Regional Community Development News – May 30, 2011 - Announcements and Regional Links. & Financial Crisis.

Announcements and Regional Links.
    .01  Call for Papers and Organized Sessions - 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers - February 24 - 28 - New York, NY, USA
All scholars, researchers, and students are welcome to participate. The deadline for submitting abstracts is September 28.
 The AAG accepts all submitted abstracts and organized sessions for presentation. If you have any questions about these guidelines please direct them to Oscar Larson at
    .02  Call for Papers - Localism: Sufficient and fit for purpose? - November 3, 2011 - University of Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester, UK - Regional Studies Association
Conference Objectives
Localism and regionalism tend to be seen as conflicting and competing conceptions of territorial organisation. Indeed, there are well rehearsed, albeit evolving, debates which engage with the theoretical and policy architectures underpinning regionalism and localism. These two forms of territorial organisation have their origins in different schools of thought, underpinned by fundamentally different ideals around the structure and role of both government and governance in territorial management, the scales at which these functions are most effectively operationalised and how they relate to each other. The current debates in the UK on Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS) illustrate this.

Nevertheless, many successful economies around the world have strong local government structures which are complemented by regional structures, either in the form of federal elected regional bodies, regional development institutions, or special purpose delivery vehicles. International evidence suggests that a regional structure provides a mechanism for thinking strategically about priorities of regional significance such as economic development and transport; that it allows scope for the setting of longer-term policy priorities; and that it can coordinate and frame collective arguments and priorities, and in doing so can provide a conduit through which to lobby national government and, increasingly, international agencies, yet also organise a plethora of local interests. This raises a crucial question which will form the theme for this conference: can localism deliver effective interventions and outcomes at a time when economic shifts have forced an adjustment to social, political, and cultural norms to which places must respond?
Please submit offers of papers in the form of 400 word abstracts through the Regional Studies Association on-line conference portal by Monday 6th June 2011.
    .03  Bottom-Up Regional Statements - 14 Regions - Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade
During Round 3, County team members from every County worked together to come to consensus on the top five regional priorities, based on the existing content from the County Summaries. The product of those work sessions will be posted here for ten (10) days of public review, until May 27th. This work product is a piece of content that will be dropped into a larger regional template including a prologue, resource map, list of top five regional priorities, discussion about specific connections between the regional statement and the statewide blueprint, and finally a body of appendices.
    .04  EDA Regional Innovation Network -
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez … unveiled a web portal to launch the Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RIAN), an effort in collaboration with the State Science & Technology Institute to promote organizations that are growing regional economies and creating jobs through innovation.
RIAN is an initiative to accelerate the growth of Venture Development Organizations (VDO), entities that make direct investments in companies and new ideas and increase access to capital in order to turn innovations into companies with jobs to drive America’s economy. VDO’s are non-profit, business driven partnerships with government, community foundations, universities and civic organizations focused on promoting technology and innovation-based development. They provide a multifaceted portfolio of services tailored to address specific needs of their particular regional economy.
    .01  What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index -
Chart:  CPI and Core CPI - Cumulative Change and Annual Rate of Change - 2000-April, 2011
Full article
The Fed justified the current round of quantitative easing "to promote a stronger pace of economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate" (full text). In effect, the Fed is trying to increase inflation, operating at the macro level. But what does an increase in inflation mean at the micro level — specifically to your household?
Let's do some analysis of the Consumer Price Index, the best known measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides all expenditures into eight categories and assigns a relative size to each. The pie chart below illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, the CPI-U, which I'll refer to hereafter as the CPI.

    .02  The New Feudalism - Global Economic Intersection
    Guest Author:  Derryl Hermanutz is a student of economic philosophy and frequent commentator on the subject.  This essay was originally written as a discussion comment on Dirk J. Bezemer’s recent article “This is Not a Credit Crisis.”
Dr. Bezemer is certainly on the right track by beginning his discussion with an objective observation of the core of the problem, which is unpayable debt. It is astonishing to see the extent to which so many academics, economists, financiers, pundits, financial journalists, bloggers, advocates, government and monetary officials, and ideologues of the various persuasions, apply their versions of “magic arithmetic” to the numbers of money, believing that somehow the economy can pay the banking system MORE money than exists.
The Babylonians recognized that for every credit there is a liability. In our system, where money is created and issued by the commercial banking system as loans at interest, for every credit of a $1000 loan at 5% interest, there is a corresponding debt charged to the borrower of $1050. The banks create ALL of our money. $1000 was created but $1050 is owed. The banks do not want your economic production in payment, they want money. But the banks have a monopoly on the production of money so the only money that exists is the money they create as loans which they credit to the borrower’s deposit account. The money to pay the interest is never created, so unpayable debt increases each time more new money enters the closed system.
Playing with Marbles
The fantasists believe that by some magic arithmetic the money to pay interest will somehow manifest itself. They believe that normal arithmetic does not apply to money numbers. ...
