Regional Community Development News – July 26, 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 - .19

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .15

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .04

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

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

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


Top Regional Community stories

1. Editorial: C'mon, Minnesota: Tell your story - - Minneapolis, MN, USA

Minnesota modesty has its place -- but not in the intense competition for expanding or relocating companies and the badly needed jobs they create.

"The region has done a very poor job of marketing itself," said Bob Ady, president of Chicago-based Ady International, one of eight site selection firms that met in late June with prominent Twin Cities politicians and business leaders.

"We haven't been telling our story," agreed Todd Klingel, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Once told, it's a compelling, competitive story, according to Jonathan Sangster, senior managing director of commercial real-estate services firm CBRE in Atlanta. Sangster is impressed at "how competitive the region can be in doing projects, particularly in factors like competitive cost of business, cost of living and quality of life."

As the site selectors learned about our region, those tasked with attracting businesses here got an education on what companies around the country are looking for. Contrary to much business-climate rhetoric, taxes aren't the sole defining dynamic. Indeed, some of the qualities commonly demonized as job-killers are actually attractive to site selectors.

"Everybody thinks it's taxes, taxes, taxes," said Ady. "But it's really about labor, labor, labor. And in the three facets of labor -- costs, productivity and quality -- you hang in there very well."

On regionalism, the oft-derided Met Council is perceived as positive, if not as a cost of entry into the competition. "I'm a big fan of a regional organization working together for a common cause," said Sangster. "A regional approach is almost essential these days."

More broadly, collaboration across the community draws praise. "I was impressed with the public sector, private sector and academia working together," said Ady. "That kind of concerted effort is unusual. ...

RC: Metropolitan Council

2. Panel urges full-time mayor: Columbia should merge city-county services, it says - The State - Columbia, SC, USA

Columbia needs a full-time mayor who will consolidate much of the city’s services with the county, according to a 101-page report commissioned by Mayor Steve Benjamin …

While the committee was broken up into eight subcommittees, each charged with looking at a specific issue, the overwhelming theme of the report was consolidating city and county services, which was one of the key planks of Benjamin’s platform that got him elected.

“It was important because we thought it was a way to make services more efficient and also is a cost-saving measure,” said Gail Baker, president of the Hyatt Park Neighborhood Association and a member of the public safety subcommittee.

The regionalism and intergovernmental relations subcommittee said Benjamin “must reestablish the credibility of the City of Columbia as an effective and functioning government” and “it would be necessary to bring in an outside planner to evaluate how to consolidate certain services.”

The environment and sustainability committee suggested the city take the lead in coordinating the smaller, private wastewater systems in the area hooking up to the city’s larger system, because it would improve water quality and “demonstrate a commitment to regional problem solving.”

The public safety subcommittee recommended combining the city Fire Department with the county EMS service, and pushed for a “collaborative working arrangement” with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department “to ensure a strong framework of leadership, vision, and direction is infused in the culture of the Columbia Police Department.”

The city is in talks with Sheriff Leon Lott about his possible management of the city Police Department.

The report also encouraged the city and county to combine their planning and zoning departments and to learn from county governments about garbage collection, noting that, “The city uses employees, which are more expensive; the counties use contractors, which are less expensive.”

RC: Central Midlands Council of Governments

3. How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late: Andy Grove - - USA

… I’ve lived in the Valley a long time, and usually when I see how the region has become such a draw for global investments, I feel a little proud.

Not this time. … Something didn’t add up. Bay Area unemployment is even higher than the 9.7 percent national average. Clearly, the great Silicon Valley innovation machine hasn’t been creating many jobs of late -- unless you are counting Asia, where American technology companies have been adding jobs like mad for years.

The underlying problem isn’t simply lower Asian costs. It’s our own misplaced faith in the power of startups to create U.S. jobs. Americans love the idea of the guys in the garage inventing something that changes the world. … Startups are a wonderful thing, but they cannot by themselves increase tech employment. …

The scaling process is no longer happening in the U.S. … Scaling used to work well in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs came up with an invention. Investors gave them money to build their business. If the founders and their investors were lucky, the company grew and had an initial public offering, which brought in money that financed further growth.

... Long term, we need a job-centric economic theory -- and job-centric political leadership -- to guide our plans and actions. In the meantime, consider some basic thoughts from a onetime factory guy.


Financial Incentives

The first task is to rebuild our industrial commons. We should develop a system of financial incentives: …

4. Planning for high-speed rail on track - The Day - Hartford, CT, USA

Transportation officials are working to keep plans on track for high-speed trains running through Connecticut, western Massachusetts and Vermont.

The three states have received a total of $160 million in federal economic stimulus money for track improvements to link high-speed trains from New York City to New Haven, and north to Hartford, Springfield, Mass., Vermont and Montreal. Officials have scheduled a meeting in Hartford on Thursday to update the public on where the project stands. Backers say the regional project can reduce traffic on Interstate 91 and promote economic development by bringing high-speed passenger rail service to inner cities. "The whole idea is to treat this as an important New England north-south initiative," said Timothy W. Brennan, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission [] in Springfield, Mass.

Massachusetts has received $70 million in federal money to upgrade deteriorated tracks from Springfield to Vermont. The tracks now carry freight trains at speeds no faster than 10 mph, but track improvements by 2011 should boost speeds to 60 mph and 70 mph, Brennan said.

Train service for years has been diverted east to Palmer to avoid the run-down tracks, he said. Transportation officials want to rebuild those tracks to provide north-south passenger service to population centers in Chicopee, Holyoke, Amherst and Greenfield, Brennan said.

Stephen Delpapa, transportation supervising planner at the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said the state will spend $40 million in federal stimulus money to add a second track from the Meriden-Berlin town line to Newington in central Connecticut.

Commuter rail service on the 64-mile corridor linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield ended about 40 years ago with the demise of the former New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad. Amtrak has owned and controlled the train tracks since 1971.

5. Officials offer solutions to area’s population losses - SW Iowa News – Shenandoah, IA, USA

If the communities of Page County and southwest Iowa are going to stop — or reverse — the current trend of population loss, local officials believe there needs to be an emphasis on regional initiatives.

Just what that means differs slightly, depending upon whom you ask. But, in the end, everyone agrees sitting back and doing nothing will not fix the problem for future generations.

“People want to live in rural areas, but they are attracted by jobs,” she said. “The strategy we’re working on — and it’s no magic bullet, mind you — but we’re looking for people who want to stay here and self-employ. Then, we can help them build from there, and add more jobs that pay well and will stay local for the long term, not just suck up the incentives and then leave.”

… second summit on regionalism and economic development in September. The goal is to continue the conversation generated in the first summit and to encourage more communities to get involved in the Rural Development Center program.

“By building regions, we’re not just talking about two counties, or four counties, or even 22 counties,” she added. “We may even have to look at regions across state lines, and identify assets we can market globally.”

South Page Superintendent Gregg Cruickshank said he has already been looking at the same approach to regionalism as an education paradigm for small school districts. He said he’s concerned too many communities will take a “bunker approach.”

“We’re going to have to start looking at more regionally based options, and the legislature is going to have to dictate how we do that to us, but we can’t be stuck in just our own communities with a bunker mentality,” he said. “If we don’t change that attitude, we will be left behind at the starting gate.”

Southwest Iowa Coalition -

RC: Southwest Iowa Planning Council

6. LETTER: Regional sharing of tax revenue and expenses - The Morning Journal - Lorain, OH, USA

To the Editor: It appears that Lorain voters will have an opportunity to decide the fate of city council’s proposal to reduce the income tax credit.

