Regional Community Development News - Top Stories - July 11-14, 2011

 1. Online index measures 'resilience' of U.S. metro areas - UB Reporter

Which U.S. metro region is most likely to come out of the next recession, natural disaster or other regional “shock” relatively unscathed? Rochester, Minn. A little more battered might be College Station-Bryan, Texas.

These two regions are ranked first and last, respectively, by a new online tool measuring more than 360 U.S. metros for their “regional resilience,” or capacity to weather acute and chronic stresses ranging from gradual economic decline to rapid population gains to earthquakes and floods.

The Resilience Capacity Index (RCI), developed by Kathryn A. Foster, director of the UB Regional Institute, produces a single statistic for each region based on its performance across 12 economic, socio-demographic and community connectivity indicators, ranging from income equality and business environment to voter participation and the population of health insured. A gauge for how well a region is positioned to adapt to stress, the index can help regional leaders identify strengths ...

 2. Building Resilient Regions | Harnessing the power of metropolitan regions

The Network on Building Resilient Regions (BRR) examines the power of metropolitan regions to respond to local and national challenges. BRR brings together a group of experts to investigate why metro regions matter now, what constitutes resilience in the face of challenges, and what factors help to build and sustain strong metro regions.

The site is organized by topic area

* Economic Insecurities focuses on the impact of poverty and foreclosures

* Economic Resilience examines those factors that allow a region to respond to challenges

* Infrastructure focuses on challenges of infrastructure, particularly transportation

* Governance examines policymaking and the role of government in creating strong regions

* Immigration focuses on the benefits and challenges of immigration in regions

BRR is affiliated with the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

 3. Going it alone - Baton Rouge Business Report 

Marketing gurus and economic development wonks have been spinning out terms like "clusters" and "regionalism" and "corridors" for more than two decades. Call it whatever you want, each buzzword essentially has the same meaning: a group of individual somethings [companies or industries, cities or parishes] joining forces to leverage resources to achieve a greater good.

... A diverse group coming together to build upon strengths, collaborate on problems and seek out new opportunities invariably produces far better and more innovative results than simply going it alone. The trick, of course, is that everyone must give up a little something for the greater good. Doing so, in theory, makes life better for everyone.

When it comes to geography there's an even more practical positive: Banding together creates greater population numbers, which leads to greater federal dollars.

This, of course, is one of the reasons why metropolitan forms of government get created. ...

 4. Green jobs flourish in Sacramento area - Sacramento Bee

The green economy accounts for about one of every 22 jobs in the Sacramento area, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.

In a nationwide study of more than 100 metropolitan areas, the Washington, D.C.-based institution said local solar installers, government agencies, recyclers, organic farms and other clean companies employed a total of 37,319 people, or about 4.5 percent of the capital region's workforce.

Sacramento's high concentration of green jobs ranked third in the nation behind the Albany, N.Y., area, where the green sector accounts for about 6.3 percent of employment, and Knoxville, Tenn., where green jobs are 4.9 percent of its workforce.

"This shows that the green sector is a big part of our overall economy," said Bill Mueller, chief executive officer of Valley Vision, a local nonprofit organization that's dedicated to regional planning.

... bright spots in a region hard hit by the real estate downturn, state budget cutbacks and double-digit unemployment.

 5. So much for California’s anti-sprawl law, continued « The Berkeley Blog

My post on the shortcomings of SB 375, California’s anti-sprawl law, generated a swift response from ... two smart growth advocates for whom I hold a lot of admiration and respect. In their detailed post, which is largely a critique of the San Diego Association of Government’s (SANDAG) sustainable community strategy (SCS) plan and less about the arguments I made, they describe my post as “poorly informed.” Yet nowhere do they contradict the points I raise about the inherent weaknesses of SB 375 or the problems with the SANDAG SCS (with which they seem to wholeheartedly agree).

They do cite some examples to counter my claim that SB 375 may just result in a lot of ineffectual regional planning. They point out that SB 375 has served as a rhetorical weapon against sprawl that may help fight I-5 widening in San Diego and force changes to planned highway projects in the region, all while galvanizing new interest groups to fight for strong SCSs in the long term. ...

