Regional Community Development News - August 30 - September 19, 2011

Stories about those working across boundaries at various scales of regional community following the "community motive" for security, stability and sustainability of humanity. 

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0000 - Earth

The Metropolitan Moment - The Atlantic Cities

The early decades of this century are shaping up to be historically disruptive and defining. The global economic order is in a state of radical transition. ...

One unifying, simplifying thread emerges in this tumultuous period: the power of cities and metropolitan areas.

The world has arrived at a Metropolitan Moment. For the first time in history, cities and their metropolitan environs house more than half of the world’s population. In the United States, metropolitan areas contain 84 percent of the population and generate 91 percent of GDP.

Metropolitan communities, here and abroad, represent the true economic geography. They agglomerate the world’s talented workers, innovative firms and risk-taking entrepreneurs, and concentrate unique assets and industry clusters that define regional competitiveness and drive national economies. ...

With many national ... government dangerously adrift, the onus is on cities and metros to act like the engines of national prosperity they are ...

0900 - Arctic Ocean

1000 - Europe


1. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy « Research Media – Europe Research & Scientific Dissemination

Despite significant investment, areas of Europe remain divided along lines of socioeconomic development. Commissioner Johannes Hahn speaks exclusively about the manifold ways in which the Directorate-General for Regional Policy is working to alleviate such disparities and harness greater prosperity

What is your vision regarding the development of regional policy across the EU?

The debate on the future of European regional policy after the current funding period ends in 2013 is well underway. In the context of both the Europe 2020 Strategy – which sets out the sustainable economic development blueprint for the Union for the next decade – and the EU budget review, 2011 is in many ways a pivotal year for laying down the foundations for the future policy.

We are working hard on preparing a regional policy which is relevant and appropriate for the economic situation of today. The financial crisis has underlined the need for a strong development policy, supporting ...

2. EU mayors and regional politicians launch dialogue with partners in the Eastern neighbourhood

The Conference of regional and local authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) was inaugurated in the Polish city of Pozna today. The new platform was set up by the EU Committee of the Regions and brings together 36 mayors and regional politicians from the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It aims to promote cross-border cooperation and give regional and local authorities a voice in the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

Political developments in Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood have an impact on the EU’s prosperity and stability. This is why the European Union launched the “‘Eastern Partnership” in December 2008. Proposed measures to deepen the EU’s relationship with the six neighbouring countries range from the negotiation of comprehensive free trade agreements to gradual visa liberalisation.

... To support these plans, the EU Committee of the Regions set up the Conference of regional and local authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP).

1116 United.Kingdom

High-speed rail: Railroad to nowhere | The Economist

... high-speed rail is a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to reshape the country’s economic geography. Most of the other countries that have made big investments in high-speed lines, such as China, Italy and Spain, have likewise adduced the supposed benefits to regional development.

Yet Britain’s infrastructure demands are different from other countries’. Its regular trains are already faster than most other nations’ equivalents. Britain is sufficiently small that even without pricey futuristic technology, Manchester and Leeds are only just over two hours from London. And a greater proportion of the population is already connected to the road and rail network than elsewhere in Europe.

It is also doubtful whether the proposed link would do much to address regional variations. The effect of such projects in other countries has often been to strengthen the competitive advantage of an already dominant city. In France, more businesses have relocated their headquarters to the capital


Minister accused of 'lording over' councils with collaboration move - Wales News

COUNCIL leaders have attacked Welsh Government plans for neighbouring local authorities to work together within six new regional groups.

Local government minister Carl Sargeant wants some services to be shared across local authority boundaries to improve the accountability, efficiency and delivery of services.
The regional groups – North Wales, Mid and West, Swansea Bay, Cardiff and the Vale, Cwm Taf and Gwent – have been drawn up in Cardiff Bay to mirror local health board and police boundaries.

In a Cabinet report, Mr Sargeant said the new footprints would increasingly become the regional structure for significant collaboration as the current “pick and mix” approach for shared services was too complex.

But leaders of some of Wales’ biggest councils last night labelled the proposals “crass” and accused the minister of “lording over” local authorities.

... calls ... full debate...possible reorganisation ... some admitting that having 22 councils is “unsustainable”.    

1172 Finland

How Startups Are Built In Tampere: Case Protomo & Startup Stairs

Tampere is definitely one of Finland's start-up hubs, thanks to the New Factory. The entity was created in 2008 out of frustration with regional cooperation (or lack thereof). 'There was too much talk and paperwork going on between innovation programs and various institutions in the region', ... 'We wanted to create sustainable cooperation between all those partners through concrete projects'. That is how the New Factory's programs were founded. ...
Protomo was founded in 2009 by Hermia Ltd. and operations started first in Jyväskylä and quickly expanded into a nation-wide program.

... one of Protomo's main strengths is matchmaking teams before projects even start. If you have a start-up idea, you can come to Protomo's introductory events to find team members.
The New Factory is mostly publicly funded. Their programs facilitate exceptional regional cooperation that other innovation institutions can definitely learn from. ...

1351 Hungary 

Regional Library and Knowledge Center, Pécs, Hungary

Pécs, a multicultural city with a rich history, was the European Capital of Culture in 2010. For the location of the new library a remote, run down, undeveloped plot was chosen. This meant the new building did not have the constraint or possibility to directly match other buildings.  ...

2000 - Africa


1. Regional political parties meet in Nairobi

The first ever meeting bringing together political parties from all East African Community (EAC) member states kicked off ...  in Nairobi, Kenya, with officials reiterating the need for partner states to cede some powers if integration is to take shape.

The forum, that brings together 200 delegates, provides an opportunity to the political organisations to examine their manifestos, establish areas of convergence and propose ways on how to participate in the regional political processes.