Certain letter writers have referred to the credit reduction as a new tax. It is not a new tax. The 1.75 percent tax in Lorain is the same for all of us. Residents who work outside the city currently receive a credit for tax paid to their city of employment. Whether the credit was fair or not is debatable, but that is not the real issue.

As a matter of “fairness” everyone in Lorain should contribute some amount to the cost of operating our city. After all, residents working outside the city do not call the Cleveland Fire Department if their house is on fire.

However, it is also not fair for a person to pay a full income tax to a city where he/she works, since that person does not receive the same level of services as residents of that city receive. Both the city of “residence” and the city of “employment” provide some level of service for this person for which some contribution should be made.

The real issue here is: How should we go about paying for services we receive from our “home” town versus our “employment” town?

The answer is simple. We should have regional sharing of tax revenue and regional sharing of certain publicly provided services.

Unfortunately, Lorain and other cities are facing problems of critical proportions now, and waiting for regional solutions is too far off in the distance for mayors and city councils, which are expected to provide services today. So proposals, like reducing the credit for taxes paid to other cities, is a fast and efficient way to deal with the problems.

7. Alternative energy leader? - Journal Watchdog - Greenville, SC, USA

The announcement by a Korean company that it would spend $21 million to begin assembling electric cars in Spartanburg County is a sign the Upstate is positioned to be a leader in the up and coming industry, economic development leaders said.

CT&T Ltd., a Seoul-based company, said it will team up with 2AM Group, a Spartanburg company, for its first North American production line to assemble low-speed electric vehicles in Duncan.

That announcement, coupled with the start of production in Greenville this month by Proterra, an electric bus company, puts the Upstate at the forefront of the emerging industry of alternative and “green” energies, said Kevin Landmesser, vice president of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, a public-private economic development organization.

“There are tons of opportunities for us,” Landmesser said.

Landmesser said he expects more alternative energy-related economic development announcements to be made in the Upstate within the next six months.

Richard Blackwell, director of investor and public relations for the Upstate SC Alliance [ ], said the Upstate’s status as an automotive hub, something that started with BMW’s arrival, expanded by the location of dozens of Tier 1 suppliers and was cemented by the development of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

“It has taken a lot of time to get the puzzle pieces in place,” he said, “but they are there and now they’re paying off.”

Former Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnet said the successes of the Upstate so far points to the importance of regionalism.

“Regionalism is gaining traction,” he said. “It shows that communities don’t have to be divided by geopolitical lines.”

Automotive and energy are two of the four target markets for the Upstate SC Alliance, which represents Greenville, Spartanburg and eight other Upstate counties.


8. Regional development key to growth in all areas of economy, report states -

DEVELOPING THE regions will benefit all sectors of the economy and should not be viewed as an isolated or sectoral issue, a Western Development Commission (WDC) report states.

The full potential of the State’s less developed regions is not being realised, leading to a “waste of talent and opportunity”, according to the commission study, …

It recommends that an “identifiable single figure at national level” is required to implement an effective co-ordinating role in regional development.

Recent research by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) shows that nurturing growth in these less developed areas will bring about national growth, Dr Helen McHenry, WDC policy analyst and author of the study, says.

Two OECD papers published last year found that while leading regions were important in driving national economies, lagging regions also made a strong contribution.

“Regional policy is not a zero sum game where growth in one region is at the expense of another,” Dr McHenry says.

In its report Why Care About the Regions? A New Approach to Regional Policy , the commission recommends that a focused and targeted policy here should extend beyond transport and infrastructure. It also says that regional policy in the future must have a “more subtle understanding of issues such as environmental sustainability, individual welfare or happiness, and their association with economic and social development”.

It believes investment in infrastructure must be maintained and combined with investment in the three “Es” – enterprise, employment and education, along with “drive to increase innovation”.

The commission is the statutory body promoting economic and social development in counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

Its abolition was recommended in the McCarthy report on expenditure, and it has had its investment fund cut dramatically.

The Council for the West has urged its retention.


9. Transportation sales tax initiative in development - Albany Herald - Albany, GA, USA

The Georgia Department of Transportation is busy trying to implement the framework of a regional sales tax proposal that would fund transportation projects in 12 different regions statewide.

Approved by the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue, HB 277 completely overhauls the way GDOT funds local transportation projects, Senior Planner Todd Long said.

The regions comprise the same areas as the existing Regional Development Commissions. Southwest Georgia’s region consists of Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas and Worth counties.

According to Long, HB 277 would allow for those counties to levy a one-percent sales tax for 10 years that would fund transportation projects and programs specifically within the region, meaning the money raised in the district stays in the district.

Voters in the majority of the counties within the region will have to approve an August 21, 2012 referendum for it to pass, although individual counties will not be allowed to opt out of the funding.

Long said that the reason for the change in the way GDOT funds projects comes as the push for more fuel efficient vehicles has grown, which reduces the amount of revenues GDOT has been able to generate through the motor fuel surcharge.

“We’re getting to the point where its becoming not feasible to keep up with the maintenance and growth of infrastructure demands using just the motor fuel tax,” Long said.

A new funding mechanism for road and transportation projects is a double-edged sword for local governments that have watched as funding for GDOT’s Local Assistance Road Program, or LARP — the program that helps local government fund vital infrastructure improvements — has been steadily reduced, but who are also hesitant for change.


RC: Southwest Georgia Regional Development Commission

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 Open for Questions: The Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Next American CityPhiladelphia, PA, USA

... in Washington, D.C., Derek Douglas, the de facto head of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, sat down with Shelly Poticha from HUD, Beth Osborne from the DOT and Tim Torma from the EPA. It was a live chat, broadcast via simultaneous live feeds on and ... The reason for the live chat was to discuss the most exciting element of the Obama administration’s urban policy: the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. ... The end result of hosting a live chat with such a self-selecting audience has both good and bad consequences. It’s good, obviously, that instead of justifying the use of taxpayer dollars for innovative public policy, the representatives from the agencies could go into greater detail about the wonkier aspects of federal urban policy. ... I would have liked to hear someone ask if people in the agencies even think it’s possible to undo six decades of destructive, sprawling urban development. … The last question … “We advocates appreciate the administration’s emphasis on livability, sustainability and transit-oriented development. But what happens when a new administration takes office? In other words, how will these changes be made permanent?” The panel, for the most part, explained that good on-the-ground projects should change public opinion on the matter. ... As a closing note, Derek Douglas added, “This partnership is also changing the way that these agencies do business…they’re collaborating in ways they never did before, which will continue regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. And so I think that by changing not only the substance of the policies, but also the approach, that strengthens the ability for this to have a long-lasting impact.” It seems there’s a silver lining to lessons learned by the Obama administration’s inheritance of George W. Bush’s Minerals Management Services; for better or worse, these changes in the agencies are lasting. In the case of the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, it will be for the better.

