Regional Community Development News – May 10, 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 - .16

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .10

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .12

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .05

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

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

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


Note: Next full issue will be June 14, 2010. You can keep up with “regional community talk” in the news via I'll be at the Regional Studies Association International Conference in Pécs, Hungary May 24 - 27 presenting my paper: "Global Region-builder Geo-Code Prototype." Cheers. Ed.

Top Regional Community stories

1. McDonnell, local leaders promote regional economic roadmap - The Virginian-Pilot - Norfolk, VA, USA

Seventeen city and municipal leaders from across Hampton Roads joined Gov. Bob McDonnell on Thursday morning to sign a declaration to work together to achieve common regional goals.

The event, hosted by the Hampton Roads Partnership, was designed to promote their new regional “road map” for future economic prosperity.

Earlier this year, a group of local business leaders and officials, drafted a 130-page document called “Vision Hampton Roads,” which outlines the region’s strengths and weaknesses and details how leaders should work together.

“What’s going to be the key to all of this is to align all of the local governments, all local organizations, Maritime Association and shipbuilders, and align the entire region under these goals and objectives,” E. Dana Dickens, the group’s president and CEO, said in an interview. “As opposed to everyone working on different things.”

The event featured a regional “crier,” a man who was dressed in 18th century garb, and, while ringing a loud bell, called out to each city and municipality for their representatives to shout aloud their vote for “regional interdependence.”

In his comments to the crowd of more than 400 business leaders and city officials gathered at the Chesapeake Conference Center, McDonnell congratulated them for the effort.

“I know when it came to some of these measures like employment growth, workforce quality, business start ups ... that Hampton Roads is a little bit behind where the rest of the state is,” McDonnell said.

“That should give you incentive. That should give you that competitive spirit to raise up this region that’s got so many tremendous assets, so many great people, and now this renewed spirit of regional cooperation to not compete but to cooperate,” he said.

RCs: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission -

Hampton Roads Partnership -

2. Hotel Tax Increase Approved By House - The Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

The state hotel tax would rise from 12 percent to 15 percent under a bill that passed the state House of Representatives by an 88-50 vote late Thursday and is headed for action in the Senate.

One-third of the 3 percentage point increase would go to the cities or towns where the hotels that collected the money are located; two-thirds would go to the regional planning organizations on a pro rata basis.

All hotel tax revenue currently goes into the state's general fund.

Regionalization requires coordination and start-up money, and that's why giving cities and towns a portion of the money collected from the state hotel tax is so important, said Rep. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden.

The state has 15 regional planning organizations, and, hopefully, tourism is a priority for those organizations, said Sharkey, cochairman of the legislature's planning and development committee.

Based on projections, Connecticut's finances will not improve any time soon, Sharkey said, and lawmakers need to find ways to help cities and towns diversify their revenue streams regardless of the economy. Municipalities are relying too much on a property tax, he said.

"The property tax is choking our state," Sharkey said, adding that regionalization efforts could result in future savings. "We have to do something. We have to act now."

Action might be needed, but Rep. T.R. Rowe, R-Trumbull, questioned whether a higher tax was the answer.

Some cities and towns have expressed concern, but, generally, the tax increase would not hurt the state, Sharkey said, and the extra money that cities and towns would get would more than offset any potential loss.

The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimates that the hotel tax increase would generate $9.4 million in fiscal 2011, which starts July 1, and $18.8 million in fiscal 2012 for cities and towns and regional planning organizations.


RCs: Regional Planning Organizations (RPOs) in Connecticut

3. Hirten: LSJ offers lunch for regionalism - Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA

In the interest of encouraging regional cooperation, we - the Lansing State Journal - will buy the lunch. Any restaurant. Just pick the day.

This is our offer to Greater Lansing's political dukes (and one duchess) who broke bread last Thursday at Michigan State University before a forum on regional issues and challenges.

This sort of friendly sit down doesn't happen often enough. And it should. And it's on us.

As the Economic Club program last week made painfully clear, meaningful cooperation, let along larger service consolidations, among the region's political entities is difficult. There are layers of legal, financial, cultural and, of course, political issues that trump good intentions.

WILX news anchor Jason Colthorp moderated the Econ Club forum and sat in on the power lunch beforehand. Attending were:

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero; East Lansing Mayor Vic Loomis; …

This isn't always a cordial bunch.

"They all got along. They were chit-chatting about collaboration," Colthorp said. "It was impromptu and productive."

He said they spent much of time talking about the challenges facing Capital Region International Airport, and whether passenger service can survive. It's just the sort of discussion that should cross political boundaries. The airport is a regional asset without any support from Clinton and Eaton counties. It makes no sense, but sure reflects the depth of the challenges.

As for the forum, it lacked the barbed exchanges that entertained the audience at last year's session. And while the politicians promoted collaborative issues like shared assessing and inspection services and mutual public safety cooperation agreements, they essentially defended the status quo.

"The capital city is the hole in the donut," is how Bernero framed the political landscape. "It needs to be the hub of the wheel." No one disagreed.

RC: Tri-County Regional Planning Commission

4. Cuyahoga County: Mayors, state lawmakers push to let cities share, sell services - WKYC-TV - Cleveland/Akron, OH, USA

The cities of South Euclid and Cleveland are discussing what would be a groundbreaking idea here and what some see as a small step toward regionalism.

The two cities are having preliminary talks about the City of Cleveland picking up South Euclid's trash. There's also discussion about snowplowing.

A private firm, Allied Waste, now collects South Euclid's trash, charging the city $1.35 million a year, a figure that keeps going up. The contract expires soon.

South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo says, "We truly believe the City of Cleveland could save us dollars but we want to wait until we see their proposal."

South Euclid Service Director John Gallagher thinks it's important to keep Cleveland strong and believes deals like this could help do that.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson suggested the Ohio legislature consider changing the law to permit such relationships between cities.

The law now allows mutual aid agreements for firefighting, police and emergency medical service.

It does not allow for spending tax dollars from one community to provide other services in another community.

Mayor Jackson recruited state Sen. Nina Turner and state Rep. Mike Foley to introduce the proposal in the legislature.

The Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association supports the idea.

Bratenahl Mayor John Licastro, spokesman for the group, said, "Regionalism is a topic we discuss often. This defines regionalism. It's an opportunity to share not as one community but as 57 in the county.

5. Regional rationale - The Packet - Clarenville, NL, Canada

It's probably inevitable.

As smaller outports around the province lose populations, and larger towns continue to expand, a regional governance structure may be the only solution.

The words 'regionalization' and 'amalgamation' used to be uttered through clenched jaws and gritted teeth in the days of the Clyde Wells regime.

In hindsight, however, the Liberal government of the late 1980s was on to a good thing.

Despite some of the kicking and screaming on their way to the altar, the towns that joined up have realized it wasn't such a bad deal.

… Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) released its report on regionalization - a paper that offers ideas and options for regional government.

It is time for towns and communities in particular regions to take a good hard look around them and ask themselves whether the status quo - a hodgepodge of incorporated towns, local services districts and communities with no form of governance - is serving us well.

