Regional Community Development News – April 25, 2011 [regions_work]


Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .20

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet11.01 - .14

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .07

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .03

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

State Maps with Regional Councils and Alternatives by Census Regions and Divisions 15.

Bold italic highlights “grist for the mill of local-regional thought and action.”


Top Regional Community Stories

1. Denver's legacy of collaboration pays off - Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee, WI, USA

The Denver metropolitan region is known across the country as a place where community leaders reach across boundaries to create partnerships that make the region stronger and more successful. Since its founding in 1993, the Metro Mayors Caucus has been a major factor in creating and sustaining this culture of collaboration.

But it wasn't always this way.

The business community started our move toward regionalism as a strategy to overcome a severe recession in Colorado caused by the collapse of Colorado's energy economy. One early outcome of Denver's collaborative efforts was the Metro Denver Network. MDN was built around the simple idea that individual jurisdictions in the region should not compete with each other, but rather work together to compete successfully with other similar regions in the United States and overseas.

MDN's leaders believed that if a company located anywhere in the region, then the entire region would benefit. MDN became the clearinghouse for expansion and relocation opportunities. Nearly every economic development agency in the Denver region became members, and the success rate was remarkable. The success of this collaborative regional venture made believers out of many of our leaders.

In 1993, mayors of some of the region's larger cities came together to create a similar collaborative among the metro area's mayors. By the end of 1993, the Metro Mayors Caucus had 27 members and had identified a number of issues that demanded regionwide approaches.

The Metro Mayors Caucus is clearly recognized as a policy leader in the Denver area and Colorado. Having such an organization in place has and will continue to enable the metro area to respond quickly and well to future challenges.

We believe strongly in this collaborative model and know this approach has much to offer other regions in the country, including Milwaukee County.

2. Economic development efforts focus on regionalism - The Daytona Beach News-Journal - Daytona, FL, USA

If it takes a village to raise a child, some would say it takes a region to promote economic development.

"Regionalism is important for many reasons," said Flagler County Commissioner Milissa Holland, who is working on the regional component of the strategic goals with Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts. "One is sharing resources."

Holland said there is a trend at the state and national level to look for regional partnerships, and Flagler County needs to be part of that trend.

"For instance, we have a newly adopted comprehensive economic development strategy in the northeast region," she said, "that will allow us to apply for economic development administrative funds with projects we identify in the region."

Holland said part of the process in identifying regional partnerships is also focused on the costs involved.

"Identifying the cost of that investment and what would be the true benefit of Flagler County joining another regional group is a key," she said.

Holland said in addition to the Cornerstone economic development group in Jacksonville and the Northeast Regional Council [ ] that the county works with, there are other potential partnerships for Flagler County.

"There is a high-tech corridor to the south," she said. "We need to further expand and understand these relationships."

Holland said Flagler County has a geographic advantage when it comes to regionalism because it can naturally look to the south as well as the north.

"We fall right in the middle of both," she said. "We are already tied to two regions," including the greater Orlando region as well as Jacksonville.

Holland said the work being done on regionalism now can only enhance the county's economic development efforts. ...

3. Marist poll: New Yorkers want government consolidation in some cases - Poughkeepsie Journal - Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

New Yorkers are offering mixed reviews on the idea of consolidating local governments -- supporting it when they think it would save money, but opposing it when it they believe it would give them less say in local decisions, a Marist College poll today found.

The extensive Marist poll of 4,500 New Yorkers is the first one statewide to dig deeply into how residents view government consolidation, a major initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo but one that has led to bitter battles within local communities.

And the poll reflected New Yorkers' divided opinions on the controversial issue.

While 54 percent of residents outside New York City think there are too many governments, 85 percent of them give their local government average or above-average grades.

Also, 52 percent of New Yorkers had a positive impression of regionalism of local governments, yet dissolving a local government was perceived positively by only 31 percent of those polled.

… by a margin of 52 percent to 46 percent, people polled in the Finger Lakes region supported consolidation efforts - compared to 52 percent to 42 percent in the mid-Hudson Valley and the lower Hudson Valley.

The Buffalo area - which has had the state's largest push for consolidation -- had the highest support for the idea, with 60 percent of residents in favor of it. Support was also high in the central New York region, which includes parts of the Southern Tier, with 56 percent supporting consolidation.

The services New Yorkers favored the most for consolidation were public transportation (73 percent), road and highway maintenance (68 percent), parks and recreation (66 percent), prisons (57 percent) and public libraries (56 percent).

But residents were split over whether fire or police services should be combined, and just 45 percent supporting consolidating school districts.|topnews|text|

4. Peirce: Investing equals patriotism - Denver Post - Denver, CO, USA

Let us plan for our future, not run from it. Let's invest forward to stay at the global competitive edge in resilient metropolises, high-speed rail, world-leading schools and universities, advanced technology networks, opportunity tracks for our poor.

Anything less threatens a second-rate, declining America as China and other world powers ascend. Our government budget deficits are real, requiring tough action. But tea party-like pitches to eviscerate government are perilously wrong. Smart planning and smart public investment have become the true American patriotism for this century.

You might expect those themes to reverberate at a national conference of liberal policy wonks. But instead, one could hear them emerging as several hundred leaders of the New York metropolitan region, corporate chiefs included, met for the 2011 assembly of that area's Regional Plan Association (founded in 1922, the country's first and largest).

The official theme this year was "Innovation and the Global City," showcasing forward-looking projects and programs from cities across the globe.

London, for example, is using the 2012 Olympics as a way to invest in green (i.e. energy-saving) transit expansion, …

Singapore, …

… Bogota, Colombia, has created …

In Beijing, …

Many world city regions once faced near-total economic collapse, among them Turin, Barcelona and Munich. Not to mention the deficit-whipped New York City of the 1970s, with a ravaged, graffiti-splattered subway system that eventually was revived through smartly spent billions of recovery dollars and today carries twice the riders of 30 years ago.

The moral from the Regional Plan sessions: Cities and their metro regions are the driving force of the American economy. But as Nicholas You, former UN-HABITAT officer and board chair of the World Urban Campaign warned: "Cities exist as parts of networks of cities: There's real need for pro-city national and state government policies."

5. A new paradigm and new normal: Regionalism - The White Mountain Independent - Show Low, AZ, USA

Not many issues that face the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, and indeed every city and town in Arizona, are clear-cut or easy to sort out. Sometimes it becomes difficult to see through the many different variables and distortions that make those issues seem unsolvable or that we as citizens do not have the wherewithal to face them with confidence.

It is essential to have a full understanding of the issues that face us, how we got into certain circumstances, and how we can work our way through difficult problems.

Pinetop-Lakeside has gone through the economic downturn and has taken major hits to our businesses, our budgets, our infrastructure, each greatly affecting all of us and our families and friends. Every town and city in Arizona has gone through similar difficulties, some worse and some not as bad as us.

What must become clear is that Pinetop-Lakeside is not the same as every other city or town in Arizona. We must begin to think and operate from a new paradigm and a "new normal." This new paradigm needs to include new ideas and cooperation toward finding solutions, not simply pointing out problems.

… In the past we have always felt that we were in competition with our neighbor to the north over attracting new big businesses-we've tried this and we've lost, and for many reasons.