.02 Inaugural Social Innovation Fund Grants Awarded to Experienced Innovators

Corporation for National and Community Service - Washington, DC, USA

In response to the increasing health needs, economic challenges and gaps in youth achievement facing low-income rural and urban communities, the Corporation for National and Community Service announced its inaugural Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grants today. The grants will target millions in public and private funds to grow effective solutions to persistent social challenges across more than 20 states. The SIF portfolio consists of 11 organizations selected through a rigorous review process involving 60 external experts. The grantees, who represent a diverse set of nonprofit organizations and private and community foundations, share a track record of success at identifying and growing high-performing nonprofit organizations and their proposals offer a set of compelling ideas for how to use innovation and evidence to tackle social challenges in a new way. ... The grantees will address urgent needs across three key issue areas – economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support – by providing funding and other support necessary to drive results and impact. The portfolio includes $74 million in secured private match funds, which is beyond the statutory requirement of $50 million. When combined with federal resources, this will result in $123 million being targeted toward promising nonprofit organizations that train the unemployed, increase access to heath services for the underserved and prepare youth for academic and economic success. ... An initiative that represents a new way of doing business for the federal government, the $50 million SIF fund leverages a 3:1 private-public match, sets a higher standard for evidence, empowers communities to identify and drive solutions, and creates an incentive for grant making organizations to more effectively target funding to solutions that generate real impact. The SIF is a critical component of the Administration's broader agenda – led by the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation – to redefine how evidence, innovation, service and public-private cooperation can be used to tackle urgent social challenges.


.03 Groups study Great Lakes-Mississippi River split

Wisconsin State Journal - Madison, WI, USA

Groups representing states and cities in the Great Lakes region kicked off a $2 million study Thursday of how to slam the door on exotic species such as Asian carp by cutting links between the lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. The 18-month project will develop options for physically separating the two drainage basins. They were joined artificially a century ago with the creation of a Chicago-area waterway system that has helped destructive invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels spread as far west as California. "Ecological separation is the only way we're going to permanently protect against invasive species," said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, an agency representing the eight states adjoining the lakes. "Everything short of that is likely to fail." The commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative are coordinating and raising money for the study. The Joyce Foundation and the Great Lakes Protection Fund have pledged nearly $700,000 between them, Eder said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has promised to investigate separation as part of a long-range analysis of exotic species movement between the two water basins. But that could take several years, while advocates of separation want quicker action.


.04 Editorial: Tollway agency works to restore confidence - Dallas Morning News - Dallas, TX, USA

The North Texas Tollway Authority made the right decision by ignoring high-dollar bait dangled its way to choose a Collin County route for a future stretch of the Dallas North Tollway.

Property owners near the new roadway will make a bundle after it's built, and the city of Celina wanted the super-heated development inside its boundaries. No problem with that. Celina made the novel pledge that NTTA could have the future bounty of the higher property taxes. No problem with creative thinking, except for where it might lead. Had the NTTA jumped at the money, it might have opened the door to an era of transportation planning by municipal bidding war. Those kinds of cash inducements may be in our future someday as road money dries up, but the rules aren't in place nor the consequences fully thought out yet. The bigger problem with the proposed Celina route was that it would have further insulted a one-time compact made between Collin and Denton counties to run the future road segment up their common border. The deal was reached in 2005, but Collin County reneged three years later in a snit about dividing toll revenue. Collin County formed its own, rival tollway authority and vowed not to let money get away. The decisive 7-1 vote by NTTA to honor the county-line route is a statement about regionalism. Just as the region's major highways serve a wide swath of commuters and travelers, the benefits should be measured out fairly as well.


.05 County transit requests are investments

Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA

Voters in Ingham and Eaton counties have before them requests to fund public transportation. In Ingham County, the request is to renew a millage to fund services "primarily" for the elderly and disabled. In Eaton County, voters are asked to increase the millage to fund an increase of service. As mid-Michigan recasts itself from a younger, manufacturing center to an older community competing for business with its quality of life, it makes sense for voters to approve both millage requests. There's a real need for public transportation in mid-Michigan. Just ask the Capital Area Transportation Authority, which has seen its ridership numbers surge (and which has its own millage request on the ballot Aug. 3). If mid-Michigan is going to operate in a cooperative fashion, it is prudent to fund an array of transit services. ... These services help knit Ingham County with the urban core. It's regionalism on four wheels. ...

.06 Suburban residents now favor more transit spending, poll shows

Chicago Tribune - Chicago, IL, USA

Reflecting the increasing strain of gridlocked traffic, a majority of Chicago-area residents think improving bus and train service is so important to the region that repairing and expanding expressways and toll roads should take a back seat, a Tribune/WGN poll shows. Most suburbanites support investing more in mass transit than roads, sharing the long-held stance of a large majority of city residents, the poll found. Suburban residents also said they are driving less and taking more advantage of expanded suburban train and bus service in communities where the automobile has been king. ...

.07 More transparency needed by gas drillers -- Companies should release list of chemicals

Patriot-News - Harrisburg, PA, USA

A big question for many Pennsylvanians right now is what chemicals drillers in the Marcellus Shale region are using to extract natural gas. It is a worry for those who have wells near the drilling sites and it is a concern for people who know the water from that region runs into creeks and streams that eventually lead into waterways such as the Susquehanna River. The recent HBO documentary “Gasland” has elevated those concerns. The film’s director spoke to people who say they have health problems related to the chemicals used in the fracking process to drill each well. ... Range Resources of Canonsburg decided to end the skepticism on its part and become the first company drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania to disclose the chemicals it uses for fracking. … state Department of Environmental Protection is the first such agency in the nation to post a comprehensive list of additives used in fracking. This, too, will go a long way toward transparency of this industry. With thousands of wells being drilled throughout Pennsylvania, and knowing that the additive mixtures are a key element of the fracking process, the natural gas companies have an obligation to our residents and the sustainability of our natural resources to tell us what chemicals they are pumping into the ground.

.08 Regional Carbon Cap Gets Second Look as 'Template' for National Plan

The New York Times - New York, NY, USA

The climate debate in Congress is prompting a closer look at a mandatory program that has been chugging along for almost two years in the eastern United States with relatively little notice. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, operating in 10 states from Maine to Maryland, restricts emissions just from the utility sector, like one of the leading ideas to address climate change now percolating on Capitol Hill. The impetus began to grow last month after a meeting at the White House before the congressional recess. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) called the regional program a "template" for national climate legislation. "I believe that one possibility is to more narrowly target a carbon pricing program through a uniform nationwide system solely on the power sector," Snowe said. ... But are the regional system and its utility-only cap working as intended? And do they offer lessons on how congressional lawmakers should put together a cap-and-trade system at the national level? ...

.09 Pinal Partnership CEO honored for service

TriValley Central - Maricopia, AZ, USA

Sandie Smith, president and chief executive officer of the Pinal Partnership, is the recipient of the 2010 Desert Peaks Professional Service Award from the Maricopa Association of Governments. “I think the judging panel was impressed with her ability to reach across county lines on issues that affect both counties,” said MAG director Dennis Smith. “She’s working for the good of the citizens whether they live in Maricopa County or Pinal County. These boundaries are transparent to the citizens. “She knows how to get things done and people like working with her,” he said. The professional service award is given to the person who has significantly contributed to regionalism through sustained or outstanding professional efforts, ...

.10 Regional leaders can aid exporters, report says

San Francisco Chronicle - San Francisco, CA, USA

Regional business and political leaders can do more to help local exporters, says a new Brookings Institution report that profiles the 100 largest metropolitan areas that ship goods and services abroad. The report, "Export Nation," comes at a time when the Obama administration has called for a five-year doubling in exports. Many economists agree that boosting exports is a necessary part of restructuring a U.S. economy that has been driven by high levels of consumer spending and debt - both of which have been constrained by the financial aftershocks of the Great Recession. Though international trade is dominated by factors like currency values and tariff agreements, Brookings says metropolitan regions should do more to support export-producing companies, one reason being that they produce higher-paying jobs. "The debate about trade policy has focused almost exclusively around exchange rates and tariffs, and it has been happening in the Capitol," said study co-author Jonathan Rothwell, adding: "It's time to get metropolitan leaders a seat at the table in discussing trade policy and exports in particular." The report offers a snapshot of the dollar volume of each region's exports and characterizes the types of goods and services produced.

