Regional Community Development News - June 15, 2011

1. Regionalism Run Rampant - Madison Magazine

My team and I are privileged to work with cities and companies across North America that are bent on staying—or becoming—magnets for great talent. We’ve worked in large cities like Nashville and small towns like Johnstown, Pennsylvania. No matter the size of the community, I’ve noticed a trend that’s both promising and problematic: regionalism.

Regionalism occurs when two or more cities, towns,villages, counties and so forth, decide to work together, usually on economic development. The rationale seems so simple, so intuitive: together, we can do more. There are also financial incentives: many federal and state grants require cities and counties to work together to apply for or receive funds. But like all good ideas, execution is what matters most, and I see some communities suffering from Regionalism Run Rampant. It is a precursor to the epidemic of Diluted Strategy and its even more deadly cousin, Disengaged Leadership.

To illustrate Regionalism Run Rampant let’s ...

2. New 100-year vision effort launched - Sign On San Diego

Capping a century of regional planning efforts, the San Diego Foundation is taking a different route to mapping the local future — a plan with a built-in implementation strategy.
Called “Our Greater San Diego Vision,” the initiative being launched at San Diego State University today involves four task forces, 150 “ambassadors” and $2 million in a high-tech-driven outreach to the public that coincidentally will end at the beginning of the 2012 election season.

“We care about San Diego, and we want to bring the parties together and try to move to a conclusion,” said Bill Geppert, chairman of the 13-member steering committee. “San Diego is such a great place, and yet it does take an inordinate amount of time to move through and make important decisions. Other communities have been more successful in doing it quicker. Denver built 10 major infrastructure projects in a 12-year period of time.”

3. A Power Grab Threat to New Canaan's Autonomy - New Canaan, CT Patch

Are we headed toward a return to county government? 

A Government “Power Grab” hurts job growth, the economy and stocks. There is an effort to convert the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA) to a Council of Governments (COG).

SWRPA was organized to coordinate regional cooperation on inter-municipal issues of transportation, housing, community development, environment and open space and has no binding votes.

The effort, supported by New Canaan’s First Selectman, would create a COG with “binding votes” on its eight members. Governor Dannel Malloy has instructed his appointed Office of Policy and Management to approach elected officials in Fairfield County to vote in favor of the COG so that approval could be completed before the fall elections that could see changes among the SWRPA CEO’s.

The creation of a COG is the first step towards a return to county government empowered to control New Canaan’s municipal finances and allocate our tax dollars to regional COG programs benefiting the larger towns such as Norwalk and Stamford. There is movement to include Bridgeport in the Southwestern Connecticut Regional COG. The COG would be empowered to propose regional taxes such as a county property tax or sales tax to fund its programs. ... increase in taxes would further hurt the “soft” real estate prices and retail businesses. ...

4. Strategic Direction For Waikato Regional Development | Voxy 

Waikato Regional Council this week outlined a new strategic direction for regional development aimed at protecting the environment and boosting regional export growth and income.
From the early 1900s to 1970, New Zealand had a standard of living above the OECD average and on par with Australia. However, since then the gap in GDP per capita between New Zealand and Australia has widened. Average incomes in New Zealand are now 30 per cent lower than in Australia, despite New Zealanders working longer hours.

The Waikato GDP per capita dropped below the national level for the first time in 2007 and the gap is projected to widen over time.

“One major challenge for the region is to determine the best ways to contribute to the national goal of lifting New Zealand’s standards of living,” Cr Buckley said.

5. Coquitlam councillor Selina Robinson still seeking clarity on Regional Growth Strategy | Vancouver, Canada | Straight

Coquitlam remains the only Metro Vancouver municipality that has not ratified the Regional Growth Strategy. That’s because the municipality has a number of concerns around the landmark regional planning document.

Tuesday (June 14) marked the first meeting between Coquitlam council members and Metro Vancouver staff to seek a solution via non-binding arbitration.

Metro did not allow Coquitlam to switch its cameras on at City Hall to record the proceedings, according to Coun. Selina Robinson. However, Gerry McGuire, from a group called VCVYV—Vancouver Citizens Voice TV—filmed the meeting and posted several segments on YouTube.

In her remarks stating the case for Coquitlam, Robinson honed in once again on lands that are deemed “regionally significant”, an ongoing concern for the first-term councillor.

“I certainly struggled, and our council certainly struggled, around what it means to be regionally significant,” ...

6. Leadership Northern Colorado prepares for graduation | Northern Colorado Business Report

Leadership Northern Colorado has announced the graduation of its second class from the six-month program designed to educate participants on the issues facing the Northern Colorado region.
Leadership Northern Colorado is a joint initiative between the chambers of commerce in the cities of Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County. LNC is designed to build human capacity and identify, define and address issues in Northern Colorado.

7. Homeland Security funding approved for regional towns- The Register Citizen

After some previous hesitation by local officials voicing support for a spending plan by the state’s Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security Region 5, the budget passed “overwhelmingly,” officials say.

According to Region 5 Coordinator Tom Vannini, the region’s representatives approved the DEMHS Regional Collaboration fiscal year 2010 grant, which provides funds to planning projects, training and equipment for public safety and emergency management. The federal grant totals $856,875 ...