… public opinion is not what it was 20 years ago. The diehards who resisted the idea in the past, who railed against loss of identity, who predict loss of rural freedom, have already lost their argument in the face of common sense.

Even their prediction - that regional government will mean higher costs - is a little lackluster, considering that higher fees are, likely, inevitable as populations dwindle, leaving less people to pay the cost of upkeep of community services.

Regionalization may not work for all; it may not be the be-all, end-all solution for all communities in the province.

But it's certainly worth consideration.

Our challenge to local communities, then, is to look around at your neighbours, consider how, by working together you may be able to accomplish more and then convene a meeting to at least talk about it.

6. Towns come together for mutual benefit - Daily World - Opelousas, LA, USA

Regionalism is an important topic now. At its root is the belief that we can do more together than any of us can do alone.

Toward that goal, the communities of Arnaudville, Cankton, Grand Coteau, Leonville and Sunset are coming together to form the South St. Landry Community Development Coalition.

Sunset Alderman Charles A. James, who has been a driving force in the effort, said the mayors and representatives of these communities have been meeting informally for about a year but will soon start a major coordinated effort to involve the region's citizens as well.

"We are ready to start surveying. Louisiana Economic Development has agreed to supply us with a Web site where the results can be tabulated electronically," James said.

"We want to look at all our assets and all our weaknesses so we can foster community development," James said. "We are going to have to engage as much of the community as possible in these surveys."

He said the regional approach makes good sense for these communities.

They are all grouped within a few miles of one another, are among the fastest growing communities in the parish and James said they are already cooperating on many levels.

"We share citizens, fire protection, police protection. We are already involved in this. Let's see if there are other things we can do together," James said.

He said the idea is part of the Smart Growth movement, which is designed to help communities plan their growth rather than simply reacting to it as it happens.

"We believe a new approach is needed, a regional approach. We want to look at our economy, our culture, the whole thing," James said.

RC: Acadiana Regional Development District

7. West Michigan a model of regionalism for country, Council on Competitiveness says - Michigan Business Review – MI, USA

While the concept of regionalism is an odd one, West Michigan is a model nationwide for regional leadership, according to the vice president of the Council on Competitiveness

[ ] in Washington, D.C., who spoke at the West Michigan Strategic Alliance's State of the Region this week.

At the Tuesday gathering, which drew nearly 400 to Hudsonville, Samuel Leiken, vice president of the Council on Competitiveness, applauded WMSA for its regional leadership.

"There's not a lot of WMSAs in the country," Leiken said. ""You are one of the models people around the country look to. Regions need identities and a story to tell."

That's something the Council learned from WMSA, he said, which is a case study on regional leadership for the not-for-profit, nonpartisan group.

"It's not because you're necessarily a best-practices region," Leiken said. "It's because you have effective leadership."

On a map of the U.S. at night, which Leiken showed the audience, he pointed to the clusters of energy.

"The U.S. is an economy of regions," he said. "We are a country whose jurisdiction regions and economic regions don't coincide."

That creates a "fundamental problem" between regional leadership and decision making, he noted.

"Regions are unnatural," Leiken said. "We call regional collaboration an unnatural act among unconsenting adults."

But West Michigan is ahead of the game nationally in its progress in regional collaboration, he added.

"Regions in this day and age have to act collaboratively …, especially because we're at a disadvantage globally," where the geography of jurisdictions and economies often do align.

The Council has studied West Michigan's model of regional leadership, as well as Danville, Va., Louisville, Ky., Denver and Silicon Valley in California. Action, he said, is the key to regional collaboration.

"Don't just stand there, do something, anything," Leiken said. "WMSA is a good example of that. Actions beget actions."

One of the key actions the WMSA has undertaken is the gathering of data on the eight counties it considers "West Michigan": Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa.

"The data matters," Leiken said. "You get what you measure. Without a map, any road will do."

WMSA has measured several economic prosperity indicators, including educational attainment and per capita income, as well as social justice indicators and environmental integrity indicators, which it shared at Tuesday's event.

It then provided benchmark comparisons for every indicator with 26 "best-in-class" comparable regions, such as Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Neb.; and Milwaukee.

"We do need to achieve results," WMSA President Greg Northrup said, following Leiken's comments. "People are paying attention to what's going on in West Michigan."

RC - West Michigan Counties

West Michigan Regional Planning Commission - Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Ottawa

West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission - Muskegon, Newaygo

Southcentral Michigan Planning Council - Barry

8. Forum hits right chord with east and west - Westlake West Life - Avon Lake, OH, USA

East and west residents hit the right key with each other Sunday at Bethesda-by-the-Bay Church.

About 70 people attended a mayoral forum with Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland and East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton Jr. The forum was moderated by noted journalist and Bay Village resident Dick Feagler. It came about as a continuation of programs set up between Bethesda and New Covenant Church in East Cleveland in recent years.

Bethesda Pastor Dennis Stylski, who set up the program, was pleased with how it went.

“When we started the programs, it was more of about a 70-30 ratio of people attending the events from the chuches, with more from here,” he said. “Now it’s about 50-50, which is a good sign that people are interested and engaged in the process.”

He said the communication was good Sunday between not only the mayors, but residents as well.

“We had good, open, honest exchanges which help us understand each other better,” Stylski said.


“We work as community activists at NEO in East Cleveland with Mayor Norton,” she said. “This was a great event which gave us some good opportunities to talk about different issues. I enjoyed hearing the different thoughts.


Sutherland noted that although Bay does not have the building issues of East Cleveland, the cities can work together on joint projects in purchasing and regional issues. Regionalism and its potential effects on not only the cities, but the entire Northern Ohio area, came up several different times in discussion about development, education and the new county government.

The event drew one candidate for the new Cuyahoga County Council. ...

9. Report of the Regionalization Advisory Commission - April 30, 2010 - Massachusetts

Recommendations on Specific Local Services

In order to conduct efficient and in-depth study of numerous local service areas, the Commission established eleven committees to address specific areas: education, elder services, municipal finance, green communities, housing and economic development, information technology, libraries, public health, public safety, transportation and public works, and veterans’ services. Commission members on the committees were charged with identifying possible opportunities, benefits and challenges to regionalization. See below recommendations on each local service area examined. These recommendations are presented in greater detail and context in the committee reports included as appendices to this report.


• Promote opportunities for increased school district collaboration and regionalization through legislation.

• Encourage stakeholders across the Commonwealth to critically examine how the existing organization of school districts can better support the provision of high-quality academic opportunities and promote district capacity.

• Encourage additional districts to cooperate and collaborate to increase efficiency and capacity, such as through joint bidding and purchasing and use of educational collaboratives for programming.

• Have savings achieved through regional school transportation agreements be returned to the school districts, for educational programs consistent with an improvement plan adopted by the district.

Elder Services

• Complete work on statewide Regional Transit Authority/Adult Day Health Transportation Plan.

• Elder Affairs will work with Councils on Aging to collect service data; disseminate best practices statewide.

• Access Regional Incentive Fund to hire a transportation consultant to review Elder Medical Transportation (~90 percent of total rides statewide).

• Elder Affairs will participate in conversations with municipalities about building regional senior centers and/or senior centers in multipurpose buildings.