Lack of political will on the part of some partner states has largely been cited as one major challenge to the current efforts to foster regional integration.

Kenyan Prime Minister ... still a huge gap between the political class and bureaucrats, which makes it difficult for important decisions to be implemented within partner states.

Rwanda Patriotic Front ...if the political federation concept is to achieve any success, it should be taken down to the grassroots for internalisation.

2. Kenya: Concerns over ceding rights to advance regional integration can be addressed through shared values - Janneh | Shout-Africa

Ministers responsible for promoting Africa’s regional integration agenda assembled in Nairobi, Kenya ... for the 5th Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration (COMAI V) on the theme – Integration and Sovereignty.

... UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said that countries have expressed legitimate fears and concerns with respect to entering into collective regional agreements, which translate into “a state ceding its rights to adopt alternative policies or change track as it deems fit.”

He highlighted the fear of being locked into policy regimes that may be deemed detrimental to a country’s overall interests, and ...

... these concerns point to the importance of underpinning agreements on shared values such as: democratic ideals, respect for human rights, promotion of gender equality, promotion of cultural and religious tolerance and the building of inclusive and harmonious societies.


Egypt: Turkish Premier visits Cairo to enhance regional cooperation

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived Cairo Monday on a visit aimed at the establishment of a Strategic Cooperation Council between Egypt and Turkey on regional, political and economic affairs. Analysts said Turkey is expected to expand its role in the region by improving Turkish-African relations and also playing a bigger part in the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, which will be solidified by Erdogan’s meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the week.

Erdogan payed a historical visit to famine-hit Somalia last month, where he offered his country's assistance to the millions at risk of death from starvation in one of the worst humanitarian catastrophies to hit the globe in recent memory.

Erdogan's Egypt trip, where he is expected to address the Cairo-based Arab League, will be followed by visits to Libya and Tunisia, which, along with Egypt, have formed a successful North African Spring.

3000 - Atlantic Ocean

4000 - Antarctica

5000 - Americas


CARIBBEAN-Violence ‘harming’ regional growth

High levels of crime and insecurity, fuelled by organised gangsters, are threatening to undermine social and economic growth in the Caribbean and Latin America, the United Nations development chief has warned, even as the organisation praised the region for making “steady improvements” in governance.

“Trans-national criminal organizations pose a huge threat to state security institutions whose mandate is limited to the national context,” the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark said while on a visit Wednesday to Mexico, torn by bloody struggles between drug smuggling gangs and Mexican authorities.
As the UN agency prepares a special development report on Latin America that will focus on security, Clark said that chronic insecurity and entrenched inequality could undermine hard-won gains in governance as well as development in the region.

5130 - Canada


Discovery Board developing Hiking Trail Network - Peninsula News - The Packet

The Bonavista Peninsula is a hiker’s paradise and the Discovery Regional Development Board (DRDB), will work with municipalities to create a regional trail network that will signify the peninsula as a hiking destination.
One of the core functions of the Discovery Board is to undertake capacity building and provide support for stakeholders to strengthen the economic environment of the zone. Each year, the Discovery Board works with its partners to develop key initiatives for the region. The primary goal of the REDB is to identify opportunities and create projects that will stimulate diversification of the region’s economy. Each initiative should increase competitiveness and prosperity, have linkages and partnerships with in the community, be beneficial to the economic development of an area and lead to sustainable economic activities.

... expanded trail network will draw people to the province and visitors will be more inclined to stay in the region longer.

5130-09 Alberta

1. Critics slam updated land-use plan for northern Alberta

The provincial government's newest, and potentially final, land-use plan for northeastern Alberta offers virtually no progress on addressing some of the most controversial issues facing the oil rich region, environmental groups say.

Specifically, the lack of strategies to reduce tailings ponds, limit land disturbances and manage biodiversity, including the province's threatened population of woodland caribou, makes the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan a dysfunctional document, the groups insist.

"They have continued to delay some of the tough decisions," said Jennifer Grant of the Pembina Institute. "This was a missed opportunity to strengthen the document."

While the government says it is working on those missing pieces, many are not scheduled to be completed for two years or longer. As such, the environmentalists question the province's resolve to complete the strategies, especially since a new premier and cabinet will soon be in office.


2. Editorial: Native grassland shouldn't be sold

The province's decision to sell 6,500 hectares of vital grassland habitat is a short-sighted mistake that flies in the face of recommendations from the government's own advisory council.

The Alberta government has put out a request for proposals to develop Cypress County native grasslands into irrigated farmland. These are the same Crown lands that were offered under a secret deal last fall to SLM Spud Farms, but which fell through amid public criticism over the lack of transparency.

The Department of Sustainable Resource Development's decision to put this parcel of sensitive land up for sale through an open bidding process might be more transparent, but it is still the wrong decision. It's being made outside of the context of the province's land-use regional plan, which is only in Phase 2 of its development.
The sale of sensitive land in need of protection undermines the credibility of the planning process.

5130-10 British.Columbia

A definition of the role of the CRD -

More accurate information needs to be provided as to what the Capital Regional District (CRD) is and what it is not. CRD governance, akin to all regional districts in the province, is not based on population but on large geographic boundaries. Regional districts have three basic roles according to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development website. Regional districts provide political and administrative framework for:

• Provision of region-wide services such as regional parks, regional planning, solid waste ...
• Provision of inter-municipal or sub-regional services (via agreements) such as ...
• Acting as the local government for the electoral areas and providing local services such as drinking water and fire protection to communities within these areas.

CRD is not a fourth level of government. It is modeled as a federation composed of municipalities and electoral areas in the large geographic area, each of which has representation on the regional board. ...

