics and distribution, nanotechnology, and regenerative medicine.

Both King and Jim Morgan, the chairman of the partnership for 2009-10, took time recently to discuss the initiative and why they think that this effort will gain traction in the Triad.

An edited version of their comments follows:

Q. What made this fund-raising effort work in ways that previous efforts did not?

King: The real difference is that the fundraising followed the consensus that we built ­-- that we could no longer continue to operate in the future as we have in the past if we expect things to improve.

In the past, there have been debates and disagreements about theoretical or philosophical issues. If we don't change, we're never going to be able to improve our region. We have to be willing to move the needle to create jobs through meaningful projects.

6. Leadership Northern Colorado aims for regional success - Northern Colorado Business Report - Fort Collins, CO, USA

Regional economies are the most relevant in today's global economy, an economic development consultant told the inaugural class of Leadership Northern Colorado at its kickoff meeting on Wednesday.

Michael Langley, founder and president of Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Langley Group, addressed the 30-member class and other members of the business community about the importance of regionalism. Langley pointed out that while metropolitan statistical areas make up only 12 percent of the U.S. geography, they account for 86 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

"Every region is becoming more relevant in the global economy," he said at the Embassy Suites-Loveland.

Langley said that Northern Colorado was already ahead of the game in having its three largest chambers of commerce working together. He explained that the private and nonprofit sectors must open the lines of communication with the public sector before, during and after issues impact the whole region.

"Success in regions doesn't just happen," Langley said. "Leaders make it happen."

Leadership Northern Colorado was launched as a partnership of the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland chambers of commerce with support from the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Community Foundation serving Greeley and Weld County. Greeley Chamber President Sarah MacQuiddy explained that the regional leadership class is meant to enhance, not replace, the localized leadership classes in each community.


7. Editorial: Regionalism out of whack - Salisbury Post - Salisbury, NC, USA

Before Rowan County severs its ties with the Centralina Council of Governments [ ] , we hope some serious soul-searching and frank discussions take place among all parties to this frayed relationship. If COG is to continue as a viable entity working to improve the quality of life in our region, it needs Rowan and Cabarrus among its nine-county fold. By the same token, Rowan and Cabarrus counties have much at stake in COG's work on regional issues such as water and air quality, job creation and economic development and providing services for a growing elderly population.

Rowan County commissioners have given COG six months' notice of their intent to withdraw from the planning group. Rowan isn't alone in its disenchantment. Cabarrus County also plans to pull out, as do the municipalities of Spencer, Norwood and Concord. Defections on that scale suggest COG's leadership needs to listen to the complaints driving this exodus and look at ways it can better serve these member agencies that don't feel they're getting their money's worth — $34,000 a year in Rowan's case and almost $40,000 a year for Cabarrus.

Officials here and in Cabarrus have ticked off some specific issues driving the disaffection. One is the sense that COG has worked at cross-purposes to Rowan and Cabarrus on devising a federally required plan to bring the area into compliance with air-quality standards. That, in turn, could jeopardize millions of federal dollars in highway improvement funds, including possible replacement of the Yadkin River bridge. Some are also upset over COG's effort to revise the multi-county road-planning agencies known as Metropolitan Planning Organizations, or MPOS, which officials believe have functioned well in their current form. Yet another issue is whether some of the planning services offered by COG duplicate those already available through local government staffs. There's also an underlying apprehension that Centralina is promoting the interests of Charlotte-Mecklenburg at the expense of outlying counties and municipalities.


8. Idea of regional planning group has found favor in Conneaut - Ashtabula Star-Beacon - Ashtabula OH, USA

A plan to make low-cost planning expertise available to every Ashtabula County community has its first convert.

Conneaut City Council this week approved a resolution of support for the Intra-Ashtabula County Regional Planning Corroboration and Association. The group would use the planning talents of people already in place and possibly those of people in adjoining counties.

“I’m happy to see Conneaut is in favor (of the concept),” Peggy Carlo, Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners’ president, said Tuesday.

The program is before commissioners, who are trying to enlist the support of Lake County and adjacent areas.

“It’s an opportunity to utilize the resources in the community,” Carlo said. “It’s an opportunity to look at regionalism.”

Conneaut council is intrigued because the organization could help the city revamp its zoning code without the need of expensive consultants. The city has kicked around a major overhaul of the code and recently decided the task would be too much for local talent. Instead of hiring a high-priced consultant, Conneaut could confer with the planning corroboration and use the planning experts on its roster.

“Conneaut’s zoning code could be their first project,” Law Director Lori Lamer said Monday night.

Participating communities probably would pay a membership fee based on population. In Conneaut’s case, the cost would be a few thousand dollars for planning/ zoning service, a steal compared with the price of consultants, Lamer said.

“It’s really a bargain,” she said. “I don’t think we can pass it up.”

The corroboration also could give the area a little more leverage to secure government grants and funding, said City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. Regionalized programs find favor when the time comes to hand out money, he said.

9. Green Acres Is the Place to Be - - USA

While urban and suburban real estate is still generally under pressure, the rural market is holding up better in many areas, thanks in part to buyers such as the Dawleys. Sometimes dubbed "ruralpolitans," these city and town dwellers are looking at land as their new safe investment, one they hope could prove more stable than their jobs and 401(k)s -- and provide a better lifestyle.

Motivations can vary, but typically there are three groups: young people buying land as an asset or investment, with vague hopes to live on it someday; exurban commuters who have jobs in big towns or cities but want to escape the sprawl; and back-to-the-land types who want to dabble in hobby farming. While the 76 million-strong baby boomers eyeing retirement represent the largest ruralpolitan segment, they're being joined by a growing contingent of 20-to-early-40-somethings freshly imprinted by this recession's pain.