.11 Agencies Look To Link Commuters

WFMZ-TV - Harrisburg, PA, USA

Local transportation officials said they are trying to make your morning drive a little easier. Take the bus. That's what nine different county transit authorities want folks to do. They are well aware that is a tough sell for most commuters, but their goal is to make service so convenient it's hard to pass up. "We are, we're competing with a car, said David Kilmer, executive director of the Red Rose Transit Authority in Lancaster County. Kilmer knows long distance commuters are attached to their daily driver, but he still believes those long commutes take enough of a toll that folks could be swayed to ride the bus. ... The study, which is funded by a state grant, will examine technology that would make fares universal from bus system to bus system. It will also determine how much regionalization would cost and look at ways to pay for it. ... The study will wrap up early next year with the hope of having some aspects of regionalized service in place within a year after that.

.12 Towns learning to share, stretch taxpayers' dollars

The Sun Chronicle - Attleboro, MA, USA

"Combine, save and better serve" is catching on in numerous Massachusetts cities and towns that have cut budgets and/or taxed residents to the edges of their tolerance. Regionalization, such as that being pitched by Norton to Easton for trash pickup, is gaining such momentum throughout the country that it has all the markings of a trend. We encourage cooperation of communities aimed at saving the individual taxpayer perhaps hundreds of dollars a year and streamlining delivery of services. Norton and Easton have already agreed to share a veterans' agent. ...

.13 New name, new brand for Navajo, Apache counties regional development effort

White Mountain Independent - Show Low, AZ, USA

Navajo and Apache counties offer 'Real Opportunity in Northeast Arizona Right Now' to companies that are looking to build a future in diversified energy production and related industries in the newly-branded Real AZ Corridor. Resources, Energy, Access and Lifestyle (REAL) are key elements of the region's economic development assets and the foundation of the Real AZ Corridor branding strategy that is being introduced this week. The Real AZ Corridor regional branding strategy and gateway Web site are projects of the former Navajo County Regional Development Council, which changed its name to the Real AZ Development Council earlier this month to better reflect the regional nature of the bi-county effort. Members of the council overseeing the branding of the nearly 100-mile wide region include the Navajo County communities of Holbrook, Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, Snowflake, Taylor and Winslow and the Apache County communities of Eagar, St. Johns and Springerville. Unincorporated areas in both counties are also represented in the project. ...

.14 Boeing talks up future in Puget Sound region

The Seattle Times - Seattle, WA, USA

Top Boeing executives at the Farnborough Air Show offered encouraging words Monday about the future prospects for designing and building airplanes in the Puget Sound region. Pat Shanahan, vice president in charge of airplane production, had good things to say about the Renton narrow-body-jet plant, considered — not least by many of the workers there — as the most likely to start fading away once the 737 is replaced. "I love Renton," said Shanahan, who once managed the 757 assembly line there and helped develop the lean moving line that is now the model for every Boeing jet program. "The 10,000 people down there are a strategic asset," Shanahan said. "The basic foundation of our production system, its genesis, is out at the Renton facility." Boeing executives periodically have chosen to remind the people of Washington that the next new airplane after the 787 doesn't have to be built in the Puget Sound region. That message was rammed home last year when the company chose Charleston, S.C., over Everett for a second 787 final-assembly line. Renton is seen as particularly vulnerable. ...

.15 As regional carriers dominate travel, safety is big concern

The News & Advance - Lynchburg, VA, USA

In the past five years, only three U.S. airliners on scheduled flights have been involved in fatal crashes, but all were operated by the regional airlines that have grown to dominate passenger service at many airports. And with the exception of the crashes during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, five of the six major airline crashes with passenger fatalities since Jan. 1, 2001, have involved regional airlines, ... According to the Regional Airline Association in Washington, which speaks for its member companies, the regionals serve 650 communities across the country; in 442 of those communities -- 70 percent -- regional airlines provide the only scheduled service. At many others, regionals carry the most passengers. For example, 17 regional airlines now provide 70 percent of the flights at Virginia’s Richmond International Airport and carry more than half the passengers, according to figures from the Capital Region Airport Commission. The regional airline presence at RIC has increased steadily over the past five years. Last year regionals carried nearly 160 million people nationally, about 20 percent of all U.S. air travelers. ...

.16 Regional variation in health-care spending and utilisation higher in Medicare than private sector

Science Centric News - Sofia, Bulgaria

In the latest Health Policy Outlook from the American Enterprise Institute and the Schaeffer Centre for Health Policy and Economics at USC, Schaeffer Centre researchers investigated whether geographic variations in utilisation of health services and spending differed between Medicare and the private sector. A large body of literature has documented regional variation in Medicare spending and the amount of care provided, leading some to suggest that 'high-use' areas such as Miami should be modelled after 'low-use' areas such as Minneapolis. However, a comparison between Medicare and the private sector reveals that this regional variation is often two to three times more pronounced in Medicare than for the private sector, according to the new study by Darius Lakdawalla, director of research at the Schaeffer Centre and associate professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development; Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Centre and Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy at USC; and coauthor Tomas Philipson of the University of Chicago. 'What we have shown is that high-use versus low-use is not about geography, as has been asserted. Rather, it has to do with the type of insurer. This suggests the importance of exploring private-sector models for managing utilisation,' Lakdawalla said. ...

.17 Twitter mood maps reveal emotional states of America

America, are you happy? The emotional words contained in hundreds of millions of messages posted to the Twitter website may hold the answer. Computer scientist Alan Mislove at Northeastern University in Boston and colleagues have found that these "tweets" suggest that the west coast is happier than the east coast, and across the country happiness peaks each Sunday morning, with a trough on Thursday evenings. The team calls their work the "pulse of the nation". ... thinks there is good reason to suspect the results reflect real mood swings – at least among Twitter's users. For one thing, the national weekly and daily trends are also seen in individual regions, something you would not expect if the variations were random. ...

.18 Where is Top Secret America?

The Washington Post - Washington, D.C., USA

Explore the map to find locations of government organizations within Top Secret America.

.19 Bring Back Local Community News Shows/End Merged KPFA-KPFK Merged IndyBay.orf - Voices For Justice Radio

The merger of KPFA and KPFK news has limited the amount of local community news on both stations from each area. This merged operation must be changed with a return to a one hour locally produced show on both stations. With population of over 10 million in each region it is critical that there be more local an regional community news and not a homogenization of the news on both stations. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Cracks appear in regional unity

HOPES of creating a new body to fight for the North East’s needs at a national level appear to be fading. Business leaders and council chiefs had hoped they could set up a successor body ready for when development agency One North East is abolished in 2012. The Government was told two months ago the region would be happy to accept one Local Enterprise Partnership – LEP – offering economic support from the River Tweed to the River Tees. But cracks have started to emerge in the regional unity, with many in the North of the region now privately thinking councils and businesses in Teesside will ask ministers for permission to set up their own partnership. Teesside would also need the support of key businesses, many of which are wary of breaking up the region. Such a move would pave the way for three competing partnerships in the region, focused around major city areas such as Sunderland and Tyneside. Any smaller city-based LEPs would inevitably risk losing out to those built around major cities such as Leeds and Manchester, critics claim. …

.02 Most RDAs performing to high standard, watchdog finds - UK

Most of England's regional development agencies are performing to a 'strong' or 'good' standard across three key areas of work, according to a set of reviews published by the public spending watchdog. The reviews, carried out by the National Audit Office (NAO) last year on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, investigated how the RDAs had prioritised work to ensure highest economic impact and how well they had improved their own effectiveness. The NAO also examined how well the eight RDAs outside London had learned from their work to make improvements to performance management and effectiveness.