    .03  This Spanish Spring is the Real Thing - 21st Century Wire
It was perhaps inevitable given its long associations with, and geographical proximity to the Maghreb, that Spain should be the first European country to be swept up by the wave known as the “Arab Spring”. Protests have been raging across the country since May 15th, and like previous rumblings in Greece, this Spanish Spring will likely send a new shockwave through the EU.
An entirely false sense of prosperity engendered by their own infamous construction bubble is at the root of Spain’s subsequent economic collapse, with the by-product that the Spanish coastline has been completely and permanently ruined by the plethora of “Urbanisations” and “Apartamentos” that litter the once scenic Corniche. While thousands were temporarily employed as builders, surveyors, plumbers, estate agents and the like, their prosperity was only intermittent. But it had to end sooner or later. The market became completely saturated with identical apartments, few with any sense of place or purpose, bar enabling northern Europeans to soak up sun and sangria. Now the buyers have all gone away, thousands of flats and villas lie empty, unfinished building projects litter the edges of town centres and what have they got? Very little.
Franco’s failure to build a technological base in the mid 20th century, exacerbated by his democratic successors squandering of the opportunities afforded by EU membership, mean that Spain has very little to fall back on. ...
Thousands are now camped out in central Madrid along with 60 other sites nationwide, creating temporary cities of the dispossessed. The mainstream media in Britain and the West have chosen to largely ignore this phenomenon, perhaps because they fear that “it could happen here”.

Regional Community Development News – May 30, 2011 - Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet & Blogging about Regional Communities

Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet 
    .01  Will Planning Act's 'core strategy' work?
The Irish Times - Dublin, Ireland
THE new 2010 Planning Act is beginning to bite. The “Core Strategy” concept, an inherent part of the integrated national-regional-local planning approach, is now being rolled out in all county and city development plans. It has huge merit in balancing the excesses and irresponsibility of the past decades. Dezoning of land will reduce value – which is having implications for banks and Nama as they consider the haircuts or reductions in value of assets and securities (e.g., existing planning permissions may not be renewed). Avoiding land supply being overly or locally constricted, such that it would create local monopolies It is based on zoning enough land for the plan period plus an allowance of “overzoning” of 50 per cent. The assumption is that sufficient land will be zoned and serviced to meet present development needs and in the five years before it is actually built upon.
    .02  ECOWAS growth rate below level for millennium development goals -
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the weekend took stock of its progress since the treaty establishing it more than 36 years ago and concluded that its modest achievement of 6.2 percent economic growth rate remains below the minimum 7 percent rate required for the attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs).
President, ECOWAS Commission, Victor Gbeho, said in Abuja at the 36th Anniversary briefing commemorating the formation of the regional body that the assessment of the progress made so far reveals that the organisation has come of age in terms of its maturity not only as a sustainable and vibrant brand for regional integration worldwide, but also a model in Africa.
Result-oriented partnership
“With a combined population of more than 230 million culturally diverse, but harmonious people, united in purpose, mission and goal, ours is a result-oriented partnership owned by our member states and community citizens. Our integration project is a success story,”  ...
    .03  Implementing an integrated place, local and regional planning scheme in NSW
On Line Opinion – Australia
... A scheme to improve local democracy, streamline the complex DA and planning instrument contexts, and reduce State Government involvement in local government and associated costs has been prepared by this author. The essence is described in the attached addendum with all contents being copyright: No forced amalgamations and no boundary changes but with the basis for a successful local government model for decades; Each of Sydney's regions would have a Regional Planning Council, replacing both PAC and JRPPs; The 6 RPCs would have the same balance of representation as the 1880 Sydney Water Board Act – 3 appointed officials and 4 indirectly-elected directors – improving the "confidence" of state and local governments; Each council would receive all DAs, with all councillors empowered to comment on all and any DA but without the constraints of statutory planning rules; ...
    .04  Milroy Observatory part of regional plan for renewed astronomy tourism
ABC News -Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Warrumbungle Shire Council has applied for $2 million under the Regional Development Australia Fund, to upgrade the Shire's observatory. The Council says the facility coupled with the Milroy Observatory near Gunnedah, and the Warrumbungle Observatory, will stregthen astronomy tourism in the region. A consortium including council representatives, and astronomists has submitted the application, with the hopes of refurbishing the Siding Springs Observatory Exploratory Centre at Coonabarabran. The works would include an expansion of teaching facilities and the complex will be rebranded as the New South Wales Astronomy and Space Education Centre. It's hoped, if sucessfull, the centre will also attract more school groups. The Council says the development would also capitalise on the World's Largest Virtual Solar System Drives from regional centres including Dubbo, Tamworth, Moree, Gulgong and Merriwa. ...
    .05  Guadalcanal’s potentials for culture and tourism – Solomon Star – Solomon Islands
THE Guadalcanal province has great development potentials for cultural and tourism development.
This was according to the Guadalcanal provincial Governments Regional Rural Development and Empowerment (GRRDE) policy framework 2011-2015 that launched last week.