Word Spy – ruralpolitan n. An urban dweller who moves to a rural area. Also: rural-politan. [Blend of rural and metropolitan.] —adj.

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 Top Planning Issues Of 2009

Over the course of the year, the editors of Planetizen review and post summaries of hundreds of articles, reports, books, studies, and editorials related to planning and urban development. Now, we take a look back at 2009 and the trends and issues that defined the year in urban planning. The economic recession infiltrated nearly every news story this year, especially in terms of urban planning and development. … The Great Recession … Shrinking Cities … The "Shovel-Ready" Conundrum … High-Speed Rail ... Transportation wonks are understandably excited by the vision and troubled by the implementation. As Rob Goodspeed, a Planetizen blogger, put it, "In reality, limited funds, our dysfunctional planning processes, and the historical lack of investment in rail will mean the U.S. will most likely end up with a diverse collection of regional rail systems that may not go that fast."

.02 Does Santa have gifts for Miss-Lou?

Natchez Democrat – Natchez, MS, USA

... with weather worries behind us, what should our community seek from Santa this holiday season? ... • Maybe the guy in the big red suit will also bring us some more togetherness so we can continue the work begun with the area’s regionalism effort. For several months, community leaders from Natchez, Vidalia and Ferriday have been meeting to discuss ways to work together more. That kind of effort will, in the long run, reap great benefits to our collective community. ...

.03 When Did Your County's Jobs Disappear? An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country, updated with the latest figures. - USA

The economic crisis, which has claimed more than 5 million jobs since the recession began, did not strike the entire country at once. A map of employment gains or losses by county tells the story of how those job losses first struck in the most vulnerable regions and then spread rapidly to the rest of the country. As early as August 2007, for example—several months before the recession officially began—jobs were already on the decline in southwest Florida; Orange County, Calif.; much of New Jersey; and Detroit, while other areas of the country remained on the uptick. ...

.04 Have the days of regionalism arrived?

Macon Telegraph - Macon, GA, USA

... Mayor Havrilla finally let the cat out of the bag. At least he realizes that G-RAMP, a proposed aircraft maintenance facility that would cost between $45 and $90 million, can’t succeed if it’s up to Warner Robins alone. He suggested a regional group should spearhead the effort. Hallelujah. The thought of regionalism has finally taken hold on Watson Boulevard. And it needs to spread all the way to Perry on a number of issues, particularly the encroachment issue that is more of a threat to Robins Air Force Base than not having G-RAMP. ...

.05 Cleveland Foundation Dramatically Cuts Funding to Regional Development Group

90.3 WCPN ideastream® - Cleveland, OH, USA

The Cleveland Foundation has poured 22 million dollars into the Fund For Our Economic Future over the past 6 years. It will reduce its contribution to just 300 thousand dollars over the next three years. The Fund acts as an umbrella organization that provides grants to groups like BioEnterprise, Team NEO and Nortech – groups dedicated to attracting businesses and capital to the region. Cleveland Foundation Vice President Robert Eckhardt says the foundation wants to have a more direct connection with those groups, and so is inviting them to apply directly for grants. Eckhardt: “As a community foundation and in these tough times we thought it was important to focus on the work that we had joined the fund and helped start the fund to do, which we would feel was much more the focus on the first order economic development than some of the other activities the fund had moved into.” Those other activities include making grants to encourage more inter-governmental collaborations as a way to promote regionalism. ...

.06 One for all: Regionalism, USA

Central Penn Business Journal - Harrisburg, PA, USA

If Pennsylvanians saw how well regionalism works elsewhere in the country, they'd realize how much they are missing out on, argues Alex Hartzler, managing partner of WCI Partners, a Harrisburg real estate development firm. Charlotte, N.C., is one place that has been very smart in its regional thinking, he said. That has helped the Mecklenburg County city of 687,000 people become a thriving financial center and even attract two professional sports teams, the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte has been thinking regionally for at least two decades, said Gina Howard, director of communications and public relations for the Charlotte Regional Partnership, a public-private economic development partnership. ...

.07 One for all: Regionalism not a cure-all, Central Pennsylvania analysts warn

Central Penn Business Journal - Harrisburg, PA, USA

Regionalism often makes sense from a cost-saving and efficiency perspective, but it isn't a panacea, some regional leaders said. Sometimes a regional approach is not the right choice when it comes to the municipal delivery of state and federal funding, police protection and other services municipalities are responsible for because legally they can't use grants and other governmental funds outside their municipalities, said Ed Messner, outgoing president of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce. Messner, who had been with the West Shore chamber for 41 years, retired at the end of last year. He is the chamber's longest-serving president, heading it for 36 years. Other times, the cost savings don't outweigh the service benefits, or there aren't cost savings. ...

.08 One for all: A regional discussion with Francis 'Frank' B. Haas Jr.

Central Penn Business Journal - Harrisburg, PA, USA

It is not a stretch to say that Frank Haas Jr. has left his mark on Harrisburg and Central Pennsylvania as whole. A vocal and longtime proponent of regionalism, Haas, 83, had a career that included multiple positions in state, local and national government. Haas is retired from his position of managing partner of Harrisburg-based law firm McNees, Wallace & Nurick.

Q: Why have you made regionalism such a cornerstone of your career?

A: I think you have to start out by defining regionalism. Almost no two people define it the same way. Some people think of it as cooperating between municipalities, others think of it as consolidation between municipal facilities and municipal services. And the fact is, it means whatever the speaker says it means. ...