Am I disappointed that a business like La Quinta … Of course I am. …

Pinetop-Lakeside is a unique part of the White Mountain region-what we offer, no other community in the region can offer. …

Our new paradigm needs to focus on not only revitalizing and building our small business base here in Pinetop-Lakeside, but how Pinetop-Lakeside can and must contribute to and benefit from economic development in the White Mountains region.

6. Environmentalists question Gov. Christie's stance on Highlands protection, other NJ issues - Daily Record - Morristown, NJ USA

… Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act.

Signed into law in August 2004, the act put 860,000 acres across seven counties, including most of Morris County, into the Highlands region and set up the New Jersey Highlands Council to oversee planning and development. The Department of Environmental Protection places strict development regulations on the area, which provides clean drinking water to 5.4 million New Jersey residents. For example, only one dwelling unit is allowed per 88 acres of forested land in a preservation area.

Since 2008, 7,690 acres of land have been preserved in the Highlands through the Highlands Regional Master Plan, said Elliott Ruga, senior policy analyst and campaign coordinator for the Boonton-based New Jersey Highlands Coalition, an independent coalition that supports Highlands preservation.

"The governor has positioned himself that he would like to see the Highlands Act rescinded, or at least substantially modified, and this is a big concern of ours because we know that regional planning works," Ruga said. The Highlands Act is "at a juncture today where I am very concerned about whether it will remain as effective as it is to preserve our water and other natural and cultural resources in the Highlands, and if we were to scrap it, we will, in the end, regret it."

According to Ruga, if the Highlands Act were not in place and development had continued as usual since 2004, by 2050 it would cost the state anywhere from $30 to $50 billion to treat those waters.

"The DEP Highlands rules for the preservation area has essentially made us stop and think (about) how we're going to develop in the Highlands," he said. "It has preserved the water resources in just the preservation area, and as towns conform their planning areas, we will see benefits in the longer term."

New Jersey Highlands Council -

7. County Says No To Regionalism - Rhino Times - Greensboro, NC, USA

... Guilford County Board of Commissioners ... have been discussing whether or not they want to remain part of a COG ...

Booker and Fry said the sensible thing to do would be for the county to go ahead and join, and then many of these issues could be worked out in the first year of the new merged board.

Davis made an excellent point: the rules for the new COG have been put down in a charter without the new COG ever having met, so the COG could clearly go ahead and make a decision about giving Guilford County what it wants.

Alston said that the COG advocates could do it if they chose to.

"Where there's a will there's a way," he said. "They can do what they want to do when they want to do it."

… based on the conversations at a COG meeting held right before the April 14 meeting in High Point, the COG's will merge regardless of what Guilford County does. Booker and Frye said they would discuss with other members the changes requested by Guilford County – however, they did not look optimistic that the other 72 members would be willing to change everything for one member.

It became clear at the meeting that Bencini was one of the few commissioners at this point solidly behind Guilford County's joining the group, and he said he had a basketball analogy.

"Guilford County is the Larry Drew of COGs," Bencini said.

Drew was a key player, a point guard in fact, for the UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels this past season before he departed from the team in the middle of the season, leaving his teammates in something of a lurch. But the team turned out to be much better without him.

8. Muni Bankruptcy Threat Makes Michigan Train Financial-Emergency SWAT Teams - Bloomberg - NY, USA

Michigan is giving hundreds of financial professionals and public employees a crash course in advising troubled municipalities, building an army of emergency managers that may become a model for other U.S. states.

As many as 400 accountants, lawyers, school employees and city workers will start classes in Lansing today on topics including “Dealing with the Unionized Workforce,” navigating municipal bankruptcy and negotiating contracts for sewer, water and other utilities. It’s a “rare” example of preparing people in advance for potential fiscal difficulties, said Michael Imber, a principal in Grant Thornton LLP’s corporate advisory and restructuring services group.

“Management is usually in denial and waits until it’s too late before they reach out, and here was a state saying, ‘We need help,’” Imber said. He is on the international executive board of the Turnaround Management Association and was among about 50 initial graduates of Michigan’s February course. “It enables qualified professionals to walk around cities and towns in Michigan and say, ‘How can I help?’”

SWAT Approach

“A SWAT team is an OK way to look at this,” said Michigan State University’s Eric Scorsone, an economist who helped organize the class with the turnaround association. “This is coming together on the fly. We’ve had the program for 20 years without any real training.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed a law March 16 granting state-appointed financial managers new powers that include terminating employee contracts and suspending collective bargaining for as long as five years. Snyder said the added restructuring powers will help keep Michigan communities out of bankruptcy. Enactment of the law came as governors in Wisconsin and Ohio confronted thousands of protesters against measures aimed at curbing union power and cutting state costs.


Michigan State University Emergency Financial Manager training session video:

9. Regionalism: Key thoughts and ideas - Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA

Letters -

Lansing's vitality critical to regional advancement

The Lansing region will never realize its potential as an economic powerhouse without a strong city at its core: The City of Lansing must be the hub of the wheel, not the hole in the doughnut.


Consolidated regional government an option

The Grand Rapids-Kent County area is the latest region of the country to seriously explore the possibility of a consolidated regional government.

The Grand Rapids initiative, One Kent, along with the success metro governments have enjoyed in other regions, have caused some to suggest a new governmental structure for the Greater Lansing region. ...

Greater lansing has history of cooperation

I am pleased to be the current chair of the LEAP Inc. Regional Mission Committee. We have met for more than two years and have discussed topics ranging from consideration of a Metro Council to collaboration on land use and fire service. ...

Partnerships help entities with efficiency, service

Delta Township understands that to compete globally, we have to constantly be thinking big. This means working closely with the state and other regional economic forces such as LEAP and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Communities must also take advantage of opportunities to partner with others to offer better, more cost-effective and efficient services. ...

Focus should be on quality, price and speed

Why is thinking from a regional perspective important? Most businesses focus on quality, price and speed. We compete on these factors and we have to deliver them consistently to be successful. When the Greater Lansing region competes in the global economy, these same key elements are in play. ...

Embracing "regional common denominators"

The City of East Lansing has and will continue to participate in numerous service sharing efforts. ...

Greater Lansing collaboration rates C+

I feel there is a lack of trust between many of the area governmental entities. The customers (residents and businesses) of the communities suffer as a result.

The area's residents and businesses have less service for the tax money when regional entities do not cooperate. I am not a believer that the only thing that creates efficiency is scale, however I do believe we are not well served when governments are not working together. ...

Collaborative efforts should be based on fact

The fiscal and economic challenges facing Greater Lansing require a concerted effort to rethink the foundations of local government and governance. This process should be based on facts and evidence rather than hyperbole and anecdote. ...

With action, region risks being left behind

... Greater Lansing is home of state government and Michigan State University, an auto-making juggernaut, and an insurance and technology center. However, we also are home to more than 70 government entities within Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, a multiplicity of governments that often creates confusion and inefficiencies. ...

Mid-Michigan caucus bands together for region

The Capitol Caucus is a group of bipartisan mid-Michigan legislators from the House and Senate that comes together to advocate for issues important to our region. ...