The preservation and protection of local culture and relics, and the promotion of culturally acceptable and economically sustainable tourism development is one of the priority development focuses of GRRDE framework. ...

Blogging about Regional Communities

    .01  Building a Regional Music Market - The Texas Model
For these of you who’ve been living under a rock, there’s something brewing down in Texas. Actually, it has been for rather a while. It began when Willie grew his hair, rolled his personal, moved back again to Austin, and introduced Waylon with him. It’s a revolution- its artists who flip their back on the establishment, and do well not regardless of it, but because of it. It’s a regional country music marketplace ... they even have a Texas songs chart where regional artists chart their newest singles. ... Artist/Fan Relationships This is the single most vital relationship in the equation. For a regional nation music market to thrive, there has to be need for it. And only the followers can create the need. It cannot be faked or made. It needs to be actual. There has to be a dedication in the artists to remain accurate to on their own and their music. And there needs to be a dedication through the supporters to visit the shows, invest in the new music, and aid market the artist …
    .02  The Silly Argument Over BRT and Rail
The TransportPolitic
As if operating in parallel, Toronto’s Globe and Mail and The Wall Street Journal each published articles last week describing the merits of bus rapid transit, which each newspaper described as the future of urban transportation. Both noted that BRT was cheaper to construct than rail lines. Each suggested that in an age of government pull backs and general skepticism over the value of public investment, BRT could offer substantial benefits to a transit system at a reasonable price. And each article concluded with a warning by rail proponents that buses wouldn’t be able to attract people out of their cars. This is a sensationalized opposition between two modes of transportation that should be thought of as complementary. There are advantages to improved bus service in some corridors, reasons to support rail in others.
What is clear is that for the majority of American cities — excluding only a few in the Northeast — buses will remain the predominant mode of public transit for most riders, even after major expansions in train networks planned for cities from Charlotte to Phoenix. So even cities that choose to invest in rail projects must also spend on the improvement of their bus lines. Nor is the difference in costs between rail lines and BRT nearly as great as some would argue ...

Regional Community Development News – May 30, 2011 - U.S. Regional Communities

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.
In this section 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. 
    .01  Gov. asked to turn 'wasteful' economic dev. system around
The Legislative Gazette - Albany, NY, USA
Replacing a state economic development system that rewards corporations that don't live up to their end of the bargain is what community and labor organizations are asking the governor to assure them will happen under his regional council initiative. With few details emerging from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office about the creation of regional economic development councils, various state interests are weighing in on how the councils should be implemented. "The new administration has the opportunity to turn a page with its economic development efforts to make them more focused, coordinated and effective," said Matt Ryan, the executive director of the Alliance for a Greater New York. "To do that, they must redefine success from simply announcing a business will retain or create jobs in New York to enacting long-term plans to create quality jobs for local residents, build strong communities and promote a healthy and sustainable environment." In a letter sent to the governor, several dozen community and labor organizations told Cuomo that "as community and labor leaders, we call on you to roll up your sleeves and take on a hard task that has eluded previous governors and Legislatures:  transforming the state's often wasteful and ineffective economic development system into a refocused job-creation program that prioritizes performance standards, accountability and transparency," ... While the groups acknowledged the regional economic councils initiative "could be a big step forward," they argued a long-term plan needs to be developed that coordinates investments to "key industries" to "ensure that public investments are well-spent." 

Note: Link no longer available.
    .02  Regionalism isn't dead, just delayed (editorial)
Press-Register - Mobile, AL, USA
THE ALABAMA Gulf Coast Area Chamber of Commerce and the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce won’t be merging after all. A vote to combine the two fell short of the 75 percent requirement this week. But though the results were disappointing, this doesn’t mean that regionalism is dead among the chambers of commerce in south Baldwin County. Far from it.
... In the meantime, the chambers can continue to work together on issues when it is advantageous to do so. South Baldwin County leaders have already reaped the benefits of combining efforts in the wake of the oil spill. The most visible evidence of such cooperation was the Coastal Resiliency Coalition and its "war room," where leaders from various communities came together to hash out the many problems stemming from the BP disaster.
    .03  County agencies aim to improve efficiency by merging
Ventura County Star - Ventura, CA, USA
The Ventura County Transportation Commission and Ventura Council of Governments have agreed to merge, forming a single integrated agency to oversee transportation, housing and land-use issues. The council's board of directors unanimously agreed to the alliance Thursday night, with the commission's board unanimously concurring Friday. The merger won't occur until later this year, possibly in the fall, said Darren Kettle, who has served as executive director of both agencies since 2009. For it to go forward, Kettle said, the county and the 10 cities in the county that make up the council of governments must approve the merger agreement. ... The commission would absorb the smaller council's duties. The agency would remain the Ventura County Transportation Commission, but be known as the Ventura County Transportation Commission acting as the Ventura Council of Governments when it addresses non-transportation issues, Kettle said. ...