.09 One for all

Central Penn Business Journal - Harrisburg, PA, USA

Central Pennsylvania is stuck in a twisted maze of segmentation. The disadvantages of fragmented government have grown for decades. But it's a problem that's becoming more apparent in the shadow of the financial recession that has left the state's various levels of government strapped for cash. Examples are seemingly endless of how a multitude of local government entities and the divisiveness of area organizations are holding back the midstate. The commonwealth's struggling city school districts, the area's complex permitting processes and the region's inability to work as one to market itself to the outside world are just the beginning. There are more than 200 municipalities and nearly 60 school districts among Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. This fragmented system of boroughs, townships and cities dates back to the origins of the commonwealth. …

.10 Partin: Cayce infrastructure investment helps region

The State - Columbia, SC

Significantly, the new plant sets the stage for a regional approach as we tackle other growth challenges. This facility has been a true collaboration many years in the making. The city of Cayce, the town of Lexington and Lexington County have worked together for the good of our citizens. All have played an important role in moving this critical, forward-looking piece of infrastructure from the drawing board to reality. This plant is an investment that will serve the people and businesses of this area well into the future. It is a symbol of a new Cayce, a city focused on smart growth that's strategic, progressive and pro-active. It's also a symbol for the entire Midlands of what can be accomplished with a spirit of regionalism and collaboration. ...

RC: Central Midlands Council of Governments


Yes! Weekly - Greensboro, NC, USA


During the campaign, mayoral candidate Bill Knight said he would like Greensboro to have more of a presence at the Piedmont Triad Partnership’s meetings, and promised that as mayor he would travel to meet with Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and High Point Mayor Becky Smothers. As a newspaper that serves the entire Triad, we hope Knight will fulill that promise. We have a vested interest in the three major cities marketing the Triad as a single entity to companies considering relocation, in integrating the talent pool to nourish more vital business activities, in having new venues like the Aquarius Music Hall in High Point succeed by tapping into a regional market and in improving transportation in and around the Triad. …

.12 EDITORIAL: A few resolutions for the new year

Crain's Detroit Business – Detroit, MI, USA

• For Brooks Patterson: Commit to regionalism. Please. Automation Alley is a terrific example of a county initiative that became regional to the betterment of the county and the region. The haggling over aerotropolis and Cobo management has at times sounded more dedicated to killing action than to improving the plan on the table. ...

.13 Burying the Lede on Detroit

The New Republic - USA

... Another buried treasure in the story: Substantial majorities feel optimistic about the future of the region, including 79 percent of city dwellers (nowhere to go but up!), and 59 percent of suburbanites. The divisions that seem to drive the gloom and doom angle come from the analysis of how people feel about the services that their local government provides. Not surprisingly, city residents feel their services are poor and quality of life is declining, while suburbanites are much more content. The recognition of metropolitan connectedness won’t solve all of the region’s or city’s problems – particularly the appalling quality the city’s public schools. But it can advance regional competitiveness and may create the conditions for addressing the stark racial divisions between city and suburbs. Ignore the headline--this is cause for celebration.

.14 State Officials See 66-Point Plan As Guide To Prosperity

Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

The agency's draft plan suggests that keeping talented young professionals in Connecticut, becoming more competitive with other states, and encouraging "smart growth" rather than more suburban sprawl are the state's chief goals. It offers 66 strategies for accomplishing that, ranging from recommendations for a statewide agency to oversee shipping ports to a $100 million public-private loan pool for students who pursue technical or health care careers in Connecticut. Some are very specific, such as reducing the size of the General Assembly, eliminating the commercial utility surcharge on small business, and building the Springfield to New Haven commuter rail system with a spur to Bradley International Airport. Others are broad, including: "Encourage regionalism and give priority for federal and state programs to those communities that form regional partnerships." The full report is at . The recommendations begin at Page 530. ...,0,7351684.story

.15 Real Problems Demand Real Leadership

Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

Connecticut will become an increasingly poorer state, unable to meet the basic needs of its residents unless our political leaders confront these issues with long-term strategic thinking and action. Members of an informal statewide group of clergy have been meeting and offer the following New Year's advice to our elected officials: Love thy neighbor. The partisan sniping and ideological brinksmanship that characterized last year's endless budget debates and which are beginning to rear their ugly heads now are at best a distraction, at worst a monumental failure of leadership. Please do not sacrifice Connecticut's economic future for the sake of winning short-term political battles against each other. ... Trust that we are stronger together. Accept the reality that Connecticut's long-standing home rule system is unsustainable. There is widespread agreement that regional cost-sharing will lead to greater government efficiency, yet we still lack the will to abandon home rule. Regionalism's day has come. ...,0,5481256.story

.16 In A Name

The Soccer Daily - U.S. National Soccer Players

Once upon a time, there was an idea that the future for a handful of professional sports teams in North America was regional. Why tie yourself to one city, when you could take a broader place name? Even better if you were justifying a stadium far from a city center. ... Considering the relative marketing value of regionalism versus city-specificity for the 1997 and 2003 World Series winners, who really can say. ... Major League Soccer has already been through the regional issue. They fell for a concept invented by the World League of American Football, ... You normally end up having to make corrections, and that tends to make the whole thing seem a little silly. It's a very good reason for not looking forward to the Pennsylvania Union. Get it right the first time, and re-branding never needs to be an issue.

.17 Northwest Arctic Heritage Center Community Opening

Saturday, December 19, was a big day in Kotzebue, Alaska. The National Park Service and the NANA Regional Corporation hosted a community opening of the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, Alaska. The opening included songs, Eskimo dances, and the opportunity for people of the region to tour the facility. ... First envisioned in 2000, the single-story structure is approximately 12,350 square feet. Space includes 8,450 sq. ft. for visitor services and 3,900 sq. ft. for NPS operations. It offers people of the region and visitors from around the world a high-quality interpretive experience of the natural and cultural history of the region, a variety of educational programs, and personal administrative services. ...