• Replicate Franklin Regional Council of Governments Accounting Program (provides municipal accounting services to multiple towns).

• Expand the Computer Software Consortium Model, which is assessing and collection software that is cooperatively purchased, updated and maintained by 75 municipalities in Massachusetts through a small annual assessment, to include multiple integrated financial management applications.

• Provide regular and ongoing training for municipal finance officers.

• Encourage information technology risk management assessment and information technology security.

• Expand host agency capabilities, recognized as a valuable model for regionalization.

• Create a regional incentive fund to support implementation of projects.

• Pursue state incentives and relief for regionalization efforts.

Green Communities

• Leverage existing state funding programs to promote regionalization.

• Adopt proposed Property Assessment Clean Energy legislation (expanding home energy efficiency and retrofit programs and allowing the costs to be attached to a property, not an individual), which includes a provision for regional models. Regional programs could be modeled on the Barnstable County Community Septic Loan program, which manages and provides financial assistance, through a betterment loan, for on-site septic repair.

• Develop regional energy plans.

• Establish regional energy managers or energy circuit riders to help cities and towns better their energy management and invest in clean energy strategies without hiring a full-time employee.

• Employ collective purchasing and procurement strategies to help municipalities save time and money in their energy and clean energy related costs and clean energy equipment costs.

• Group multiple towns and regional school districts together in a regional performance contract with an Energy Service Company.

• Municipalities should consider participating in energy cooperatives for the purchase, acquisition, distribution, sale, resale, supply, and disposition of energy or energy-related services.

Housing & Economic Development

• Expand regional management and operation of housing authorities.

• Regionalize affordable housing monitoring activities for which local governments are currently responsible.

• Conduct planning for housing, economic development and infrastructure together on a regional level.

• Establish regional development and tax sharing arrangements, including authority for more types of arrangements. The three municipalities (Medford, Malden and Everett) cooperating in the development of River’s Edge in Medford have special act authorization to share property tax revenues that result from development anywhere within the development site. The development boundaries include adjacent lands in each of the three communities and the development scheduling reflects the best site available, not the need for revenue in one city or another.

Information Technology

• Coordinate hardware and software purchases. A variety of partnership models could be used.

• Expand host agency capacity, such as regional planning agency, to provide internet-based Geographic Information Systems, assessing and permit tracking data sharing.

• Coordinate planning and investment of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, the Commonwealth’s information technology consolidation, and municipal information technology needs. As the Commonwealth implements its plans to expand broadband and consolidate its IT uses, consider how municipalities can access and benefit from the Commonwealth’s system should be considered and planned for.

• Municipalities should consider opportunities for IT consolidation within their community’s operations, such as consolidation of school and municipal IT.

• Expand the Massachusetts Digital Summit conference with programs to benefit local officials.

• Municipalities should look for opportunities to collaborate on obtaining information technology support services, such as sharing information technology support personnel and joining forces to increase procurement power for support contracts.


• Address challenges to collaboration presented by governance issues, particularly library governance models.

• Require libraries to review sharing options prior to requesting construction funds available from the Massachusetts State Board of Library Commissioners.

• Award significantly higher financial incentives for municipalities that build joint libraries through the Massachusetts State Board of Library Commissioners' library construction program.

• Provide funds for technical assistances to study library mergers and facilitate the merger planning process.

• The Board of Library Commissioners should conduct more outreach to municipalities about current and future funding opportunities.

• Provide regionalization grants based on the former Municipal Incentive Grant program.

• Create a state-wide support network for regionalization efforts, perhaps through existing technical assistance centers.

Public Health

• Further amend M.G.L. c.111 s.27B to remove the requirement that a town meeting must vote to approve formation of a public health district. This will streamline district formation and retain appropriate roles for municipal leaders and Boards of Health currently included in statute.

• Begin state funding to promote formation of public health districts by providing pilot funding for six districts, in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c.111 s.27A-C.

• Implement lessons from the pilot program in order to take a regional public health system “to scale” in Massachusetts by providing sustained state funding for district start-ups and operations.

• Seek opportunities to use state contracts and other revenue sources to promote increased regionalization of local public health.

• Establish an Office of Local Health within the Department of Public Health, with adequate staffing to provide technical assistance to promote and support public health regionalization.

• Establish minimum workforce qualifications for the local health workforce through legislation and regulation, including appropriate “grandfathering” provisions. Municipalities are more likely to form districts in order to share the costs of better qualified staff.

• Establish minimum performance standards for Boards of Health, linked to state funding for operating capacity required to meet statutory and regulatory responsibilities.

• Adopt statewide public health mutual aid legislation.

Public Safety

• File special legislative acts to establish distinct regional enhanced 911/emergency communications entities, taking into account governance, funding mechanisms, and duties, compensation and other employment terms and conditions.

• Create legislation authorizing formation of regional enhanced 911/emergency communications districts, including establishment of governance, powers and duties funding mechanisms, fiscal accountability and employment/labor provisions.

• Review and possibly revise relevant statues to further encourage and allow for ease of regionalization efforts: police districts, fire districts, police mutual aid, fire mutual aid, and consolidated municipal departments.

Public Works

• Municipalities should be encouraged to conduct group purchasing, share public works equipment and share public works facilities as possible.

• Municipalities should be encouraged to consider merging public works departments wherever opportunity exists.

• Municipalities should be encouraged to share public works staff wherever an opportunity should exist.

• Encourage municipalities to coordinate the handling of solid waste, hazardous waste, and/or recycling.

• Best practices, models of regionalization, and sample agreements should be studied and published in a central place for municipalities to find the resources they need to move towards regionalization of services.

• Support passage of Public Works Mutual Aid legislation contained in the Municipal Relief legislation (House No. 4526) released by the Joint Legislative Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.


• Encourage Ch 90 funds to be used for regional uses through incentives.

• Provide incentives for municipalities to provide regional elder transportation services.

• School districts should work together to explore regional busing opportunities when the opportunity exists.

• Standardize transit vehicle fleets and procurement.

• Regional planning agencies and Mass Department of Transportation need to ensure bike sharing programs are regional as they emerge.

• Place "Funded by MassDOT" graphics on Council of Aging vehicles to build awareness of statewide support.

Veterans’ Services

• Establish more veterans’ services districts, for more effective and efficient provision of services.

• Remove barriers to establishing more veterans’ services districts, as contained in Chapter 115, Section 10 and Chapter 471 of the Acts of 1972, including the requirement that municipalities be contiguous, the restriction that only one city can belong to a district and the population ceiling. Along with removing these barriers, the statute should be amended to require the Secretary of Veterans’ Services’ sign-off on formation of noncontiguous districts and districts with populations above the existing ceiling, in order to address concerns about capacity of these districts in order to ensure proper staffing levels to address the veterans population within said proposed district.

• Provide financial incentives to encourage the formation of veterans’ services districts, including funds to purchase hardware and software.