5140 - United States


1. Buses for Planes Would Save $89 Million in Subsidized Cities - Bloomberg

Taxpayers would save up to $89 million a year if buses rather than planes served 38 cities where the U.S. subsidizes flights, the American Bus Association said in a study.

The average cost of providing service would be reduced by as much as $291 per passenger, according to the Washington-based trade group’s study. Rather than considering only air service for these cities, the U.S. should “look at what makes the most sense,” ...

The association, which represents companies such as FirstGroup Plc (FGP)’s Greyhound Lines Inc., looked at cities within 150 miles of a medium-sized or large hub airport that have flights subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.

Projected per-passenger bus costs are lower than current air fares on more than half the routes studied, meaning commercial bus companies may be able to operate on them without government support, the bus association said. Smaller subsidies would be required on some routes, it said.

2. Regional Foodsheds: Are Our Local Zoning and Land Use Regulations Healthy?  SSRN

Abstract: Governments at all levels have become increasingly interested in fostering healthy eating habits and sustainable agricultural production. Promoting access to locally grown produce is an important part of many policy goals seeking to address these concerns, and the concept of regional foodsheds has risen in popularity as one method to achieve these goals. Research indicates that community based food systems have the potential to address food security, public health, social justice, and ecological health. Food production and consumption patterns are influenced by a range of federal, state, and municipal policies, but meaningful change in regional food system policies is likely to start with state and local governments, which can take proactive measures to strengthen their regional foodsheds through a variety of land use planning and regulatory actions. This Article focuses on how existing land use plans and regulations can promote healthier and more sustainable ...

3. Gregory Rodriguez: A cultural civics lesson - Los Angeles Times

"Successful civic engagement all about capturing and harnessing empathy. Ultimately, we're talking about wanting people to care for their neighbors, communities, their country."

At first ... "empathy" evokes vaguely religious associations, something well beyond the reach of civic organizations. ...Simon Baron-Cohen ... calls it "double-mindedness," an individual's ability to take into account the feelings of another. Human cruelty, or simply unkindness, occurs when individuals are single-minded, too wrapped up in their own interests to identify with, let alone respond to, someone else's thoughts or feelings. Translated to the public square, there can be no solutions without double-mindedness, only stalemate between competing goals. Good civics cannot exist without moral engagement, activities that foster understanding and empathy. change today's gridlocked public dialogue, then, we need to find ways to encourage empathy — double-mindedness — on a broad scale.

4. HUD Launches Development of a National Housing and Transportation Affordability Index : Center for Neighborhood Technology

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ... has awarded a two-year contract to Manhattan Strategies Group (MSG) and subcontractor CNT to create a national housing and transportation affordability index.

“Affordability is much more than just paying the mortgage, it involves other costs like transportation, gas, and utilities,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan ... “The availability of a national affordability index will provide consumers better information about the true costs of a home by accounting for that housing’s proximity to jobs, schools and other services. Our goal with the creation of this housing and transportation index is to provide American families with a tool that can help them save money and have a better understanding of their expenses and household budget.”


NACUSO's Regional Meeting Series / Mid-Atlantic Regional

Collaboration is more important than ever, and we know your time and travel budgets are limited. NACUSO is helping by launching a series of regional, one-day meetings across the nation to foster learning and the benefits of collaboration for credit union growth.The success of these meetings has been amazing. Credit unions that collaborate in multi-owned CUSOs have significantly greater growth in assets, loans, and members. Want to learn more? Want to share your story or ideas? We want you to join us in this grassroots movement for collaboration. Be a part of the conversation that's moving the needle for the industry. Bring your ideas and success stories, and join us for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting in Pennsylvania. ...


5140-01 Maine

First responder video filmed on Maine Turnpike - Houston Chronicle

Officials say motorists who saw a commotion off the Maine Turnpike in Kennebunk were witnessing Hollywood-style action, not a real emergency.

The Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission hired a video production company to film an eight-minute video to train first responders on how to close lanes, position their vehicles and establish safety in several different emergency response scenarios.

The Journal Tribune says the film was funded by the commission and a grant from the Maine Turnpike Authority. Filming began Monday in Kennebunk. Shooting will continue Thursday and Friday.

The scenarios in the video will include when ambulances, tow trucks or fire trucks are necessary at the scene of an accident, when a car is totaled, and getting drivers to safety.

5140-06 Connecticut

1. Drop Boxes Will Collect Unneeded Medications | Valley Independent Sentinel

The Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council in collaboration with the Seymour and Shelton Police Departments launch a new initiative to help area residents safely dispose of unused, unneeded medications at any time.

This is the second regional collaboration of its type in Connecticut, and we’re all looking forward to a very successful launch,” Pamela Mautte, Director of VSAAC said.

She and her colleagues have been active participants and co-sponsors of Drug Take Back events in the area for the past four years which VSAAC initiated with funding from the Valley Community Foundation.

“We recognize the importance of these boxes as well as the health and safety benefits” said James Cohen, president of the Valley Community Foundation.

However, unlike Drug Take Back events that happen once or twice a year, the Valley project will make safe disposal of medicines a simple, ongoing option for residents of the Valley towns.

2. The Cost Of Spending Time in Traffic - Shelton, CT Patch

Connecticut continues to be plagued by clogged arteries—highway arteries, that is.

According to a new study by The South Western Regional Planning Agency, or SWRPA, drivers spend a great deal of time stuck in traffic jams all along the southwestern part of the state. Aside from fueling driver frustration, the time spent in cars translates into lost business.

