Regional Community Development News - Top Stories - July 4 - 6, 2011

 1. In a Growth-Oriented System, Youngstown, Ohio Struggles to Shrink - Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Youngstown ... population dwindle from 115,000 residents to barely 67,000 over just three decades. ... 

Almost a decade ago, ... Youngstown was planning to shrink — but to shrink smart. 

... now — in 2011 — the city of Youngstown is just getting around to removing its first street. Part of the problem is that the state, regional and national policy framework is still oriented for growth. After all, Youngstown can’t go to the Ohio Department of Transportation and ask for money to tear out roads — yet. ODOT’s money is for building roads, and that fuels a dynamic that threatens what progress has made in Youngstown. 

... Youngstown’s population loss doesn’t stop at its borders; the overall Youngstown-Warren region lost 6 percent of its population in the last decade alone. As yet, however, there is no regional plan for right-sizing. In fact, the region continues with a campaign of widening roads in the ever-more-distant suburbs, while allowing its urban infrastructure to crumble.

 2. Pinole Snubs Regional Planning Agency - Pinole, CA Patch

The Pinole City Council voted unanimously Tuesday not to renew its 2011-12 membership in the Association of Bay Area Governments, the agency that oversees regional planning and other issues.

Pinole is the first city to withdraw from the 101-member organization for the new fiscal year, said ABAG assistant executive director Patricia Jones. City officials can attend association meetings but will lose their voting rights.

The association, founded in 1951, provides planning assistance, some funding and lobbying for cities and counties around the nine-county Bay Area. It also sets regional policy guidelines on housing and transportation issues.

In deciding not to pay the $4,030 dues, council members questioned the value of the regional organization for small cities. While council members noted that the association has helped to obtain some funding for the city ... they said they'd like to drop out for a year to test the value of membership.

 3. Wellington Webb: Don't let the stock show get away - The Denver Post

... For all of us who grew up with the National Western Stock Show in Denver and those who proudly call Denver home, we must consider all of the arguments before letting a 105-year-old institution leave the Mile High City.

"Regionalism" has become a buzz word, with supporters of the move to Aurora saying it is the best thing for both communities. But what many Denver residents may not remember is that this isn't the first time that Denver almost lost two of its vital assets, which would have changed the face of downtown.

As mayor, I believed strongly that a great city must have three priorities: public safety, a good educational system, and be the cultural and entertainment hub of the region. During my term, there was a real danger that Denver was going to lose the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche ...

... I know that I don't want to look back in a few years and say, "Remember when the Stock Show was in Denver? That's one we let get away."

 4. Ricky Mathews column: Leadership Council announces next steps |

What may be the most ambitious regional collaboration in our recent history is underway. ...

... Coastal Recovery Commission (CRC) of Alabama, then the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council that grew from the CRC's December 2010 report. Now, we're ... about to apply our goals more broadly and grow our membership into an even more effective regional force.

The effort that began as Coastal Alabama's self-examination of vulnerabilities in the wake of the 2010 oil spill has evolved into a set of ambitious goals ... new Leadership Council ... Coastal Alabama Leadership Foundation (CALF), to raise funds and apply for planning and implementation grants. 

... we've deepened the understanding among business, academic, environmental and public health leaders about the critical value of a broad, regional perspective. The regional outlook we thought we had wasn't nearly broad enough or inclusive enough. Now we know.

... Leadership Council enjoys the passionate commitment of key corporate ...

 5. Leadership Triangle Elects Board Members - North Carolina

Leadership Triangle is a non-profit organization established in 1992 to educate and promote regionalism across the separate communities of the Triangle. It does this through regional and leadership development classes, seminars and awards. They strive to build leadership capacity, cooperation, and networking opportunities across the public, private and civic sector, preserving local uniqueness while acting regionally to deal with issues such as traffic congestion, water quality, housing affordability, open space, school funding, economic and social equity. Since 1992 Leadership Triangle has brought together emerging leaders from all corners of the Triangle, building bridges across Wake, Chatham, Durham and Orange communities and across business, government, nonprofit, academic, and grassroots leadership. They connect current and emerging community leaders, honoring differences, yet finding common ground on which to address regional issues and ...

 6. Let's get new RTA bill done - Wisconsin

The same Republicans who just killed the Dane County Regional Transit Authority say they're willing to allow RTAs in Wisconsin if they're more consistent and accountable.
Dane County needs an RTA to encourage regional cooperation on transportation planning to avoid gridlock.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, and Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, played key roles during the recent state budget process in nixing the legal status of several RTAs including Dane County's.

Yet they told the State Journal editorial board recently that they'll encourage more study and a compromise bill that can be approved as early as next year or by 2013.

We intend to hold them to that pledge.

Vos seems to want a one-size-fits-all approach to RTAs, which we don't understand. After all, the transportation needs in Dane County are different than in rural areas or, for that matter, southeastern Wisconsin.

Vos also said he wants to make sure property taxpayers are protected.