RCs: Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies (MARPA) –

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 We value public transportation, for all in community - Austin, TX, USA

Sometimes it is necessary to articulate our values, otherwise, others do it for us. When they do; they tend to sum things up solely in terms of dollars and cents. In Austin, the city pays a living wage ($11 per hour) as its minimum salary... We are bike-friendly ... We balance those concerns by asking ourselves a simple question: What would our community look and feel like if we didn't pay more for the things we value? So we should ask ourselves that question about our mass transit system run by Capital Metro. The question of whether the agency properly has managed its resources is very different than the question of whether the region needs a mass transit system and whether it should serve all communities that pay for service. This is a region of 1.6 million people, and we need options — other than driving — for getting around. And though we should demand accountability from those providing the service, it should not be taken as a vote against public transportation. Austin-area voters spoke on that issue in 1985, when they approved diverting one penny of their sales taxes to finance a transit authority to provide bus service, and later in 2004, when they approved a commuter rail system to run between Leander and Austin. Critics of public transportation are advancing a different vision for mass transit in our region, and they are using the agency's past incompetence to push an agenda to phase out the MetroRail and scale back bus service. ... a fancy way of saying, if you have a car, you don't need bus or commuter rail service. ... It would be a mistake to run a mass transit system limited to serving low-income communities. ... So we'd better think about how we want our community to look and feel before allowing others to gut a vital part of what keeps Austin weird.

.02 Suburbs Unite in Quest for Federal Housing Aid, but Are Shut Out

The New York Times - NY, USA

When a federal housing agency asked dozens of suburban cities in the Chicago area to band together to request a share of a $2 billion federal fund to help renovate foreclosed homes, they did exactly that. But when the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the awards as part of the federal stimulus program on Jan. 14, these cities got nothing, while Chicago — which had fewer foreclosed homes in 2009 — got $98 million. The disparity has left suburban mayors, real estate developers and residents with few resources to draw on as they address a growing number of boarded-up houses and overgrown lawns. The inability of the suburban cities to get federal money also raises questions about the effectiveness of an Obama administration effort to break down the crazy quilt of competing jurisdictions that often stands in the way of regional development. Foreclosures are “a regional issue, where groups of communities can be negatively impacted by what’s going on in one or more of those communities or in the broader region as a whole,” said David Pope, village president of Oak Park, which has had a spike in foreclosures but has not been as hard-hit as other western suburbs. “The federal response and state response have been inadequate to the task up to this point.” ...

.03 A good first step on regionalization

The Sun Chronicle - Attleboro, MA, USA

Regionalizing municipal services has long been an ideal for people concerned about the costs and efficiency of government. Does it really make sense in Massachusetts, they would ask, for every municipality - no matter how small or fiscally troubled - to offer police, fire, highway, and other services, that are the exact duplicates of those offered a few miles away? Although the question sounds like a challenge to the jealously guarded autonomy of every small town government in the commonwealth, it's really not that novel a concept. Towns realized decades ago that they could achieve economies of scale by regionalizing education. ...Now, for perhaps the first time, government agencies are going to take a systematic look at what regional cooperation could mean - and what kind of savings it could include - for local towns. The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District will submit a state grant application later this month for a regional 911 dispatch feasibility study. ...

.04 MORPC serves up regional food plan

ThisWeek Community Newspapers - OH, USA

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission is assuring area consumers that fresh, affordable and healthy food — from local growers — is within reach. Using a breezy, sunny Earth Day as a backdrop, MORPC unveiled its new Regional Food Assessment Plan ... The document presents strategies for strengthening the economy, ensuring access to healthful food, reducing transportation costs and preserving farm-land. A committee of the planning commission spent the last year reaching out to 12 counties and gathering information for the plan, which establishes two dozen recommendations, from increasing food-processing capacity to showcasing local food in stores and restaurants. ... "Right now local food is a niche. It's a growing niche," he said. "MORPC wants to take this mainstream." ...

.05 Regionalism? What's that?

Belleville News Democrat - Belleville, IL, USA

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but in the case of Lambert Airport copying MidAmerica Airport's business plan, we'd argue it's more like short-sighted stupidity.

Lambert this week will start getting flower flights from South America -- the business plan MidAmerica in St. Clair County already put into place. What in the world are the folks at Lambert thinking? There's not enough business for two flower cargo operations in one region -- and at this point, it's not even clear if there is for one. Lambert should be helping MidAmerica build on what it's already started, not create yet more competition and muddy the water. …

What happened to regionalism? If the situation were reversed and Lambert had a fledgling operation, you know that MidAmerica's leaders would be expected to stay out of the way.

Sadly, regionalism continues to flow only one way in the St. Louis area.

.06 Lansing-area leaders differ on how quickly to regionalize services

Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA

... mid-Michigan leaders differed today on whether the region should move more quickly on greater regionalism of services, perhaps to a metro-Lansing government serving most of Ingham County. At a panel discussion hosted by the Lansing Regional Chamber at the Michigan State University Kellogg Center, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said the region should at least seriously study merging Lansing with at least one other adjacent township government as a way to streamline services. ... Lansing Township Supervisor John Daher argued that it’s better to take a slower, incremental approach to regionalism, in which communities work together where it makes the most sense. ...

.07 Regional project profiles being accepted

Perry County Tribune - New Lexington, OH, USA

Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District (BHHVRDD) is committed to assisting the counties across the region with securing grant funding for projects. For consideration of funding from The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and The Economic Development Administration (EDA), applicants should complete a Project Profile. The Profile is now available at or by calling 740-374-9436. The simple, self-explanatory project profile form collects basic information about the project, including: contact information; project description, type and readiness; regional impact; funding sources and total project costs; and project partners. ...

.08 Backers plan next steps after Third Frontier win

Cincinnati.Com - Cincinnati, OH, USA

Now that Ohio voters have approved the $700 million Third Frontier bond initiative, local officials are plotting how Southwest Ohio firms can capture a larger share of the job and high-tech creation funds. "We have a plan," said Bob Coy; president of CincyTech, the downtown public-private firm overseeing distribution of Third Frontier funds in the region. CincyTech has begun compiling a list of area companies involved in the five Third Frontier funding priorities such as advanced manufacturing and bioscience. "Once we get an inventory of companies, we're playing an outreach effort to find out why they're not applying," Coy said. ...

.09 Northeast Ohio's industrial past could play key role in its clean-technology future, report says

The Plain Dealer - Cleveland, OH, USA

Companies strong in Northeast Ohio's industrial past could see growth in the region's clean-technology future, the latest report from Team NEO says. Sectors including metal fabrication, plastics and chemicals could be key players as the region moves to capture business in fields like advanced energy, pollution controls and energy efficiency -- collectively known as clean technology or "cleantech"-- ... Team NEO's report is the latest to highlight the potential for the region and Ohio to benefit from clean-and-green industries, which are expected to grow as the nation tries to wean itself from oil and reduce carbon emissions. Job estimates vary, but studies have found that Ohio could realize tens of thousands of new jobs from growth in energy-efficient construction, mass transit and wind power. But that potential won't be reached without helping old-guard companies retool and attracting new business from outside the state, officials said. In that regard, Ohio's $1.4 billion Third Frontier program invests millions of dollars with established companies that are developing new products, such as fuel cells for cars, glass for solar panels and environmentally friendly fertilizers. ...