    .04  Pero Pushes For Arts Collaboration, Regional Cooperation
Patch - New London, CT, USA 
Promoting and strengthening the arts community is a key way to make New London a destination point, mayoral candidate Rob Pero said on Thursday at The Gallery at Firehouse Square Pero was speaking at the second in a series of informational forums he is holding during his campaign. “It’s not the most glamorous issue, but down the line, if the decisions are right, it will move New London forward in many ways,” he said. Pero said one of the best ways to support the arts scene would be to establish a regional arts council. He said New London can take a leading role in cooperation among different communities and organizations in southeastern Connecticut, strengthening the destination value of the city and making it more attractive for state funding for the arts.
    .05  Tea party starting wants fall referendum on regional planning commission in northern Kentucky
Daily Reporter - Greenfield, IN, USA
A tea party group in northern Kentucky wants to dissolve a regional planning commission that taxes property owners in Kenton County. The Northern Kentucky Tea Party is sponsoring a petition drive to collect 18,000 signatures by Aug. 9 and put the issue on the general election ballot this fall. Kenton County property owners pay $32 per $100,000 assessed property value a year to the area planning commission. Tea party members say they don't think the commission has the legal authority to exist and are critical of its costs, "The taxpayers of Kenton County cannot afford this unique and multi-layered form of malfunctioning government," the tea party said in a May 11 statement. Former Fort Mitchell Mayor Bill Goetz, the chairman of the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, characterized the tea party's petition drive as "an ill-advised, short-sighted political move that (would) negatively impact Kenton County and its future." ...
    .06  Tea party plans campaign to stop TJPDC grant
Charlottesville Tomorrow News Center - Charlottesville, VA, USA
The Jefferson Area Tea Party plans to ask city officials to end their involvement with a federal grant that is being used to coordinate a joint review of Albemarle County and Charlottesville’s separate comprehensive plans. “Any statement that we’re making in terms of [the sustainability communities grant] … we’re certainly making it also [for] Charlottesville and the University of Virginia as well,” said Carole Thorpe, the group’s chairwoman. Local tea party members object to a $999,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that was awarded to the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. ... The funding will allow the organization to coordinate the reviews of the city and county’s comprehensive plans at the same time the TJPDC updates its long-range transportation plan. For instance, the city and county planning commissions will hold several joint public hearings to collect input from citizens of both jurisdictions. ...
    .07  Environmental groups 'appalled' by TRPA bill approval
Tahoe Daily Tribune - South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
A bill that would allow Nevada to pull out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency if the organization does not meet certain benchmarks by October 2014 is one legislative step closer to reality. ... The Nevada Senate voted 19 to 2 Friday afternoon to approve Senate Bill 271, which now moves to the Assembly for consideration. The bill calls for the TRPA to amend the agency's regional plan to consider changing economic conditions in the Lake Tahoe Basin, eliminate super majority votes requiring four TRPA Governing Board members from each state to vote yes for certain approvals and changing the TRPA's compact to require anyone issuing a legal challenge to the regional plan to prove how the plan does not comply with the compact. The bill would withdraw the state from the TRPA if the reforms are not enacted by a Oct. 1, 2014 deadline. The legislation gives the Nevada governor the option of extending the deadline by three years. ...
    .08  Golden anniversary for Green Acres program
The Asbury Park Press - Asbuty Park, NJ, USA
The idea at the time was to head off development pressure. Yet a federal study showed that New Jersey lost a greater share of its agricultural land to development than any other state over a 25-year period through 2007. Also, joint research by Rutgers and Rowan universities reported that urban development in general accelerated in the Garden State through that period. Peter Kasabach, executive director of New Jersey Future, a nonprofit research and policy group, said conservation efforts have been compromised by weak state and regional planning. “Preservation is a key piece, but there has to be smart planning and use for the lands you’re not preserving,” Kasabach said. “Preservation and planning have to go hand-in-hand. It’s not one or the other. ... Oregon is among a handful of states to adopt growth boundaries intended to control urban expansion onto farm and forest lands, with incentives for investors to develop and redevelop land and buildings in downtown areas.  ...
    .09  What's with the 'S' word?
Burlington Free Press - Burlington, VT, USA
"Sustainability is in the eye of the beholder," said Charlie Baker, the executive director of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. With that caveat, the discussion broadened and sharpened. It will re-emerge, somewhat streamlined, at a meeting in July, as well as online. Meanwhile, "sustainability" emerged from the group not as a static goal, but as a series of persistent, perennial and sometimes nagging questions. The scope of those questions is spelled out in the project's name, ECOS — an acronym for Environment, Community, Opportunity and Sustainability. Within three years, and with the help of a $1 million federal grant, ECOS will attempt to reconcile forward-looking plans from Chittenden County communities, regional utilities, businesses and nonprofit advocacy groups. ...
