Regional Community Development News – February 14, 2011 [regions_work]


Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.

U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State – news articles10.01 - .19

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

Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .08

Announcements and Regional Links13.01 - .06

Financial Crisis …14.01 - .02

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

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


Top Regional Community Stories

1. Boucher to be remembered as region-builder - NECN - Newton, MA, USA

Now that his 28 years in Congress have come to a close, former U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher will be remembered as a builder, say those who've known him through the years, a region-builder and an advocate for the people in his rural Appalachian district.

"He will definitely be recognized as someone who dedicated a long period of service to trying to make Southwest Virginia competitive in the 21st century," said U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., …

When Boucher was first elected to represent Virginia's 9th Congressional District the state's far Southwest corner in 1982, parts of the relatively poor region were still heavily damaged from a big flood in 1977.

… Boucher is credited, through steady work over the years, with substantially improving life for residents of far Southwest Virginia.


A decade-old headline in the Los Angeles Times applauds Boucher for a feat that's had not only regional, but national impact.

"He created the Net Really," reads the header to a story that put the small-town Democrat in the national spotlight.

"Congressman Rick Boucher is a politician who can truly claim to be a creator of the modern Internet," the March 1, 2001, Times article begins.

"He wrote the 1992 law that transformed what was then called the NSFnet, overseen by the National Science Foundation, from a government entity that could handle commercial traffic," according to the article. "The congressional subcommittee he chaired then oversaw the transfer of control of the Internet from the NSF, which had allowed only scientific and educational materials on the Net, to the private sector."

In the years since, Boucher has spearheaded efforts to wire rural Southwest Virginia with high-speed broadband Internet. Puckett and others in the region credit that vision with the development of a host of high-tech industries in the region.


Toward Public Participation in Redistricting - Brookings - Washington, D.C., USA

The drawing of legislative district boundaries is among the most self-interested and least transparent systems in American democratic governance. All too often, formal redistricting authorities maintain their control by imposing high barriers to transparency and to public participation in the process. Reform advocates believe that opening that process to the public could lead to different outcomes and better representation.

Note: I attended this event. During the presentations, I heard no mention of how legislative districts might be drawn with reference to existing regions like counties and multijurisdictional regional councils. In speaking to presenters after the event, there was some interest in adding regional council geography as a community dataset for consideration. None of the participants I spoke to had thought about it, though they were aware of regions in Illinois, Texas and Virginia. Congressional Representatives and State Legislators have, for the most part, multijurisdictional districts that they represent. When the districts are aligned with county and regional council boundaries, then legislators like Rich Boucher above can be “region-builders,” connecting the regional communities into greater communities.

Virginia 9th Congressional District -

Alignment with regional councils/communities – Virginia Planning District Commissions – Map

The Virginia 9th Congressional District contains all of Planning District Commission regions 1, 2, 3 & 4; plus parts of 5, 6 & 7. This alignment enabled the regions to work with Congressman Boucher, their regional Congressional Representative.

Online materials from January 20, 2011 Brookings event.

2. GTA mayors stress regional cooperation - Toronto Star - Toronto, ON, CA

Regional cooperation and collaboration is not a pipe dream but Toronto must take the lead to bring municipalities together, says Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.

“Toronto is the heart of GTA and if that heart is not strong, we are not strong,” she said at a panel of mayors in the final session of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance summit on Friday.

… discuss how to make regional cooperation and collaboration a reality.

“We should have been united in going out to the world to attract investment,” said Holyday. “We shouldn't have been working against each other.”

The four mayors agreed that a structure was required for economic development in the GTA.

“We need one agency that gets investment to the Greater Toronto from all over the world,” said Scarpitti, quickly adding that municipalities should not abandon their own initiatives. He compared it to a head office with many branches.

The mayors also suggested other areas for collaboration. Garbage disposal was one, said Holyday.

while GTA's municipalities need more cooperation, “we have not celebrated what we had in time.”

For example, he said, a collaboration of social organizations has helped immigrants to the GTA make a new life for themselves. …

Greater Toronto Area -

3. Lansing should 'lead way' in regionalism - Lansing State Journal - Lansing, MI, USA

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero hit the right notes in his State of the City address this week.

Perhaps the most encouraging things residents heard Monday reflected a far more positive tone about regional cooperation. Bernero announced a plan to form a blue-ribbon committee to look at regional initiatives and announced that Michigan State University and Public Sector Consultants would help guide the effort.

Bernero also had Lansing Township Supervisor John Daher as an invited guest and unveiled plans to cooperate on a single plan to redevelop the sites of torn-down GM plants that span their communities' borders. And he touted last week's announcement that Lansing and DeWitt Township will cooperate in efforts to encourage development surrounding Capital Regional International Airport.

All this ties in well with Gov. Rick Snyder's plan, proposed in his State of the State speech last week, to use some revenue sharing money to reward regions' work to share services and cooperate

As one of the state's healthier economic regions, Greater Lansing is uniquely poised to be a leader in setting the pace for more and broader cooperation. Residents from the entire region should support and encourage this effort.

The city and the surrounding region have plenty of reasons to look forward to 2011:

• GM's $190 million investment in a new platform at the Lansing Grand River Plant and the additional 600 jobs that will create. With the spinoff impact that auto jobs have on the region's economy, that's very positive, indeed.

Lansing does have challenges. The upcoming budget starts with a $15 million deficit. That won't be easy to overcome after cutting $40 million in spending and 200 jobs (by attrition) in recent years. But Lansing has a proven record of progress. It can, and will, meet the challenges ahead.

4. Garbage needs a regional plan - Albany Times Union - Albany, NY, USA

For better or worse, the Capital Region knows a thing or two about garbage and regionalization. Three decades of experience with the ANSWERS consortium has shown us both the good and the bad.

The bad, of course, was a polluting waste-to-energy plant that had no business being in the heart of an Albany residential neighborhood, and a dump that could have had a better home than Albany’s fragile Pine Bush.

But the good is still a pretty respectable list. ANSWERS gave Albany and more than a dozen neighboring communities a reliable way to dispose of garbage, reasonable prices for users, a lot of cash for the city and money to help expand and enhance the Pine Bush preserve. After the state-run ANSWERS plant on Sheridan Avenue shut down and there was more pressure on the landfill, there was a more intense regional focus on recycling, too.

So as the ANSWERS communities, now working together as the Capital Region Solid Waste Management Partnership Planning Unit, look to the future, we urge them to remember the value of a regional solution. … we urge Governor Cuomo, an advocate of consolidating communities and sharing services, to put state incentives into efforts like this.

If they learn from the past mistakes, they can control their destinies by tackling the solid waste problem as a group better than by going it alone and putting themselves at the mercy of private waste companies and haulers. …

A regional authority should have one purpose — trash disposal — not generating high-paying patronage jobs.

And it should approach technology cautiously, …

The eventual closing of Albany’s landfill offers this region a chance to be a model of how to handle trash in the 21st century, if it can remember what it did right, and wrong, in the last one.

5.1 Regionalism: A Solution That Creates Problems - The Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

All agree that even if the national economy is improving, the outlook for state and local governments is getting worse. One possible solution is called regionalism. The idea is that towns are inefficient and sprawl-creating. (Overlooked is the fact that towns provide a gracious quality of living).