The watchdog rated the performance of six of the eight RDAs against the three indicators as either "strong" or "good". … "At such a time it is helpful to have the results of the NAO’s independent assessment of RDAs’ work. We hope and believe that these findings should inform whatever future structures for economic development finally emerge."

.03 What sort of fourth level of government do we want?

The Vancouver Sun - Vancouver, BC, CA

... fourth level of government has evolved in the Metro area, and it's easy to see why. It makes sense to provide a lot of services regionally -- water, sewer, garbage, transit and more. Indeed, I'd make the case for more joint services -- policing springs to mind -- so you won't hear me arguing for fewer. But regional governance structures are problematic. I've written before about Trans-Link, which went from bad to worse when the province imposed a reorganization that seems aimed at producing a more compliant board. I'm also troubled by the power that the Metro Vancouver board (made up of members appointed by city and district councils in the region) already has to raise and spend well over half a billion dollars a year. Anybody spending that much of your money and mine should, in my view, be much more accountable to you and me. I'm not sure what a better answer would be. I'm leery of the most obvious solutions -- either imposing amalgamation on the 21 regional municipalities, or formalizing a fourth level of elected government. But I don't think we should be giving new taxation powers to a regional government until this issue has been thoroughly aired and a consensus reached. ...

.04 Bresso calls for 'coalition' against potential breach of subsidiarity rules

EU Committee of the Regions Press Release - Brussels, Belgium

The European Commission's recent proposals to impose sanctions on countries with excessive deficits could be in breach of the EU's subsidiarity principle, Mercedes Bresso, President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), told the Extremadura regional parliament in Mérida, Spain, on Friday. She called on all regional and national governments to form a "coalition" with the CoR to defend the subsidiarity principle, if necessary before the Court of Justice. President Bresso said that the Commission's communication on economic governance published earlier this month had sounded the alarm bells because one of the key sanctions proposed on member states with excessive deficits would be the suspension of funding linked to cohesion, agriculture or fisheries policies. "We immediately saw that there was a serious risk that this would breach the principle of subsidiarity: the question is, is it legally possible for the European Union to impose conditions on regional and local authorities reducing their freedom to adopt their own budget rules, by threatening them with financial sanctions?" she said. President Bresso underlined that the Committee would not be rushing to the courts to defend its case – the CoR believes that such a recourse should only ever be taken as a last resort – ...

.05 Keep the Canadian Census Long Form; Gardons le formulaire long du recensement canadien

Category: National Affairs

Region: Canada

Target: Government of Canada


Background (Preamble):

The Harper government is moving to eliminate the Canada census long form questionnaire and replace it with a voluntary survey. The long form was sent to 20% of households and is a critical source of information about diversity, employment, income, education and other characteristics of Canadians. It is essential to business, research, planning and good public policies and programs. Stakeholders ranging from the business community, to university researchers to social justice advocates are raising their voices to oppose this move. Le gouvernement Harper …


We call on the Canadian government to reverse its decision to eliminate the mandatory long form Canada census questionnaire. The information collected through this form is critical to understanding the character and diversity of Canada. The long form questionnaire is an essential tool to enable business and social planning, research, and development of programs for the well-being of Canadians. Nous demandons au gouvernement canadien …

.06 Kamla and the future of Caribbean regional security

Stabroek News - Georgetown, Guyana

... Framework for the Management of Crime and Security erected on Mr Manning’s watch three years ago exemplified the finest features of functional cooperation. These legacies facilitated a common visa policy and free movement of persons and demonstrated the benefits of regional security cooperation which, prior to 2007, had a spotty record. CARICOM’s decision to accord an important role to crime and security as the “fourth pillar” of the Community was an act of faith. CARICOM’s choice of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister to be lead head on Crime and Security was an act of wisdom. In her maiden address to the Conference, Mrs Persad-Bissessar reasserted Trinidad and Tobago’s commitment to bolstering security. She called it “one of the cornerstones which must be strengthened to ensure that the foundation for the collective prosperity of our Region remains solid.” She also acknowledged the threat of criminal activity associated with human-trafficking, money-laundering, repatriation of deportees, the trade of illicit drugs and firearms and other forms of organised crime and terrorism. ... Significant items on the crime and security agenda – especially the proposed establishment and implementation of a Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework for crime and security – still need to be addressed to continue the work of creating a safer Community. ...

.07 Asia Needs Pan-Regional Institutions for Integration, ADB Panel Says

Asian Development Bank News Release - Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Increasing interdependence within Asian economies suggests the region should strengthen its institutional architecture to cement recent gains, broaden integration, and ensure that regional and global processes remain compatible and mutually reinforcing, a seminar audience heard today. The seminar was held at the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) 43rd Annual Meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to discuss the findings of ADB's new flagship study "Institutions for Regionalism: Enhancing Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific." "ADB has a dream, which I believe is shared by many of the region’s leaders. It is a dream of a truly integrated yet globally connected Asia," ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said in remarks to open the seminar. He pointed to the goal of shaping a "seamlessly linked" Asia where people, capital, goods, and services can move freely across borders and a region that "tackles challenges together, in a collegial manner, with common purpose." "To make this dream come true, Asia needs to restructure its institutional architecture for economic cooperation," Mr. Kuroda said, ultimately strengthening its institutions that promote regionalism. ...

.08 Mamata: How regional leaders misuse national roles

India Vision News - Maharshtra, India

The allegations against Mamata Banerjee that her preoccupation with West Bengal politics is preventing her from giving greater attention to the railway ministry have reopened the question whether regional leaders are capable of discharging national responsibilities. The grimness of available statistics shows how remiss she has been in her ministerial duties. In the period that she has been in office, there have been 11 accidents, including five major ones, killing 300 people. ... Yet she has been quite blasé about the charges of a virtual dereliction of duty in view of her frequent absence from her office in the national capital. As a result, 85,100 safety-related posts remain vacant as the files are not signed. ... It is because the regional leaders have a restricted outlook that they are routinely denied crucial portfolios like home, finance and external affairs, which require administrative acumen, knowledge of the monetary world and an understanding of the diplomatic scene. ...

.09 Sri Lanka holds the key to regional stability or volatility.

Lankaweb - Sri Lanka

... the entire world is undergoing a drastic reality change in which, the traditionally oppressed nations in the global south are getting organized to tackle the challenges posed by the neo-colonial policies of the west. In this global political atmosphere, Sri Lanka also shares the collective view of the nations in the region that India and China need to improve their bilateral relations for their mutual benefit as well as for the benefit of the entire regional stability and security. ... In regard to the significance of having a stable regional system toward Asian progress, ‘The Hindu’ observes that, Asian passivity of energy as a major obstacle to progress of Asia. It reveals, although Asia hosts the world’s largest producers and fastest growing consumers of energy, Asia still relies on institutions, trading frameworks, and armed forces from outside the region in order to trade with itself, a debilitating heritage from the imperial era. The key to end the Asian passivity in energy sector, it observes, is “India-China cooperation.” This Indo-China cooperation is equally valid in terms of regional security.

.10 The Failed States Index 2010

Sixth annual ranking in collaboration with The Fund for Peace.