Twitter news feed:!/tomchristoffel

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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 St. Paul Mayor Coleman: Feds ready to put up cash for light rail

St Paul Pioneer Press - St. Paul, MN, USA

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman delivered his annual State of the City address Monday, saving one of the juiciest announcements — a tidbit about the Central Corridor light-rail transit project — for midway through his speech. Next Tuesday, he said, the Federal Transit Administration will sign the long-awaited "full funding grant agreement," officially committing about $460 million in federal aid toward the $957 million project. That agreement would be a jab in the eyes of the transit line's critics, some of whom have taken the Metropolitan Council to task for proceeding with construction of the 11-mile route between downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis without federal funding fully in place. State and local money will make up the other half of the project's budget, and skeptics worried the federal match would never materialize. Those worries are almost over. The Met Council, the metro's regional planning agency, has invited a who's who of transit proponents and state and county officials to attend the agreement signing at the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Coleman said the signed agreement will cap 30 years of discussions about connecting the Twin Cities by train. ... St. Paul is partnering with Minneapolis and other communities to market the Twin Cities to the world and lure "green" employers from environmentally savvy industries. "For too long, our region has pitted city against city, east metro versus west metro," Coleman said. "We have focused resources on luring a business from one city to another. Unfortunately, while we viewed our competition as Minneapolis or Eden Prairie, our real competition, Austin, Texas; Seattle; Silicon Valley; and Boston realized that they were in a battle with Singapore, Beijing or Sao Paulo. How we see our competition is about to change."

.02 DED presents growth plan

St. James Leader-Journal – St. James, MO, USA

The Meramec Regional Planning Commission heard a presentation on the Missouri Department of Economic Development's strategic plan for the state's economic growth at its meeting last Thursday. Michael Downing, deputy director for DED, explained DED's Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth for Missouri for 2010 to 2015. MRPC's Executive Director Richard Cavender served on the advisory committee for the state's regional planning commissions. The purpose of the plan is to identify specific strategic and tactical plans for transforming Missouri's economy into a 21st century sustainable growth economy, Downing said. “We looked at a lot of strategic plans across the state,” Downing said. DED's plan identifies eight key strategies, backed up by data, and has a statewide focus but recognizes the uniqueness of regions, Downing said. ...

RC: Meramec Regional Planning Commission -

Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth -

.03 Brookings Regional Business Plan Blueprint Could Work for Nashville

Nashville Chatter Class - Nashville, TN, USA

Brookings Institution has offered up a blueprint for approaching regionalism that outlines business plans for metropolitan area that perhaps gives Nashville and regional leaders something to consider. The think tank created the framework in the context of contending with budget issues at the federal level in the aftermath of the so-called Great Recession. “Metro business planning … exemplifies the pragmatic, increasingly assertive, and self-sufficient style of U.S. regions, which have growntired of the unhelpful posturing and rigidities of Washington,” Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director for the group’s Metropolitan Policy Program. Brookings notes how different regions around the country have taken the private-sector’s business planning approach and applied it to regional planning. Brookings included as examples plans done for Northeast Ohio, Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Seattle-Puget Sound area. In each of these places, private and public sector leaders created detailed business plans highlighting their desires for the type of economic growth they want and how they intend on getting there. ...

.04 to debut

Philadelphia Business Journal - Philadelphia, PA, USA will be introduced Monday at noon at the Old City headquarters of public radio and television station WHYY, one of three major sponsors of Philly Tech Week, which was the brainchild of the company that publishes the Technically Philly website. The site will make more than 100 data sets from the city of Philadelphia and other regional organizations, such as SEPTA, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Philadelphia Museum of Art available to the public. It was the outgrowth of work by the city’s Open Access Philly task force, but was built not by the city, but by Azavea, a Philadelphia-based developer of geographic information system software. Robert Cheetham, Azavea’s president and CEO, said the company did much of the work on the site pro bono, although the William Penn Foundation recently agreed to pay part of the cost of building and maintaining it over the next six months.


.05 KATHY LUTHER: Let's try not to P on our lawns this year

Northwest Indiana Times - Munster, IN, USA

... most common source of P in populated areas is fertilizer. Because P is much more abundant in soil than it is in water, land plants typically don't need a lot of extra P. Plants use it most for root, flower and fruit growth. For turf grass, all extra P is likely to do is make it grow and need mowing faster. The quickest way to save gas, money and work on mowing that lawn is to buy lawn fertilizer with no P in it. ... The next time you are relaxing on the deck or at the beach while your neighbor is mowing the grass, you can feel good knowing you are doing your part for clean water! To learn more about how phosphorus and your fertilizer choices impact clean water go to and click on Lawn Care Links. To help us make Northwest Indiana P Free, Take the Clear Choices Clean Water Phosphorus-Free Pledge and join Team NWI-Lake or NWI-Porter today, or start your own neighborhood team! Kathy Luther is director of environmental management for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

.06 MegaRegion Summit draws mayors, business leaders

Contra Costa Times - San Jose Mercury News - San Jose, CA, USA

Do the mayors of Oakland, San Jose, South San Francisco, West Sacramento and Watsonville have anything in common? Quite a bit when it comes supporting and growing regional exports through the Port of Oakland. Exports have already outpaced imports at the port, and the elected leaders pledged at Friday's Northern California MegaRegion Summit to share their ideas and cooperation to try and double the amount of cargo moving through the port by 2015, and in the process cement the region's role as a global competitor for trade and jobs. ... Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Watsonville Mayor Daniel Dodge, South San Francisco Mayor Kevin Mullin and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon still managed to tout their own cities' assets while strategizing about the importance of regional cooperation to draw and retain new businesses and technology that benefits the economy and creates jobs. ...

.07 Tahoe transportation district could disappear in TRPA divorce

Tahoe Daily Tribune - South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA

The Tahoe Transportation District could lose $400 million for transportation improvements at Lake Tahoe over the next five years if Nevada withdraws from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, ... “I attended the recent hearing on the bill and understand the frustration with the State of California and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency expressed by the committee,” said District Manager Carl Hasty. “When such frustration leads to hurried action, more problems can be created than solved. There are clearly problems to be resolved, some sooner than others. We welcome the spotlight that the bill shines on these problems, but we are concerned it may cause more uncertainty and confusion and eliminate worthwhile projects. Rational discussion involving all parties, and a timeline for resolving major issues, may be a more constructive way to proceed.” Hasty said the unintended consequence of Senate Bill 271, which would remove Nevada from the bi-state compact that founded the TRPA will be a threat to federal funding for the transportation district. ...

From Commenst:

Too late! How long has TRPA had to get it right? How late are they on their regional plan update? How long are the citizens of the basin supposed to live in limbo?

Bottom line is this...TRPA has had many, many chances to make it right, to make improvements, to address concerns, to fix problems...and they've done nothing.

"Hurried action", my you-know-what! TRPA has had YEARS to act and they've chosen, again and again, to be an enemy of our community, not a friend.

And now we've got bureaucrats shedding tears. Sniff, sniff. Go Nevada!