    .10  Gov. Christie declares regional cap-and-trade initiative ineffective, 'gimmicky' partnership - USA
Gov. Chris Christie Thursday declared the nation’s first regional cap-and-trade program designed to reduce air pollution a failure and promised to pull New Jersey out of it by the end of the year. While acknowledging humans contribute to climate change, Christie called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative a "gimmicky" partnership and said it does nothing to reduce the gases that fuel the problem. "This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future," Christie said at a Statehouse news conference. "The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure." Critics of the governor called the decision a calculated move to appease conservatives nationwide, who have long pressured him to ditch the program, while still appearing to be pro-environment. They say it puts Christie, a national GOP star, on the same philosophical page as many within his party. ...
    .11  Letter: Regional approach to development needed
Brighton-Pittsford Post - Brighton, NY, USA
The Greater Rochester region is developing land outward despite there being no appreciable regional population growth. The result? Severe growth pains in outer suburban and rural communities like Victor and pains of decline in the city of Rochester and inner suburbs like Irondequoit. Our region and all its parts suffer without a regional land use and development plan and process. Without regional planning, we’ll keep throwing away money on redundant housing units, office parks and retail complexes without any increase in residents, workers or shoppers. We’ll face a growing tax burden borne by the same number of taxpayers. We’ll keep chasing short-term profits without any appreciation for long-term consequences. This is a zero-sum-game, Rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul pattern that will persist until we plan for development together as a region.
    .12  Roy Exum: ‘We’ Are Charging ‘Us’ - Opinion - Chattanooga, TN, USA
I don’t know much about what the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency does, but as word comes that they may start charging fees for Hamilton County and 11 neighboring municipalities to do business with them I have a three-word solution for the RPA: “Take a hike.” The problem with that, of course, is that people in the county and those 11 towns that dot the county map all pay county taxes and it seems to me the planning agency should be part of the package. But apparently the expiring sales tax agreement between the city and the county leaves the planning agency in limbo and now the openly feuding city and county leaders want to dump some of the expenses on the smaller towns. Ain’t that swell? I’m on record as being fed up with the jockeying that now blights cooperation between the city and county governments. ... I don’t believe that’s happening right now and there should never be an “us” and a “them” inside the county line. “We” all deserve better.
    .13  YDR Opinion: Regionalism slipped a COG
The York Daily Record - York, PA, USA
Over the years there has been much discussion about York County municipalities merging with neighboring boroughs and townships. ...Often, the response from municipal leaders is: We don't need to do that because we already cooperate across municipal borders. And that's true - to an extent. We have some excellent regional police departments. ... Some have cooperated on regional land-use planning. That's all good. And we also have a York Area Council of Governments that allows municipalities to team up for special projects. But probably not for much longer. The COG is not a well-oiled machine. It has slipped a cog - or maybe just run out of gas. The group of 12 local municipalities hasn't met since 2008. Some of the group's leaders are not even elected officials in their municipalities anymore. The COG will meet May 31 to officially disband - if it can get a quorum to do so. Members said the group petered out for lack of a project to work on. Really? ...
    .14  Annual Region Ride to Take Place Saturday, June 4th - Valparaiso IN, USA
In celebration of the National Recreation Trail designation for the Lake Michigan Water Trail, the Calumet Citizens for Connecting Communities (C4) and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) will be hosting their annual Region Ride on Saturday, June 4th. The ride will commence at Oak Ridge County Park, and continue to Portage’s Lakefront Park and Riverwalk, to join with members of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association and the National Park Service for the dedication ceremony. From here, the ride will retrace the route back to Oak Ridge County Park, for a total combined distance of 36 miles.
    .15  Spring Sweep Set For Saturday
State Journal - Charleston, WV, USA
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority is encouraging volunteers to participate in cleaning select areas of Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas and Summers County ...  It is part of a region-wide cleanup to raise public awareness about littering. Sarah Elswick, a VISTA volunteer, is spear-heading the effort in Summers County. "Think of how you feel when you see someone throw something out the window. Know you can make a difference. And it makes you feel good when you're out there. There's tons of trash within a quarter of a mile you might pick up, you might be able to pick up one whole bag by yourself,” said Elswick. ...
    .16  Area extension service agents meet
The Natchez Democrat - Natchez, MS, USA
The Adams County Extension Service took a page from the Miss-Lou regionalism book last week when they hosted the Southwest Mississippi County Agents Association. County agents from 22 counties in southwest Mississippi, including Adams, met in Natchez for a two-day tour of some of the city’s many agricultural commodities. “This is the first year we decided to do this,” Adams County Extension Service director and association senior director David Carter said. “This is just a big area meeting where we can all discuss issues concerning our specific area.” ...
    .17  What Will 2040 Look Like?