.11 Social networking, CSR come to rescue of regional businesses - Paris, France

The ongoing global financial crisis has taught lessons to regional companies, according to two separate surveys: One is the importance of social networking and, second, the recognition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a business imperative rather than a philanthropic add-on. As the number of consumers in the MENA region who are actively using interactive Web platforms hit 15 million, social networking has become a serious business for the corporate firms. In the UAE alone, almost half the companies are using social networking as a mainstream marketing tool to win businesses amid tight financial conditions, revealed the global survey commissioned by workspace solutions provider Regus. About 29 percent of companies in the country said they set aside a proportion of marketing budget specifically devoted to social networkers, which not only include a young consumer base but also enterprise level businesses, it added. “Although there is a hardcore of skeptics globally, who do not believe that social networks will become a significant method of reaching customers and prospects, a significant proportion of firms are devoting real marketing budgets through the medium to acquire new customers and keep existing ones,” said Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus. ...

MENA Region map:

.12 Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Councillors Urged To ‘Stand Shoulder To Shoulder’ In Fight For Better Hospital Services - Greater Niagara Region - Niagara River & Canada/U.S. border

Niagara, Ontario’s regional council is giving the body responsible for operating a majority of the hospitals across the region until the end of August to respond to calls from local municipalities and a provincial coalition of citizens for an independent investigation into “serious complaints” and “unresolved issues” members of the public have expressed about the management of those hospitals. During its July 15 meeting, the region’s council set the same deadline for a response from the province’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the provincially created Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) for Niagara and surrounding Ontario regions and municipalities. ... Welland regional councillor George Marshall told Casselman and others on the council that the regional government already has enough at stake to have some say in how the Niagara Health System is managing our hospitals. The region has agreed to invest $20 million of taxpayers money in facilities at the new hospital the NHS is building in west St. Catharines, Marshall said, and regional taxpayers are already taking a hit for more than a million dollars per year in extra ambulance services to get people from the south end of Niagara to emergency departments still open in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.

.13 Toronto, get over it: It's efficiency that matters - Globe and Mail - Toronto, Ontario, CA

Toronto, relax. We’ve been “snubbed,” according to a city newspaper, which complains that Toronto has been left “in the cold.” All this because the chief executive officer of the planned national securities regulator won’t be schlepping to an office in downtown Toronto every morning once the new body is up and running on Canada Day 2012. Instead, the lucky winner of the new job will inhabit some sort of undefined virtual head office, presumably floating between provinces and the main offices, which for starters will be in Toronto and Vancouver. ... The aggrieved in Toronto say locating the CSRA anywhere but Toronto is pandering to regionalism. Deal makers and investors who believe in a single regulator but understand the realities of getting it done in Canada might call it something different: a good trade.

.14 City Workers In Melbourne A Bit Healthier Than Those In Regional Victoria


WorkSafe Minister Tim Holding said analysis of more than 120,000 individual WorkHealth checks show that while the gap between the health of regional Victorians and Melburnians is quite small there are concerning health issues for all of those tested. “These statistics are alarming and show the importance of workers in either the city or country getting their health checked and leading a healthy lifestyle,” Mr Holding said. “Workers in regional Victoria are more likely to have a waist measurement indicating a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, have high blood pressure, drink alcohol at risky levels and smoke. “Workers from Melbourne are more likely to not get enough exercise and eat less than the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables.” Mr Holding said every Victorian worker would have the opportunity to have a WorkHealth check. “This is a world-first initiative from the Victorian Government to improve the health and wellbeing of workers and reduce the risk of chronic disease,” he said. ..

.15 Lost in Translation

Wall Street Journal - New York, NY, USA

... in Pormpuraaw, a remote Aboriginal community in Australia, the indigenous languages don't use terms like "left" and "right." Instead, everything is talked about in terms of absolute cardinal directions (north, south, east, west), which means you say things like, "There's an ant on your southwest leg." To say hello in Pormpuraaw, one asks, "Where are you going?", and an appropriate response might be, "A long way to the south-southwest. How about you?" If you don't know which way is which, you literally can't get past hello. About a third of the world's languages (spoken in all kinds of physical environments) rely on absolute directions for space. As a result of this constant linguistic training, speakers of such languages are remarkably good at staying oriented and keeping track of where they are, even in unfamiliar landscapes. They perform navigational feats scientists once thought were beyond human capabilities. This is a big difference, a fundamentally different way of conceptualizing space, trained by language.

Differences in how people think about space don't end there. People rely on their spatial knowledge to build many other more complex or abstract representations including time, number, musical pitch, kinship relations, morality and emotions. So if Pormpuraawans think differently about space, do they also think differently about other things, like time?


.16 Smart smart smart, it really does

National Business Review - Auckland, New Zealand

Noticed how the word “smart” is the new business/PR/marketing bumph word. A propaganda document prepared by the Christchurch City Council -owned Canterbury Development Corporation is a treat for folks wishing to be entertained and nauseated by obfuscation, incomprehensibility, cliché, endless repetition and general torturing of the English language. To say nothing of the childish message betraying the insecurity of small towns trying to match Auckland. This document purporting to be about growth for the region is a shameless self advertisement for Christchurch’s mutually appointing quango hopping local body erks. ... Mr Parker is champion of “project regional governance.” The report even claims the city is a “unitary local city authority” (we haven’t quite abolished the regional council just yet Bob, in spite of Nick Smith’s efforts). All the other usual quango suspects – sorry, that should be “public service entrepreneurs” if that’s not an oxymoron – also feature in this document with captions and photos as “project champions.” ...

.17 Council approves regional group

The Chronicle - Toowoomba, Australia

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council yesterday gave its “economic dream team” permission to break free and to pursue the interests of the wider region. During its general meeting, council decided to support “in principle” a move from the Toowoomba Regional Economic Development Board to form an independent, regional group. It would represent communities from Goondiwindi to Roma, Dalby and Toowoomba. Despite gaining unanimous approval, many councillors voiced their reservations about relinquishing their stronghold over the board they formed only a year ago. Cr Peter Marks said he had fielded calls from people concerned council was turning its back on the Toowoomba region. ...

.18 Strategizing regional

Manila Bulletin - Manila, Philippines

Ever since the Center for Research and Communication was founded in 1967 by Dr. Jesus Estanislao and a visionary group of economists, political scientists, and business executives who had just returned from their graduate studies in the US and Europe, the advice being given by this pioneering think tank to leaders in both the government and private sectors of the Philippines was to "think global, strategize regional, and act local." Contrary to the mood then prevailing among many Filipino intellectuals who were still caught up with the inward-looking, protectionist, and ultra-nationalistic ideology so prevalent in developing countries after the Second World War, the "Friends of CRC" were constantly exhorted to look outward.

.19 Frank Gavin: Five Ways to Use History Well

The Long Now Foundation - Video

Historian Francis J. Gavin considers the relationship of historical analysis to public policy and offers methods for using history. He is the Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and the first Tom Slick Professor of International Affairs at Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Chapters – 1:41 Total Time

1. Wrong Predictions of the Future

2. Benefits of Applying Historical Knowledge to Policy

3. Reasons Why Historians and Policy Makers Don't Mix

4. Five Key Concepts for Historical Analysis in Policy

5. Vertical History

6. Horizontal History

7. Chronological Proportionality

8. Unintended Consequences

9. Policy Insignificance

10. Final Thoughts

11. Q1: Misuses of History

12. Q2: Why the Media Focuses on Wrong Things

13. Q3: Historical Precedents for Climate Change

14. Q4: Leaders with Historical Sensibility

15. Q5: Brilliantly Doing Nothing


25. Q15: To Contact a Historian

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Do we need a grocery ambassador or a city-wide food security/foodways plan?