.08 NY-CT Mayors, County Execs, Planning Orgs Launch Unprecedented Bi-State Sustainability Collaboration

Talk of the Sound - New Rochelle, NY, USA

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Administrator Adolfo Carrion today formally presided over the kickoff event for the New York-Connecticut Sustainable Communities initiative, an unprecedented bi-state collaboration that is the recipient of a $3.5 million HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative Grant. He was joined by representatives from five New York and four Connecticut cities, the Nassau County and Suffolk County Executives, the New York City Planning Commissioner, and the heads of six regional planning organizations, who collectively comprise the consortium. By developing livable communities and growth centers around the region’s transit network, the New York-Connecticut Sustainable Communities initiative seeks to expand economic opportunity by creating and connecting residents to jobs; fostering new affordable, energy-efficient housing; providing more transportation choices; strengthening existing communities; and making the region more globally competitive. The grant will be administered by Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit regional planning organization. For more information on the initiative, log on to . ...

.09 Coalition gets grant to go green: $50k boosts regional clean-energy strategy

The Boston Globe - Boston, MA, USA

In some North Shore and Merrimack Valley communities, regionalization has transcended the sharing of municipal services into the bundling of identical initiatives, such as renewable energy projects, in order to reap greater economic savings. For the eight communities in the Merrimack Valley Mayors and Managers Coalition, a recently awarded $50,000 federal grant should make it easier to integrate individual clean energy initiatives into a regional master plan. The idea of creating one clean energy master plan to suit several communities will make larger, bundled projects more attractive for bidders, as well as give communities a tangible energy strategy, said Dennis DiZoglio, executive director of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission [ ], which received the grant from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The grant comes through the Global Climate Change Mitigation Incentive Fund, which was formed to support projects that aim to decrease dependence on fossil fuels, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance energy efficiency. ...

.10 Metro communities to get Atlanta Regional Commission's help with long-term growth goals

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Atlanta, GA, USA

The agency taps different communities each year and offers them help with sorting through cumbersome government regulations and codes, prioritizing growth plans and developing strategies. It's all a part of ARC's Community Choices program. Communities selected this year are Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fairburn, Hampton, Norcross and Union City. "The Community Choices program affords us the chance to play a small role in improving local communities, " said Kellie Brownlow, chief of ARC's Governmental Services Division. "Collectively, over time, these local improvements make for a better regional community." The Community Choices program provides tools, resources and technical help to aid local governments in their efforts to design communities that work for them. The agency will help Alpharetta inventory its vacant commercial properties and develop a strategy for filling them. In Cobb County, ...

.11 Our View: Development Corp. has crucial role

St. Cloud Times - St. Cloud, MN, USA

No local jobs were created, no plant expanded, and no laws were added, subtracted or changed, yet April 8, 2011, could well become one of the most important dates in the history of St. Cloud metro area’s economic development. What happened just 10 days ago? The Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. officially debuted. From helping local businesses expand to attracting the next Google to locate here, the group — founded by 40 organizations, most of which are businesses — aims to lean heavily on the private sector to keep the metro area economically vibrant. Its launch marks the end of the St. Cloud Area Economic Development Partnership, a similar regional entity focused on economic development but with a more equal mix between public and private organizations. Leaders of the new nonprofit corporation, which includes Times Media, believe the private sector’s access to and flexibility with resources better position it to foster economic development. ...|head

.12 USDA offering rural development program

The Spectrum -St. George, UT, USA

Under a cooperative agreement between the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development agency and four Regional Rural Development Centers, multi-jurisdictional regions will compete to participate in training and technical assistance to develop a regional economic development strategy. Utah is one of 12 states across the nation selected for phase II of the program. Applications submitted by Utah regions will be reviewed and scored by the state partnership team. Their selections will be forwarded to the national team for the final decision and from there the top two rated applications from each of the 12 states will be awarded. Each selected area will receive training on regional development and be given background data and analysis specific to the region. "The local region, in the end, will have the analysis and expertise at its fingertips to enable it to make informed plans for increasing regional prosperity," Chuck Gay, associate vice president for cooperative extension at Utah State University, said. The Stronger Economies Together program is designed to help interested counties work together to develop and implement a regional economic development strategy or plan.


.13 Mayor calls joint powers' arena idea premature

Sacramento Bee - Sacramento, CA, USA

Yuba City Mayor John Dukes said Monday he plans to lead an effort to create a six-county "joint powers authority" to finance a new downtown Sacramento sports and entertainment facility for basketball and other community events. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's office, however, issued a statement later in the day distancing itself from Dukes efforts, saying, "our current focus is one hundred percent on the NBA's May 2 relocation decision and doing everything we can to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Any discussions beyond that are premature at this point." The Sacramento mayor and city council have commissioned an arena feasibility study of their own, but that is not due to be completed until late May or early June. Dukes had said he wants to call a meeting this week to discuss a possible financing plan with regional officials. Sacramento Sen. Darrell Steinberg declined comment Monday other than to say he will be happy to work with regional leaders "to establish the appropriate regional mechanism." ... "I want to see us get a facility in this region to attract businesses and create jobs," Dukes said. "Long term, we need a world-class arena to support the Kings and other events. This is a regional facility and needs to be funded regionally." Numerous previous efforts to build an arena in Sacramento to replace aging Power Balance Pavilion have failed. ...

.14 ideas on city budget and regionalism

Parma Sun Post - Parma, OH, USA

The four Democratic candidates running for mayor agree the city will have to watch its budget over the next few years. However, they have different ideas on how to address the budget issue and a related topic — regionalism. ... Judson would look at regionalism. He would consider sharing trash and recyclable collections with other communities. However, Judson does not believe in creating regional safety forces. He said Parma is a large city that needs its own police department. DeGeeter said Ohio will encourage more regional efforts by promising state funds to cities that work together. He said that is another good reason to take regionalism seriously. ... Germana agreed that opportunities exist to save money through regionalism, even though past regional efforts have not panned out. ...

.15 Area development projects prioritized: County projects ranked for OVRDC review

News Democrat - Georgetown, Ohio, USA

Major upgrades to local water and sewer systems, infrastructure improvements for potential job-creators, and the possible extension of an access road are all on the wish-lists of local community leaders who are eyeing possible project assistance through Appalachian Regional Commission. Michele Throckmorton, an Economic Development Coordinator for the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, met with local village and township office holders, as well as county government and economic development officials, during the OVRDC Second Round Caucus held in Georgetown Monday, April 18. During the Caucus, voting members ranked a number of potential projects for further consideration of funding assistance at the district level. Local rankings are a major factor in determining if the projects will receive financial help from OVRDC through ARC in the next fiscal year's funding cycle, which begins July 1. ...