“Though the fact that there are delays on the region’s highways during the peak travel hours is no surprise, these delays are not as omnipresent as they might seem,” according to the report. “Although it is difficult to compare data from different years due to a lack of sufficient sample size and changes to the study area, it appears that peak period travel times have remained relatively constant for the last four years.”
5140-07 New York

1. From Parochialism to Regionalism: A New Form of Community Debate? -  Adirondack Daily Enterprise

There has been a host of local conversations related to our economy lately and I have been struck by the divergent ways in which they had been conducted.

I wonder if in some cases despite all the chatter, we have forgotten how to communicate. In our world of personal networks and the lack of time for extraneous information that does not appeal to us, are we becoming increasingly less patient? Are we losing faith in the view that a merger of different ideas usually leads to a better solution? Have we become too lost in our own websites and online social forms that our sense of own community has become smaller at a time when we need to tackle more of our issues as a region?

... Could the Tri-Lakes become a model for a new regional community? Or, will our lack of patience in the heightened speed of our information world, create new barriers? Can we create a new sense of regional community that sustainable development calls a “neighborhood hub”?

2. Regional councils questionable way to spur biz - The Island Now: Opinions

Gov Andrew Cuomo's announcement to create 12 regional economic development councils around the state who will be able to hand out $1 billion dollars of our hard-earned taxpayers dollars in an attempt to create new jobs and businesses is not necessarily good news.

New York State and New York City prospered and successfully grew prior to the explosive growth in the numbers of various city, county and state development corporations and now regional economic development councils over past decades.

In many instances, projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. ...

Gov. Cuomo could create more jobs and economic growth by taking other actions.

Why not consider repeal of the Wicks law? The Wicks law requires separate contractors for general construction, electrical, plumbing and heating.-Mayor Bloomberg has been one of the few elected officials brave enough to call for total repeal of the Wicks law.

3. Regional Development Council brainstorms with Sullivan residents

The Mid-Hudson Regional Development Council engaged a group of over 100 at Bethel Woods to brainstorm on ways of improving Sullivan County.

...hydro-fracking ...

"There's a thing that happens when an extractive industry comes to a rural area, and it's called crowding out. Whatever jobs may coming in are not local and the money filters out of state and back to wherever the workers come from, and the jobs that are local are low-paying," she said, adding that the process would compromise a rural atmosphere so integral to tourism.

David Gillsberg, expanded on that idea where he preached small-scale economic development for the county.

"The days of the large, regional Sullivan County-type resorts are gone for 20-something years, and they're not coming back when I could hop on a plane and go to Cosmi for $159 on Jet-Blue. We should encourage green tourism and dispersed small business, because all the jobs in this country are being created by small business," Gillsberg offered.

4. Watchdog: State subsidy programs need a haircut | Crain's New York Business

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional economic development councils must work to streamline the scores of job programs that have done little to bolster the state's moribund economy, the Citizens Budget Commission recommended Tuesday.

Dozens of tax breaks, credits and other subsidies aimed at spurring job growth have cost about $6.6 billion a year since 2000, the study found. Meanwhile, New York has lost more than 130,000 jobs, almost all from outside New York City.

“New York has a poor record on economic development and job creation upstate,” said Elizabeth Lynam, a deputy research director for the Citizens Budget Commission. “The governor is taking important steps to fix that, and these recommendations would increase the prospects for success.”

To reverse this trend, the Commission argues that economic development programs be consolidated under each of the 10 regional councils. The study shows, for example, that New York has more than 100 industrial development agencies ...

5. Planning professor studies natural gas boom-bust cycle | ECN: Electronic Component News

New York state may permit shale gas drilling after recently lifting a yearlong moratorium. In addition to environmental concerns over water and air quality, there are significant economic questions to consider, says economic geographer Susan Christopherson. These include projected vs. actual job creation, the burdens on local infrastructure in drilling regions, and affected communities' long-term economic prospects.

Typically, resource extraction industries go through boom-bust cycles and produce costs to communities that remain after the boom is over, says Christopherson, a Cornell professor of city and regional planning who is leading a team of researchers in analyzing the economic consequences of natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale.

... suggestions to policymakers in New York include establishing a state severance tax to help mitigate the costs of drilling to local communities.

Working papers by the Marcellus Shale team

6. Council names top goals for region - Business - The Buffalo News

Sustainable development and jobs top the priorities of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.

Tuesday, the council approved an eight-point priority list to guide the group as it creates an economic development plan for the region and tries to secure state funding for selected projects it believes best suit that plan.

The priorities range from promoting smart growth and job creation to maximizing financial returns to a focus on retaining and attracting young people to the region.

Other priorities include building upon the region’s strengths — such as its productive work force, quality of life and water resources — and seeking projects and policies with a regional impact while improving the region’s image and promoting diversity.

7. Planning for Sustainable Regional Economic Development « Sustainable Tompkins

Fundamental to a sustainable economy is the preservation of natural systems – our underlying life support that allows human societies to function. Also fundamental to the concept of sustainability is a focus on enabling the well being of everyone. If Cuomo and the regional councils are serious about long-term sustainability, they need to abandon the failed models of growth capitalism and globalization that tend to exploit natural systems, funnel wealth to elites, and utterly depend upon cheap fossil fuel. Designing for a sustainable and just economy is going to require radically different thinking on the part of the council members, who mostly represent institutions and industries following conventional economic models (which tend to engage in wishful thinking ... Earth’s resilience or the Market’s wisdom about fair distribution).

How we should approach the challenge of designing for a sustainable economy has a lot to do with what we perceive the future to be like

8. Pattern Regionalism awards announced

Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress will honor nine winners of regional awards in six categories in November.