Regionalism's proponents say we need greater centralization and standardization in order to be efficient, save money and enable our economy to grow again.

Who could be against efficiency and cost saving? The problem, however, is that cities and towns, and even various small towns, have different issues. Agreement would be difficult if not impossible, and someone would have to run the show.

In practice, regionalism would turn into a state mandate resulting in the cities, with more political clout, controlling the towns. That's the problem.

Regionalism would bring the following into the towns:

1. Impossibly high taxes to feed the cities. There is no getting around this.

2. A greater chance of losing your home to eminent domain in the name of creating higher-taxed commercial entities. Recall Fort Trumbull in New London, a scam that would have benefited politically-connected contractors, but in fact benefited nobody.

3. Stronger unionization of town workers, with resulting difficulties in getting the services we now take for granted.

4. A disconnect between citizens and town officials, much as we now see between citizens and state and federal officials.

Of course, regionalism can bring benefits. But are the benefits worth it? Cities say that towns need cities in order to survive; but do the cities not also need the towns?


5.2 Don't Fear Regionalism

The Hartford Courant - Hartford, CT, USA

According to Michael H. Arganoff, regionalism will lead to higher taxes, the loss of homes through eminent domain, the lining of contractors' pockets and the running of our local governments by the state [Your View, Jan. 29, "Regionalism: A Solution That Creates Problems"]. Pretty scary stuff! However, he does little to support how these claims of pending doom relate to regionalism. The Metropolitan District Commission is an efficient distributor of some of the nation's cleanest and best tasting drinking water, and a regional authority. The West Hartford/Bloomfield Health District has proved to be a cost-worthy endeavor for both towns. These are but two small examples of how regionalism can lead to government that is more efficient. Why are taxes lower in Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta and other communities outside of Connecticut? Because everywhere but here, county government reduces the duplication of effort that the 169 fiefdoms in Connecticut must provide. ...,0,1148497.story

6. Tenn. gov takes questions about econ development - Bloomberg - USA

Attracting big companies to the Memphis area is a good economic strategy, but more work is needed at the local level to help small businesses survive and bring jobs to communities that desperately need them, local leaders told Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday.

Haslam listened to about 40 community and business leaders about strengthening Memphis' economy. It was the first of several meetings on economic development planned throughout Tennessee this year.

The Republican governor, in his first month in office, was peppered with questions on education, health care, transportation and tourism, but provided few specific, detailed answers. He said the goal of the chats is to learn about the needs of business leaders and their communities before specific regional plans are created in coming months.

Haslam said he supports bolstering education and creating jobs in Memphis and Shelby County, while noting that the state has $1.5 billion less to spend this year than last.

"We're going to have a very regional approach to job creation," Haslam said.

Jeffrey Higgs, a member of the LeMoyne-Owen College Community Development Corp., praised the efforts to attract big businesses, but added that the development he's concerned about resides in the poorer communities of Memphis.

"There's not enough tools to help a grocery store or a corner hardware store ... access dollars and access some of the tools like tax credits," Higgs said. "What we've got to do is to figure out ways that we can begin to change these neighborhoods ... In some cases, it's not a pretty picture."

Steve Lockwood, director of a community development group in the Frayser neighborhood, said he understood the regional approach to job creation but stressed that strategies must also work at the local level. …

Development Districts:

7. Thinking regionally, succeeding locally - Tehachapi News - Tehachapi, CA, USA

You may have heard the expression “think globally, act locally.” In the City of Tehachapi, we have a slightly different take on this oft used phrase: “think regionally, succeed locally.”

As a small city of roughly four square miles, Tehachapi is a postage stamp in the greater region. In fact, our population is barely one-fourth the total population of the greater Tehachapi area, and an even smaller percentage of the east Kern region [ ]. Despite this, we believe that the City of Tehachapi has become a center for commerce and economic development in our part of the world.

As a city, we are not only concerned with the physical perception and quality of our community but also our growing reputation. To ensure that Tehachapi's reputation for quality, affordability and lifestyle remains high, the city has initiated a regional branding initiative. To do this, we have created partnerships with other local agencies and begun development of a comprehensive greater Tehachapi brand.

Even the infrastructure that the city owns and maintains is viewed as a regional asset. This infrastructure includes water, sewer, parks and roads that serve businesses and community residents. Because of the regional importance of this infrastructure, the city has initiated partnerships with the county and other local agencies to fund the continued capital improvements necessary to foster sustainable economic growth.

While we have spearheaded many of these initiatives and others like them, we could not do it without our regional partners. The Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Tehachapi, Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council and Tehachapi Unified School District …

We look forward to continued economic prosperity for the city and for the region. We are also excited about continuing the partnerships and initiatives necessary for us to “think regionally, succeed locally.”

8. Morris County Group Advocates Regionalization of Police Departments - MorristownPatch - Morristown, NJ, USA

Police departments throughout the state should explore sharing services as municipalities cope with the state's 2 percent municipal property tax cap, a Morris County group focused on regionalizing municipal services contends.

The Government Efficiency Movement (GEM), founded by Tim Smith, a Roxbury councilman and former mayor, is tackling "redundancies'' in municipal police departments as the first step in its campaign to promote combined services.

In recent months, the group has met with officials from at least 20 Morris County municipalities …

In Morris County, there are 37 police departments, some within small municipalities, with more than 1,000 sworn officers. GEM contends that many functions, particularly at the administrative level, could be performed with fewer officers if departments pool their resources.

As part of GEM's plan, individual municipalities would still maintain their own patrol forces, but higher-level duties, like investigative work and managerial tasks, such as budgeting and scheduling, could be shared among neighboring departments, Smith said.

Smith believes it's imperative to start implementing the plan now, as more officers are planning retirement in light of state-proposed pension reforms. He believes that over a five-year period, full regionalization could b”e accomplished mostly, if not entirely, through attrition.

Smith thinks the move toward regionalization should be gradual. The first step should be "intradepartmental sharing,'' in which municipalities would reach out to neighboring towns to explore the best ways to share resources and address shortages.

If that works out, individual municipalities can eventually decide whether they want to regionalize, Smith said.

"Then if people like each other, and they want to start dating, so to speak," he said, "then they can get engaged."

9. Regional cooperation is essential - The Reporter - Lansdale, PA, USA

Greater Philadelphia, comprised of three states and 11 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, is recognizing the value in working together as one unified region.

Your Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Lockheed Martin are two individual organizations working together every day to improve the region’s future.

We understand the importance of collaboration that is designed to move our region forward as the nation recovers from unprecedented tough economic times.

For instance, Lockheed Martin values a regional approach to economic development.

Likewise, the chamber collaborates on a number of fronts with Lockheed Martin in this region to develop talent through apprentice and internship programs, foster technology sharing between companies and demonstrate relevance beyond the defense sector, and build business partnerships that position companies and the region for growth.

This is what makes our region so unique — businesspeople coming together, under their chamber, to work toward improvement.

Our Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce helps both small and large businesses in Montgomery County grow due to a strong network of 500,000 professionals from 5,000 member companies spanning 11 counties and three states.

Members meet with decision-makers and procurement officers at more than 150 exclusive programs and events each year, and benefit from numerous free marketing opportunities.

And in addition to connecting companies, our chamber offers many ways to move business forward in this region.