.10 Groups work together to address poverty

The Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA

... Adams County was the diamond of the Miss-Lou with a poverty rate among individuals at 31 percent. “Over a third of the people in this area are living at or below the poverty line,” Slain said. These poverty numbers were done 10 years ago, and we have had an economic downturn since then. ... Landrieu Deputy State Director Tari Bradford said collaboration and tackling the biggest problem first could lead to success. “Let’s not reinvent the wheel — lets make it turn,” Bradford said. “If there is a study that worked in Timbuktu. Let’s see if it can work here. “We need to quit applying for funding separately — when groups form bonds and put their resources together there is no limit to the things that can happen.” The Delta Regional Development project aims to aid people in East Carol, Madison, Tensas and Concordia parishes and Jefferson, Wilkinson, Claiborne and Adams counties.

.11 Area chambers recognized for collaboration at NCBR Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards - Fort Collins, CO, USA

Business knows no boundaries and the Fort Collins Area, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce recognize the need to work collaboratively on a regional level. Those efforts were recognized by the Northern Colorado Business Report at the 2010 Bravo! Entrepreneur Award event on May 5. Bravo! Awards celebrate those who have founded and nurtured success in the Northern Colorado region. The Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers were recognized with the Regional Spirit Award for their efforts to collaborate and make an impact on the region. Key successes of the three chambers include:

• The Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance: an effective representative of regional interests in Denver. A joint committee of the partnering organizations hires a contract lobbyist to speak on behalf of business in Northern Colorado at the capital and has been in place since 1993.

• Leadership Northern Colorado: a new program designed to elevate awareness and understanding of regional issues while developing leaders who can address the unique topics of our region. Fifty-five business leaders applied for the 30 available spots in the class, setting the tone for a successful inaugural year. The program is a joint initiative of the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland Chambers of Commerce, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County

• Regional Transportation Authority effort: a collaborative effort among the chambers and others working to identify future funding to address the transportation needs of the area. ...

.12 How Geeks Get Us Around Town

At a software developers "unconference" in New York Wednesday night, Jay Walder, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, sent a radical message to the young people in front of him. They had been agitating for ages to get access to real-time MTA data about subways, buses, bridge-and-tunnel traffic and the like. Mr. Walder did not disappoint them. If the MTA can "harness the power in this room," he said to his audience, "we'll be a heck of a lot better off than if we're doing this ourselves." Thus New Yorkers will soon join the residents of hip young cities like Portland, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston, who no longer wait in wretched ignorance for the next bus or train to arrive. Their public transit systems, once the hoariest and most hidebound of city services, have thrown themselves into the geek revolution. Instead of keeping secret their raw data on everything from which subway stops have working elevators to service alerts warning about construction or other delays, they made it all public. ...

.13 Open Call for Entries: 2010 South Alabama Film Festival

ModMobillian - Mobile Bay Arts & Culture – Mobile, AL, USA

The South Alabama Film Festival (SoAL Film Fest) seeks to showcase and educate the community about filmmakers and their creations, while welcoming all who enjoy the medium. One of the nation’s oldest and most beautiful cities, Mobile will alight with the cinematic arts throughout 2010, culminating in November’s three-day festival. In addition to feature-length and short films, SoAL Film Fest will offer seminars and workshops for adults and school children, to further its goal of educating – as well as enchanting – the growing regional film community. SoAL Film Fest strives to be the yearly event in Southern Alabama for all who love, and create, film. The festival is scheduled for November 5-7, 2010.

.14 NIC receives $625,000 health grant

the Sentinel Online - Coeur D Alene, ID, USA

North Idaho College was awarded a $625,000 grant to expand Health Information Technology (HIT) programs on campus. Beginning fall semester, NIC will offer certification of Implementation Support Specialists, Implementation Managers and Technical/Software Support Staff. NIC's grant is part of a $6.2 million grant awarded to a consortium of eight community colleges in a 10-state region. The regional consortium is tasked with certifying 2,400 HIT professionals over the next two years. ...

.15 Japan - Concerns over FMD

Meat Traders News Daily - UK

The recent recurrence of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in South Korea and Japan, where FMD was thought to be controlled after about a decade of disease inactivity, reveals just how difficult this disease is to control once it has infected a country’s livestock and/or wildlife. As a veterinarian, I am disappointed that despite the known difficulties in controlling FMD – and despite the known financial devastation it can and does cause – there are still folks within our industry who believe we should accept an increased risk of FMD introduction by lifting FMD restrictions for certain regions within countries that are not yet FMD-free. The practice of lifting FMD restrictions in certain regions within FMD-affected countries is known as regionalization, promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and embraced by our U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is now proposing to regionalize a state within Brazil, even though USDA currently considers all of Brazil to be a country affected with FMD. Regionalization is predicated on the belief that geographical, climatological and biological factors are more important to disease control than national political boundaries. I have heard repeatedly the argument that the U.S. must accept the inherently higher risks associated with regionalization to ensure that our export customers will regionalize the U.S. in the event of an FMD outbreak within our own borders. Some folks refer to this as the Golden Rule. I think it should be called the Snowball’s Chance in Hades Rule. Let’s look at this with open eyes. First, when regionalizing a foreign country USDA identifies geographical barriers like mountain ranges and large expanses of water that would impede FMD transmission between free regions and non-free regions. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Have your say on cross-border cooperation in Europe!

EU Committee of the Regions - Newsrelease - Brussels, Belgium

The Committee of the Regions launched a Europe-wide consultation of regions and cities on EU rules for cross-border cooperation. Organised jointly with the European Commission, the EU Council presidency "trio" and the Interact Programme, the consultation formally kicked off with a conference in Cáceres, Spain. Its results will feed into the review of the relevant EU legislation, which is scheduled for 2011. Following an initiative of the Committee of the Regions, since 2006 the European Union has made available to local and regional authorities a purpose-built tool for cross-border cooperation: The so-called 'European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation', or EGTC. Regions and cities wishing to develop joint projects can set up such EGTCs without major administrative barriers or approval procedures by national capitals. On the basis of a solid organisation with legal personality, they can apply for any kind of EU or national funding and combine it with private funding in public-private-partnerships. The forthcoming review of the EGCT regulation presents a window of opportunity to improve the concept even further in view of local experiences. ... The consultation questionnaire and further information is available in all official EU languages at

Contributions can be sent to by 20 July.

.02 "National leaders failed at Copenhagen: local leaders must not": CoR launches unique database of local climate action

EU Committee of the Regions - Newsrelease - Brussels, Belgium

A new initiative from the Committee of the Regions (CoR) will help signatories of the Covenant of Mayors turn their commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions into a concrete reality, as local leaders push ahead with plans to tackle climate change despite the failure of Copenhagen.

Speaking at the Covenant of Mayors signing ceremony in the European Parliament on 4 May, CoR First Vice-President Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso said: "National leaders failed at Copenhagen: local leaders must not. We have today launched a survey on sustainable energy policies in regions and cities as the first phase of our initiative to collect and disseminate best practice in tackling climate change. I invite all signatories of the Covenant of Mayors, and all local and regional authorities, to participate. This is not simply a question of collecting information about who is doing what – it is also an opportunity to see how they are doing it, why they are doing it and how they could do it better by working together with others." ...