Patch - Barrington, IL, USA
Go To 2040 Plan takes global approach toward preparing for a sustainable and prosperous future in metropolitan Chicago. Randy Blankenhorn, executive director for CMAP, is leading the first regional plan for the Chicago metropolitan area since Daniel Burnham's in 1909. ... preparing for a sustainable future requires a regional effort. Blankenhorn grew up in McHenry County. Northeastern Illinois at night. in the Go To 2040 conference, community leaders are trying to develop strategies to ensure that this region thrives and becomes more efficient. In the year 2040, the Chicago suburbs will consist of livable communities where people can walk or ride their bikes to the store. Residents will be healthier with access to trails and open space, and they’ll eat more fresh, locally produced food. The worker of 2040 will have shorter commutes and more public transportation options. And government will be more efficient with a more fair tax structure.
    .18  Hopes soar as Sacramento unveils arena proposal
Sacramento Bee - Sacramento, CA, USA
Jubilant officials emerged from a hearing at Sacramento City Hall on Thursday and proclaimed the region is further along in its quest to build a new sports and entertainment arena than it ever has been before. But the region has seen other arena efforts take shape, only to implode. The sticking point once again will be financing – how to pay for a new facility and how that cost will be divvied up between taxpayers and private sources, such as the Sacramento Kings. Arena proponents hope to hammer out those key details over the next 100 days. That's the timetable set for a yet-to-be-formed regional commission that will be tasked with developing a financing plan for a $387 million arena. ...

Regional Community Development News – May 30, 2011- Top Stories

Note: In the next few weeks, Regional Community Development News will transition to a continuous/daily process. This is based on the success of the Twitter feed!/tomchristoffel  and use of an updated Reader feed from  Bookmarking and tagging at will be integrated. This is an effort to connect regional issues with organized regional/multi-jurisdictional geographies that are “regional communities of communities.” Please consider using the Reader or Twitter channels, whichever suits your style of scanning for information. As always, feedback welcome.  Ed.

Top Regional Community Stories

  1. Tri-Valley cities seek 'community' recognition in redistricting - Pleasanton Weekly - Pleasanton, CA, USA
Five Tri-Valley cities are petitioning a redistricting commission to keep their municipalities together as new legislative districts are drawn to meet changing population centers in the Bay Area.
The city councils of Pleasanton, Danville, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon have signed a joint letter to the Citizens Redistricting Commission that is meeting in Sacramento, calling this area "a community of interest." It asks that "our boundaries should be respected during the redistricting process."
The Tri-Valley region is spread over three neighboring valleys at the eastern end of Alameda County and the southern end of Contra Costa County.
"Despite the fact that we are in two separate counties, our residents identify far ore with the Tri-Valley region than either Alameda or Contra Costa counties," the letter signed by representatives of the five cities states.
"In fact, we believe that the Tri-Valley can be considered a model for regional collaboration throughout the state in many traditional and non-traditional ways."
"Residents of our five cities depend on the same transportation networks, we have similar demographics and sources of employment, businesses have formed partnerships throughout the area, our children play in the same sports leagues, and local governments collaborate on a multitude of regional projects.
"Some specific examples on how our five jurisdictions formally collaborate include the Tri-Valley Transportation Council, …
"We are all partners in the Tri-Valley Housing and Opportunity Center, which is an agency that jointly manages our five cities' affordable housing programs and services.
"Tri-Valley Community Television is another entity that focuses solely on programming unique
to our region.
"Our city councils meet together in joint sessions on issues of regional concern every few months, while our mayors, city managers and staffs meet both formally and informally several times a month to further solidify public partnerships.
  2. Peter Steinbrueck: Our fractured metropolis - Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate - Seattle, WA, USA
polished version of …  prepared remarks, delivered on April 28th
… Edward Glaeser, in his recent book, Triumph of the City, espouses environmental protection through city-building.
In Western Washington, home to hundreds of local governments, our jurisdictional boundaries have very little to do with how we live and even where we work. Just think about it — how often do you cross the boundaries of the city or town where you live to go to work, to recreate, or to shop?
Three or four times a week, or three times a day?
Though we don’t identify as such, we are all regional citizens living in a giant, invisible regional city. The Seattle metro region is a large and multi-faceted area encompassing 5,894 square miles and includes thirty-one cities and towns, and dozens of employment centers. What do you call home?
Puget Sound is the second largest marine estuary in the United States. From land, the sea still holds much beauty. Yet keeping it clean is easily the single biggest, most intractable environmental challenge facing Washington State today.
If we allow Puget Sound to atrophy, so too, will our economy, and our way of life in the Northwest. Consider this: By 2040, the region is expected to grow by nearly two million more people — two million more people!!
So what can be done about it?
I propose we form a new Congress of Puget Sound, consisting of democratically elected representatives of municipalities that could be a strong, common voice for the region while preserving local independence at the municipal level.
Local representatives from Bellevue, Tukwila, Bremerton and other towns and cities would still set the agenda.
If the Europeans can do it through the mechanism of the E.U., comprising twenty-seven nations, then we surely can!
  3. Regionalism matters - The Pilot - Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador, CA
Reverend Arthur Elliott started off the April 30 meeting of area municipalities and local service districts with a definition of progressive regionalism.