.18 Seven RI communities seek to regionalize services

Providence Journal - Providence, RI, USA

Mayor David N. Cicilline has submitted legislation to the General Assembly this week that would empower seven Providence County communities to regionalize municipal departments. The proposal comes in the form of three separate bills enabling the communities of Providence, North Providence, East Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Johnston and Central Falls to form “metropolitan districts” around either police, fire or public works functions. Those communities represent nearly 43 percent of the state’s population. Cicilline, who has been meeting quietly with officials from the six other communities since September, says the proposals are purposefully vague as he expects the communities to work out the logistics following Assembly approval of the enabling legislation. “It’ll require some careful planning, but I’m convinced it will save money,” he said. “But what’s the point in doing all this work to regionalize if the General Assembly won’t give us the power to do it?” …

.19 Chambers merge: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti business group form joint operation – MI, USA

The business advocacy groups for Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti will merge in 2010, forming the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber. Directors of both the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce and Ypsilanti Area Chamber of Commerce voted to form the regional entity. "We're very excited about this," said Karl Couyoumjian, chair-elect of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. "It's exciting ... for both chambers to move toward regionalism and move away from any kind of dividing line. That's the goal of this." ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 We May Be Born With an Urge to Help

The New York Times - NY, USA

When infants 18 months old see an unrelated adult whose hands are full and who needs assistance opening a door or picking up a dropped clothespin, they will immediately help, Michael Tomasello writes in “Why We Cooperate,” a book published in October. Dr. Tomasello, a developmental psychologist, is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. ... Dr. Tomasello finds the helping is not enhanced by rewards, suggesting that it is not influenced by training. It seems to occur across cultures that have different timetables for teaching social rules. ... For parents who may think their children somehow skipped the cooperative phase, Dr. Tomasello offers the reassuring advice that children are often more cooperative outside the home, which is why parents may be surprised to hear from a teacher or coach how nice their child is. “In families, the competitive element is in ascendancy,” he said. ... Inductive parenting is simply communicating with children about the effect of their actions on others and emphasizing the logic of social cooperation. ... The shared intentionality lies at the basis of human society, Dr. Tomasello argues. ... the human capacity for cooperation “seems to have evolved mainly for interactions within the local group,” Dr. Tomasello writes. Sociality, the binding together of members of a group, is the first requirement of defense, since without it people will not put the group’s interests ahead of their own ...

.02 Visualizing the Arctic Oscillation

Resilience Science

The Arctic Oscillation is unusually strong right now. The consequences, a warm arctic and cold N Europe and E North America, are illustrated in the image Winter Temperatures and the Arctic Oscillation from NASA’s Earth Observatory’s Image of the Day: “If you live nearly anywhere in North America, Europe, or Asia, it’s no news that December 2009 and early January 2010 were cold. This image illustrates how cold December was compared to the average of temperatures recorded in December between 2000 and 2008. Blue points to colder than average land surface temperatures, while red indicates warmer temperatures. Much of the Northern Hemisphere experienced cold land surface temperatures, but the Arctic was exceptionally warm. This weather pattern is a tale-tell sign of the Arctic Oscillation. ...

.03 The Wealth and Poverty of Regions: Why Cities Matter - Mario Polèse - The University of Chicago Press

Synopsis: As the world becomes more interconnected through travel and electronic communication, many believe that physical places will become less important. But as Mario Polèse argues in The Wealth and Poverty of Regions, geography will matter more than ever before in a world where distance is allegedly dead.

This provocative book surveys the globe, from London and Cape Town to New York and Beijing, contending that regions rise—or fall—due to their location, not only within nations but also on the world map. Polèse reveals how concentrations of industries and populations in specific locales often result in minor advantages that accumulate over time, resulting in reduced prices, improved transportation networks, increased diversity, and not least of all, “buzz”—the excitement and vitality that attracts ambitious people. The Wealth and Poverty of Regions maps out how a heady mix of size, infrastructure, proximity, and cost will determine which urban centers become the thriving metropolises of the future, and which become the deserted cities of the past. Engagingly written, the book provides insight to the past, present, and future of regions.

Link and Google Preview:

.04 Sander van der Leeuw: The Archaeology of Innovation

Long Now Foundation – FORA-TV

Cowell Theatre, San Francisco, CA - 11.18.09 Speakers: Stewart Brand, Sander van der Leeuw

Summary: Are we the first civilization to try and innovate our way out of climate change? How have past societies engineered sustainable solutions to a shifting world? Sander van der Leeuw, Director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University and External Faculty Member of the Santa Fe Institute, has spent his career studying these questions. During his seminar, van der Leeuw explores this research into the past, as well as its application to our current global predicament.