 7. Europe Stifles Drivers in Favor of Mass Transit and Walking -

While American cities are synchronizing green lights to improve traffic flow and offering apps to help drivers find parking, many European cities are doing the opposite: creating environments openly hostile to cars. The methods vary, but the mission is clear — to make car use expensive and just plain miserable enough to tilt drivers toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

Cities including Vienna to Munich and Copenhagen have closed vast swaths of streets to car traffic. Barcelona and Paris have had car lanes eroded by popular bike-sharing programs. Drivers in London and Stockholm pay hefty congestion charges just for entering the heart of the city. And over the past two years, dozens of German cities have joined a national network of “environmental zones” where only cars with low carbon dioxide emissions may enter.

Likeminded cities welcome new shopping malls and apartment buildings but severely restrict the allowable number of parking spaces. ...

 8. Parliament backs development funding for regions ‘in transition’

Plans to create a new category of regions to benefit from EU cohesion funding in 2014-2020 were supported ...Better targeted and more transparent European structural funds, to help reduce regional disparities while rising to the challenges of the Europe 2020 strategy, were among other demands made in the resolution.

A majority of MEPs voted in favour of creating a category of regions ‘in transition’ which have a “per capita GDP between 75% and 90% of the EU average” (…) “in order to avoid unequal treatment of regions in spite of their similar situations”. The argument for this is that some regions have risen above the 75% threshold that entitles them to receive “convergence” funding, while others that were previously better off have been hit by the crisis or by structural problems that have hampered their development.

The current ‘phasing-out’ and ‘phasing-in’ systems ... replaced by more predictable and balanced structural aid over seven years for around 50 regions

 9. Brussels penalises UK museums, firms and councils £500k for not flying EU flag | Mail Online

Fines for failing to display the EU flag and logos should be scrapped, a government minister said yesterday.

Brussels has imposed financial penalties of almost £500,000 on councils, museums, universities, travel firms and business groups.

Each had breached rules that require display of EU symbols in return for grant money – a system Eric Pickles said was unfair.

‘It defies common sense that the EU can hammer public bodies with huge fines for merely not flying their flag,’ said the communities and local government secretary.

‘This is a prime example of bureaucracy taking over, with organisations being hit for the most minor breaches for over-complicated rules.

‘The end result is British taxpayers’ money being wasted on design guidelines, form-filling and millions of pounds of red tape. These fines should be axed.’

The fines relate to money given to the UK by the European Regional Development Fund since 2000.


10. EDITORIAL: Transportation vital for economic development

When looking to the region's future, it's important to look at the big picture -- and the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission is doing exactly that.

For the first time in NIRPC's 45-year history, the agency has approved a blueprint that marries transportation and economic development.

The 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan details 30 years of transportation projects along with land-use alternatives and other goals.

The NIRPC plan aims to revitalize the region's urban core -- a valuable aim that dovetails nicely with efforts like that of the Gary and Region Investment Project. GRIP, a major effort sponsored by The Times Media Co. and the Metropolitan Planning Council, in conjunction with groups like the Urban Land Institute, is looking at specific projects that hold promise in improving the quality of life in the region and boosting economic development as well.

NIRPC's plan aims to create livable communities throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.

11. Regional Planning to Consider Six Areas of Annexation - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CA-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings, Lincoln - Nebraska

The Regional Planning Commission ... hold six public hearings on whether land adjacent to Grand Island should be annexed into the city.

Specifics on the areas that are being proposed for annexation, as well as other information that will be presented at the meeting tonight, are available on the city's website at

The six areas being considered for annexation will assume no increase in valuation; however there will be additional taxes paid when the property comes into the city and is subject to city property taxes and as tax shifts occur from Northwest schools to Grand Island public schools as a result of annexation.

12. UNCC rolls out regional-indicators site - Earth & Energy

UNC Charlotte's Urban Institute has unveiled a new website that tracks how the Charlotte region's doing on the economy, environment, education and other indicators.

The institute launched its Charlotte Regional Indicators Project in 2007. The new version allows its database to be updated with fresh material as soon as it's released from the source.

"It is our hope that the Indicators website will become a sort of 'community commons,' where the data and commentary found here will spark more serious conversations and dialogue across the region – in city council meetings, neighborhood gatherings, corporate and nonprofit board rooms, in classrooms, and around the family dinner table – as we all strive for that elusive shared vision of what the Charlotte region can be," ...

13. Thawing Arctic opens up new shipping routes on the 'roof of the world' | Environment |

Cold is the new hot in shipping circles as melting sea ice opens up prospects for trade between China and the west to move across the roof of the world.

An increasing amount of seaborne traffic is beginning to move on the so-called Northern Sea Route which traverses the Siberian coast. There are also hopes of opening up more of the North West Passage above Canada.

The attraction of the voyage is that it is one-third of the distance of more traditional routes through the Suez Canal. This means less carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions and less fuel. It also means less pirates.

"Ships operating in or near the Arctic use advanced diesel engines that release black carbon into one of the most sensitive regions for climate change," ...