 6. Government & Private Business Begin Work on a 40 Year Growth Plan For Area | WDEF News 12 | Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley

Industrial development in the tri-state region is on a roll.

Big employers like Volkswagen, Amazon, Wacker and Gestamp can bring prosperity, but poor long range planning can cause plenty of headaches.

Leaders here in the tri-state area are beginning to look 40 years into the future.

Beth Jones, director of the Southeast Tennessee Development District made the presentation before the Hamilton County Commission, asking for half a million dollars total over a 3 year period to develop a regional long-range plan. A similar proposal was made to the Chattanooga city council Tuesday.

The goal is to raise a total of 3-million dollars in seed money, and then asking for full funding from HUD in Washington.

BETH JONES,DIR. S-E DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT "Unless we take a very focused effort on trying to perhaps guide that growth over the next 40 years, this region could go backwards.

 7. Planning begins for Wisconsin Point | Superior Telegram | Superior, Wisconsin

Councilor Tom Bridge has long fought for a Wisconsin Point free of illegal dumping and signs that some people just don’t care.

That ideal led him to contemplate the notion of having the state take over the site for a park.

But short of that idea — planning how to manage the pristine dune that separates Lake Superior and Allouez Bay gets underway Friday.

People representing the city of Superior, Douglas County, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Lake Superior Natural Estuarine Research Reserve, Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources come together with Northwest Regional Planning Commission to develop a management plan for Wisconsin Point.

The goal of the plan is to establish a long-range vision for Wisconsin Point, said Jason Laumann, a planner with Northwest Regional Planning Commission.


 8. Are States an Anachronism? - The Urbanophile

Today and Thursday I’ll give a point-counterpoint on the relevancy and importance of states in the modern era.

Obviously states aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but a number of folks have suggested that state’s aren’t just obsolete, they are downright pernicious in their effects on local economies.

One principal exponent of this point of view is Richard Longworth, who has written about it extensively in his book “Caught in the Middle” and elsewhere. Here’s what he has to say on the topic:

In the global era, states are simply too weak and too divided to provide for the welfare of their citizens…The reason is a deep, intractable problem. Midwestern states make no sense as units of government. Most Midwestern states don’t really hang together – politically, economically, or socially. In truth, these states and their governments are incompetent to deal with twenty-first century problems because of their history, rooted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

 9. New ECD regional directors, project managers named | Business & Heritage Clarksville

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner (ECD) Bill Hagerty announced June 8, the selection of eight new regional directors as part of the reorganization of ECD resulting from the Jobs4TN initiative. The new regional directors will serve as the primary point-of-contact for Tennessee companies seeking state assistance with expansion or with accessing state services. In addition, Haslam and Hagerty also announced members of ECD’s national project management team, the division within ECD responsible for the recruitment of new companies to the state.

ECD’s regional directors will reside in each of the nine regions outlined in the Jobs4TN plan and will have primary responsibility for working with existing companies, aligning workforce development strategies and developing a regional strategic plan.

... professionals to implement our Jobs4TN program. ... move to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, ...

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is optimistic the New England states can reaffirm their commitment to renewable energy sources and reducing greenhouse gases.

Speaking on a Monday conference call from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Shumlin said a regional collaboration of New England states and eastern Canadian provinces has taken steps to develop a more complete renewable energy portfolio and strengthen the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The development of reliable, "green" energy will have a special focus in Vermont regarding hydropower generated in Canada.

"We're going to leave here with a commitment to work together with the ambassadors here and with the New England governors and Eastern premiers to really push the envelope on the question of how we get green, reliable hydro as an able source of power for New England," Shumlin said.

10. Enhance disaster preparedness-Gatsinzi tells regional states - In2EastAfrica

The Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Affairs, Gen Marcel Gatsinzi has urged regional countries to enhance their disaster preparedness capacity as well as build appropriate capacity to mitigate the impact of dsasters.

... Disaster Response Tabletop Exercise (TTX), organised by the ministry in conjunction with various US organs.

Gatsinzi said that the readiness of countries and the entire region to manage a highly disruptive pandemic is of prime concern.

The specialised training workshop that brings together 100 participants aims at enhancing disaster management, humanitarian assistance and counteracting pandemic diseases.

