Regional Community Development News - June 19-20, 2011

1. Surprise surprise: "experts" picked by road lobbyists put road building at top of priority list - Greater Greater Washington

The 2030 Group, an advocacy organization funded by some of Virginia's longtime proponents of sprawl-inducing highway development, came out with a thoroughly unsurprising "survey" today that recommends the very same projects the organizers have pushed for years.
Far better studies of regional priorities include those from the Council of Governments, whose scenario studies looked not only at vehicle speeds but overall land use and found that the biggest gains in improving commutes came from responsible land use, like developing underutilized Metro stations, addressing the east-west job divide in the region, and revitalizing existing, aging commercial corridors.

The COG Region Forward report, which all 22 area jurisdictions endorsed, shows that addressing land use and the imbalance between jobs and housing, along with supportive transit and transit-oriented development, are the top priorities. COG's scenario studies demonstrated that better land use planning offers the biggest bang ...

2. Should Alaska create a fund to attract investors to develop the Arctic? | Alaska Dispatch

The state is positioning itself to be the banker as well as the builder of Arctic projects in the hope of attracting more private investment to the region. And that could be the catalyst to jumpstart broad development in the Arctic -- beyond just oil and gas operations. ... Arctic Imperative Summit portrayed the region as an "emerging market" that will need some sort of established investment fund to lead the way and then entice skittish private investors to follow.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority -- a state development agency ... could be that entity, if political leaders decide to put significant amounts of cash in the agency's bank account.

... idea of a "regional development syndicate" for the Arctic, a group that might include state, federal and private investors. ... foreign investors, including China, are backing Alaska projects or buying significant shares in U.S. companies that are doing business here....

3. Conservationists battle city in Lake Tahoe fight - San Jose Mercury News

A conservation group is asking a federal judge to throw out the California city of South Lake Tahoe's new planning regulations, saying the update allows for too much development at the expense of the lake's clarity and scenic beauty.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe says in the lawsuit that city council plans are illegal because they were not reviewed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency as required by a federal bi-state compact for Nevada and California.

South Lake Tahoe City Attorney Patrick Enright said Monday he had no immediate comment because he had not yet seen the lawsuit.

The suit filed recently in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., says the planning blueprint—combined with intended road expansions—will result in increased ozone emissions, airborne dust and erosion, which are three of the chief culprits blamed for the decline in the clarity of the alpine lake's waters over the past four decades.

Oxford City Hall will be the setting of the Northeast Georgia Regional Planning Commission meeting for a new 2035 plan for the region.

The region is made up of 12 counties — Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe and Walton — and the plan is a long-range one for managing the region’s forecasted growth through the year 2035, according to the commission’s Web site.

The meeting ... is primarily for stakeholders of the regions who make decisions, like commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce, but it is open to the public.

“It’s an honor for our city to be chosen,” said Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry, who serves on the planning advisory committee and volunteered Oxford as the setting for the first meeting. “(The committee) thought it would be a good location.”

The plan has come in three phases — the commission already has conducted a regional assessment and stakeholder development, and now it is working in the implementation phase.

5. ECan rewrites regional planning policy |

Canterbury's earthquakes have forced a rethink of one of the region's most significant planning documents.

Environment Canterbury's (ECan) proposed 2011 Canterbury regional policy statement (RPS) will give legal weight to the Canterbury water management strategy. It also includes changes to guidelines on dealing with natural hazards, such as earthquakes.
"We revised with new directions on earthquake faulting and the development of land subject to faulting," Langman said. "It also looks at avoiding or mitigating the effects from fault rupturing, liquefaction and lateral spreading, and puts some conditions down for new developments.

"It doesn't deal with the issue of any managed retreat from suburbs. That will be dealt with by Cera (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority)."
The proposed policy on faults says ECan will:

Assist Christchurch city and district councils to map "fault avoidance zones".

6. Vince Cable urges Government to save North East economic powers - Journal Live

BUSINESS Secretary Vince Cable has been urged to hold a genuine consultation on the need for the region to keep key decision-making powers in local hands – or see the economy weaken.

A consultation will be held on the decision to close down regional development agencies, including One North East.

But the promise came with an admission from the Government that it had already made up its mind to scrap the agencies.

Now Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes and his predecessor Liberal Democrat David Faulkner have sent a joint letter to Dr Cable calling for the regeneration body to either be saved or for the region to retain some of its functions.

7. It's grimmer up North than it needs to be - Telegraph

As you travel northward your eye, accustomed to the South or East, does not notice much difference until you are beyond Birmingham. ...

This is less a divide than an imbalance caused by London's dominant position as an economic, cultural and political megalopolis. Although other European countries, such as Italy, have their geographically rich and poor divisions, none – not even France – has a capital city that acts like a national black hole, sucking investment, skilled migrant workers, young people, money and, ultimately, decision-making powers towards it.

But this has been true for decades...

At the root of the problem is regional policy itself. Regions command little local loyalty in England and have even less economic coherence, yet they have been the basis for the planning of successive governments. Some blame the EU for handing out development funds on a regional basis; yet Continental countries manage to organise things differently. Since the mid 1960s, France has developed a network of communautés urbaines, conurbations that exercise delegated powers over waste, water, public transport, roads, economic development and the environment, each covering more than a million people. These are centred on major cities that have a sense of place and identity, rather than on regions that don't. Major German, Spanish and Italian cities do the same – and all are wealthier than any British cities, except London. That must be the way forward and the Coalition's plan to replace the RDAs with local enterprise partnerships is a move in the right direction.

Mind you, it won't resolve a deeper cultural divide that will always remain. ...