“Progressive regionalism is the cooperation of all of the communities in the region to achieve a sense of common identity, who resolve to act together, to solve the problems of the area and to enhance the cultural, social and economic well being of the region,” he said.
As the chairperson of the Lewisporte Area Economic Development Committee (LAEDC), Rev. Elliott stressed to the gathering that progressive regionalism is a “life or death issue” in terms of the future of smaller communities in the province.
Rev. Elliott said the organizers of the conference on regionalism initiated by the LAEDC felt the event was well attended, with 10 of 13 communities from Lewisporte and area taking part.
… while the delegates at the meeting made a commitment that they would promote regional cooperation, they were not quite ready to initiate a formal structure at that time to implement regionalization. The delegates needed to go back to their councils and local service districts to share the information from the conference.
LAEDC co-chair Perry Pond noted that the purpose of the conference was to discuss regionalization, not amalgamation of communities.
“The functionality of a local service district or municipality has not even entered into the discussion at this point,” said Mr. Pond. “This is an objective to get communities to work together where they can formalize a structure in which we can work together. It has nothing to do with local service districts or municipalities and how they operate. This is about cooperation, working together for the common good.”
... “It’s meant to be an organized structure so we can all come together and find out where there’s common ground.
  4. Regional Planning: What Would Eisenhower Say? - thecitistatesgroup -
For the first time, the federal government is investing in efforts to comprehensively plan for the development of regions.
HUD's Sustainable Communities Initiative, a partnership with EPA and DOT, supports metropolitan and multi-jurisdictional plans to integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. Greater Kansas City is one of 45 regions participating in this new experiment to advance the health of America's regions.
Planning has always been integral to American success. Great national plans, from canals to westward expansion to national parks, set the milestones of our shared history. So what would Dwight Eisenhower, the father of America' most well-known and well-implemented plan - the interstate highway system - say about HUD's effort to help America's regions plan for sustainable growth and development?
It's hard to know for sure, but his rich repository of Presidential quotes sheds light on what makes this federal effort so promising.
In his 1959 State of the Union Address, Eisenhower was clear: "If progress is to be steady we must have long-term guides extending far ahead." When it comes to American regions, we have precious few long-term guides. We have regional transportation plans, and to a lesser extent, plans for other regional systems, but these tend to be disconnected, incomplete and ill-equipped to guide American regions into an era of relentless global competition.
Coherent regional strategies are critical to national success and to leveraging federal investments in housing, transportation and human services. In metropolitan areas like Kansas City, which spans two states, nine counties and 120 cities, local plans are important, but not enough. We must also come together around common regional strategies to create the capacity to contribute to the national economy.
President Eisenhower also said, "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
HUD's Sustainable Communities program embraces this principle. …
  5. County committed to regional job growth - - Coon Rapids, MN, USA
Job growth is critical to the economic well-being of not only Anoka County, but the region as a whole.
That’s the view of Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah and the rest of the board, which is why the county board has decided to spend $75,000 to become part of the Itasca Project …
The Itasca Project, which focuses on a regional approach to economic development, formed the REDP “to be a value-added resource to all economic development organizations and activities in the region,” …
 “The region has many wonderful assets, yet it has lagged behind other areas of the nation in job growth,” Sivarajah said.
The Itasca Project efforts demonstrated a need for “one voice” and that one voice will be the Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (MSP-REDP), Sivarajah said.
… activities that the MSP-REDP will lead or partner with existing organizations.
1. Set a strategic vision.
• Create the regional strategic vision for economic development.
• Define the tactical economic development agenda to guide resource prioritization.
2. Brand and market the region.
• Create a regional brand to reflect the strategic vision.
• Market the region’s vision and brand internally to align regional stakeholders.
• Market the region to external site consultants, companies and potential clients.
3. Retain current businesses in the region.
• Conduct local business check-ups and solve company specific problems.
• Connect businesses to, and raise awareness of, state and local resources.
4. Attract businesses to, and expand businesses in, the region.
• Serve as main contact for site consultants and relocating businesses.
• Provide one-stop shop for regional data, permit processes, real estate information, etc.
• Serve as project manager for local expansions and new attraction efforts.
• Connect companies with local resources and incentive programs.
   6. Investing in regions: Making a difference - GRATTAN Institute - Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Australia is increasingly described as a “patchwork economy” – an economy in which some parts of the country boom and others lag. Some regions have faster population growth, more employment opportunities, and provide a wider variety of services, while others are growing more slowly or even shrinking.
1.3 What should governments do?
Instead, governments can better improve the wellbeing of all Australians by being candid about the purpose of regional programs and using the best policy lever for the task.   More specifically, government should:
  • Recognise that many regional development programs such as regional universities and local community facilities are in fact subsidies that can only be justified on rather than because they are likely  equity or social grounds to drive long-term sustainable economic growth.  This may then provoke an honest conversation about what level of service governments are prepared to fund in more remote areas given the costs of servicing them.