But it could not do so without the support of our region’s leading companies, like Lockheed Martin.

This is just a snapshot of how collaboration leads to a winning region, but it is the continued joint efforts of business leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs and academic institutions that will take our region to the next level.

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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 Colorado economic development plan in development - Denver, CO, USA

Governor Hickenlooper led a regional economic development town hall meeting today at the Cable Center on the Denver University campus. He stated, “We are creating a framework to figure this out”. This meeting is one of many across the State where ideas on economic development have been solicited toward creation of a statewide plan. ... It is part of a process that will lead the 64 Colorado counties to come together and create 14 regional plans with an expected due date in May. All ideas from this and other meetings, as well as the public, are captured and posted at a website specially created for this purpose: As many attendees and panelists commented, this may be the first time that the State of Colorado has asked for input in this fashion and it represents an opportunity to make your idea heard. ...

Regional Map

Regional Meeting Notes, Comments and Questions

.02 Cuomo hailed for regional approach to job creation

Poughkeepsie Journal - Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed his $132.9 billion state budget Tuesday, the newly sworn in chief executive offered a mixed bag for both job seekers and some of those already employed. Among his proposals, Cuomo said he would establish 10 Regional Economic Development Councils around the state. To be overseen by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and funded with $340 million in state aid, those councils will work to create jobs in New York. "Creating jobs in the private sector is one of the cures to our financial difficulties," said Charlie North, president and CEO of Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. "It's taking people off the unemployment lines and putting them back to work. That's the recipe for success to take us out of this economically challenged time." ...

.03 Cuomo's map comes under fire - REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCILS: Officials say NNY at a disadvantage for myriad reasons

Watertown Daily Times - Watertown, NY, USA

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposal for regional economic development councils has come under criticism because of the first draft of its map. But, demonstrating just how hard a task it is to split the state into regions, even the critics have vastly different requests for the governor's office. "Many people looked at it and said there was room for improvement," said Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa. The governor has proposed 10 regional economic development councils, which would bring together disparate players in the realm at one single point of contact. The councils would compete for money, and dole out hundreds of millions for development programs. So far, so good, officials say. But several north country officials said that the council in which the north country counties of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis are tentatively located is too far flung, stretching from Jefferson in the west, Clinton to the northeast, Washington in the southeast and Otsego in the southwest. ...

New York Regional Councils Map -

New York State Association of Regional Councils (NYSARC)

.04 San Mateo County city leaders explore regional approach to plastic bag restrictions

San Mateo County Times - San Mateo, CA, USA

Leaders from a handful of San Mateo County cities are exploring a regional approach to restricting the use of plastic carryout bags to help the environment. Instead of pursuing efforts individually, they said, the cities could share costs for a countywide study on the environmental effects of a plastic-bag restriction. Doing a study would help avoid legal challenges. A countywide collaboration could also lead to a common ordinance for the cities to adopt to limit plastic bags and encourage the use of paper or reusable bags within the cities, leaders said. "We can have fiscal responsibility, avoid lawsuits and have consistency across the cities in terms of an ordinance," Millbrae Councilwoman Gina Papan said. At Papan's request, the City/County Association of Governments [ ] is checking whether a countywide strategy is possible. "It merits for us to take a look at it," said Richard Napier, executive director of the association, which is involved in quality-of-life, transportation, solid-waste and other concerns affecting the county and its cities. If deemed feasible, Napier said, a proposal for a countywide environmental impact report and ordinance related to plastic bags could go before the association board for consideration. ...

.05 On the road to regionalism: Sun Press editorial

Sun Press - Cleveland, OH, USA

Regionalism is an often-misunderstood buzzword in this area. Many people view regionalism as dissolving all the municipal boundaries in Cuyahoga County and merging all 59 municipalities in the county into one large entity which would be known as Cleveland.

While this model has been implemented with varying degrees of success in other parts of the country, that does not necessarily mean it will work here or even happen here. And even if it should, we are many years away from that happening. But regionalism is much more than erasing boundaries and in that sense, it is already happening here on a large scale. Due to limited budgets, neighboring municipalities are pooling resources to purchase items or utilize services that can benefit all municipalities involved. The cities of Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and University Heights are demonstrating how well regionalism can work by joining forces to seek joint bids for their annual street resurfacing programs. Leaders from all three cities rightfully realized that if they combined their efforts and sought joint bids, they would be able to secure a contractor who would perform the work at a lower cost than if the cities chose to advertise for bids on their own. Based on what the cities spent for resurfacing last year, there should be at least a $1 million combined savings. ...

.06 Lake Tahoe's Regional Plan Update: A plan for the plan

North Lake Tahoe Bonanza - Village, NV, USA

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will reduce the scope of the Regional Plan Update process by prioritizing certain elements of the plan according to which issues require immediate attention. TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta — who used the Jan. 26 regular meeting of the TRPA governing board in Incline Village to advocate for an overhaul of the Regional Plan Update process — said the board and staff are endangering themselves by trying “to eat the elephant in one bite.” “If we don't manage the scope we will fail,” she said. Marchetta said TRPA spends $800,000 annually on RPU staff alone, and funding partners such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers need to see progress to keep providing funds. “We have a limited staff, we have limited time and limited money, so we must address elements of immediate priority and handle those elements well,” Marchetta said. ...

.07 SANDAG grapples with shaping the future with dwindling funds

SignOn San Diego - Sandiego, CA, USA

SANDAG Chairman and Mayor of Encinitas Jerome Stocks, described the regional planning group as "a very busy agency with a lot of balls in the air," at the annual strategic planning summit at Barona Casino and Resort on Thursday. "About $9.2 billion worth of projects in the pipeline," according to the executive director of the agency Gary L. Gallegos. The San Diego Association of Governments staff and directors, with local politicians and advocates, are gathered to talk about that $9.2 billion and the $110 billion that it plans on spending over the next 40 years on highways, mass transit, bicycling and pedestrians and an array of other projects, and how they all figure into the relatively new concept, sustainable communities. That 40-year spending plan is being articulated right now and will be out in what promises to be a well-read document in April, the draft 2050 Regional Transportation Plan. Money and policy go hand in hand and for several hours a robust dialogue spun around the meeting room trying to answer the fundamental questions at the core: What kind of community do we want to be 40 years from now? ...

.08 Officials get a lesson in what it takes to form a regional fire service

My Edmonds News - Edmonds, WA, USA

... mayors of the seven South Snohomish County cities have been talking for a few years about the regional fire service idea, and decided to get everyone into the same room to explore the concept in more detail. ... Regionlizing fire service makes sense for several reasons, officials say. For one thing, municipalities and fire districts often cross jurisdictional boundaries to assist with fires and medical emergencies. For another, there is the high cost of fire service equipment — a ladder truck alone costs $1.3 million — that could be shared among neighboring jurisdictions. And finally, there is the issue of efficiently using personnel. Do two fire stations located a mile from each other really each need their own fire chief, for example. The Washington State Legislature in 2005 enacted a law — RCW 52.26 – that permits municipalities to combine resources and personnel to provide fire and emergency medical services on a regional basis. ... A regional fire authority must be comprised of at least two or more adjacent fire districts or municipalities and must be approved by a majority vote of residents living in those districts. Before such a measure can be placed before voters, though, interested agencies/municipalities must establish a Planning Committee to create an Regional Fire Protection Service Authority plan. ... For cash-strapped municipalities, the regional fire concept — which by law must be approved by voters – is attractive because it take the cost of fire protection out of the municipalities’ budget and funds fire services through a separate tax levy just for the fire service. ...