.16 Private fire, hybrid plan suggested

The Daily Journal - San Mateo, CA, USA

The city of San Carlos would be financially better off ending its joint department with Belmont and either outsourcing service completely to private provider Wackenhut Services, Inc. or creating a hybrid model to share management with Redwood City, according to consultants hired by the city to assess its options. ... San Carlos, which is looking for at least $1 million savings from fire to put toward filling a $3.5 million budget deficit, currently has four alternatives: repair the existing joint powers authority with Belmont, create a stand-alone department, contract with Wackenhut or work with Redwood City. Redwood City actually presented two possibilities, the hybrid model or taking over San Carlos’ service completely. ... Councilman Matt Grocott, a vocal opponent of breaking up the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Department, said he prefers the hybrid model because it sets the stage for a regional system in the future and is not a for-profit company. ... Of Wackenhut, Hawkins called it a bad idea to award a 10-year contract to company that has never run a municipal fire department and contends general law cities like San Carlos have no authority to contract out those services. ...,%20hybrid%20plan%20%20suggested

.17 Study may have averted nuclear crisis - DE, USA

The double tragedies of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were acts of nature and could not have been prevented. However, the third tragedy -- the destruction of several nuclear reactors, which may have the longest, most severe consequences to this small island country, might well have been prevented if the Japanese had taken the advice of Ian McHarg, a local Philadelphia landscape architect and professor back in 1973 -- 38 years ago. McHarg founded the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning in 1955 and was head of it for three decades. He was known internationally as one of the first ecological planners and wrote a seminal book in 1969, "Design With Nature," ... In 1973, McHarg was invited to visit Japan by a colleague of Premier Kakuei Tanaka. A concern with the environment was raised, and Professor McHarg was asked to come to Japan and review a plan that would disperse Japan's concentrated population throughout the countryside, including industry and commerce. After meeting with all of the members of Premier Tanaka's cabinet and hearing how each cabinet member would assist in realizing this massive redistribution of people, industry and commerce, Ian McHarg asked, "What facts of the environment have you included in your deliberations?" In his book, "A Quest for Life," published in 1996, he reported that there were "no answers -- only smiles." He would ask this same question repeatedly and with more urgency each time. ...|newswell|text|Opinion|p

.18 Mutual aid pacts for first responders may soon cross state lines

Northwest Indiana Times - Munster, IN, USA

Mutual aid agreements for emergency responders could soon be struck across state lines. The Indiana House voted 91-0 Tuesday for Senate Bill 6 allowing Indiana communities to receive and provide emergency mutual aid from police and fire units in Illinois or any adjacent state. The legislation, which now goes to the governor, recognizes and honors out-of-state certifications and licenses for first responders providing mutual aid in Indiana cities and towns. ...

.19 Railroad bridges among SWRPA's top priorities

The Stamford Times - Stamford, CT, USA

With state and federal dollars tight, the South Western Metropolitan Region Planning Organization has taken a "fix-it-first approach" in its updated Long-Range Transportation Plan 2011-2040. And that includes railroad bridges. "The Walk and Saga bridges over the Norwalk and Saugatuck rivers ... Those are bridges that if there were a system failure, it would cripple the entire rail system, so those are among our top priorities as well," said Craig Lader, senior transportation planner at SWRPA. Rehabilitation of the 'Saga' and 'Walk' railroad bridges are among roughly 200 projects recommended in the draft plan. Both bridges are a century old, have deteriorated and are increasingly prone to failure. "Addressing these bridges, along with other high priority bridges, across the rail network, are among the Region's top transportation priorities," according to the plan. ...

.20 Children's doctors team up across state lines to fight disease

Eureka Alert - USA

Children's doctors in Indiana soon will partner with colleagues in Ohio and Kentucky through a new program focused on working across state lines to advance research on childhood disease. The Pediatric Regional Collaborative Grant program, supported by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, will support research between pediatric scientists across the region, ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 Money And Trust: Richer, More Equal Countries Are More Trusting, Study Finds

Huffington Post - USA

People living in richer, more egalitarian countries trust their fellow human beings more, new data shows. Countries with high median household incomes are more trusting, generally, than countries with lower income levels. The United States is an exception to this trend. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development surveyed 30 industrialized countries with the question, "Generally speaking would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?" Danes are the most trusting people and Chileans the least, according to the data. In 2008, the United States was the 10th least trusting country, with only 48.7 percent of Americans responding that, generally speaking, most people could be trusted. But, of the countries surveyed, the U.S. ranks fourth for median household income levels. ...

Question: Are levels of cooperation affected by trust?

Edelman Trust Barometer

Edelman's 2011 Trust Barometer®, the firm’s 11th annual survey, gauges attitudes about the state of trust in business, government, NGOs and media across 23 countries.

.02 Education and devolution

The Express Tribune - Karachi, Pakistan

The controversy over the devolution of education to the provinces reveals a deeper political conflict than issues related only to education. The underlying debate reflects an old tension between national ideology constructed by a national security state on the one hand, and multiple ideologies representing varied interests of diverse groups on the other. The control over how knowledge is created, circulated and consumed determines how populations can be tamed, contained and disciplined.

The tension between a homogenised ‘national’ curriculum and one more representative of a plural and diverse polity was discernible as early as the period of Ayub Khan, when a centralised state was being constructed. The creation of Pakistani nationhood meant a move from regionalism to nationalism, from diversity to homogeneity. Ayub Khan was eager to see education perform the function of nation-building by erasing older identities in favour of the new one that was still in infancy and too tenuous to be a reliable identity. In a speech in 1961, Ayub Khan emphasised the need “to undergo similar educational curricula… the standard of values becomes common and from that cohesion emerges national feeling”. In several of his speeches, he bemoaned the absence of homogenisation in West Pakistan and, while referring to the federating units, asserted that “these units were a serious impediment in the way of political and economic growth”.


Nationalism was always a contested concept, fragile and insecure from its inception. The disruption in the discourse of official nationalism came from the provinces and regional identities. The Sharif Report repeatedly denounces these forces. For example, it says: “The disruptive forces of communalism, regionalism and provincialism came to the fore in the subcontinent… After the first great surge that launched the nation, the magic was gone…. In a situation where the overriding objective is that of nation-building, and where there exist these centrifugal forces of regionalism, indiscipline and non-cooperation, the immense tasks to be accomplished can only be carried out when a strong and responsible leadership emerges”. The ruptures, from suppressed and silenced voices, in the neatly stitched fabric of the nation, are attributed to indiscipline and lack of cooperation. This, in turn, is used to justify authoritarian rule by invoking the idea of a ‘strong and responsible leadership’. Centralised education was thus made the handmaiden of authoritarian ideology and dictatorial practice.


To counter the ideologies packaged and disseminated by a national security state obsessed with India, war and enmity, it is imperative to devolve education. This would wean knowledge away from serving the ends of the security state and simultaneously recognise the diversity and pluralism inherent in society. One caveat is that while framing the curriculum the provinces must adhere to the fundamental rights granted in the constitution so that women’s rights and minority rights may be upheld. Secondly, it is important to base the curriculum objectives on pedagogical needs to serve the ends of learning, rather than on the political or ideological imperatives of the ruling elite.

.03 Lands could be de-zoned as new Regional Planning Guidelines come into effect

Mayo Advertiser - Mayo, Ireland

Landowners who have had land zoned for housing under the last County Development Plan or Town Environs plans could see their land dezoned in the very near future. The new Regional Planning Guidelines which came into effect last year have to be signed off and all relevant reports completed by October 18 this year. ...“ We have to produce evidence in relation to the zoning and it has to be within the national spatial strategy, we have to show evidence as to why we are zoning lands for housing,” ... population targets are fixed and that in 2022 it is estimated that the population of Mayo will be 150,800, up from 123,839 in 2006 according to the plan. ... increase in both towns ... would require an additional 2,300 homes, but between unsold houses, zoned lands and planning permission for developments granted that have not been started there is capacity for 5,993 homes in these areas, leaving a surplus capacity of 3,618. With the council having to provide evidence as to why lands are zoned, some of the lands currently zoned for housing will no longer be zoned as such. “There are three things that we can do with the lands,” Mr Douglas said. “We can dezone them, keep them in strategic reserve or phase out the zoning on the lands over time. At this preliminary stage we are thinking of a combination of all three. ...