Professor van der Leeuw … His research interests have been in archaeological theory, reconstruction of ancient ceramic technologies, regional archaeology, (ancient and modern) man-land relationships, GIS and modelling, and Complex Systems Theory. He did archaeological fieldwork in Syria, Holland and France, and conducted ethno-archaeological studies in the Near East, the Philippines and Mexico. …

Since 1992, he has been involved in a series of research projects financed by the European Union in the area of socio-natural interactions and environmental problems. Among these projects are ARCHAEOMEDES I (1992-1994) and II (1996-1999), concerned with understanding and modelling the natural and anthropogenic causes of desertification, land degradation and land abandonment and their spatial manifestations, and "Environmental Perception and Policy Making" (1994-1996), all of which he coordinated. In the case of the ARCHAEOMEDES Projects, up to 65 researchers from 11 European institutions were involved, which included disciplines from Physics, Mathematics and Computing, via Geology, Hydrology and the Life Sciences to Sociology, Social Anthropology, History and Archaeology. …

.05 Caricom needs a new economic model — Jagdeo

Kaieteur News - Georgetown, Guyana, South America

As we enter into a New Year — 2010 — one wonders what will be the future of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), since there is dissatisfaction in many quarters about the regional grouping, especially at this time when hundreds of Guyanese and other CARICOM nationals were forced to leave Barbados, another CARICOM state, following the expiration of the new immigration policy ... The CARICOM Community was established in August 1973 as the Treaty of Chaguaramas with the English-speaking Caribbean. In 1995, the Dutch-speaking territory of Suriname joined and in 2002 the French-speaking country of Haiti did likewise. There are now 15 member states of CARICOM. ... The whole idea was for regional economic integration and cooperation, but it seems as though there are far too many obstacles in achieving this goal. One of the concerns is that Barbados does not recognise economic citizenship, which is being touted by some countries and, despite the CARICOM Single Market, a few countries trade with countries outside the region. ... Some critics feel that very little has been achieved by CARICOM since its establishment 36 years ago. It is said that the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the West Indies cricket team have brought strong regional unity and it is hoped that every effort will be made not only by the political leaders but by organisations and groups for more integration.

.06 Lee proposes liaison offices with North

Korea Herald - Seoul, South Korea

"Election system reform is also a task that must be completed this year as it is essential for taming extreme regionalism and overcoming the politics of confrontation," he said. Ahead of the June local elections, the government will push more aggressively for regional development policies. He said the government will accelerate its new mega-regional economic zone scheme which emphasizes economic agglomeration, regional interconnection and specialized competitiveness. "This year, strategies specifically tailored to bring about regional development will begin to bear fruit. The economic recovery must also be felt in the regions," he said. ...

.07 The case for messy multilateralism

Financial Times - UK

Multilateralism is not one thing but many. The issue takes on a new urgency in the aftermath of the recent Copenhagen conference, which brought together representatives of 193 governments in an unsuccessful effort to reach a formal, binding and comprehensive accord. Whatever its consequences for climate change, Copenhagen is but the most recent reminder that classic multilateralism is increasingly difficult to achieve. ... we are seeing the emergence of multiple innovations. One is regionalism. The proliferation of bilateral and regional trade pacts (most recently in Asia) is in part a reaction to the failure to conclude a global trade accord. ... A second alternative is functional multilateralism - coalitions of the willing and relevant. A global accord on climate will prove elusive for some time to come. But that need not translate into international inaction. ... Multilateralism in the 21st century is, like the century itself, likely to be more fluid and, at times, messy than what we are used to.

.08 KENYA: Dealing with drought

Residents of Moyale in the upper eastern region of Kenya, along the border with Ethiopia, are used to unpredictable and mostly dry weather. “When the rains come, they are erratic,” Rashid Karayu, chairman of the Golbo Integrated Development Programme, a local NGO, told IRIN. Golbo is an administrative division in Moyale. ... According to the Moyale DMO, Sora, there is a need for better timing and coordination of drought responses as well as their integration into development programmes. “For example, the livestock off-take programmes started long after many pastoralists had lost their livestock,” he noted. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a British think-tank, urged in a November report, Pastoralists’ vulnerability in the Horn of Africa, Exploring political marginalization, donors’ policies and cross-border issues, that pastoralist marginalization had to be addressed to improve their ability to recover before another drought hits. ... At present, some 3.8 million people in Kenya need food aid, and the outlook is grim. ...

.09 Funding biological data resources revisited


It is time for a whole new approach. Front-line biology cannot function without these resources, so solutions must be found at both national and international levels. That’s from an editorial in Nature talking about the need to change the way data resources are funded, ... What is the right model? It’s a combination of factors. ... Sustaining a data resource of any kind requires a dedicated team, a team of software engineers, curators, informaticians and biologists and funding that understands that these need to be maintained. ...

.10 Shaolin Temple's kung fu monks prepare IPO

A joint venture between Dengfeng, the city where the ancient Buddhist temple is located, and the state-run China Travel Service (CTS) will be listed in either Hong Kong or Shanghai in 2011. CTS (Dengfeng) Songshan Shaolin Cultural Tourist Company Ltd will have the temple's annual ticket sales of 150m yuan as part of its revenues. However, a government source said that the temple's buildings would not be included in the new company. ... "The joint venture will promote tourism in the region," said the government source. "But the assets of the temple itself, and its cultural heritage, will not be part of the group," he added.

.11 Sandžak officials angered over regionalization

B92 - Belgrade, Serbia

Leaders of three Sandžak parties reacted to news that the government is not planning to include six municipalities of the Sandaćak in one statistical region. They claim that the adopted government decree goes against all the guarantees given to officials of the Bosniak (Muslim) minority by the government. ... Ugljanin said that the problem occurred because of "oversights made by the state administration". The map of the statistical regions was made by the Statistical Office, and was checked by the European Agency for Statistics, which confirmed that it met all European criteria before adoption, reports said. In order for a territory to become a statistical region, it must have a population of 800,000. The law on regional development was adopted in July 2009.