.09 Gov. Christie meets with mayors of Trenton, Newark, Camden to discuss public safety - New Jersey, USA

Gov. Chris Christie is meeting with the mayors of three of New Jersey's largest cities today about ways to provide public safety in a "broader countywide regional sense." Christie said he has met with Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Camden Mayor Dana Redd individually, but wanted to bring all three together today to share ideas.

"We want to work together to come up with a way of providing public safety in these cities," Christie said. "State government and county government is engaged in making sure we get through these difficult times." ...

.10 Regional revaluation

The Day - New London, CT, USA

There is not just power in numbers, there are savings, too. Eleven of the 12 member towns of the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments have come together to form the state's first regional revaluation collaborative - an agreement that saves every member municipality dollars and sets in stone their revaluation costs for a five-year period. It's local COG said there was not "a critical mass of towns" interested in partnering in such an initiative. That's hard to fathom, given the financial situation of most municipalities. ... Increasing efficiency and cutting costs are good reasons for parochial New Englanders to look toward regionalization every chance they get. The NECCOG plan is a good place to start.a smart idea and the kind of regional cooperation that should be commonplace. ...

.11 Rep. Becker already hard at work

West Hartford News, West Hartford, CT, USA

State Representative Brian Becker (D - 19th District) has hit the ground running at the State Capitol. Less than two weeks after taking office Becker introduced two bills designed to help close our state’s budget gap. The first bill would make it easier and cheaper for towns to cooperate on a regional basis. ... “I introduced a bill related to regionalism that addresses a current inconsistency in state law that was pointed out to me by a constituent a few months ago,” Becker said. “The bill clarifies that a town can work with another town in any area in which they both think they can realize savings or efficiencies. It also shortens and simplifies the approval process, which will save towns time and money. Making our governments – state and local – more efficient is a key to balancing our budget.” ...

.12 Franklin County delegation heading to India on trade mission

Columbus Business First - Columus, OH, USA

A group of Central Ohio businesspeople and public officials will try to stir the economic development pot when they go on a trade mission to India ... That means looking for ventures that would boost our regional economy rather than outsourcing jobs to India as some companies have done over the years. ... The idea for the trade mission evolved out of Columbus’ sister city relationship with Ahmedabad, India, which began in 2008. Besides visiting that city, the Franklin County delegation will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. While much has been made about the loss of American jobs to India, the country has made major investments in the U.S. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has said those investments totaled about $5.5 billion between 2004 and 2009. O’Grady said the trade mission is a good fit with the international business development efforts of Columbus 2020 [ ], the public-private economic development partnership between the city, county, Columbus Partnership, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Mid-Ohio Development Exchange and Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission [ ]

.13 Resources Announced to Spur Economic Development in Benton, Jasper, Newton Counties - San Francisco, CA, USA

Congressman Pete Visclosky announced today an investment award for the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission to establish an economic development plan to support private capital investment and job creation in the region. “As Northwest Indiana works to recover from our nation’s economic collapse, we have a need for smart federal investments that can help preserve and create jobs and revitalize our region’s economy,” Visclosky said. “A quintessential example of those efforts, this award will help the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission develop an roadmap to economic success for several counties in Northwest Indiana.” The award comes from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the United States Department of Commerce and is designed to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) in the region served by the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission, which includes Benton, Jasper, and Newton Counties in Indiana’s First District. In an effort to diversify and strengthen a region’s economy, the CEDS process brings together public and private sector efforts to craft a roadmap for economic development. ...

.14 Columbus no longer planning for streetcars, light rail

The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH, USA

Despite a lingering presence in regional planning documents, officials say the idea of streetcars for Columbus and light rail for central Ohio has been shelved. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission gave its OK yesterday to use more than $225million in federal money for roadwork, buses, bike trails, sidewalks and other projects designed to ease traffic congestion and improve air quality. Don't expect action soon, however, on another item on the list: Although MORPC continues to list Mayor Michael B. Coleman's 2006 streetcar proposal among the region's priorities - on paper, it's in line for $20million from the agency starting in 2015 - even Coleman has let the idea go. "The streetcar plan is not something the mayor is pursuing in any way," spokesman Dan Williamson said. And its successor, a light-rail line from Downtown to Polaris that was turned down for federal stimulus money in 2009, is finished as well. ...

.15 Regional planning group likes Pamela Marshall’s ‘true grit’ : Pamela Marshall is the new Executive Director of the Memphis Area Association of Governments (MAAAG).

Tri-State Defender - Memphis, TN, USA

“The (MAAAG) Board feels that Ms. Marshall has the true grit that we need too fight for state and federal dollars in our urban and rural communities,” said Hugh Davis, chairman of MAAAG’s Board of Directors. “Many of us have watched her career unfold. We are fortunate to have her on our team.” Marshall assumed the position last week (Feb. 2). She succeeds John Sicola who led the regional planning support organization for 30 years. As executive director, Marshall will drive the organization’s strategic mission of providing funding to Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton county governments in support of economic, housing and community development initiatives. She will also work closely with member governments and nonprofit organizations to identify, craft and lobby for legislation and public policy that serves to improve the overall quality of life for residents. ... (For more information about MAAAG, visit

.16 Increased spending, debt could help regional economy - NJ, USA

New Jersey consumers are showing an increased interest in taking on debt, an indicator of stepped up spending that could bode well for the regional economy, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Monday. ... “There are emerging signs both nationally and regionally that consumers have begun to spend more and appear willing to take on some new debt,” said William C. Dudley, the bank’s president and CEO. The absence of such a debt increase would “definitely (be) a drag on economic activity,” he said. ...

.17 Regional Campaign Exemplifies Collaboration for Economic Development - Dover, DE, USA

In order to attract more attention to the region, the six counties of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry Lee and Sarasota counties pooled their resources to develop a unique brand and take advantage of their collective size and offerings. The Southwest Florida Economic Development Partners create a powerful resource for businesses seeking to expand or relocate to this promising region of the State of Florida. [ ] ... Southwest Florida Economic Development Partners is a consortium of business development experts from Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota counties who have come together to put the economic well-being of Southwest Florida front and center. The focus of the partnership is the recruitment, retention and creation of high-wage jobs in targeted high technology industries such as health, life and environmental sciences, information technology and specialty manufacturing. ...