.04 Stop the sprawl

Stock Journal -Unley, South Australia

A PROPOSAL to put South Australia's icon wine regions and some of its richest arable farmland under the umbrella of UNESCO World Heritage Status for agrarian landscapes has taken another tentative step. The Regional Development Australia Barossa Services, affordable housing, viable agriculture, rural environments: Can We Have It All forum at Tanunda last Friday started the 'conversation' with stakeholders across four regional council areas, stretching from Clare to the Willunga Basin. But while the 'meeting of minds' presented a largely positive vision for integrated planning and development - flagged to return hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the communities involved - their optimism was tempered by the realities about how the process should unfold and the need to get the ultimate model right. ...

.05 New Malaysian metropolis taking shape near Singapore

The Peninsula - Doha, Qatar

A new metropolis three times the size of neighbouring Singapore is taking shape in the foothills of southern Malaysia, where officials and investors have equally huge ambitions for the city. Dust billows across the horizon as sun-scorched construction crews lay roads, drainage canals, street lamps, power stations and other key installations for a development known as Iskandar Malaysia. Iskandar, one of five “economic growth corridors” Malaysia is developing, was launched in 2006 and will integrate existing towns, seaports and an airport with the new projects being built from scratch. But instead of pitting it as a rival to the rich city-state, Malaysia is asking Singapore investors to take part in the project. “We see ourselves as collaborating because both countries realise that in order to create more wealth and better distribution of the wealth, we need each other,” said Ismail Ibrahim, chief executive of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). ...

.06 President Salva Kiir was smart to avoid Equatoria regionalism

Sudan Tribune - Web Host - Roubaix, France

In reaction to my article “Regional Representation Breeds Tribalism in South Sudan” published a week ago, I got flowers from some readers as well as crosses from others. This shows that at least the article was fair and some-how objective For example, an Italian who is involved in humanitarian affairs work in the Sudan wrote to me: “I just read your article on Regional Representations on SSNA website. It is a very well written and full of concrete thoughts. It is with some sorrow that I look back at my country (Italy) and I see that despite the blessings received in terms of wealth from its unity, people do still try to base their politics on regionalism and disunity as well. This results in bad relations among brothers and incapacity of successfully cooperate to build a better future for our sons. Some separations are necessary, but unity should be the supreme value to guide a people to achieve development and prosperity. Regionalism indeed is a vicious circle that could end up in having each household against each other and make them unable to build anything. Unity is indeed more difficult, like marriage, but way too fruitful than the easier separation. The only way we can develop ourselves is through dialogue and unity. As the good old greek philosopher Socrates was saying: the dialogue that stem out of a meeting between identities who deeply know themselves is the only way to pursue common good. I enjoyed reading your article and I do hope that it will have an impact on the few motivated south Sudanese politicians.” ...,38663

.07 SAARC Chambers can widen economic, regional cooperation

Business Recorder - Karachi, Pakistan

SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) can play a pivotal role in deepening and widening economic and regional co-operation with special focus on stamping out the ever increasing menace of terror in the region. ... urgent need for promotion of regional and economic cooperation in South Asia, however, political tensions and development constraints that the region has faced over the years played a decelerating role in economic integration of South Asia. If all the SAARC member countries pool and harness their indigenous resources, it will definitely help to improve socio-economic conditions and welfare of their respective people, Malik added. The intra-regional trade figures for South Asia are disappointing as trade in the region constitutes only 1.4 percent of the total world imports and 1.2 percent of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9 percent of GDP, the lowest in the world. ... Although South Asia has significantly reduced import tariffs, the cost of trading across its borders is one of the highest in the world. A number of non-tariff barriers have been identified which hamper trade and increase cost. ...

.08 Regional SPCAs come together to save more animals

The Burnside News - Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA

The Nova Scotia SPCA, the SPCA Newfoundland & Labrador, the P.E.I. Humane Society, the New Brunswick SPCA and the Fredericton SPCA have announced a collaborative initiative in support of animal welfare in the Atlantic region. The Atlantic Network is the first such provincial and regional collaboration of this scale in the country. ... The network will be focusing on sharing ideas, growing membership and exploring efficiencies and cost sharing. “When we work together, we know how much more we can achieve and this is just the beginning. Our collaboration will make this region a national leader in dealing with animal welfare issues. The Fredericton SPCA is committed to working with our Atlantic partners to strengthen our message, to curb pet overpopulation and to positively change the lives of neglected, abused and homeless animals,” says Susan Morell, president of the Board of Directors for the Fredericton SPCA. ...

.09 Geographer gave us story of NZ

The New Zealand Herald - Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Kenneth Cumberland CBE, geographer, Died aged 97

Few people can have embraced the country of their adoption more comprehensively or thoroughly than Kenneth Cumberland. Quite apart from his work on geography at the University of Auckland, he came to be involved in planning and council matters affecting Auckland City. And in such subjects as farming and forestry which he embraced with enthusiasm. ... As chairman of the Auckland Regional Planning Authority in the 1950s, he noted city traffic increasing from 15 to 20 per cent each year even as a motorways plan for the city was being prepared. In 1969, amid talk of farm subsidies, he said the country could not afford to have farmers not earning overseas funds. But he added that subsidies could have any value only if they helped to earn overseas funds and none if they merely encouraged excess commodities. He was always interested in the effects of urban sprawl, local government reform and also transport solutions. ...

.10 N-QW Votes 2011: A government that listens to rural communities - Roseneath, Ontario, CA

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a campaign stop in Beaupré, Quebec, this morning to announce that a stable national Conservative Government will relocate the administrative offices of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec (CED) from Montreal to one or more regional centres in Quebec to provide even better service to the regions of Quebec, in keeping with their specific needs. Over the past few years, CED has done an excellent job, providing financing to companies and non-profit organizations throughout Quebec. The Conservative Party believes that CED can be made even more efficient and relevant by moving its headquarters closer to the regions it serves. Mr. Harper said that “the Conservative Party believes that all regions of Quebec would benefit if the public servants who manage the economic development programs were closer to the region where their decisions have an impact.” ...

.11 RRDA demolishes shops, houses

The Times of India - New Delhi, India

Three teams of Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA) on Sunday demolished around 50 dwellings, shops and market complexes on Circular Road, Old HB Road and Mahatma Gandhi Road in Ranchi. On Sunday afternoon, three teams of RRDA identified the shops and dwellings which have deviated from the building by-laws and have been using building basements for commercial purposes. ... "As per the rulings of the Jharkhand high court, such shops and residential establishments which are using basements and parking spaces for commercial purposes are being demolished by the authority," said Mandal. "Although our teams are yet to submit the report, a total of 56 such establishments, served notices, will be demolished," added Mandal. ...

.12 New Glasgow gives notice to withdraw from development association

The News - New Glascow, Nova Scotia, CA

New Glasgow council has given notice that it will be following in Stellarton’s footsteps and withdrawing from the Pictou Regional Development Association. Town CAO Lisa MacDonald says council gave a year’s notice to the organization that it will withdraw on March 31, 2012, unless all six municipal units – including Stellarton, which stopped funding the organization this month – come back to the table. ... “The town has long considered uniform assessment unfair to the citizens because it’s based on properties that we do not receive taxes for as well, like schools and the hospital,” she said. Right now, the six municipalities are working well together, she added, and the town wants to see that continue with the regional agency. If things change by March 31, 2012, and Stellarton comes back into the fold, New Glasgow may change its position. ...