The Excelsior Award, which honors an individual or organization whose regional leadership inspires others to serve,
The Regional Achievement Award
The Economic Development Award
The Improvement of Urban Areas Award
The Conservation/Land Use Award
The Tourism Award
The Healthcare Award
The Regional Fellows Award, the first one ever,
The Lifetime Achievement Award

5140-08 New Jersey

Regional Center Summit Sept. 23 |

The Somerset County Regional Center has scheduled the 4th Annual Regional Center Summit, Connecting Companies & Government: Collaborative Strategies for Economic Recovery & Competitiveness on Friday, September 23, 2011 ...  The Summit will take place ... in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

The session will include a keynote addresses from Jim Leonard, Economic Policy Advisor to Governor Christie, and Lisa Vandenberg, Executive Director of PlanSmartNJ, an independent, non-profit civic planning and research organization committed to the advancement of sound land use planning and regional cooperation.
A Regional Center as defined by the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan, is the focal point for the economic, social and cultural activities of an economic region, often serving as a county seat, with a compact, mixed-use core and neighborhoods offering a wide variety of housing types.

In May of 1996, in accordance with the State Planning Rules, N.J.A.C. 17:32-8.6(a), the New Jersey State Planning Commission designated the Boroughs of Somerville and Raritan and an adjacent portion of Bridgewater Township as an official Regional Center, the first multi-jurisdictional center in the state. The approval defined an 14.2 square mile district to serve as the focal point for enhanced planning and expedited public review to benefit a population of 25,000 residents and 40,000 workers.


5140-11 Maryland

1. Dan Rodricks: We are all Baltimoreans — or should be - People across the region will build a better Baltimore; all the mayor has to do is ask

"Baltimore high in civic engagement, according to federal research."

The report comes from an agency I didn't know we had, the Corporation for National and Community Service. It has been around for a couple of decades. ... Congress created the agency during the Clinton years to "support the American culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility." It acts as a foundation that makes large grants. AmeriCorps is one of the programs it oversees.

The CNCS conducted a national survey to measure "civic engagement." Here are Baltimore's rankings:
•14th in volunteering, at a rate of 30 percent
•17th in voting, at a rate of 45 percent
•sixth in "working with neighbors," at 11.6 percent
•15th in "participating in one or more groups," at 38 percent

A closer reading of the CNCS report shows that the area studied was the "Baltimore Metropolitan Statistical Area," which goes well beyond the city limits to include all the surrounding counties, plus Queen Anne's.

2. The Latest on Maryland’s Grand Anti-Sprawl Plan | INFRASTRUCTURIST

In April the Maryland Department of Planning released a draft of a statewide development plan called PlanMaryland. It’s basically an anti-sprawl plan, and the draft itself (pdf) makes no attempt to hide this position:

When we look back, it is clear that Marylanders no longer build houses and businesses in the places where we traditionally did. Instead, we have abandoned many of our older cities and towns and sprawled across the landscape. … Dispersed settlement patterns have created conditions in which it is often exceedingly expensive or inefficient to provide meaningful transportation alternatives.

The Department of Planning contends that uncontrolled sprawl threatens Maryland’s livelihood. Right now Maryland is the fifth densest state in the country,*

The ultimate aim of PlanMaryland is to fit this growing population into the state’s shrinking area of developable land without compromising the environment or quality of life.

5140-13 Virginia

1. Groups pool assets to improve region | Richmond Times-Dispatch

A "fast" swimming pool might not be on the tip of our tongue if asked to name an upcoming unifier in the Richmond region.

But come next year, the complex that's taking shape above and below ground in Chesterfield County will add a new dimension to the progress our region is making on the health and fitness, sports tourism and water safety fronts.

The Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership has been working for three years to install a pool used in the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb.; the new home is a onetime wooded patch at Ukrop Park, a 46-acre sports complex owned by the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club.

"Working" means the group has been raising the funds to secure a loan so construction on the estimated $14 million aquatic center could begin. More than $7 million has been collected toward a target of $10 million, the loan secured from Union First Market Bank, the partnership says.

2. Agency on Aging probed | Northern Shenandoah Valley

Accusations of financial mismanagement and possible impropriety have led to an unfolding investigation and the firings of three top officials at the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging.

Benjamin Butler, the agency's attorney and unofficial spokesman ...

"The thing I can't tell you is whether it was intentionally misleading or just poor management," Butler said of the agency's financial failings.

Butler speculated that the Agency on Aging's heavy dependence on grants from the state and federal governments may be a major factor in why the unmailed checks were allowed to languish for months. He said delays in receiving grant money may have led someone to withhold the checks until the money arrived.

Rothrock praised the agency on aging's board of directors for its cooperation with state investigators.

"We've had representatives at the last two board meetings, and we'll continue to work with them," he said. "As soon as they found some of these concerns and received our preliminary findings, they were very proactive."

An Internal Revenue Service document shows the agency on aging spent $2,899,578 in fiscal 2010, $244,560 above its revenue. ...

The agency offers a variety of services to older residents of Winchester and Shenandoah, Warren, Clarke, Frederick and Page counties.

3. Economic development begs for regional approach | The News Leader 

...recently, the three localities combined to remedy the need for the adequate handling of stray animals. The regional landfill, jail and library services also make sense.

But when it comes to developing economically, attracting new and lucrative companies to provide jobs for the region, the three governments don't work together as much as they compete. If it were healthy competition that made one area that much more attractive to companies, it would be fine.

But in this economy, working together to find, attract and incentivise a healthy, job-creating company or two, everyone would benefit. Instead, economic development falls into one of the most territorial of services. Rather than fighting over the bounty and missing out, isn't it better to work in concert, then share the revenue? After all, the jobless don't care if they cross the county line to go to work.

As we have said before, smart government is..planning for a better future by imagining new was of doing business.