RC - Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council -

.18 Regional cooperative agrees to goes global

Southwest Daily News - Sulpher, LA, USA

On Wednesday afternoon, delegates from Southwest Louisiana and Acadiana signed an International Trade Partnership Agreement to cross-promote both regions globally. ... Together, the two regions will also go on cooperative global trade missions to draw interest and jobs to the two regions. "This new coalition we're forming today begins a new chapter in the progression of this area's growth, ... We're here today working together, as a team, to take an active approach in securing future international trade, not only assisting in efforts to bring new growth to our communities, but also seeking out opportunities abroad that will further expose the unique resources our region has to offer to the world," ... "The Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance recognizes the importance of thinking globally and acting regionally. We are pleased to join with our colleagues in Lafayette and Acadiana. At the Alliance, we have added staff including David Conner, our Vice President of Economic Development and International Services, to give us increased focus on helping our area businesses export their goods and services and to promote investment from throughout the world into our two regions," stated George Swift, President/CEO of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance. "This accord is a critical step in shaping our Gulf Coast communities into a super region promoting our shared strengths and abundant natural resources to outside investment. International investors are interested in our resources, how we are going to get their goods in and out to the world, and our pool of workers and their level of education and skills. To them, we are all one area: Sulphur, Lake Charles, Jennings and Lafayette. The world is getting smaller and we need to step up as a region and take advantage of everything we have to offer and to build upon this great foundation for a stronger Gulf Coast. This accord will enhance our ability to support the National Export Initiative as we work with the U.S. Department of Commerce to achieve our goal of doubling exports over the next few years," said David Conner, Alliance Vice President of Economic Development and International Services.

.19 Restaurant offers deal for carpooling: Tim Hortons teams up with MVRPC to go green

WDTN-TV - Dayton, OH, USA

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission's Rideshare Program and Tim Hortons Café & Bake Shops have teamed up to offer a "Two on Tuesdays" special promotion. From February 1 through June 28, 2011, drive through Tim Hortons any time on any Tuesday and get "buy one, get one free" menu items for you and your carpooler when you present the "Two on Tuesdays" coupon. ...

11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents

.01 BRIC becomes BRICS: Emerging Regional Powers? Changes on the Geopolitical Chessboard

European Dialogue - International Internet-portal

The world's four main emerging economic powers, known by the acronym BRIC ‹ standing for Brazil, Russia, India and China now refer to themselves as BRICS. The capital "S" in BRICS stands for South Africa, which formally joined the four on Dec. 24, bringing Africa into this important organization of rising global powers from Asia, Latin America and Europe. President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend the BRICS April meeting in Beijing as a full member. This is a development of geopolitical significance, and it has doubtless intensified frustrations in Washington. ... America suffers from low growth, extreme indebtedness, imperial overreach, and virtual political paralysis at home while spending a trillion dollars a year on wars of choice, maintaining the Pentagon military machine, and on various other "national security" projects. The BRICS countries, by their very existence, their rapid economic growth and degree of independence from Washington, are contributing to the transformation of today's unipolar world order ...

About project

"EuroDialogueXXI" - International Internet-portal is a free independent network confederation of individual and cooperative partners of the OSCE, CIS and EU member-states. It cooperates with the institutions of OSCE, EU and other international non-governmental and governmental organizations. This portal was grounded to promote information-full discussion of their problems. One of the main aims of the project is the creation of mechanism for monitoring and analyzing of cross-border, regional and subregional problems within Eurasia and within the global context to increase public awareness and for the international expert community to counsel on effective solutions of these problems. It also informs decision-makers and invokes their interest to lead dialogue within society. The project is called to assure strengthening of international credit and cooperation, development of interaction between government and civil society on the ground of fundamental democratic values; and eventually to prevent development of new separation processes in Europe, and between Europe and other regions of the world.

.02 Review "makes a mockery" of regional development

Bunbury Mail News - Bunbury, WA, Australia

THE review of Western Australia’s regional development commissions makes a mockery of the Government’s local decision making mantra, according to local business leaders. Regional lobbyists the South West Working Group last week sent a response contesting proposed changes to the regional development structure. The group say a restructure proposed by the State would “take regional development back to the dark ages” by removing funding power to a centralised body. The Regional Development Commission Review Report, released in December, recommends removing funding control to a new West Australian Regional Development Commission. ... the South West Development Commission, [ ] regarded as one of the most effective in the State, should be the model for all regional commissions. ...

.03 RDA Sunshine Coast urges Constitutional reform - Australia

RDA Sunshine Coast Chair, Cr Debbie Blumel, is traveling to Parliament House in Brisbane to give evidence at the Senate Select Committee hearing on the Reform of the Australian Federation. ... “I intend to focus the Senate Committee on the practical benefits of constitutional change for the Sunshine Coast region. Key issues for our region include enabling direct funding of Local Government by the Australian Government and streamlining of Commonwealth, State and Local Government responsibilities to avoid wasting time and money.” Cr Blumel said that there are around 560 local government bodies in Australia with about 6,600 elected councillors. These councils spend more than $20 billion each year and employ around 178,000 people. “However, the Australian Constitution does not recognize Local Government. “RDA Sunshine Coast believes that a simple recognition of the existence and broad role of the Local Government in the Constitution would be of national benefit.”

Cr Blumel will outline RDA Sunshine Coast’s views on financial relations between federal, state and local governments following a High Court decision in 2009 (Pape V Commissioner of Taxation) which questioned the Commonwealth’s power to directly fund Local Government. “There are benefits in changing the Constitution to include a financial power which enables the Australian Government to directly fund councils,” Cr Blumel said. “I also intend to focus on the necessity for greater understanding, collaboration and cooperation between the three tiers of Government and the need to streamline roles and responsibilities.” While the establishment of COAG (Council of Australian Governments), ACLG (Australian Council of Local Government) and the Regional Development Australia network are important mechanisms, Cr Blumel said there was still much to be done to improve cooperation and understanding. ...

.04 “Perverse” cuts to regional funding will set back growth - UK

The shaky foundations of the government’s economic policy have come under sustained criticism ... new research from Sheffield Hallam University underlines the importance of public sector job creation in deprived parts of the country ... The loss of nearly half a billion pounds worth of GBI funding is the latest blow to investment in English regional economic development and comes after it was revealed there has been massive over-subscription in the first round of bidding to the new Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Four hundred and fifty bids have been submitted for projects totalling around £2 billion. Yet the value of the fund is just £1.4 billion – and that is to cover three years. Meanwhile, enthusiasm for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the emaciated, budget-less successors to Labour’s regional development agencies, is in conspicuously short supply. ...

.05 RDA staff cuts estimated to cost over £100m - UK

THE redundancy bill for axing regional development agencies will top £100m, a senior Minister has admitted. Tory Business Minister Mark Prisk said the cost had been estimated at around £102m, but added it was impossible to say what the total amount would be – along with the bill for axing contracts entered into by regional development agencies (RDAs). He also admitted RDA experts who have helped drive the regional economy will not move to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) which the coalition insists will do a better job of boosting growth by bringing together local authorities and business leaders. ... Easington MP Grahame Morris, who forced the admission from the Government after raising his concerns in Parliament, said: “It is now becoming clear that the abolition of One North East and regional development agencies across England will not only adversely affect our ability to attract new investment and jobs to the North East, but it will cost the Government over £100m in redundancy payments alone.” He added: “There is no coherent policy from the Tory-led coalition to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience of the 3,000 RDA staff. ...