.13 Change in regional Barents structures?

... There was a debate upfront of the establishment of the Barents Cooperation in 1993 on who should be in charge of the Norwegian regional level in the cooperation. A proposal to place this responsibility in the hands of the state-appointed County Administrators was scrapped. Instead, the elected County Governors got the chairs in the Regional Council. To place this responsibility in the hands of the regions instead of controlling them from Oslo has proven to be the success story of the Barents cooperation. To put the regions themselves in control of regional cross-border cooperation has also other places in Europe proven to be the best way to support dynamic developments. Let’s hope the important part of the Barents Regional cooperation still will be in the hands of the elected politicians in northern Norway. And, let’s support initiatives from regional elected politicians in Barents Russia that want to enter the Barents cooperation stage.

.14 How The Chinese Became Global Branding Geniuses

Fast Company - USA

In the same way China approached its preparations for the Beijing Olympics, businesses have fully detailed each sensory impression a product will have on consumers. One company's ultimate objective: Become a global leader in car manufacturing. ... The world soon will see the ability of the Chinese to absorb new ideas, and fast-track them into the mainstream with accuracy, skill, and speed. In a very short time--despite a rocky start--they have grasped the essence of branding. In fact, their embrace of the fact that branding is a sensory discovery has put them ahead of others in the same industry operating on the other side of the globe. ... For almost three years, a team of scientists, researchers, anthropologists, and psychologists traveled the world to study the most inspirational and innovative countries in the world. They carefully selected the best features of those countries, focusing on those aspects that could influence the evolution of Chinese brands, shape their innovation process, define their future, and most importantly, serve as a model for their success. ... Way back in the 1980s, the Japanese developed their version of the "German Room." In order to surpass competing nations, they had to fully understand how they worked. They learned their lessons well, and Japan went on to build among the best-selling cars in the world. China wants to be next. But they didn't start out as naturals at understanding how branding works. ...

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Disaster Planning Manual

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

From Professor William Berkowitz via the Comm-Org e-list: In light of recent events in Japan, we are writing to remind Co-Listers that a group of community psychology colleagues has recently published a disaster recovery manual (free, downloadable) titled How to Help Your Community Recover from Disaster: A Manual for Planning and Action.

.02 The Power of Place: A New Dimension for Sustainable Development

Project for Public Spaces

It’s painfully obvious that development trends of the last 75 years are unsustainable. Performance indicators measuring climate conditions, public health, transportation patterns and household affordability are deteriorating. Evidence continues to mount that land use and development patterns of the last three-quarters century contribute greatly to all of the above problems. We see Placemaking as one solution to these problems. Placemaking is the nexus between sustainability and livability: by making our communities more livable, and more about places, we also are doing the right thing for the planet. Placemaking provides concrete actions and results that boost broader sustainability goals such as smart growth, walkability, public transportation, local food, and bikes, yet brings it home for people in tangible, positive ways. We feel it is important to give people a proactive approach to sustainability in their hometowns. Creating lively town centers and neighborhoods that enhance pride of place and promote local economic development is critical to improving local quality of life as well as quality of the environment. In fact, we can reinvent entire regions starting from the heart of local communities and building outwards.

.03 The Metro Story: Growth without Growth

Creative Class

... the connection between population growth and productivity across America’s 350 metro regions over the past decade, we found that, if anything, the disconnect has become even more pronounced. Just one in three metro areas experienced gains in both productivity and population that exceeded the national average—and we found no statistical association whatsoever between population growth and productivity growth, either for metros or states. This not only challenges the notion that population growth is a proxy for economic growth, it puts the lie to economic development strategies that encourage population growth as an end in itself. A rising population can create a false illusion of prosperity, as it did in so many Sunbelt metros, which built their house-of-cards economies around housing construction and real estate development, leaving ghost towns, mass unemployment, and empty public coffers in their wake when the bubble inevitably burst. ...

.04 5 Secrets to Launching a rural Economic Gardening program


#1 – There are no secrets. Let’s get that out of the way from the start. It’s a lot of hard work and innovative thinking. It also takes a little bit of risk.

#2 – It takes a trained staff. Both Beth and Sue bring experience to the table in their roles as consultants. Beth had been in banking, and Sue worked in workforce and economic development. They also benefited from attending Economic Gardening training sessions sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation. Yet they admitted to a learning curve when digging in the databases used to help businesses. I think it’s safe to say training is a must for staff members.

#3 – It requires a regional approach. Sauk County has a population of 59,000, which is larger than all but two of South Dakota’s counties. Based on what I’ve learned from Beth and Sue, I think it would probably take an even larger population to generate enough business to keep one staff person working fulltime. And I’m sure a larger population base would help with efficiencies as well. Although I don’t know what size is optimal, operating an economic gardening program in a state like South Dakota would require a multi-county effort.


.05 Outreach for success: Local Actors & Implementation Partners

World Streets

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .

A Big House/Open Door Approach Concerned local/regional government agencies, transporters, business groups, local employers and others should be brought early on into discussions, planning, implementation, and follow-up. It is vital to bring to the table as wide a range of groups and interests as possible, from the city and in the surrounding region in each case, including those whose views may be negative about any of the kinds of major shift in today’s transportation arrangements. Nobody likes change out of the blue, especially those “imposed” on us by people who are indifferent to our problems and priorities It is natural to block these unwelcome proposals. The key to success is to take a big house/open doors approach. Make sure that you bring in all those groups, interests, people who are going to be impacted, positively or possibly negatively. Better to have them inside the tent and from the beginning. …

.06 Lessons of William Donald Schaefer, former mayor of Baltimore, Governor of Maryland

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

The Baltimore Sun has been full of articles about the legacy of William Donald Schaefer, since his death one week ago. ... On Sunday there was an editorial, "The lessons of Schaefer" ... The lessons, according to the Sun editorial are:

1. Build things;

2. Sweat the small stuff;

3. Do things for the right reasons;

4. ...

9. Understand that it may not be enough.

.07 $100 Million for HUD Sustainability Program Survives in This Year’s Budget


With multiple versions of two years’ worth of federal budgets flying around, some details are still emerging about what’s in and what’s out. At the end of last week we heard that the FY2011 budget, which has been sent to the president for his signature, includes $100 million for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. According to HUD Sustainable Communities Director Shelley Poticha, the partnership was allocated $70 million for regional planning grants ($17.5 million is slated for regions with populations of less than 500,000) and $30 million for Community Challenge planning grants. That’s still a significant reduction from the $150 million the partnership had last year, but in this time of shrinking budgets, it’s a lot more than some livability advocates feared. If the Sustainable Communities program had been killed in this budget, it would have been all the more difficult to revive it for inclusion in the upcoming reauthorization of the transportation bill. ...

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 Vision's Regional Day - May 6, 2011 - Hampton Roads Virginia

This 2nd Annual Regional Day is the report to the community of initiatives and results of the first region-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), known as Vision Hampton Roads. The event is open to the public; advance ticketing is required.