5140-15 North Carolina

1. Citizens blast sustainable communities plan at meeting - Mount Airy News - NC

Bill McNeil, a representative of a local governments association, thought he was giving an innocent presentation on the need to plan for growth in the region including Surry County.

But McNeil ended up facing a barrage of questions and/or attacks from citizens attending a Mount Airy Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday night, who charged that such a plan will eliminate local choices and control, among other accusations.

One board member also said he objected to a part of the concept that suggests localities must either embrace the plan or risk losing out on state and federal funding, which a commissioner candidate in the audience called “extortion.”

... not alone in his criticism of Mount Airy possibly participating in a regional consortium to map out transportation, housing and economic growth for the next 30 years under the auspices of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council. ... stretches from Surry to Montgomery counties, representing 12 counties and 68 municipalities ...

2. Regional bus system in financial trouble :

The warning from the podium could not have been more stark.

Financial consultant Loris Colclough told leaders of the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation they faced big trouble.

“We do not have enough revenue to operate for the rest of the year. Period,” ...

Is this the last stop on life’s highway for the 13-year-old transit agency that only began to gel as a regional force in the past few years?

... PART’s own future was called into question this year by a gathering storm of financial woes, starting with the continued weakness of its main source of revenue — a tax on rental-car users in most Triad counties.

County and city governments across the region confronted the same sort of financial crunch, meaning most were uninterested in diverting any new tax money PART’s way.

They’d been told since PART’s formation in 1998 that the rental-car tax was enough to get the system up and running, but not to operate as a full-fledged regional network.

3. Triad groups join forces to create marketing brochure |

The Triad's three largest economic-development recruitment groups have created a joint marketing brochure that also may serve to give regionalism yet another jump-start.

Efforts at regionalism have made little progress in part because the region's sprawl over 14 counties and a lack of a major city make it a wheel with spindly spokes and hubs.

The eight-page brochure, titled "Community Profile 2011-12," is available in print and online. The cover features familiar prominent buildings of commerce in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point, as well as cultural, educational and technological images.

The Greensboro Economic Development Alliance and High Point Economic Development Corp. published the brochure last year. The groups invited Winston-Salem Business Inc. to join this year's edition, which is given out to companies that might be interested in setting up shop in the Triad.

5140-17 Georgia

1. Water Council sends plan to state -

A plan to ensure the region has plentiful, clean water for the next 40 years is in the hands of the state — and officials are hoping the next step will become clear at a Regional Water Councils joint meeting in Macon on Oct. 6.

“As far as the council is concerned, the state has to give us some direction,” said Rome City Manager John Bennett, who chaired the 18-county Coosa-North Georgia Water Council that spent nearly three years crafting the plan.

“In our region, everything is pretty much voluntary,” he noted. “The Metro district has powers. They’ve adopted some regulations, but we don’t have that authority. We’re strictly a recommending body.”

The Metro North Georgia Water Planning District was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001, to try to get a handle on water needs and usage in the Atlanta region.

2. Deal Appoints Mayor Bodker to Transit Task Force - Johns Creek, GA Patch

Gov. Nathan Deal has named Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker to the newly created Transit Governance Task Force, which will develop metro-wide mass transit legislation for the 2012 General Assembly.

“The metro Atlanta region has a multitude of transit agencies that work independently of each other,” Deal said. “The study committee found that commuters, transit stakeholders and the general public would benefit from oversight, streamlining and coordination of the individual transit systems in the metro Atlanta region. This represents the next step in the process, where we move toward drafting legislation that can make a real difference.”

As the task force drafts the legislation, the group will rely on the findings of the Transit Governance Study Commission, which concluded its work this summer. The study commission analyzed mass transit agencies in multiple cities and counties throughout metro-Atlanta, and recommended ways to improve coordination and inter-connectivity.

3. Regional Solutions v. Local Interests: Why T-SPLOST is now T-LOST — Peach Pundit

The issue that may ultimately doom the statewide T-SPLOST is the clash between the need for regional planning and the ultimate self-interest of rational voters. An economically-rational voter might consider the benefits he or she will derive from their extra penny sales tax and decide it’s not worth the cost.

I think this is part of what underlies the widespread opposition of commenters on this blog, where any post mentioning TSPLOST becomes an opportunity for MARTA-bashing by OTPers, and for “we’ve been paying for it for 40 years now it’s your ” by the smarter and better-looking denizens of intown neighborhoods. I’ve been guilty of that ...

With respect to the Atlanta metro area, we should understand that the benefits of a project are not necessarily constrained to its immediate area, but ramify outwards as bottlenecks are relieved, or demand sated elsewhere.

5140-21 Alabama

Huntsville-based agency among five organizations receiving federal grants |

The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is presenting grants of $100,000 each to five Alabama agencies -- including Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments in Huntsville -- to help communities recover from the April 27 tornadoes and storms.

The TARCOG grant is to be used to develop an economic recovery and resiliency plan for long-term growth through coordination of resources, prioritization of rebuilding efforts and regional collaboration.

Other ...
• The North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments of Decatur to create a strategic recovery and resiliency plan.
• The West Alabama Regional Commission of Northport to assist local leadership and economic development professionals in hard-hit areas ...
• The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to develop a disaster response and preparedness plan ...
• Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments of Muscle Shoals to support the development of a disaster recovery plan

5140-25 Oklahoma

5 area chambers join with Tulsa, Broken Arrow in compact | Tulsa World

Officials of five area chambers of commerce and the Tulsa Metro Chamber signed a commitment to collaborate on regional economic growth ...,  joining a compact that Tulsa and Broken Arrow had formed in April.
Regionalism is necessary in today's global marketplace, said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Metro Chamber. He noted that the fastest-growing economies are taking a regional approach that leverages industry concentrations, work force, infrastructure and pro-business government.