.06 Swiss push for “blue peace” in Middle East - Bern, Switzerland

Water shortages in the Middle East are so worrying that opposing camps in the region will have little choice but to cooperate, a Swiss-Swedish report warns. Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey on Thursday outlined a new initiative in the region that aims to encourage the sustainable cross-border management of scarce water resources. "In the future the main geopolitical resource in the Middle East will be water rather than oil," she told reporters in Geneva. Calmy Rey presented the new report, entitled “Blue Peace, Rethinking Middle East Water”, which follows wide consultations in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel. "The report comes to an alarming conclusion: five of the seven countries are experiencing a structural shortage and the debit of most of the big rivers has declined by 50 to 90 per cent since 1960," she said. The study by the Indian think tank Strategic Foresight Group, funded by Switzerland and Sweden, described the huge depletion of rivers such as the Jordan and Yarmouk over the past 50 years, the diminution of the Euphrates due to drought and the shrinkage of the Dead Sea to a small lake by 2050. ... Switzerland has extensive experience in managing water resources with centres of excellence like the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) as well as firms that specialise in filtering, stocking and distribution. It also spends SFr30 million annually on drinking water and irrigation development projects worldwide. “With our experience we want to help manage the forthcoming crisis,” said Calmy-Rey. The “Blue Peace” initiative has resulted in a number of recommendations. ...

.07 The State of Spain: Nationalism, Critical Regionalism, and Biennialization

e-flux - New York, NY, USA

Spain is shaped from a mosaic of regional identities, like Basque and Catalan, that demand a full articulation of a national identity of their own, which leads us to consider Spain as a manifestation of a nation without a consistent state. ... many nationalisms that coexist within the same unified nation-state. For both ethnic minorities and regional identities, under the formal vindications of national, sub-national, secessionist, separatist, independence, and other nationalisms, the same idea of the nation-state is at stake. Hence, even if pluralism and ethnic diversity are central questions for any nationalism, a distinction arises between what we might call, for lack of better terms, “immigrant minorities,” and “indigenous minorities.” This draws attention to the relevance of the nation-state in any consideration of cultural diversity in today’s Europe, positioning it in two contrasting guises, on the one hand as the “solution,” and on the other as the “problem.” ... In a period such as ours, when the term “national” has become a merely relational category that articulates diverse parts of the world system, the arrangement of the local, the regional, and the national tends to articulate a geographic block (or world order) where the perception of sub-nationalist cultures, and separatist communities, can be grasped as allegorical forms. In this way, the tension in between these different ethnic groups, or different “imagined communities,” can only be overcome by deploying these allegorical structures towards resolving the collective fantasies of those nationalisms with an idea of the nation itself. In the postmodern debate within the field of architecture, an approach Kenneth Frampton has termed “critical regionalism” has attempted to counteract the dislocation and lack of meaning in modern architecture by using contextual forces to give a sense of place and meaning. ...

.08 NSW Government grants councils funding for projects - Australia

Planning Minister Tony Kelly said projects being funded include the construction of elevated walkways through bushland; a scenic foreshore walk north of Sydney; access steps to a scuba diving location; and an innovative boardwalk over an existing seawall. The funding has been allocated under the Metropolitan Greenspace Program (MGP), an open-space grants program that has provided nearly $30 million to about 516 projects across Sydney since 1990. The MGP has made considerable progress on delivering the Sydney Metropolitan Regional Recreation Trails Framework, since 2006. “[Last year] was the fifth year where the program has focused on funding projects that develop the Regional Recreational Trails Framework and more than $1.75 million of this year’s allocation has gone towards recreation trail related projects,” Minister Kelly said. “This will provide funding for the planning or construction of approximately 16 kilometres of regional trails.” ...

.09 CARICOM: It's leadership that's needed

Caribbean 360 - St. Michael, Barbados

... ”The real problem is that there is no one among the reigning political class of vision and intellect sufficient to provide the leadership. There is, too, no technician of the calibre of (William) Demas or (Sir Alister) McIntyre. Additionally, the impact of the recession has left the politicians with no time for the integration movement. They are really pushed onto a survival path struggling as they all do with growing unemployment and serious financial problems both on their current and foreign accounts. The virtual abandonment of the integration movement is unfortunate, for a fully functioning, expanded and enriched integration will in the end be the buffer against some of the very problems which we are currently experiencing”. ... What the region needs now is more not less integration, for not one of its member countries – not even Trinidad and Tobago with its oil and gas resources – can hope to maintain its autonomy in a globalized world in which the rich and powerful are intent upon a new kind of dominance; one which marginalizes small countries whose concerns become important only when they coincide with the interests of the powerful. ...

.10 Tourism minister calls for higher regional cooperation

CalcuttaTube - Bluefield, VA, USA

Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay Friday called for higher cooperation among South Asian countries in promoting tourism and offered India’s training facilities to other countries in the region. ‘More trained and skilled tourism professionals are required for the fast developing tourism industry. India can offer its training facilities to the people from south Asian countries,’ Sahay said after inaugurating the 18th South Asia Travel and Tour Expo (SATTE) in the national capital. ‘South Asian countries have a long way to go to attract tourists as we get less than one percent of inbound tourists from the region. We need to promote a sense of honourable and secure Tourism. Such events provide an excellent platform for this exchange,’ he said. The minister laid stress on safe tourism and said that India has tremendous scope for the growth of eco, rural and medical tourism. ... two-stage strategy for promoting tourism for both domestic and froeign tourists. ...

.11 Doubts about Cuba’s New Provinces

A while back, I wrote about how the people of Santa Cruz (the town where I live east of Havana) — through the normal democratically carried out neighborhood assembly process — prevented the specialized medical services at our hospital from being relocated to another town. That doesn’t mean, however, that our concerns have been eliminated. On TV they continue talking about the “regionalization, centralization and rationalization” of health care services. I beg forgiveness if I’m not completely accurate with these terms (which are also quite similar to those used by neoliberals in Latin America). But it’s not only that. Some months ago the decision was made to divide our province (Havana) in two. Currently the province consists of the area that surrounds the country’s capital, which since 1976 has been a separate province in itself. ... So, “it was decided” that Havana Province would be divided in two provinces, called “Artemisa” and “Mayabeque.” ... The administrative bureaucracies and policies will have to be cloned in the same way – even the sports teams. Where previously there was one department or team, now there will be two. ... But the most difficult thing — and maybe someone can explain it to me — is how the self-cloning of the bureaucracy fits in with the current struggle against “inflated payrolls?” I’ll be waiting for any explanations.

.12 Welcome to the Urban Revolution

We must become "masters of a stable, just, and ecological urbanism" writes Jeb Brugmann in Welcome to the Urban Revolution: How Cities Are Changing the World (Bloomsbury Press, 2009). His book combines detailed street-level research in the style of Jane Jacobs with analysis of the city system on a planetary scale to explain the forces that are shaping our urban future. For Brugmann, urbanism is not some grand theory but rather the process by which a community taps into urban advantage to build a district of mutual benefit. He and I corresponded by email about these issues. –Evan O'Neil


What are zones of autonomy? Where do they form? Should they be encouraged?

... Zones of autonomy confound a city-region's strategic development because they represent user communities whose interests and modus operandi have been separated from the rest of society. ...

.13 Regional languages: Calls for according national status

The Express Tribune - Karachi, Pakistan

Marvi Memon, a National Assembly lawmaker from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, has urged speakers of all provincial assemblies to accord national language status to all regional languages. ... The MNA had also submitted a bill in the National Assembly in August 2008, calling for declaring all provincial languages, including Balochi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Shina, Balti and Siraiki as national languages. Over time, other languages were to be added. ... press release said the people of Pakistan had “long been demanding national status for their mother tongues. Urdu will continue to be (the top) national language and English as the official language, as per the Constitution”.