.03 New Vision Required to Stave Off Dramatic Biodiversity Loss, Says UN Report

News Centre - United Nations Environment Program

Natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse unless there is swift, radical and creative action to conserve and sustainably use the variety of life on Earth. This is one principal conclusion of a major new assessment of the current state of biodiversity and the implications of its continued loss for human well-being. The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. GBO-3 uses multiple lines of evidence to demonstrate that the target set by world governments in 2002, "to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level", has not been met. … key findings include:

* The five principal pressures directly driving biodiversity loss (habitat change, over-exploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or increasing in intensity.

* There has been significant progress in the increase of protected areas both on land and in coastal waters. However, 44% of terrestrial eco-regions (areas with a large proportion of shared species and habitat types), and 82% of marine eco-regions, fall below the target of 10% protection. The majority of sites judged to be of special importance to biodiversity also fall outside protected areas.

.04 More to diplomacy than pushing files around – Sri Lanka

... Godage says, “The profession of diplomacy is the conduct of our relations with foreign countries, international organisations…..” I would add a caveat to this. It is the conduct of our relations with others for the benefit of Sri Lanka. Foreign policy stripped of its diplomatic mumbo-jumbo as somebody once said, is a simple linear equation. It is the extension of domestic policy to the area of foreign relations. We should know when soft diplomacy pays or hard diplomacy and vice versa. Godage is correct when he underlines the importance of multilateral diplomacy today. But how much attention is paid by many of our career officers to multilateral organizations. Merely attending occasional meetings when the situation demands, is not enough. There is no serious attempt to understand and follow up the work of these organizations, many of then inter-governmental bodies. Much development work including donor funding for such work, now goes through multilateral organizations and non-government bodies. Those concerned with using diplomacy to further our development in a sustainable way should pay far more attention to them than seems to be allocated right now. This is also true of important research institutes, think tanks and universities where much scholarly and professional work on regional issues-South Asia and East Asia for instance- are undertaken, work that often tends to guide the policies of foreign governments or where potential government policy is subjected to critiques. ...

.05 Seychelles to Establish Regional Court to Prosecute Pirates

Bartamaha Somali Media

In an effort to combat piracy off of the East African coast, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the government of the Seychelles have announced the establishment of a regional center to prosecute suspected pirates on the tiny island nation. The establishment of the center will allow the European Union Naval Force Somalia, which patrols the Gulf of Aden, to transfer captured pirates to the Seychelles for prosecution. This is the second such institution of its kind, the first residing in Kenya. In addition to U.N. support, the new center will receive funding from the European Union, Australia, Canada and Germany aimed at strengthening the nation’s jurisdictional and procedural capacity to prosecute pirates arrested in the region. ...

.06 Our water ways for UK

Sydney Morning Herald - Sydney, Australia

TOGETHER with population growth, environmental change is imposing new challenges on the water sector. In Australia, the impact is already clear. In England, the effects are still largely based on forecasts, such as that of the Environment Agency that the level of summer flows in rivers in the south of the country will halve in the next decades. In both countries, innovative thinking is needed to deal with the new problems - in the form of new technologies, such as desalination and recycling, enhanced investment in pipelines and new industry structures and methods of work. The water sector in England and Wales consists of about 20 regional monopolies that source water, treat it and deliver and sell it to customers. They are largely self-sufficient in resource terms. As highly geared investor-owned companies, they finance their huge annual environmental investments mainly by accessing bond markets. This system works adequately in normal times. However, it is not well adapted to changes that require different forms of investment and more integrated planning of resources capable of bringing water from the wetter north of the country to the drier south. So the new government of the United Kingdom will have on its desk an independent report, commissioned by the previous Cave review, outlining possible new ways of organising the water sector, progressively involving greater use of competition to deliver a better service to customers and to bring more innovation to the sector. This can be combined with better focused regulation to make the sector more responsive to change. ...

.07 Community Futures give small towns second chance

CTV - Canada

Jeff Dawson has watched his B.C. town suffer through a decade of downturn in the forestry sector, and he says the best way to revitalize its future is through entrepreneurship. Mr. Dawson is the director of Community Futures Howe Sound (CFHS), a non-profit economic development organization dedicated to building small businesses. CFHS is one of 269 community futures (CFs) dotted around Canada, with 34 in British Columbia. ... In 1994, HRSD entered into negotiations to transfer the program to regional economic development agencies across Canada. This regionalization has led to a diversity of CF programs, each shaped according to the needs of the locale. CFs are all non-governmental organizations, with British Columbian CF programs attached to the Western Economic Diversification federal agency. Fifty per cent of what CFHS does is provide small business loans, 30 per cent involves running a self-employment program for new entrepreneurs, most of whom have recently been on Employment Insurance, and the remaining 20 per cent goes toward community economic development one-offs such as workshops or education projects. Around 1,800 people, roughly 5 per cent of the region’s population, use CFs in one way or another over the course of a year in the Howe Sound region, with 109 new businesses started in the past fiscal year. ...

.08 Regional partnership revamps to create enterprise 'agency'

The Gisborne Herald - Gisborne, New Zealand

The region is finally getting a cohesive development agency through a restructuring of the Tairawhiti Development Partnership. The partnership is refining its direction as the Tairawhiti Regional Governance Group, which will focus on regional development to become an enterprise agency along the lines of Venture Hawke's Bay. The group will oversee the implementation of the regional strategy it produced last year, leaving the practical side of delivery to its management trust, which is also under review. The management trust will be restructured to include the chief executives of membership authorities, including Gisborne and Wairoa district councils, the region's iwi authorities and other specialists, who will implement the directions set by the governance group. Members of the group will be the heads of Gisborne District Council, Wairoa District Council, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, Te Runanga o Ngati Porou and Kahungunu ki te Wairoa. The group could co-opt others who have a leadership roles in governance entities which could contribute to the economic development of the region. ...

.09 No plans for restructuring

Northern News - Auckland, NZ

Local government changes in Auckland won't be followed by a central government-driven restructuring of district and regional councils before the 2011 general election, says Local Government Minister Rodney Hide. Mr Hide told Northern News, while in Kaikohe last week to meet with Far North district councillors, that he had no plans to force local government changes at provincial level. Instead he would prepare a discussion document aimed for the incoming government so it had a framework within which to consider proposals from councils keen to become unitary authorities. "We want to make sure we don't end up with a series of ad hoc decisions." Mr Hide was in favour of communities, rather than central government, leading any reviews of regional governance arrangements. The Local Government Commission would be guided by the wishes of ratepayers and residents if the Far North District Council asked to become a unitary authority, he said. "It's in the hands of locals. It has to be done under the Local Government Act." ...