8. Cutbacks in state, federal programs could impact communities | Dothan Eagle

Editor’s note: The following article focuses on Slocomb, but the town faces challenges familiar to all Wiregrass communities. ...

“Slocomb has been very active in planning and preparing for public and private investment over the past couple of decades,” said Scott Farmer, director of community development with Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Towns like Slocomb search for ways to meet the needs of residents and businesses. The commission’s community development department provides a range of administrative services to Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties.

The department is one of the most productive in Alabama, having written several of the highest rated Community Development Block Grant applications in the state. ...

The road ahead might not be so bright for towns like Slocomb. Farmer said many of the programs are projected to be cut substantially as government budgets are trimmed.

The University of Mary Washington has announced the creation of the University Center for Economic Development and its intent to award a contract to the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to support the university’s regional economic development efforts.

The university issued a request for proposals March 2, 2011, to identify a partner in the field of economic development and research. UMW sought a vendor with experience in economic development principles, in working with governmental organizations, and in gathering local business intelligence. The successful bidder was asked to demonstrate governmental experience at the local, state, and federal levels as well as international experience in order to partner with UMW to establish the University Center for Economic Development.

The Fredericksburg Regional Alliance responded to the university’s request. A UMW selection committee evaluated the FRA proposal, making the recommendation for selection on June 10.

10. Wisconsin business alliance hires economic development pro for new position | RE Journals

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) recently hired Brian Rademacher to fill its newly created position of economic development director.

Most recently, before beginning work with KABA on May 26, Rademacher worked for four years as economic development coordinator for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

In that capacity, he worked with the planning commission for a seven-county region (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will) in Northeastern Illinois. He also worked closely with economic development corporations, local governments and business leaders to provide insight into the economy and to identify needs ranging from industry analysis to workforce development.

His CMAP duties included an analysis of emerging and leading business trends in the region, as well as helping create the economic development component of a comprehensive regional plan known as “Go To 2040.”

11. Carpoolers Unite | Green News | Metro New Orleans

The Regional Planning Commission's (RPC) Metro New Orleans GreenRide is a ridesharing matchmaker — the program offers a free carpool matching service for metro New Orleans commuters. Create a profile, and the program will match you with commuters in your area. The program also will calculate your shared commute into cost savings and emissions reductions: how much gas will you save, and how much carbon emissions you will prevent from entering the atmosphere.

  The program, part of the RPC's Congestion Management Plan (itself a part of the comprehensive Metropolitan Transportation Plan), intends to reduce congestion on roads and highways. RPC transportation planner John King says GreenRide hopes to have up to 1,500 users within the program's first year. (Its first few weeks saw 100 registered users.) "It's all pretty new to us," King says. "We're still getting a feel for what works well in this region."

12. City Spatial Planning Bylaw Draft Agreed by Public Works Ministry - Jakarta

Jakarta Capital City Government has continuously insisted Jakarta City Council (DPRD) to accelerate the Jakarta bylaw draft of spatial plan for 2010-2030 ...

The draft has involved the concept of metropolitan priority area (MPA). MPA is a master plan of megapolitan expansion plan which is also listed within it.

Director of the Regional Spatial Development Area II, Directorate General of Spatial Planning, Kemenpu, Bahal Naiborhu Edison stated that the spatial resolution is not only a government duty alone because it will become regional development guidance which bring direct or indirect impact to the progress of regional development, the public and the private.

Meanwhile, Head of Regional Legislation Board (Balegda) of Jakarta City Council, Triwisaksana expressed that his party is striving hard to immediately ratify the draft before Jakarta`s anniversary on June 22, 2011.

13. EIB and Hungary give boost to development of Danube Region

Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Republic of Hungary signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. This Strategy identifies priorities for action in the fields of infrastructure, environmental protection, knowledge economy and the competitiveness of enterprises. Based on the good model developed for the Baltic Sea Strategy the EIB will contribute to coordinating the activities in the region.

The EU Strategy covers the Danube macro region, with a population of more than 100 million including parts of 8 EU Member States: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania and 6 non-EU countries: Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Ukraine and Moldova.

14. Due to the global financial crisis, regional sustainable development is immensely Inadequate- Robert Persaud

Progress in achieving sustainable development regionally has been immensely inadequate due to the global financial crisis. This is the view of Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud who was speaking at the United Nations Conference of sustainable development on the 20th June.

“In the midst of these constraints, the path to sustainable development becomes even more challenging, there no doubt that some progress have been made individually by states as well as collectively by regions in this regard” the minister said.

The Minister stressed that emphasis needs to be placed on attaining financial resources, technical expertise and regional cooperation.

The UN conference on sustainable development seeks to secure renewed political commitment between Caribbean countries, assess progress from previous meetings and address emerging challenges.


Although the East African Community (EAC) customs and union and the common market came into force in 2005 and 2010 respectively in efforts to ease trade and subsequently reduce poverty for 133.5 people in the region, problems abound.

Truly the five members of the EAC have succeeded in eliminating many of the tariffs on intra-regional trade.

But the trade growth is not as high and fast as it was expected because numerous non-tariff barriers are yet to be tackled.

It is surprising that even in the modern era when blocs such the Eurozone are expanding and galvanising themselves to deal with socioeconomic and terror challenges, some African leaders are still reluctant to adopt regionalism or Pan-Africanism as advocated by political icons such Kwame Nkrumah and Mwalimu Nyerere.
By the look of things, it will be difficult for the EAC’s monetary union to get off the ground next year as it is scheduled without implementing the customs union and common market protocols ....

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

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