The spending plan faced some concerns last week by the fiscally-conservative members of the Litchfield Council of Elected Officials (LHCEO), claiming the money was being wasted on unneeded items such as license plate readers for police vehicles and pole cameras for bridges, roofs and underground.

According to the spending plan, $45,000 is being used for the cameras and $168,875 for the license plate readers.

8. Plan for regional cooperation demonstration zone published - People's Daily Online

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) yesterday published the construction plan for the country's first trans-regional cooperation demonstration zone, which will be located in Lianyungang, east China's Jiangsu Province, ...

... Lianyungang Municipal Government held an introduction and promotion conference in Beijing to show the planning of the demonstration zone and the achievements of coastal development in that city.

The establishment of the demonstration zone to enhance economic cooperation among the country's east, central and western regions will help to make the best of the city's position as a seaport at the beginning of the new Eurasian Continental Bridge and to serve the development of open economy in China's central and western regions. It will also benefit the trans-regional flow and allocation of resources, providing experiences and acting as an example for the promotion of the integrated development among China's eastern, central and western regions.

9. Terrace Standard - Future of the northwest discussed at conference

CITY COUNCILLOR Bruce Bidgood spoke about the future of northwestern BC at a regional development conference being held in the mid-northern city of Ostersund, Sweden today.

He underlined the Northwest Transmission Line and the mines it is intended to stimulate, modernization of Rio Tinto Alcan's Kitimat aluminum smelter, the Kitimat liquefied natural gas plant and plans by Avanti to re-open a molybdenum deposit at Kitsault as examples of underway or pending industrial projects.

The conference is focussing on growing green technology and policies being applied to business and industry and is sponsored by local and regional governments in mid-northern Sweden and by the European Union.

"We have trees and lots of biomass," said Bidgood.
As a municipal councillor, Bidgood summarized Terrace's future as a series of questions, keying on how to develop an economy that is not subject to what has been a traditional boom and bust cycle.

10. MEPs seek to maintain regional aid spending | European Voice

The Parliament warns against shrinking the budget for cohesion policies.

MEPs are expected next week to urge EU member states to keep regional aid spending at current levels in the EU's post-2013 spending.

The European Parliament is scheduled to approve five reports on cohesion and regional policy during its 22-23 June mini-plenary in Brussels. One of the reports, drafted for the regional development committee by Markus Pieper, a German centre-right MEP, insists that a “well funded” cohesion policy continues to be essential to reduce regional economic disparities across the EU.

The report sees regional aid as a way of helping to meet the goals of the Europe 2020 jobs and growth strategy, and it suggests some simplification of the rules on allocating this funding, and greater flexibility in its use. But member states should manage the aid better, the report adds.

11. Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp - Business - The Sun News

The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp. executive committee Wednesday gave the go-ahead to negotiate to buy a property and to hire a consultant to create a plan that will identify properties the group should buy to lure businesses.
The committee voted to have Lofton talk to consultants who could evaluate what new buildings the corporation should consider building, what land it should consider purchasing and what existing buildings may add to the corporation's ability to attract businesses.

The EDC has $60,000 budgeted for consultants next year, pending final approval by the Horry County Council of $1.8 million in funding, which will be voted on next week.

The consultant would make recommendations that would steer the corporation's spending on property purchases, Lofton said.

12. HUD and EPA Collaborate on the Promotion of Sustainable Housing | Mortgage News 

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson have announced a collaborative effort to build upon current federal investments for regions that support sustainable and livable communities. For the first time ever, HUD and EPA will join forces to competitively award $5.65 million to strengthen the capacity of existing sustainable communities grantees to create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, and support vibrant and healthy neighborhoods for American families.
Applications for the NOFA are due July 8, 2011. Non-profit organizations, local or state public agencies, for-profit organizations, nationally recognized and accredited Universities or Colleges, or any combination of eligible entities as a Capacity Building Team are eligible to apply for funding.

Notice of funding availability (NOFA)

13. Contemporary Northwest Art Awards -- The limits of regionalism | Oregon Live

Walking through the Portland Art Museum's second iteration of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, which opened last Saturday, I found myself wondering if, in 2011, such a thing as regional art exists.

The ease of global communication and travel coupled with the sheer volume of information at our fingertips has made contemporary art discourse accessible to artists everywhere. If the distance between major art markets and second- and third-tier outliers is erased, then how much of a role does geography actually play in cultivating a region's aesthetic sensibility?

The CNAAs, which replaced the museum's Oregon Biennial surveys, assert that regionalism is, indeed, alive and well, insistently carving out an identity for the Northwest that extends from Oregon and Washington to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

14. Hassinger honored with 2011 Outstanding Service Award by Central Mass Regional Planning Commission

Grafton man-of-all-boards, Robert Hassinger, was honored recently by the Central Mass Regional Planning Commission with the 2011 Outstanding Service Award.

Hassinger was recognized for his 20 years of contributions through dedicated service and leadership to the commission and its executive, transportation and physical development committees.

More "region, regions, regional" resources tagged "re:*" with global geocodes:

Regional Communities - "Think Local Planet, Act Regionally."