Regional organizations will share innovations such as simulations, avatars, virtual worlds and NASA Knights robotics team during the event. A special innovation video will debut. We anticipate an attendance of over 600, including investors interested in Hampton Roads.

Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer to the President of the United States (White House BIO) and former Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, will address the citizens of Hampton Roads as to U.S. initiatives surrounding innovation and their relationship to Hampton Roads. Chopra’s work and knowledge of the challenges facing Virginia will help launch the Hampton Roads region into its global – technology – future and help reinforce the “grow your own” innovation development strategy.

.02 Sustainable Community Business conference - CED and Tompkins Institutes of Cape Breton University - July 13 - 15 - Sydney, Nova Scotia

The CED and Tompkins Institutes of Cape Breton University are dedicated to advancing community capacity in innovation and sustainability, and we are pleased to organize a multidisciplinary conference on Sustainable Community Business.

Community-based enterprises are a strong part of the Canadian economy for over a century and recent innovative practices have made the community business sector a hot topic in national vistas. This conference brings together practitioners, researchers, and community organizations, from home and afar, to discuss current practices, challenges, and emerging trends in community business. Participation in the Sustainable Community Business conference is open to directors, entrepreneurs, public policy makers, managers, academics, and any organization or person interested in community business, development, and sustainability.

We are fortunate that Iñazio Irizar of Mondragon Cooperativa & University of Mondragon (Spain), Ray Hudson of Durham University (UK), and Colin Mason of University of Strathclyde (UK), will be joining us and will be making inspiring keynote addresses.

We are keeping the conference cost low: if you register by May 15, the cost of the conference is only $170+tax, and that includes our famous Surf & Turf dinner extravaganza (lobster & beef) by the harbour. For your convenience, we have blocked dormitory style rooms on the CBU campus and hotel rooms with both the Delta Sydney and Cambridge Suites Hotel.

Complete conference information, room rates and registration is online at:

Note for reference: Sydney is a scenic 14.5 hour drive from Boston.

.03 Overcoming Obstacles in Regional Planning: webinar materials now available - Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America’s network of grant recipients is an opportunity for state and local government officials and nonprofit professionals to ask questions, trade ideas, learn best practices, and share project ideas with others from around the country. The network also shares updates about federal initiatives, upcoming events, webinars and conferences to support vibrant, sustainable communities. If your organization or agency recently applied for or was awarded a grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, join Smart Growth America’s growing network to gain access to resources, opportunities and events. Download materials from “Overcoming Obstacles in Regional Planning”:

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 Insights from ecologists show ways of preventing economic disaster - The Guardian - UK

In the eight centuries from 1000-1800 AD the world's fish stocks and species numbers were stable and healthy. In the subsequent 200 years, 40% of the species in coastal waters collapsed, showing falls in their population by 90% or more.

There was a pattern to this story of decline. There was a much-less marked attrition in coastal regions with richly diverse marine ecosystems than in regions exhibiting low levels of diversity.

What does this have to do with economics? Quite a lot, as it happens. In recent years, as the limitations of the rigidly mathematical approach to economics have been exposed, there has been interest in what the dismal science can learn from biologists, ecologists, geneticists, physicists and psychologists.


Those running the system… thought that the system was strong and durable because risk had been spread. They were also reassured by the way global finance had withstood the Asian crisis of 1997, shrugged off the dotcom collapse of 2001 and had continued to expand despite rising oil prices and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The rationale was that complexity equalled stability, which was what biologists believed about ecosystems until the 1970s. Then, research showed that some simple ecosystems, such as the Savannahs were robust while more complex systems such as rain forests were vulnerable. For a while, this vulnerability lay hidden, with the system able to absorb a considerable amount of strain without appearing to suffer. But eventually, a tipping point was reached: the moment when fractionally more over-fishing caused irreparable damage to the stocks of cod on the Grand Banks.

Seen from this perspective, it becomes easier to explain why seemingly minor problems triggered a systemic crisis in global finance. ... what the financial system needs is more diversity and more simplicity. ...

.02 No Funny Money: Local Currency Sustains Local Economies -

American currency has been made of everything from copper to cotton. But it never felt more like ordinary, everyday paper than one day in 1991, when Catherine Martinez, a samosa salesman at the Ithaca, N.Y., farmer's market, began accepting a form of community currency called "hours."

Their creator, community organizer Paul Glover, had received a grant to study the Ithaca economy and concluded that, since there wasn't enough money to fix the system, Ithaca should print its own money. His premise was simple: the local economy was failing. People were making money locally and spending it in malls and corporate chain stores. But if you put a town's name on it and backed it with people instead of banks, you could ensure the money would never leave, just re-circulate, only comforting the wallets of those lucky enough to share the Ithaca area code.

The plan worked and Ithaca's unemployment rate has remained a full two percentage points better than the national average for the last 20 years. Since his move to Philadelphia five years ago, Glover has become something of a sage for Pennsylvania communities in need of an economic boost, giving lectures on the local economy and explaining the magic of local currency. Now, the concept that started as a crayon sketch while coloring with his girlfriend's nieces, has three PA communities looking to cash in, putting a new face on old money.

"The basic ingredient for a local currency is that a dollar system is not distributing the money effectively in the community," says Glover. "What are dollars backed by? They have been backed by gold, silver, rusting industry and a $12 trillion national debt that will never be repaid. In local communities, we regard dollars as funny money. Whereas dollars will come to town, shake a few hands and then be gone, this is money with a boundary around it."


15. State Maps with Regional Councils and Alternatives by Census Regions and Divisions – Regional Communities Blog Contents

States and their counties or equivalents are the two major political geographies in the United States. National and State data is collected for these boundaries. When it comes to regional analysis, the states are too large and the counties too small. Metropolitan statistical areas reflect major regional economic relationships, but that focus leaves out the non-metro counties. A longitudinal analysis for MSAs over decades is not fruitful, since the underlying composition changes.

A geospatial unit of analysis that is used in many states and could be used nation-wide is the sub-state district, generically known as the regional council. A majority of states have a complete system where the regional council is organized and may be a political subdivision. Long term analysis can be done for these State standard regions. The analyses can be used by these regions for programmatic purposes, such as economic development. Data solutions exist for States with an incomplete system or no system.

Following, by state, in relative geographic order based on Census Regions and Divisions, are maps of regional council regions, the names of regions and a means to get the map and check the organization via a link. …

Note: This work demonstrates that there is a near nation-wide system of regional councils and with proposed geocodes, they can be used as a unit of analysis. The coding system is a region-builder which enables adding state portions of multi-state regions together to get the second order regional council. It provides as well as for multi-regional and multi-state corridors. A region can be built from existing regional councils to fit the region of the issue. The building blocks can be county, multi-county or state regions. Counties or a data region can be used where there is no organized council. Market regions, MSA, CMSA, etc. – will always be changing. Local government boundaries will hardly change. There is a great benefit to work across them to achieve economy of scale and quality of scale. Alignment helps. Thus the regional council boundaries are communities which should be considered in State legislative and Congressional redistricting. Ed.

Part 1 - Northeast and South

Part 2 – Midwest and West

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. It has been published on line since November 11, 2003.

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Tom Christoffel, AICP, FeRSA -