.12 A Reading In The Speech of His Majesty King Mohamed VI of January 3rd, 2010 Calling for Regionalization

Moroccan Post - Alexandria, VA, USA

... create a unique national system for regionalization, away from professional imitation and formal cloning of foreign experiments. Our ultimate goal is to establish a pioneering example of regionalism for developing countries and to establish the special position of our country as an example to follow in taking courageous national positions and finding creative Moroccan responses to Morocco’s main concerns”. ... four foundations ... 2- Commitment to solidarity with these regions, since regionalism can not be reduced merely to a new redistribution of powers between the center and the regions and since regional development can only be equal if each region is allowed to invest in a maximum of its capabilities as best as possible, and when effective mechanisms for solidarity that promotes cohesion between the various regions are found. …

.13 Advisory Committee on Regionalization holds first meeting in Rabat

Maghreb Arabe Presse - Morocco

The Advisory Committee on Regionalization, set up on Sunday by HM King Mohammed VI, held, here on Monday, its first meeting. ... Its mission is to propose a general conception of regionalization, while bearing in mind its relevant dimensions and the role of competent constitutional institutions in its implementation.

.14 2010 preview: What next?

The Conservatives' regeneration policy is built around the idea of localism outlined in their Control Shift green paper last February. They want to minimise central government ring-fencing and give councils and local communities more say in how to spend their funding allocations. But policy detail is still lacking. "There is still a divide within the party," says Toby Blume, chief executive of umbrella body Urban Forum. "On one hand, you have progressive figures like Philip Blond (director of think-tank ResPublica) who are driving the 'Broken Britain' agenda to tackle poverty and social inequalities, while on the other you have people who would happily hark back to the days of Thatcher. We won't know for sure what the Tories would change until they are actually in power." What is certain, though, is that the Tories would strip regional development agencies of powers over planning and housing growth. Indeed, they might scrap most of the RDAs. "The money distributed by regional development agencies should be spent at a lower level and we would address this immediately (on winning power)," says shadow communities and local government minister Stewart Jackson. According to Blume: "The future of regional governance has hit a brick wall and I think it's safe to say that RDAs are not long for this world. The tiers of bureaucracy would not work well for a Tory administration trying to cut costs and minimise state intervention." According to Blume: "The future of regional governance has hit a brick wall and I think it's safe to say that RDAs are not long for this world.

.15 11 daring predictions for 2010

Socially Savvy - While the concept of a social networking guru might seem quaint by 2013 (do you have a photocopier guru in your office?), there is an opportunity in 2010 for people who really understand how to make social networking happen within the enterprise. While there are still a lot of carpetbaggers and "gee-whiz" cheerleaders playing in this market, I still find that there are a lot of people who don't have a basic understanding of social networking and are reluctant to ask for help.

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Transition Town-Country Initiatives - Cascadia Bioregion

Transition United States

A place to post your beginning Transition Initiative efforts in the cascadia bioregion, and receive encouragement & advice from your bioregional neighbors. ... This list is growing, and new Transition Initiatives can be found at:

.02 Envisioning Your Perfect Global Virtual Community... Visioning Your Perfect REALNEO

After five years of operation, REALNEO has reached a critical mass of content and activity generating significant global traffic over time. We have developed mature referral networks, good public awareness in broad, important sectors, and excellent search results, expanding our new and return visitor activity daily. Our demographics have mature, recognizable characteristics... but, who are we?.

As part of 2010 REALNEO/COOP Annual Planning and reporting, we will review benchmarking analyses of activity and demographics of REALNEO.US and dozens of other websites with interests like REALNEO, including comparative analysis of visitors' sex, age, % with children, household income, ethnicity, and educational attainment.

.03 VT Community Development grant app workshop

Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission

Please save the date, the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) will be hosting an application workshop on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 here at our offices at National Life (6th Floor Calvin Coolidge Room), 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vermont. Registration and refreshments will begin at 8:30AM with the program starting at 9AM. Please find the agenda attached. Starting January 13, 2010 you will be able to register online for the event and will have the option to pay by check or credit card, … The registration fee for this workshop will be $20. ...

.04 And the Second Greenest City Is . . .

The Daily Score

On January 4, Seattle inaugurated a new, ultra-green mayor, which got me thinking comparatively. Which of the three largest Cascadian cities is the greenest? Not in plans and intentions and declarations but in facts? I recently pored over data from the Cascadia Scorecard and other sources. The answer? No contest: Vancouver, BC. ... What’s more interesting is the next question, Who takes second? By reputation, Portland—darling of planners, ... No Northwest city is yet close to the destination of sustainability: carbon neutrality; widely shared prosperity; stable populations in strong communities; educational and economic opportunity for all; hyper-efficient use of natural resources; zero-pollution industries; and low-stuff, high-satisfaction lives. To achieve these goals, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver—and all the other communities in Cascadia—will best succeed if they not only compete for the lead but also cooperate, sharing lessons. In the race for sustainability, we all win only when we all finish. Still, competition can motivate us onward. And the city of Seattle, it turns out, is currently leading the city of Portland. Who knew? ...

.05 A New Market For New York's Regional Food


Robert LaValva: The New Amsterdam Market has evolved over the past four years—our first market was in October, 2005—into a reinvented public-civic space that was last seen in New York in the 19th century. Marketplaces in New York functioned around a broader local community that cultivated relationships between regional vendors and purveyors, not just the farmers themselves.

G: What do you mean by “regional” and how does this relate to our understanding of “local”? How far does the New Amsterdam Market region extend?

RV: Grocers, cheesemongers, and butchers as well as farmers are included as market vendors. They are sourcing from local farms and make up a collection of new small businesses that are contributing to the natural evolution of the growing awareness around food. I try to use “regional” whenever possible as we have drawn a broad circle around the city. With a huge metro area all around New York, a 100-mile radius could prevent our desire to support the regrowth, reinvention and reimagination of a regional food system.