.14 Some Fish do not Respond well to Relocation

7th Space Interactive Web

Not all trout are created equal. Those swimming up the streams of British Columbia might resemble their cousins from Quebec, yet their genetic makeup is regionally affected and has an impact on how they reproduce, grow and react to environmental stressors. Such regional variance makes transplanting fish species – to bolster dwindling populations – tricky business. ... "A salmon from Quebec isn't the same as a salmon from the Atlantic provinces or an individual of the same species from Europe," he continues. "There's considerable variation within species. That genetic diversity can allow a specific type of fish to thrive in one region – to better adapt to stressors such as climate change or habitat changes – while fish stocks of the same species introduced from another region can dwindle." Economic implications ... "Climate change will have a profound effect on species," says Fraser. "And understanding why local populations outperform foreign populations in their home environment may help to predict which populations within species are most likely to persist in the future.'"

12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents

.01 Most people/organizations don't understand the process of change

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

Recently, the National Center for Smart Growth at the University of Maryland released a report about the progress of smart growth policies in Maryland, which … has had 15 years or so to begin to percolate. … The report wasn't positive. ... the state "has not made measurable progress toward improving its performance in many of the areas it says it cares about." ...

The issue is a lot more complicated than people realize.

First, you are talking about an entire state, with 24 counties. Some are in more urban areas, some areas are decidedly rural.

Second, even fast tracked government programs, especially transportation projects, take at least 10-20 years to come to fruition.

Third, you have to coordinate two levels of change, first within the state government and agencies, and second at the county/incorporated city level, and you have to make sure that the policies are congruent, and that the state imposes (yes, I use that word) requirements on the local jurisdictions to make more enlightened decisions. …

Fourth, 15 years isn't long enough to see results, you need at least 20-30 years. It took 20 years to see the impact of the subway in DC, and 10 more years to begin to reap positive impact from the subway outside of the Central Business District and abutting neighborhoods.

Fifth, to get results, even in a 30 year time frame, you need to have great transit. The Baltimore region doesn't have a great transit network, it has a couple of transit lines. So a big portion of the state isn't capable of reaping the kinds of benefits from transit that are present in DC.


I bring this up because EPA/USDOT/HUD are announcing what they think is a great program.

They make it sound so easy. Effecting change in any one of those policy areas is a multi-interest, multi-stakeholder, multi-year process. ...

What I'd do instead is something that I suggested years ago, that the USDOT, HUD and other agencies produce the equivalent of national policy statements on various planning issues, comparable to what in the UK were originally called PPGs -- Planning Policy Guidance -- now they are called Planning Policy Statements, ...

.02 Super-Regionalism in Kentucky

The Urbanophile

... Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer talks about super-regional collaboration with Lexington on economic development and other matters. There’s a great video interview with him that accompanied the story that you can watch below. (The video won’t display in Google Reader or platforms like that, so to watch it please visit my main web page by clicking here). I think he and his economic development director do a great job of laying out the case for a greater regional vision in an accessible way. [Video] It seems pretty clear that Fischer understands one of the key challenges facing Louisville, namely that it is just a bit too small to really have the heft it needs to go to market in the new economy. He sees collaboration with Lexington as one way to help both cities punch above their weight, particularly in attracting international attention. He believes this is essential to the long term relevance of the cities. ...

.03 Regional Transit Governance Legislation

ACT Now Georgia Blog

This afternoon the Regional Transit Committee (RTC) of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) (the successor of the Transit Planning Board and Transit Implementation Board) gave their seal of approval to draft legislation that would create a Metropolitan Transit Authority for Atlanta. Members of the Committee lauded themselves for reaching this point as a region.

Of course this legislation has to pass the Georgia Legislature and be signed by the Governor in order to take effect. The RTC members are correct that the effort for regional transit has been six years in the making. The push to introduce legislation this year is in part due to the upcoming regional sales tax referendum. Advocates of the referendum hope that having a regional transit agency to receive the transit funds will give the voters confidence to pass the measure. The draft legislation sets up a Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for the Atlanta region and the ability for other parts of the state to set-up their own Regional Transit Authorities (RTA). ...

.04 Regional Smart Growth Tools, Thinking out of the Box

Region Forward

COG’s John Mataya attended the 10th Annual New Partners in Smart Growth Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference was organized by the Local Government Commission, a forward-looking nonprofit that assists local governments in addressing community problems and leveraging environmental and economic resources.

During the last day of the conference, I attended a Think Regionally, Act Locally session that featured presentations about how other regions are approaching regional planning and implementation initiatives. ...

.05 Swedish government looks to virtual meetings as an environmental (and efficiency) strategy

World Streets Blog

The Swedish government’s annual instructions to the National Transport Administration now include a mission to support and improve conditions for virtual meetings across the country. The goal is to find practical ways to harness “Green IT” as an efficient travel substitute as well as to provide both more efficient management and reduced environmental impacts. The core proposal is based on a “ten step method” which the Administration released last year to champion and support virtual meetings within an organization. The project behind this strategy is introduced here. ... Identifying this call for information, combined with the need to supplement the mobility management toolbox with tools for work related travel, the Swedish Transport Administration (Vägverket or SRA), in cooperation with other authorities, municipalities, universities, and non-governmental organisations, launched a project called Resfri (Travel-free) in 2005. ... CS II organisations include the cities of Gothenburg and Malmö, Lund and Umeå’s municipalities, Norrbotten County Association of Municipalities, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL), the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Logica and the Swedish Road Administration. ...

.06 The Creative Class, the Fourth Place and Frankfurt’s “New Work City” at The Squaire

The Creative Class Group

... Frankfurt is the hub of the broader “Frank-gart” mega-region, spanning Frankfurt and Stuttgart, which is home to 23 million people and produces $630 billion in economic output, making it the 10th largest mega-region in the world and the fourth largest in Europe. Frankfurt Airport’s long-distance train station is the terminus of the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line, which links southern Germany to the Rhine-Ruhr region, the Netherlands, and Belgium at speeds of 190 miles per hour. Munich is also well-linked to the Frankfurt airport. New Work City at The Squaire located near the Frankfurt International Airport attempts to leverage all five of these economic trends, acting on both the mega-region and the aerotroplis, providing greater density of interactions, a new physical and social model for work, and a mechanism for speeding the flow of people, goods and ideas. ... Despite all the predictions that technology—from the telephone and the automobile to the computer and the Internet—would lead to the death of cities, the creative economy is taking shape around them. Urban density, the clustering of people and firms, is a basic engine of economic life. Place is the factor that organically brings together the economic opportunity and talent, the jobs and the people required for creativity, innovation, and growth. To a surprising extent, cities—and now mega-regions—are supplanting the giant corporation of the industrial age as the central economic and social organizing unit of our time. ...

.07 A Regional Close-up on Global Consumer Confidence

NielsenWire Blog

Consumer confidence fell in 25 of 52 countries in Q4 2010 as hope for a global economic recovery evaporated at the end of last year, according to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, which tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intent. According to the survey, which polled more than 29,000 Internet consumers in November 2010, in many countries, widespread concern for unemployment, job creation, rising food and utility costs eradicated any expectation of sustained economic recovery. ...