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

... Washington Business Journal, in Cheh introduces "grocery ambassador" bill, Councilmember Mary Cheh has introduced legislation on the topic, calling for a grocery czar amongst other steps, but I think the legislation is somewhat narrowly conceived because this issue is about more than just trying to attract some grocery stores. The real issue is a comprehensive plan for food security and foodways in the city. Grocery stores are but one piece. The Community Food Security Coalition is an organization broadly focused on food access. Toronto and a number of other communities across North America have created "Food Policy Councils" to focus on food access at the local level, especially in urban places, and work to make more direct links between urban and rural food policy. (The book The Edible City looks broadly at Toronto's foodways, food policies, and food industries. This paper, Food Policy Councils: The experience of five cities and one county, from 1994 discusses the disconnection of cities from foodways policymaking.) ...

.02 Does “New Politics” Really Involve Localism?

Political Promise - UK


Mr. Cameron tells us, that power will be devolved from Whitehall to the people. Fine so we have a policy of localism, an end to the ‘centralism of New Labour’ they say. Yet the government’s radical and rapid-fire reform of state education and the NHS are designed to take power away from elected local authorities. This is not taking power from Whitehall; it’s the systematic destruction of local government. ... Both coalition parties are ideologically opposed to plans Labour put forward in 1997 for Regional Assemblies, arguing vociferously that they would destroy local representation. However, if health is run by the doctors, schools run by the teachers and local authorities left to making sure the bins get picked up and assigning the few council houses remaining then surely there is no problem in scrapping county councils altogether. Instead 8 Regional Assemblies (London already has one) could be formed: ... These assemblies could take on much of Whitehall’s power and provide strategic planning to deal with housing, economic development etc. as well as responsibility for police and fire services (both of which are crying out for more regionalised services to save money whilst maintaining quality of provision). ...

.03 Music and the Mega-Region

Creative Class

... mega-regions are not only important to markets, economics, and technology, now it appears they are important to music as well. Case in point, the indie-rock band The Walkmen whose newest single was recently released. Half the band live in New York, half live in Philadelphia. They maintain recording space in both places, and recorded their upcoming album from BOTH studios. Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser described the logistics of their arrangement to Pitchfork in February: ... The Walkmen aren’t the only band to make use of the mega-region. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is also based in both Philadelphia and New York. The Roots, meanwhile, commute from their home base in Philadelphia to their nightly gig as Jimmy Fallon’s house band.

.04 Regional Bias: A Celebration of Bay Area Music and Culture to Benefit

The Bay Bridged

For the past four and half years, The Bay Bridged has been proud to champion the San Francisco Bay Area indie music scene through an innovative mixture of new media journalism and cutting edge live events. ... second annual fundraiser party, Regional Bias 2010, a celebration of Bay Area music and culture to benefit The Bay Bridged. ... this isn’t your typical fundraiser event. It’s a celebration of independent music’s vital place in Bay Area culture. ...

.05 Does Dense Make Sense? Part 2. Regional Transportation

The Blue Line - Boulder Speaks Out

The City of Boulder has been a regional employment hub in Boulder County for decades. The University and the quality of life in Boulder have attracted high-tech industries, research labs, federal agencies, and natural living businesses. As an employment rich community, the City of Boulder experiences a large number of commuters each day. As of April this year, 52,900 people commute into Boulder each work day while 10,530 people commute out. ... Finally, transportation planners know that the most efficient way to decrease SOV trips is to manage parking. Countless research studies have found that managing parking, either through time-limited parking, paid parking or reduced parking supply, is the best way to get people out of their cars. Looking around the City of Boulder you find the highest alternative mode shares occur in downtown and on the CU campus – the two places with managed parking. If commuters driving into Boulder had to pay the true costs of their parking rather than receiving it free, transit and ridesharing would suddenly look more attractive. The City of Boulder could push toward parking management by establishing very low parking maximums for new development and redevelop-ment that would decrease the supply. ...

.06 Open house for the West of Hudson Regional Transit Access Study

Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA Blog

On July 20th, Metro-North Railroad (MNR) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) held an open house in Newburgh to present initial recommendations for a short list of alternatives for improving transit services between central Orange County to Manhattan, as well as improved transit access to Stewart International Airport. Known as the West of Hudson Regional Transit Access Study (WHRTAS), Phase I began in 2008 with the consideration of a long list of alternatives (106) which included express bus, commuter rail, and ferry. Applying a screening methodology based on capital costs, environmental impacts, integration with the existing system, capacity and user benefits for both the airport and commuter markets, the options were reduced to 22 scenarios in June 2009. After further screening based on public input and more detailed analysis, five types of alternatives now remain to be considered in Phase II: direct regional bus; commuter rail to Stewart Airport from the MNR Salsbury Mills-Cornwall station; a hybrid of rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); and a hybrid of rail and bus.

.07 Africa’s good governance icon gives polio big boost in Kampala

Kick Polio out of Africa

Rotary’s promise to kick polio out of Africa and the world received a big boost from Celtel founder Mo Ibrahim by calling upon African leaders who met at the 15th African Union Summit in Kampala to finish the job of polio eradication. The 53-member bloc that gathered at the AU summit focused on health issues, peace and security, infrastructure, energy and food security during its three-day summit. ... “There are two valuable lessons to be drawn from this experience. Firstly, it emphasises the importance of good governance in fighting disease. The Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign has commended the political leaders of Nigeria, and government officials in West and Central Africa, for their commitment to polio eradication, a commitment which has manifested itself in effective policies and ultimately a decrease in new infections”. “Eradication campaigns on such a large scale require, at minimum, cooperation from governments. It is important to remember that good governance is not always about direct action from governments; it is sometimes just about allowing others to do their jobs.” “Another important lesson is the necessity of cross-border cooperation and regional integration in fighting disease. Unfortunately, polio pays no attention to border posts or immigration officials, so countries have to work together. … Cooperation on such a global scale might sound far-fetched, but it has worked before – smallpox was completely eradicated in 1979 after a joint global effort.” Friday, July 30 marks 1 year since the last polio case in the Horn of Africa, meaning that the region is once again polio-free. …


The Diplomat of the Future

... although the world has become more multilateral as I have described, it has also become more bilateral. Relations between individual countries matter, starting for us with our unbreakable alliance with the United States which is our most important relationship and will remain so. Our shared history, value and interests, our tightly linked economies and strong habits of working together at all levels will ensure that the US will remain our biggest single partner for achieving our international goals. But other bilateral ties matter too, whether they are longstanding ties which have been allowed to wither or stagnate or the new relations that we believe we must seek to forge for the 21st century. Regional groups are certainly strengthening across the world, but these groups are not rigid or immutable. Nor have they diminished the role of individual states as some predicted. Today, influence increasingly lies with networks of states with fluid and dynamic patterns of allegiance, alliance and connections, including the informal, which act as vital channels of influence and decision-making and require new forms of engagement from Britain. ...

.09 Maryland Watershed Implementation Plan Regional Exchange

Building A Green Maryland

Last Thursday, July 15th, I attended the last scheduled Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Regional Exchange, held at the Prince George's County Soil Conservation District Office in Upper Marlboro...and let me tell you - The. Room. Was. PACKED! There's obviously a lot of interest in how this plan is going to be created, implemented, and then monitored, and rightly so! The plan will have a huge impact on how we address nutrient and sediment deposits in the Bay watershed. The purpose of this meeting was twofold: first, for the primary host, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources, to explain a bit about the eventual phases of the Plan (there are three) and the basic tasks that they've been charged with addressing in the plan; and second, for input from citizens on how to tackle the challenges of meeting the interrelated goals established by the TMDL and by the President's Executive Order (see this post for general information on the WIP, this post for information on the recently announced TMDL allocations for Maryland, and this post for information on the President's Executive Order on the Chesapeake Bay). ...