.06 Intentional community in indiana

A Greener Indiana

... how are your community plans going? what is the name of the community in indianapolis you mentioned in a previous post? it would be interesting to have a regional intentional community group to support each other and bring more attention to the community movement. have you seen the interviews with diane on youtube? Communities Magazine editor Diana Leafe Christian interview about the book: "Practical Tools to Grow an Intentional Community"

.07 Regional Funders Perspective on Collaboration

NYCON-New York Council of Nonprofits – NY Nonprofit Executive Directors Network

Colgate University offered the following funders' conversation: Dunn says that Central New York has a modest foundation community, with only $400 million in assets and $20 million in annual grants. With those funds, how can we have the most impact. He has seen many encouraging conversations about sustainability in not for profit organizations in the community, and discussions about merging, sharing objectives, and regionalization. OShea says that, as the largest funder in their area, several smaller foundations have come under their umbrella as donor advised or designated funds. This enables them to have a conversation about their interests and the impact of their charitable dollars. …

.08 Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2009 published today (Dec 14)

European Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2.0.

A new Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) has been published today Dec. 14 assessing innovation performances across 201 regions in the EU and Norway. The 2009 (RIS) adopts the European Innovation Scoreboard approach at regional level and provides a richer analysis compared to previous reports due to the availability – for the first time – of more comprehensive regional Community Innovation Survey data. The analysis shows that all major EU countries have diverse levels of performance and relative strengths within their regions, and that Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic are the most heterogeneous. The report marks a significant step forward in measuring regional innovation performance although it also shows that more progress is needed on the availability and quality of innovation data at regional level.

.09 Rudd's Reckless Regional Rush

Kerry B. Collison Asia News

Australia repeatedly said the purpose of the Sydney conference was to start a conversation about regional architecture and that Australia did not want to be prescriptive. ... One of the findings of Woolcott's extensive consultations with regional leaders was that the region had no appetite for a new institution. Notwithstanding this, the organisers tried to push the contrary view that we agreed existing institutions were inadequate and ineffective. ... Australia had expressed some views on the region's existing institutions and whether they could be used to evolve the Asia-Pacific community. Australia dismissed the ASEAN Regional Forum as not useful because it was too large and had the wrong membership. ...

.10 Bioregional ecological economics: a prescription for health:

Gaia Emerging

"Eco-economics" means bioregionally-scaled economies designed on the basis of ecological principles. It means running an economy the way nature runs a forest. Ecological principles mandate decentralization, deconcentration, and regionalization of our economic systems. As much as possible, there must be local production, consumption, and full-scale recycling, drawing from local resources. It further mandates that no economic activity be allowed that is destructive or compromising to the ecological integrity of the region within which it takes place. Under bioregional economics," capital and resources are cycled within the region. As little as possible is allowed to "leak out." …

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 World Rankings of Think-Tanks - 21 January, 2010 - United Nations University Office at the UN, New York

Please note that the event will include a simultaneous live, interactive webcast, for those who are not able to attend in person.

The United Nations University Office at the UN, New York is organizing a discussion as a part of the Current Affairs Series entitled World Rankings of Think-Tanks with Dr. James G. McGann, Director of Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program and assistant director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McGann is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

As Professor McGann notes in an article written for Foreign Policy, think tanks, also called governments in waiting, are needed by leaders around the world to provide independent analysis, help set policy agendas, and bridge the gap between academia and policy-making. Professor McGann will discuss his recent work on a comprehensive ranking of the world's top think tanks, which serves as an insider's guide to the more 6500 think tanks around the globe. Dr. McGann is currently working on a book on Global Think Tanks, Policy Networks and Governance due out later this year (Routledge, Global Institutions Series).


.02 2010 National Conference of Regions - February 21-23, 2010 - Washington, DC - The Ritz-Carlton Hotel - National Association of Regional Councils (NARC)

This conference will focus on the Obama Administration’s priorities, Congressional activities, and critical policy issues and pending federal legislation that will impact regions. The 2010 National Conference of Regions' conference will lay out the legislative framework by which region’s and their local governments can reinvigorate their vital role in federal transportation, economic development, homeland security and environmental policies and programs.

Contact: Lindsey Riley, Member Services Manager

Agenda and registration:

.03 Innovation and the American Metropolis - April 16, 2010 – New York City - Waldorf-Astoria- Regional Plan Association (RPA)

RPA's annual Regional Assembly is New York's premier civic event, bringing together several hundred top business, civic, philanthropic, media and government leaders from across the metropolitan region. Each year the Assembly focuses on a priority issue. In the wake of the financial crisis, the 2009 Assembly "America 2050: Building the Next Economy" took on a national emphasis with an in-depth look at what went wrong and what we could do to rebuild our economy with smarter investments. This year, we look at the role of innovation and technology in shaping better cities and regions.

.04 Office of Advocacy U.S. Small Business Administration

The voice for small business in the federal government and the source for small business statistics.

Recent reports:

States with higher gross state product growth are more likely to attract highly mobile and high-achieving college graduates, both self-employed and wage-and-salary workers, according an Advocacy paper, Educational Attainment, “Brain Drain,” and Self-employment: Examining the Interstate Mobility of Baccalaureate Graduates, 1993-2003.

Much has been said about small employers of up to 500 workers, but little is known about the three-quarters of firms in the economy that are “nonemployers,” generating full- or part-time work for their owners. A new study, The Nonemployer Startup Puzzle, examines basic statistics about the entry and exit of these very small firms.

14. Financial Crisis. Contents


One of the four states that is not insolvent is an unlikely candidate for the distinction – North Dakota. As Michigan management consultant Charles Fleetham observed last month in an article distributed to his local media:

North Dakota is a sparsely populated state of less than 700,000, known for cold weather, isolated farmers and a hit movie – Fargo. Yet, for some reason it defies the real estate cliché of location, location, location. Since 2000, the state’s GNP has grown 56%, personal income has grown 43%, and wages have grown 34%. This year the state has a budget surplus of $1.2 billion!”