.08 The United States of Shame (CHART)

Whether it’s a fat population, high rate of STDs or excessive tax rate, it turns out that every state ranks dead last in at least one unsavory category. Check out the map (click image to enlarge) to see what your state is the worst at, then review additional stats and references after the jump: (map) ...

13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents

.01 EDA Seeks Public Comment on Regulations - - U.S. Economic Development Administration

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is asking its stakeholders to help the agency update its regulations so it can more effectively partner with communities and organizations to create jobs and economic growth. Earlier this month, EDA published a Federal Register Notice requesting public comment on the agency’s regulations, particularly ways EDA can revise the process to provide better economic development services. We encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas about EDA’s regulations here on EDA’s website, where you can also see the ideas others have submitted.

EDA’s regulations are an important tool for the agency’s economic development assistance programs as they provide the framework through which the agency selects, awards, and administers its investments. The agency is particularly interested in learning of any perceived impediments to contemporary economic development practices that are produced as a cause or consequence of a particular regulation. Although EDA welcomes comments on all of its regulations, the agency requests particular input on how the regulations impact the creation and growth of Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) and property management issues.

Go to

to share your comments, recommendations, ideas and feedback regarding EDA’s regulations.


The EDA Know Your Region materials are designed to assist practitioners in developing forward-thinking regional economic development strategies that generate momentum for regional innovation and economic prosperity.

.02 Webinar – Economics of Regional Meat: Roadblocks and Solutions - February 17 - National Good Food Network

A truly regional food system includes proteins, and for many that means meat. What are the roadblocks to regional meat? Is the economics of meat very different from produce? Where should one concentrate their efforts to most effectively pave the way towards regional meat?


.03 Conference: Regional conversation about food hubs - March 3 - Office of Farmland Preservation Washington State Conservation Commission

On Thursday, March 3rd Ecotrust and USDA Rural Development will be hosting a regional conversation about food hubs at the Ecotrust Natural Capital Center in Portland, Ore.

What’s a food hub*? USDA currently defines a food hub as “a centrally located facility with a business management system that facilitates the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution and/or marketing of locally or regionally produced food products.”

.04 Regional Assembly 2011 "Innovation and the Global City" - April 15 - New York, NY, USA - Regional Plan Association

More than ever, cities around the world are competing for economic growth, limited natural resources, and the ability to provide a high quality of life for residents. What are cities doing in the US and abroad to remain competitive on the world stage? What are the core strengths and the challenges of the New York region? On April 15th, 2011 at the Waldorf-Astoria, RPA will host a day-long conversation between national, regional and international leaders.

.05 Creative Regions in Europe: challenges and opportunities - 5 & 6 May - Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitat de Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain

Creative Regions Network:

Deadline for registration: 15th April 2011

.06 The Review of Regional Studies - Volume 39, Winter 2009, Number 3 - The Official Journal of the Southern Regional Science Association

- Spatial Heterogeneity in Environmental Regulation Enforcement and the Firm Location Decision among U.S. Counties

- How Do State Arts Appropriations Affect State Economic Growth?

- Determinants of Investment Flows in U.S. Manufacturing

- Expected Time to Employment as a Function of Labor Market Size: A Theoretical Note

- Do Charter Schools Affect Property Values?

- Underemployment and Local Employment Dynamics: New Evidence

Past issues:

14. Financial Crisis. Contents

.01 The Billion Prices Project @ MIT

The Billion Prices Project is an academic initiative that collects prices from hundreds of online retailers around the world on a daily basis to conduct economic research. We currently monitor daily price fluctuations of ~5 million items sold by ~300 online retailers in more than 70 countries.

This webpage showcases examples of average inflation indexes that we created to illustrate the type of statistical work that can be done with this type of data. Our team is currently working on developing econometric models that leverage the data to forecast future trends and conduct economic research.

.02 A 5-Year Scenario: 2011-2016 - Of Two Minds -

Here is one possible scenario for the next five years. Why do I consider this somewhat more likely than other possible scenarios? Here some undercurrents which may be generally under-appreciated:

1. There is a difference between speculative and organic demand. The two are of course related, as industrial consumers of resources must hedge against rising prices using the same instruments as speculators--futures contracts, etc.

2. Follow the credit, not just the money. It's not just the U.S. economy which is dependent on cheap, abundant credit--the same can be said of China and the European Union to some degree.

Just because Chinese buyers put 50% down on their fourth flat doesn't mean they don't need credit for the other 50%. Chinese developers are heavily dependent on credit issued or backed by the Central Governments banks and proxies.

Credit is not cash, and creating credit is not the same as printing cash. Shoveling $1 trillion in zero-interest credit into the banking system does not necessarily mean that $1 trillion flows into the real economy--that can only happen if someone or some entity borrows the credit.

This is why some claim that hyperinflation has never occurred in a credit-based system; it can only arise in a monetary system in which cash itself is printed (i.e. Zimbabwe et al.)

I am not making any such broad claim, but to identify the two as identical seems to me to be a profound confusion.

This distinction plays out in a number of ways. If the Fed had actually printed $1 trillion in cash and dropped it from helicopters, then those collecting the cash on the ground might have spent it, creating more organic demand for goods and services.

If the Fed creates credit and loans it to banks at zero-interest rate, the credit only flows into the real economy if somebody borrows it.

Without borrowers, the "money" just sits in reserves, where it does not spark inflationary organic demand for resources, goods or services.

If someone borrows the "money" to refinance existing debt, the only money that flows into the real economy is the difference between their original debt servicing costs and their new debt servicing costs, presuming the new costs are lower than the original. (Not always the case if said borrower had an interest-only "teaser rate" mortgage that he/she is now rolling into a mortgage with principal payments and a market rate interest payment.)

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

To search on topics like those in Regional Community Development News use this custom search engine which utilizes over 1,200 regional related sites.

My name is Tom Christoffel. I've worked in the field of intergovernmental and regional cooperation since 1973. As a consequence, "I see regions work.” It is my thesis that "regional communities” are emerging where multi-jurisdictional regional council organizations exist. This newsletter is research seeking confirmation of this thesis.

Making visible such cross-boundary planning, collaboration and cooperative action at multi-jurisdictional networked regional scales, public, private and NGO is my purpose. "Think globally, act locally" was innovative in its time. Today the local scale is often too small to address today's needs and opportunities. "Think local planet, act regionally,” is my candidate paradigm. No one said we're only allowed one paradigm.

We can see that “regional communities of communities” are organized locally and now act both to avoid tragedy in the commons and gain benefits. An effective multi-jurisdictional regional community has DNA. It is geographically Defined; has a common Name and its Alignment is inclusive of smaller communities and participatory in larger communities. So, by scanning this compilation, reading articles and checking organizations - you too will be able to see the regional communities that already exist.

News references are found using Google Search services. Media article excerpts and links are “fair use” to transform globally scattered reports to make regional approaches visible. Links go to the publisher and do not compete with it. Such publishers are likely to have related stories and thus be seen by new customers. “Regional” is an emerging news category.

There is no charge for this service and no profit is made from its use, though any user can become more aware of the topic itself. Regional Community Development News is published bi-monthly based on researched news reports as of the publication date. It has been published on line since November 11, 2003.

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