.10 Water Security And Regional Disputes In South Asia

The 3rd world view

… if India and China race for building dams to control flow of river within their boundaries without consulting their downstream neighbors then the situation will be volatile leading to unnecessary confrontation and war. The threats cannot be addressed by the unilateral efforts of nations, only regional cooperation can mitigate such tensions. The Dhaka Declaration on Water Security has proposed an expert committee to prepare a road map for data-sharing and scientific exchange and to prepare guidelines for introducing transparency regarding relevant data. The declaration urges "greater political commitment and data exchange among Himalaya basin countries for collective approaches to the region's water challenges". Dialogues between the citizens of the countries concerned are needed so that unnecessary escalations can be avoided. The region has to commit to agreements like the Dhaka declaration so that a Regional Information Sharing Network on water resources can be achieved.

.11 For a new regional park between Northern Milan and Central Brianza - Italy

The northern territory of Milan and central Brianza is situated between the valley of Lambro river – on the east side – and the regional Park of Groane – on the west side – it is one of the most urbanised areas of Lombardy (and Europe) and one of the areas in which in the last years urbanization spread the most with a consequent erosion of free spaces in agricultural areas. About 450.000 people inhabit this scenario. The average urbanization of the territory, referring to an area regarding 19 municipalities, in 1999 was attested at about 62%; today at about 65%. ... it is important to create a new regional park against concrete and mafias, for a better visibility of urbanised territory, to develop a new urban agriculture and favour ecologic connections between Lombard environmental systems. A park able to connect and protect an important part of non urbanised residual surfaces of the area, to make the two existing PLIS associate and open to new areas now threatened by urbanisations and in deterioration. ...

.12 Regional council adopts treaty model for resources

Waatea News Update

Hawkes Bay Regional Council is to share management of natural resources in its region with the 12 iwi in its area. Taro Waaka from Ngati Pahauwera says the co-management committee, approved by Cabinet this week to clear the way for the treaty settlements, will be responsible for all matters covered by the Resource Management Act. He says councilors have recognised that iwi have a lot of contribute to on the ground management because of their kaitiaki responsibilities...

.13 Devolution would bring long-term benefits, says councillor Bert Biscoe

This is Cornwall - UK

... campaign to persuade the Government to recognise Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly as a region led to the assignation of NUTS2 status, and this enabled us to qualify for the highest level of targeted European intervention – Objective 1. Even as the programme was being put together, including the ground-breaking notion (you heard it in Cornwall first) of 'regional distinctiveness', so the thinking about governance was turning to devolution. In the application of Objective 1, with the higher level of focus accorded by NUTS2, Cornwall has shown over the past decade or so how, given the freedom to develop its own particular strategies and projects, it is capable of recapturing its dynamism, inventiveness, industriousness and acumen. ...

.14 Southwest Regional EF! Rendezvous & Organizers’ Conference

Southwest Earth First Blog

Plans are in the works for a Southwest Bio-Regional Earth First! Rendezvous and Organizers' Conference, August 20-22, in the beautiful San Luis Valley of Colorado. ... We're seeking teachers and trainers to help facilitate workshops in direct action, civil disobedience, forest defense, eco-defense, and more... We must build the skill sets and face to face relationships of trust and affinity necessary to effectively defend our bio-regions and land bases. ...

.15 Necessity is the Mother of Innovation

We Know And Share

Transporting goods and people are the necessities of life. With a motorcycle, innovations are needed to carry "extra cargo". (See a few)

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Webinar: Exploring Rural Policy Opportunities - July 29, 2010 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm - National Rural Assembly

The National Rural Assembly is pleased to launch a webinar series that will explore rural policy opportunities at both the state and federal level. We invite you to participate in our first webinar on July 29, 2010 @2pm-3pm Eastern for a broad scan of rural policy issues, looking at rural economic development, energy and the environment, health care, and education. This webinar is free and open to all who wish to join, but you must first register.

Notice at: Initiative for Sustainable Communities and States

.02 Urban and Rural Definition - Alabama State Data Center

Prior to Census 2000, urban referred to all territory, population, and housing units located in places with a population of 2,500 or more. With Census 2000, the definition changed.

After the 2000 census was taken, the Census Bureau’s geographers looked at every block in the nation and decided if it was or was not urban. There are very specific criteria about whether a block could be labeled urban. Land use patterns in American can be complicated and the rules for deciding “urban-ness” take into account many kinds of situations. They generally have to do with density of settlement and proximity to other urban blocks.

For Census 2000, urban territory, population, and housing units belong within urbanized areas (UA) or urban clusters (UC). UA and UC boundaries consist of

* core census block groups or blocks that have a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile, and

* surrounding census blocks that have an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile

In addition, under certain conditions, less densely settled territory may be part of each UA or UC.

Notice that the definition of urban doesn’t have anything to do with the boundaries of incorporated places. Some territory inside an incorporated city or town can be rural instead of urban. In fact, urban and rural are delineated independently of any other geographic entity. That is, cities, towns, census tracts, counties, metropolitan areas, and the territory outside metropolitan areas often are split between urban and rural territory. The population and housing units in these geographic units often are partly classified as urban and partly classified AAG Krugman as rural. Rural territory can be inside or outside city limits. Urban territory can be unincorporated.

Put another way, an urban or rural classification cuts across other geographic entities. For another example, there is generally both urban and rural territory within both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. For this reason, metro and non-metro areas cannot be used as a proxy for urban and rural.

In summary, rural is any territory that is not urban. The Census Bureau’s use of the word rural is what is left over after urban has been defined.

The Census Bureau’s website gives a great deal more information about the definitions of these terms. Please visit

.03 EPA Green Building Toolkit - June 2010

This comprehensive resource provides a sustainable design permitting assessment tool, a resources guide, and an action plan roadmap. Topics range from responsible land use development to water, air quality, energy efficiency and resource management. (including the regional scale)


Notice at: Initiative for Sustainable Communities and States

.04 Linking Peacebuilders: Key Network Organizations in the Field - Peace and Collaborative Development Network

As the conflict resolution and peacebuilding field has grown an increasing number of organizations and associations have been formed to help share information, exchange best practice, work on conflict advocacy, etc. Some organizations are more practitioner focused and concentrate more on organizations, while others are more for individuals and possibly more academic and research focused (and a number combine both approaches).

14. Financial Crisis. Contents


The Real News - YouTube

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

.02 The Great American Bank Robbery


William K. Black, the former litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board who investigated the Savings and Loan disaster of the 1980s, discusses the latest scandal in which a single bank, IndyMac, lost more money than was lost during the entire Savings and Loan crisis. He discusses the political failure behind the current economic disaster and answers questions from the audience. Black teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and is the author of “The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One.” See it at Google books:“The+Best+Way+to+Rob+a+Bank+Is+to+Own+One.”&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=9EWTSuLiFMPhlAeR4fyYDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result#v=twopage&q=&f=false

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 1,200 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. This newsletter is research seeking confirmation of this thesis.

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 researched news reports as of the publication date.

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Tom (Thomas J.) Christoffel, AICP -