What does the State of North Dakota have that other states don’t? The answer seems to be: its own bank. In fact, North Dakota has the only state-owned bank in the nation. The state legislature established the Bank of North Dakota in 1919. Fleetham writes that the bank was set up to free farmers and small businessmen from the clutches of out-of-state bankers and railroad men. By law, the state must deposit all its funds in the bank, and the state guarantees its deposits. Three elected officials oversee the bank: the governor, the attorney general, and the commissioner of agriculture. The bank’s stated mission is to deliver sound financial services that promote agriculture, commerce and industry in North Dakota. The bank operates as a bankers’ bank, partnering with private banks to loan money to farmers, real estate developers, schools and small businesses. It loans money to students (over 184,000 outstanding loans), and it purchases municipal bonds from public institutions.

Still, you may ask, how does that solve the solvency problem? Isn’t the state still limited to spending only the money it has? The answer is no. Certified, card-carrying bankers are allowed to do something nobody else can do: they can create “credit” with accounting entries on their books.


.02 Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor – The Observer -

Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations' drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.

Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

This will raise questions about crime's influence on the economic system at times of crisis. It will also prompt further examination of the banking sector as world leaders, including Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, call for new International Monetary Fund regulations. Speaking from his office in Vienna, Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system's main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said.

.03 Q&A: 'Stiglitz-Sen Moving in the Right Direction, but Slowly' - Miren Gutierrez* interviews HAZEL HENDERSON – IPS News

IPS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked award-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, and 20 other experts to find new ways to measure growth. The panel issued a report that says that countries need to find ways to measure happiness and well-being alongside raw economic growth. How would this new way of measuring growth affect poor countries? Bhutan, for example, declares a high "Gross National Happiness". If a new well-being index is the reference for wealth, Bhutan may need no aid, trade or investment in spite of being one of the poorest countries of the world...

HH: The Stiglitz-Sen report is moving in the right direction but too slowly and is still trapped intellectually in the now-defunct "economics box".

Complex human societies can never be measured by using a single discipline, especially by economics which was never a science. Economic calculations are blind to most of the social and environmental costs its narrow decisions impose on others, reframed as "externalities," i.e., costs companies and projects omit from their balance sheets. These uncounted impacts of financial decisions have accumulated unnoticed by economists until they are now crises of poverty, inequality, social exclusion and pollution - culminating in the greatest market failure: climate chaos.

Stiglitz and Sen cannot see that new national indicators of "progress" must be multi-disciplinary and use many metrics as appropriate in the kind of systems approach used in the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, an alternative approach I designed with the Calvert Group, tracking 12 aspects of quality of life.

I am very cautious about "happiness" indicators because they are culturally dependent and too subjective (e.g., people living near a hidden toxic dump or drinking polluted water can say they are "happy" while ignorant of these dangers). Conservative economists and statisticians have seized on "happiness" surveys as an excuse to cut social welfare budgets.

.04 Is Financial System Dysfunctional? - Mostly Economics

Adair Turner’s speech and Prospect’s top 25 list alerted me to the work of Paul Woolley. Paul Woolley has worked in financial firms, at IMF, has taught in Univs etc. So he has seen it all.

He has been working to show how efficient financial markets theory is not right and we need a new paradigm.

He has set up a Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality at LSE where much of the work is being done. ...

He says:

Is society well-served by its financial institutions? I am referring here to private sector institutions such as the banks, investment banks, fund managers, and capital markets generally, rather than the public sector bodies such as central banks and supra-national agencies. Surprisingly, the question is hardly ever posed, let alone attempts made to answer it. There seems to be a tacit, and more or less universal assumption that competitive markets are efficient markets and, since competition does not appear in short supply among financial institutions and investors, everyone seems to be happy.

Indeed the notion of efficiency lies at the core of finance theory. The belief in the efficacy of competition propounded by the classical economists from before Adam Smith, was applied formally to finance in the shape of the “Efficient Market Hypothesis” in the 1960s. The ability of equity markets to deliver efficient pricing leading to the most productive allocation of resources was unquestioned through the 1980’s and even now holds centre stage as the principal building block of academic finance.

But reality is different

By most measures finance has become the dominant industry sector accounting, for example, for between 30% and 40% of the aggregate profits of the quoted corporate sector in the US, UK and globally, compared with only around 10% forty years ago. What model can explain its dominance? It seems strange that an industry whose role is that of intermediation rather than the production of consumption goods and industry whose role it is to allocate resources, retains the biggest share for itself?

This is the formal statement of the problem.

.05 Funding and the patriotism test - Financial Times - UK

In recent months, some of the brightest minds at Moody’s rating agency have been mulling a fascinating question: should they introduce a formal rating of “social cohesion” into sovereign debt indices, when they judge whether a government is likely to default on its debt – or not?

So far, neither Moody’s nor any other agency has actually done this, after all it is pretty hard to feed a specific “cohesion” number into any model.

But the discussion points to a fundamental issue that will hang over bond markets this decade.

In the past few years, when markets have tried to judge the risk attached to western government bonds, they have typically done so looking at hard macro-economic data, such as projected gross domestic product. Such data, of course, continue to be critically important, given the size of the western fiscal hole.

What is becoming clear is that hard numbers do not tell the entire tale. What will be equally crucial in the coming years is not the sheer scale of debt, but whether governments can implement a rational and effective way of cutting it – and potentially allocating pain – without unleashing (at best) political instability, or (at worst) full blown revolution.


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.

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. Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on news reports as of the publication date.

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