.10 James: Embrace diversity and prosper, GG urges - Toronto, ON, CA

... Maytree Foundation and the Toronto City Summit Alliance launched the DiverseCity project in 2008. Its updated findings have been delayed a month. Tapping into what is claimed to be Canada’s advantage in an increasingly global and diverse world, DiverseCity aims to change the monochromatic face of elected officials, media pundits, corporate managers and civic leaders. Using a targeted and aggressive approach, DiverseCity trained “28 rising stars” in 2009 and has started the next crop. Brilliant and talented, an untapped ribbon of excellence across ethnic and racial lines, these “diverse fellows” will soon bring their enormous skills to building a better city region. DiverseCity linked the media with a roster of non-traditional experts — talking heads with colour and perspective normally buried in an avalanche of commentary from just one perspective. ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 It’s the Bioregion, Silly! Patti Southard Interview

Building Capacity Blog

EDITOR: For the last several months, we’ve been privileged to support your efforts to convene the third annual King County GreenTools Government Confluence scheduled for May 5th in Bellevue, Washington. This Confluence is different in many ways from previous local Confluence events, including first, its expanded bioregional approach – blasting right through the conventional jurisdictional mindsets that can hamper true sustainable development. Some might think, why is this approach important?

SOUTHARD: Well first of all, salmon don’t know when they’ve swum across a jurisdictional border. I like to say that habitat doesn’t recognize a politically drawn line on a map. Let’s face it, if we don’t approach sustainable development from a bioregional perspective, we’ll be missing the mark in a big way.

Some may ask, Why King County? Why not King County? Seriously, this stems from the fact that counties or provinces are typically the entities that primarily manage natural resources, and yet cities and towns manage development. This arrangement creates a gap – who is responsible? King County has been working very successfully for the last few years with the 38 suburban cities within its boundaries to close that gap. What we’ve found is that by nurturing a peer-to-peer environment among our Suburban Cities and the County, a very exciting synergy results. ...

.02 European-style Neighborhood Transit Centers: An enhancement to the

Southeast Michigan Regional Transportation Plan

Michigan History & Cultural Issues

In November 2008, The Regional Transit Coordinating Council (RTCC) published a Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan. This plan is a twenty-five year roadmap for improving existing transit services for Southeast Michigan and recommending the construction of a multimodal network of transit services. It has been recognized that this plan has not received widespread support particularly from local units of government. Ironically many of these same local units of government are desperately trying to develop urbanized town centers to capitalize on the trend for this life style. It will be argued that the promotion of European-style Neighborhood Transit Centers (ESTC) is a way to engage local units of government in the regional plan, facilitate their interest in developing town centers, and encourage adoption of transit oriented development projects (TOD). The premise of this proposal is to acknowledge communities that invest in public transit and transit center plans by including the community in the regional transit plan. ...

.03 Regional Arts Policy

Wide Bay Greens

The launch of this policy is designed to get the ball rolling on a discussion about arts in the regions, which is no longer constrained by metropolitan perspectives and metropolitan solutions. A discussion that is about the need for serious money in the regions to support the arts in the regions. ... The current situation for the Arts in the regions is this. At the Federal Government level, the focus is primarily on touring. ...

The question then is what should we be aiming for in the arts? The Green’s policy approach is:

* to maintain the unique character and diverse nature of Australia’s arts and culture

* to support and promote local content and the development of local projects for all forms of art and culture.

* to promote arts and cultural events and access to those events with appropriate funding and support.

* to increase access to arts and cultural experiences in rural and regional areas. ...

* to reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Australian population.

* to protect artists’ intellectual property rights.

.04 Review: The Great Reset by Richard Florida

Urbanophile - Passionate About Cities

Richard Florida takes a lot of heat in certain quarters. As one of the most widely known economics writers, that makes some sense. Pretty much anyone who achieves a certain level of popularity acquires haters along the way. ... But most of the criticisms of Florida seem wide of the mark to me. Strip away the “creative class” packaging and look at the basics of what Florida is saying, and I frankly don’t think it is that controversial. If you think of creative class as merely recognizing the increasing importance and primacy of human capital, I think almost everyone would agree. But I don’t think that’s a notion that was even on the radar of many civic leaders in America until Florida came along. I don’t think any other contemporary author other than Friedman has had a similar impact on the policy discussion. This is a very valuable service. ... The Great Reset is definitely a worthwhile read. Again, any way you look at it there’s a major shift going on. Florida’s book gives the broader public the opportunity to step back from the detailed events of the day and look at the broader macro picture. We all ought to be thinking through for ourselves the implication of the new world we live in, and this accessible work highlights some of the key considerations. ...

.05 Resetting a Creative Economy :: Richard Florida


* Every single human being is creative.

* The real challenge of our time is figuring out how to harness that creative energy so that creative furnace inside of each human being is growing.

* The social categories we impose on ourselves [race, religion, gender ,etc] undermine creativity.

The Great Reset

* The most important event of our time is collapse of our financial institutions.

* We are living through the most momentous opportunities in human history.

* It’s not a depression, recession, crisis or panic… it really is a reset.

* We are in a resetting point.

* …

Rise of the Creative

* A growing number of people no longer work in factories, they are working with their minds.

* We’ve shifted into a knowledge economy… an information age, a post-production era.

* What binds us together and makes us human is our shared creativity.

* We stand on the shoulders of giants.

* We cooperate and collaborate, and we have a storehouse of creative history and a future.

* The economic crisis grew a creative economy.


.06 The Housing Seesaw

Creative Class

... map … plots the Home Price Index values for the 20 metro regions in their series. The graph below charts the movement in the Index values from 1987 to present. Even though housing prices have declined everywhere across the country, prices have held much better in some places than others. A 100-plus point difference separates the highest city from the lowest one on the index. Greater Washington, D.C. tops the list with an index value of 176.5. Housing prices are above 150 in four other locations – Los Angeles (172), New York (170), San Diego (158), and Boston (151). Sure, housing prices have come down from their peak in these cities, but they remain considerably above 2000 levels. Five regions have index values between 125 and 150: They too remain considerably above 2000 levels – Portland (144), Seattle (144), and San Francisco (135) on the west coast, which sort of make sense; and Miami (147) and Tampa (136) in South Florida which are, frankly, more puzzling, at least to me. Nine more regions have index values between 100 and 125, meaning they are up just a bit or more or less back to where they started a decade ago - Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Cleveland. Only one region, greater Detroit, has seen its housing prices fall below 2000 levels. With an Index value of 70, housing prices in Detroit have fallen to levels last seen in the 1990s. Some experts believe it will take as much as two decades until Detroit area housing prices rebound back to their pre-crisis peak.

.07 Where to Buy, Where to Rent

Creative Class

When should you rent versus buy? It’s a question lots and lots of people are asking these days. ... a closer look at what might be behind these patterns. The basic measure is called the housing price-to-rent ratio, or HPR ratio. As its name implies, it is a simple ratio of the costs of purchasing a house compared to the annual costs of renting. Specifically, we wanted to explore to what extent HPR ratios are associated with key economic and demographic characteristics of U.S. cities and regions. ... How do the relative costs of renting versus buying a home relate to a region’s economy? The short answer is that the relative cost of owning is significantly higher in more advanced and affluent regions. ... What to make of all of this: Where exactly should you buy, and where should you rent? Leonhardt suggests that it’s worth buying when the ratio is 20 or less. Dean Baker sets the threshold somewhat lower: He says it makes sense to consider buying when the ratio is 15 or less. ...