  • Refocus regional assistance on providing social services rather than trying to promote business and job creation.
  • Discontinue regional development programs that cannot be justified purely on equity or social grounds.
  • Re-consider whether additional funding to regional universities is justified by social and cultural benefits given limited economic impact.
  • Consider providing additional support for regional students to attend higher education in capital cities.
  • Increase the priority for service infrastructure and funding in fast-growing bolting regions rather than trying to induce additional growth and relocation of activity back to slower-growing regions.
  • Support improvements in long-term growth drivers (education, transport infrastructure, and innovation) where they can accelerate economic growth already – generally within 150km of large population  underway centres or where there are natural advantages (such as mining or coastal towns).
  • Monitor and evaluate regional development and other growth programs more rigorously and transparently to identify which programs truly make a difference.
News articles about the report and reactions to its recommendations:
  7. Oklahoma City economic development trip inspires participants - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
2011 could go down as a watershed year in Colorado Springs, predict civic and business leaders who went on an economic development scouting trip to Oklahoma City earlier this month.
Participants returned home fired up and ready for change, as a result of the third annual “Regional Leaders Trip.”
The mission of the jaunt: Learn how another U.S. city went from a no-man’s land to a thriving metropolis and figure out what can be applied here.
Now, a movement to create a new vision for Colorado Springs is afoot.
Fifty representatives from the city and El Paso County, business groups, think tanks and sectors such as health care, real estate, sports, banking, the arts and education met with community leaders and visited strategic sites to learn about Oklahoma City’s economic development success story. ...
Chamber officials plan to hold a de-briefing for trip participants and host a public session in coming weeks.
“There’s a change in community conversation. Cynicism is being tossed away, which is creating an environment for possibilities,” said Stephannie Finley, president of governmental affairs and public policy for the chamber.
Colorado Springs already has what other cities yearn for: an abundance of natural beauty, amiable weather and outdoor activities, she said. What’s missing, Finley said, is the right environment for progress.
  8. Metroplan board adopts regional green agenda - Jacksonville Patriot - Jacksonville, AR, USA
Central Arkansas is one of the first areas in the country to create a regional environmental sustainability plan and one of the few to rely on the feedback, suggestions and direction from area residents to develop such a plan.
 “It’s a plan that was truly created by the region, for the region,” said Jasmin Moore, community planner and public outreach coordinator for Metroplan. “We wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to voice their ideas and opinions as the plan was being developed, and the input we received from the public is really the core of the final Green Agenda.”
Last spring, Central Arkansans responded to Metroplan’s call for help in the development of a regional green agenda by submitting more than 200 ideas and casting more than 22,000 votes on the most important sustainability concerns for the region. The public outreach effort, “Grassoots: Growing Our Green Agenda,” asked the public to submit ideas and vote on the ideas submitted by others.
“Some of the best suggestions we received are not only included in the Green Agenda but are included almost verbatim,” Moore said.
With guidance from the Green Task Force, a group created and appointed by the Metroplan board, the green agenda development process produced multiple strategies and suggested actions for each of four primary focus areas. Although the green agenda will act primarily as a guide for local municipalities to follow, all of its strategies and actions either directly impact the public or require public involvement.
“The Green Agenda is really the first step and will be used as a guide subject to evolution as our region grows,” Moore said. “Metroplan encourages all of our local communities and every individual to find a role in bringing this plan to life.”
  9. Trap of regionalism: Parochial interests must not deter national projects - The Korea Times - Seoul, South Korea
The government decided Monday to use the existing science town in Daedeok as the matrix of an international science-business belt. It was the least controversial decision conceivable, especially considering it is all but impossible to reach a conclusion satisfactory to everyone in a matter of conflicting regional interest like this.
At stake is nothing less than the nation’s scientific future. The proposed science belt is Korea’s answer to Japan’s RIKEN and Germany’s Max Planck Society, which have produced nine and 19 Nobel laureates in natural science, respectively. Korea has yet to turn out one.
Residents of southeastern Gyeongsang and southwestern Jeolla provinces and their political representatives are now shaving their heads and staging hunger strikes and sit-ins in fierce protest to the government decision to build the science belt in the central South Chungcheong Province.
Multibillion-dollar national projects are bound to be accompanied by fierce regional competition, as they bring about huge benefits at little regional costs. The seven-year, $4.8-billion science belt is no exception. It is easy to criticize regional self-centeredness, summed up by NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard) in the case of unpleasant facilities and PIMFY-ism (Please In My Front Yard) for more popular projects. But no amount of enlightening campaign would work in front of deals that create thousands of jobs and produce several trillion won in regional GDP.
This calls for the need for the government to consider introducing an open bidding formula for major national projects to eliminate controversy on fairness and objectivity in the selection process.
The nation also might learn from France’s example, which has made it a rule for regional governments wanting to attract certain facilities to finance most of the project costs with the central government making up the remaining budget requirements.