"We simply no longer can compete as individual cities," Neal said. "We are part of a mega-region, which competes against other mega-regions across the country."

... success of another mega-region ... mayors and other representatives from across the Tulsa region traveled to Louisville, Ky., to learn from efforts there. Twenty-six counties from Indiana and Kentucky came together across state lines with the goal of becoming a top 20 economic powerhouse, and their results were phenomenal

Half-way Humor Break - Creativity - Dilbert comic strip for 09/10/2011 from the official Dilbert comic strips archive.


5140-27 Michigan

1. Regional planning group coming to Livingston | Livingston Daily

Some of southeastern Michigan's top movers and shakers will get their first glimpse of Livingston County next month when they meet to discuss issues facing the seven-county region.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will hold its General Assembly meeting in Livingston County for the first time Oct. 27 in Genoa Township.
As the region's planning organization, SEMCOG produces data about numerous topics including roads, population and climate for southeast Michigan.

While hardly akin to hosting the Super Bowl, events before the meeting will give leaders from the seven-county region — Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties — a taste of Livingston County, said county Commissioner Steve Williams.

Williams represents Livingston County on the General Assembly and has pushed to hold the meeting here for the past three years....

He said there is a general lack of knowledge in the region about what Livingston has to offer.

2. Bay City, Saginaw mayors visit Midland, discuss regionalism - Midland Daily News

The mayors of Bay City and Saginaw addressed challenges their cities face and opportunities they have to work together during a stop at Wake Up! Midland Friday morning.

The Midland Area Chamber of Commerce event brought together Chris Shannon of Bay City and Greg Branch of Saginaw, but the two already have been collaborating with Midland Mayor Maureen Donker to address issues in each community.

“They love their cities, they see the value of regionalism and they understand to be a successful region, you have to have strong cities,” Donker said. “They’re working hard with others to make that happen.”

... Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corp. ... the supply offers a great source for water, while Bay City continues to draw water from Saginaw Bay that has treatment issues.

“The capacity is there and these discussions are ongoing to eventually partner in water across the region,” Shannon said.

3. Regional agency needs to return to its roots - Opinion - Press and Guide

In 1977, the year before I became a lowly scribe at the old Mellus Newspapers, a coalition was born in our area — the Downriver Community Conference.
It was conceived, phoenix-style, to rise out of the ashes of our devastated economic landscape.

(Last one to leave, please turn out the lights …)

And for about 15 years, the DCC was a powerhouse when it came to regional thinking and to helping rebuild our shattered local economy.

As some of you might remember, the DCC actually grew out of an earlier collaboration: Downriver Mutual Aid.

So we had growing power, solid funding and a national model of regional cooperation and collaboration.

But then something weird happened: newly elected Gov. John Engler trashed the system in the 1990s.

What Engler did was create entities across the state to manage job training and just about every other program previously managed by the DCC in our area; locally, it’s called the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, or SEMCA.

4. Name change makes ULI statewide focus official | Crain's Detroit Business

The Urban Land Institute is moving toward a statewide presence.

After founding a Detroit chapter in 1999, the Washington, D.C.-based urban planning and real estate education group is expanding and rebranding to become ULI Michigan instead of ULI Detroit.

The move comes after the group spent several years building a base in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Flint, said William Watch, chairman of ULI Michigan.

"It's going to be a great opportunity for our membership to have the option of looking at, and studying, the urban areas around the state,"

"The more we can do to identify the entire state as one area, as a larger region, the more it will help us to tell its story to the rest of the country," said Duistermars, based in Holland. "Regional collaboration will do nothing but help the entire state."

5140-28 Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Art collaborates with regional Foundation to expand reach into Cleveland's West Side

The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation ... announced a collaboration that will bring additional exposure for contemporary art to Northeast Ohio ...Titled the Transformer Station, this new arts venue takes root in a former transformer station built in 1924 ... From the early 1980s until 2010, it housed an art foundry. ... “The Transformer Station will be an exciting new space for contemporary art in Northeast Ohio. A place for living artists to stage provocative exhibitions and installations in a lively, diverse urban cultural context,” said Laura Ruth Bidwell, co-founder and director of the Bidwell Foundation. As part of its long-term commitment to the arts and culture of the region, the Bidwell Foundation has promised the Transformer Station facility and property as a future gift to the Cleveland Museum of Art in fifteen years. ...

5140-29 Indiana

Officials concerned about economic district | Palladium-Item

Commissioners in Wayne and Union counties are concerned about the financial stability and effectiveness of the Eastern Indiana Development District, after the district lost more than $100,000 late last year due to a suspected electronic theft.

Wayne County Commissioners voted last month to withhold the rest of the county's annual payment to EIDD. EIDD, headquartered in New Castle, assists with economic development projects and grant writing in Wayne, Union, Henry, Randolph and Rush counties. Fayette County no longer participates in EIDD.

Wayne County paid EIDD only $7,500 earlier this year, half of its original $15,000 annual membership fee, Wayne Commission President Doug Wiliamson said.

"The reason we're withholding it is we want to make sure they're an organization that's going to continue. We don't want to throw our money away," Williamson said. "We want to make sure they survive the loss of $100,000. Things are a little shaky."

5140-30 Illinois

1. Local Food is a Priority in Go To 2040 Regional Plan - Grayslake, IL Patch

At an American Farmland Trust conference held in 2000, farming was proclaimed dead in Lake County, recalled Vickey Ranney, founder of the Prairie Crossing conservation community. Eleven years later, planners are reconsidering the importance of farming to a community.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has pledged a commitment to local food and farming in its Go To 2040 plan. The regional plan includes Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.