.08 May 10

John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review, Version 2.0

Reader Comments on "The Future of Public Diplomacy" [Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, "Public Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World - A strategic approach for the 21st century" and Judith McHale's "Future of U.S. Public Diplomacy"] - American Diplomacy. Note: The comment of the PDPBR compiler included in this entry was made regarding the so-called roadmap, (Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement with the World - A strategic approach for the 21st century), rather than McHale's "Future of Public Diplomacy." …

.09 Take the Lead in Your Region: Apply Now to be a Mentor or Training Coordinator!

Physicians for Human Rights – National Student Program

To be increasingly responsive, innovative, and effective at the regional level, PHR’s National Student Program needs one more thing: You. Please consider applying to become a Regional Chapter Mentor or a Regional Training Coordinator. Both Regional Chapter Mentors and Regional Training Coordinators will work with Chapters in their region ­­­­— Northeast, Midwest, West, South, and Mid-Atlantic — to strengthen the National Student Program and improve their region’s experience and impact. ... Regional Training Coordinators will also support the regional community by supporting PHR’s direct communication and online presence. ...

.10 Agriburbia - A Logical Step in Relocalizing Your Bioregion

Permaculture Politics

While I might not have made the drawings exactly the same, I admire and support thinking that re-imagines combining farms with cities and suburbs. It's seems somehow blatantly obvious that this is a correct and fruitful way of meeting one's food needs without the costly energy of long distance shipping and schlepping of over-processed food by fuel-guzzling trucks and planes. Local food ought to be a primary aim of any sensibly relocalizing culture / economy. Let there be more examples. Agriculture is the New Golf: Rethinking Suburban Communities - There is new movement to plan suburban communities around farms instead of golf courses. Can it catch on? ....

.11 Take Action – Marine Bioregional Planning

There are two regions in Queensland presently undergoing assessment by DEWHA to introduce a series of Marine Protected Areas, the North Marine Bioregion and the East Marine Bioregion. The Areas for Further Assessment (AFA’s) maps have been released for both bioregions. At present, the current marine planning process has a long way to go before industry is able to form a firm view on what the outcome will be as there are still large pieces of the process to be completed. This said, we are moving forward cautiously. The QSIA has taken the view that we need to be prepared and the best way to achieve this is to engage fully with the government from the beginning. ...

.12 The Inequation of Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest and How to Solve it

Nature of Science

The conservation of the Amazônia becomes a more important topic each day on the discussions on the climatic change and global warming, due to its relevance as a vanquisher of carbon and as a repository of biodiversity and a natural regulator of vapors in the atmosphere and the climate. It is unquestionable that we need to conserve, being that the days of discordance between radical environmentalists and developers of short vision are a thing of the past. Both have changed: environmentalists, in their majority, have started to recognize and to take in to consideration the socio-economic imperative; governments and developers understand the necessity of cooperation in environmental subjects with implications that are as much global as local. Strengthening both views are the economic damages of 2005, a year of simultaneous dry rivers in Amazônia and terrible hurricanes (including Katrina) in the Caribbean and United States. ... the Amazonian region [ ]

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 "Past Silos and Smokestacks: Transforming the Rural Economy in the Midwest" - Heartland Papers - Issue 2 - The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Author – Mark Drabenstott, director of the Center for Regional Competitiveness at the Rural Policy Research Institute and chairman of the Territorial Development Policy Committee for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

.02 2010 Annual Conference and Exhibition - National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) - June 15 - 17, 2010 - Cleveland, Ohio


Conference website:

Contact Lindsey Riley -

.03 Regional Prosperity Initiative - Planning, Sharing and Growing ... Together

For more than two years, leaders throughout Northeast Ohio have joined together because they know there is a better way to govern, to collaborate, to benefit from our collective resources and to provide a better region for you to live, work and raise your family.

Once implemented, the Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI) will provide the structure for coordinated, regional land use planning and new growth tax base sharing in the 16-county Northeast Ohio region. In short, the RPI will allow our region to plan, share and grow…together. This effort – to benefit through collaboration – is an unprecedented step toward government reform at the municipal, county and regional levels, with comprehensive results that can propel our region into a new and prosperous era.

We hope that you will take some time to understand our initiative and, more importantly, join us. There are many ways for you to get involved and become a part of the solution for a prosperous Northeast Ohio.

.04 Europe 2010 - Delivering Inclusive Growth: Lessons from the Lisbon Strategy - World Economic Forum

The Lisbon Strategy launched in 2000 set the goal of making Europe the most competitive economy in the world with full employment by 2010, whereas the new 10-year vision focuses on fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion ("inclusive growth").

.05 North American Futures: Canadian – US Perspectives

A bi-national conference for private and public sector practitioners and scholars interested in the issues driving the North American, CanadaU.S. relationship held March 12-13, 2010

Discussion: North American Futures: A North American Commons

Panel 1: Culture, Identity, and the Social Contract

Panel 2: Managing the Economic Arena

Panel 3: National Security and International Affairs

Panel 4: Managing the Arctic

Panel 5: Energy, the Environment, and Climate Change

Panel 6: The Trilateral Perspective - Mexico, The US, Canada

Panel 7: North American Futures: The Challenges of the 21st Century

Session videos:

Program and Papers:

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown - BookTV - CSPAN

Simon Johnson talks about the power of Wall Street banks since the 2008 financial collapse. In March 2009, the heads of the 13 largest banks in the U.S. visited President Obama in the White House to ask for help. That help, which came in the form of bailouts, loans, and credits from the federal government, resulted in a further concentration of power within the banking sector, leading to what we have today - six megabanks that control a vast portion of our economy. Mr. Johnson argues that these banks, which are still too big to fail, continue to take excessive risks and could lead us to another collapse.

.02 Computerized Front-Running -

Market commentators are fond of talking about “free market capitalism,” but according to Wall Street commentator Max Keiser, it is no more. It has morphed into what his TV co-host Stacy Herbert calls “rigged market capitalism”: all markets today are subject to manipulation for private gain.

Keiser isn’t just speculating about this. He claims to have invented one of the most widely used programs for doing the rigging. Not that that’s what he meant to invent. His patented program was designed to take the manipulation out of markets. It would do this by matching buyers with sellers automatically, eliminating “front running” – brokers buying or selling ahead of large orders coming in from their clients. The computer program was intended to remove the conflict of interest that exists when brokers who match buyers with sellers are also selling from their own accounts. But the program fell into the wrong hands and became the prototype for automated trading programs that actually facilitate front running.

Also called High Frequency Trading (HFT) or “black box trading,” automated program trading uses high-speed computers governed by complex algorithms (instructions to the computer) to analyze data and transact orders in massive quantities at very high speeds. ...

So what can be done to restore free and fair markets? A step in the right direction would be to prohibit flash trades. The SEC is proposing such rules, but they haven’t been effected yet. ...

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.

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.

For the Blog and RSS feed go to:

Phrases/stories of note as found via Twitter:

Delicious Bookmarks:

Questions, comments or items to feature in Regional Community Development News?

Please email the Editor:

To search previous issues since 2003 go to:

To join Regional Community Networkers and get a free subscription use this email link – no additional information required:

For the Google Groups version go to:

Tom (Thomas J.) Christoffel, AICP -