“We are here because we all realise that the occurrence of a devastating pandemic is not science fiction. Preparedness for a potential pandemic is of utmost importance and requires the coordinated action of all segments of government and society.”
It is partly organised by the US Africa Command, USAFRICOM.


11. Building Pax Asia-Pacifica - Fidel V. Ramos - Project Syndicate

One of the main sources of tension in Asia nowadays are the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, where the Philippines, Vietnam, China, and others have conflicting claims. In Chinese media reports, the heightened “unfriendliness” in the region has allegedly arisen from “bad rumors and speculations” on the part of Filipino commentators. But the reality is starker: the intrusions by Chinese aircraft into Filipino airspace in May; Chinese patrol boats ...; and, most serious of all, a Chinese missile frigate firing at Filipino fishing boats in February near Palawan’s Quirino atoll.

Will armed conflict result from these recurring – and, it seems, escalating – disputes between the Philippines and Vietnam on one side, and China on the other? War, of course, is in no one’s interest. But the risk posed by these disputes is growing, because China’s relations with both the Philippines and Vietnam are at their lowest point in decades.

12. 2011 PIC/Partners: Fostering Partnerships for Development | Regional | Solomon Islands News

The Pacific Plan

"At the regional level, the Pacific Plan remains the center of regional development and the platform for regional cooperation and integration to support collective responses in addressing regional development priorities," said Mr Slade.

"The role of development partners in the development of the region, in collaboration with island countries, is at the heart of the Pacific Plan. This is an acknowledgement of the significant contribution that development partners contribute to the sustainable development of the region."

The Pacific Plan was adopted by Forum Leaders in 2005 as the master strategy for strengthening regional cooperation and integration. The Pacific Plan is based on the concept of regionalism: that is, countries working together for their joint and individual benefit.

13. North Adams sets out to build first master plan in 40 years - Berkshire Eagle Online

The city has taken a step toward creating its first master plan in 40 years.

Monday night, more than 40 residents and some facilitators from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission spent two hours "visioning" the city’s future. Once completed, the master plan’s strategy will help guide decisions -- from development to green technologies -- in North Adams for years to come.

"We’re starting with the most basic vision -- the goals and strategies -- over the next few months," said Amy Kacala, a senior planner with Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Kacala is working with the city on its plan.

She said the city’s three-year planning process is designed to coincide with "Sustainable Berkshires," the Regional Planning Commission’s master plan for the Berkshires. Great Barrington is also crafting a master plan that
coincides with the regional plan’s timeline.


14. Duke's Cathy Davidson Has A Bold Plan for Change | Fast Company

It's a bracing perspective: Jettison the old criteria and stop comparing the future only with the past. Fifteen years into the commercialization of the Internet, with people coming of age who don't remember anything different, Davidson argues that we're at the perfect moment to begin reimagining our institutions and developing practices to deal with the onslaught of information, the reality of constant connectedness, and the challenges of global collaboration. We need to scrap the legacies of industrialism, everything from clock punching and rigid rules to SATs and HR departments. Instead, start celebrating "collaboration by difference" -- every team needs some people to count the passes and others to spot the gorilla. Manage your relationship with technology by scheduling offline "planned interruptions." And be mindful of which conversations need to take place in person or over the phone versus on email or text.


Donald Michael, is a professor emeritus in planning and public policy - books - The Next Generation, The Unprepared Society, Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn.

MISHLOVE: ... One of the things I think you point out -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is that really to date there's been virtually no long-range social planning in government at all.

MICHAEL: Well, I think that's generally true, and that has resulted in very serious consequences, an accumulated pile-up of problems and possibilities both, that to be dealt with are going to require long-range planning. We're really in an ironic dilemma in this society, and you put it very well in your introduction -- that we've got to do it, whether we're talking about education or health or use of natural resources or many other areas, building cities and the like. We've got to do long-range planning in order to use our resources effectively and to have them available in the form we need in the future.

16. Register for the National Rural Transportation Conference by July 25 - Below

17. So how should we measure regional excellence in homeland security? Your suggestions are critical. - 

Request for input. Measuring Regional Excellence by Bill Dodge - Below