The study team's key conclusion, based on the modelling of future emissions in the region, is that "short-lived forcing of about 4.5 gigatons of black carbon from Arctic shipping may increase the global warming potential due to ships' carbon dioxide emissions by some 17 to 78%."

14. Call for regional adaptation strategy

Broader regional collaboration on adaptation and joint meteorological data management and knowledge sharing to plan on water and food security must be achieved for water management in the face of climate change.

Water expert Dr Ainun Nishat, speaking as the chair, said the meeting agreed on greater collaboration on two blocks. One was on climate change and its impacts on regional water resources and another on sharing of knowledge and capacity building.

The recommendations came at the end of a two-day consultative meeting yesterday between water experts of Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan.

Ministry of Environment and Forests and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development ...

The meeting's outcome will be presented at Bhutan Climate Summit 2011 in Thimpu titled “For a Living Himalayas” at the end of this year, said speakers at the meeting.

15. The Hindu : Opinion / Letters : Telangana issue - Letters

      a. Establishing a State will not eradicate poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and inequality (July 6). An amicable solution to the Telangana issue is the need of the hour. There has to be a mechanism where regionalism will be addressed without affecting national integrity. But the political class, instead of creating an amicable relationship among the regions, seems only to be fuelling implacable hatred.
      b. The best that the Centre can do is iron out contentious issues through deft bargaining.
      c. Telangana may be a so-called backward area but there are a number of such regions in India. Does this mean that all of them must be given statehood? Innocent youth spearheading the agitation appear to have become pawns in the hands of the political class. Eliminating corruption, and not a separate state, is the key to development.
      d. The editorial “End this drift on Telangana” (July 6) was well-intentioned. The need of the hour is political consensus.

16. RCC to host first meeting on implementation of regional strategy on justice and home affairs in South East Europe -

The first meeting of the Steering Group on Regional Strategy on Justice and Home Affairs, designed to facilitate the Strategy implementation, will open in Sarajevo ... under the auspices of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat.

... discuss implementation of the South East European (SEE) Regional Strategic Document 2011-2013 on Justice and Home Affairs and its Action Plan, endorsed by the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) ministers of justice and home affairs ...

It will review, update and consolidate regional strategic choices, challenges and priorities; and establish a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to assess the level of regional cooperation within justice and home affairs area.

...joint RCC-European Commission working group meeting on international cooperation in criminal justice and law enforcement cooperation in the fight against trans-border organised crime, within the Multi-Beneficiary Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) Programme.

17. The trouble with transparency | TransConflict | Transform, Transcend, Translate - TransConflict Serbia

Two mirror myths obscure useful discussion of trajectories in the Balkans. The first, the notion that the region is dominated by primeval ethnic hatred, has been pretty well dispatched by critics and pundits. ...

The companion myth, unlike its twin, remains not only alive but a cornerstone of an international orthodoxy currently stunting regional development. It goes as follows. In many parts of the Balkans – especially but not exclusively Bosnia – there exists a robust tradition of multi-ethnic cooperation.  ...

... problem with this is that it neglects the bedrock of the region’s material history. Ethnicity certainly is not the determining factor in Balkan relationships, but it and other fault lines of communal relations have a solid basis in durable problems related to topography and associated issues around communication and transportation. It always has been easier to move into and out of the Balkans than among points within the region. Therefore, serial invasions and settlement patterns have tended to leave puddles of people who (according to the archaeological record) quickly lost touch with each other. Under these conditions, developing linguistic, religious, and – most of all – localist distinctions have created social differences and patronage-based patterns of subsistence and communal support that remain fiercely robust even in the face of international efforts to inundate them with civic rhetoric.

This baseline condition means in the Balkans – at all times and places – developments and decisions related to communications and transportation matter more than forming local versions of such political forms as monarchy, autocracy, or democratic constitutionalism. ...

18. IU releases blueprint for regional campuses to collaborate - News and Tribune

A new strategic planning process between Indiana University’s regional campuses means more opportunities for its students.

Sue Giesecke, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at IU Kokomo, said the new Blueprint for Student Attainment, released in June, provides a way for the regional campus leaders to collaborate to make the campuses stronger as a whole, while maintaining individual identities.

Now that the planning process is in place, Giesecke said the next year will be spent determining specific action steps to expand student opportunities. The Blueprint for Student Attainment sets priorities of collaboration, engagement and excellence to chart progress for the regional campuses.

19. Why Regional Pitching Can Leverage Big Success - Penny C. Sansevieri

With all the talk of Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media, we often forget how we used to promote a book: locally. Many books that hit big success did so by building a regional buzz. But regional seems a lot less sexy these days and often gets overlooked. If media is being pursued, it's often on a national level, bypassing individual markets altogether.

One of the things I've found about regional promotion is that it can often surprise you. When we worked on The Kennedy Detail last November, we had enormous success regionally, while major stations and national markets seemed to lag in interest for this exceptional title. In fact, I believe that part of the reason this book hit the bestseller list was because of the regional buzz.

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