Promoting local food is part of the plan, according to CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn, keynote speaker at the County Green conference, held in May at the College of Lake County. Blankenhorn noted that there are only two regional plans across the country which include locally grown food as part of the plan.

Blankenhorn pointed out that 96 percent of the food in this region comes from outside the region. Bringing food in from elsewhere has both a negative economic impact and environmental impact.

2. Area cities, counties unite for water future - Beacon News

A collaboration of 80 cities and five counties in the outer ring of the Chicago area is set to begin regional planning for the region’s future water supply.

The Northwest Water Planning Alliance bands together five councils of government, made up of municipalities, with five counties, all of which share do not receive any of their water supply from Lake Michigan. The area includes about 1.3 million people.

“We wanted to make sure there was a voice for those of us not being served by the lake,” said Mary Randle, director of the Metro West Council of Government, based in Aurora.

The counties involved are Kane, ...

“Regional water supply planning is required because water is a finite resource, the sources of which are shared by multiple communities,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, chairman of the new alliance. “While we are not currently in crisis, we want to seize this opportunity to avoid a crisis by planning cooperatively for the future.”

3. Behind the scenes, central Illinois prepares for possible emergencies - Peoria, IL

A regional approach - Both separately and in collaboration with health departments, hospitals also get grant money to help them prepare ... Saint Francis Medical Center is the emergency health coordinating center for an 18-county region that includes 24 hospitals. ...
Another focus is furthering the network of responders.

"A real key in an emergency is going to be the relationships responding agencies have with one another ... There isn't an agency in this community that can respond to an emergency by itself."

He likened it to police and fire departments, which work together daily. That cooperation is only evident to the public during emergencies, but the groundwork is laid in mundane ways over time.

So public health emergency preparedness means collaboration among the Health Department and the hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, possibly even long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. More partners in that collaboration may become apparent as the effort progresses. ...

5140-31 Wisconsin

Grow North Regional Economic Development Corp. 9/14 meeting to be held in Tomahawk - Northwoods News

Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation meeting ... presentation ... Grow North Business Plan. Included in this plan are strategies for future organization development and the significance of the new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation was created in 2004 to foster cooperation among economic development partners and foster economic growth efforts in Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas counties.

Grow North is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist the counties and communities throughout the region in their efforts to recruit and retain businesses, stimulate new job creation and to foster an environment conducive to entrepreneurial growth and new company formations. Grow North partners include private-sector businesses, regional service providers, educational institutions, local economic development organizations and others interested in supporting the mission.

5140-32 Minnesota

1. FTA gives go ahead to start engineering on Southwest Corridor light rail transit project - Shakopee Valley News

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has granted approval to begin preliminary engineering on the region’s third light-rail transit project, the Southwest Corridor.

FTA approval represents a significant step toward winning federal matching funds and building the 15-mile LRT line between downtown Minneapolis and Eden Prairie. Projected ridership on the corridor is nearly 30,000 riders each weekday by 2030, comparable to current ridership on Hiawatha LRT.

“What this means in the eyes of the FTA is that we have a sound and viable project that will create jobs and benefit employers as well as those who live and work near the transitway,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh. “We have the confidence of the federal government, in addition to all the local partners, that we have a project that meets the standards for moving forward amid all the projects standing in line for federal transportation dollars. The FTA’s blessing is a very good sign.”


2. Artists meander down by the river - Marshall Independent

The eighth annual Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl ... yearly event which attracts people from all over the United States for free self-guided tours of 33 art studios, located in a four-county area around the Upper Minnesota River. This year 45 local artists' work ... "It's something that grew out of a cooperation with the Upper Minnesota Regional Development Committee and the Java River Coffee Shop in Montevideo," said coffee shop owner Patrick Moore. "I invited a lot of artists to come and hang their work in the shop."

At the prompting of local artist Don Sherman, Moore approached the UMRDC to promote the idea of art as a means of economic development.

"There were so many artists in the area who weren't being marketed very well ... So we approached three established artists who had open house at their studios and asked them to have their open house on the same weekend."

The idea grew from there and is now a major economic draw for the region, according to Moore. ...

5140-35 Iowa

Expanding and strengthening | The Des Moines Register

Over the past four decades Des Moines’ equivalent of a traditional chamber of commerce has transformed itself into a regional business and economic development partnership forged among 23 business groups in six counties. The result: The Greater Des Moines Partnership is far more powerful as a single voice than two-dozen chambers of commerce speaking individually.

Central Iowa leaders are now expanding that sort of regional thinking to a circle drawn in a 50-mile radius around Des Moines across 10 central Iowa counties as they consider the economic future of greater Des Moines.

It is more powerful to think about a central Iowa region that, besides metro Des Moines, also includes a world-class research university in Ames, manufacturing powers in Pella and Marshalltown, and tourism attractions such as the NASCAR track in Newton, covered bridges in Madison County and steam locomotives in Boone.

This new economic development initiative ... Capital Crossroads: A Vision Forward


5140-44 Colorado

1. Region 10 is a wise investment, director says | Delta County Independent

The municipalities of Delta County pay Region 10 assessments of $144,256, an investment which is returned 14 times through programs for seniors, services for businesses, transportation planning and development, and economic development.

That was the message conveyed by Paul Gray, Region 10's executive director, to Delta City Council earlier this month.

As local municipalities prepare their budgets for the coming year, he wants to make sure they understand the benefits of membership in Region 10.

With the support of the Area Agency on Aging, which is operated by Region 10, Volunteers of America provides meals to senior citizens in Delta, Cedaredge, Paonia and Hotchkiss.

Gray said VOA plans to continue that service, not because it is making money but because they believe it's an important component of the services they provide to seniors in this area.

Region 10 also supports All Points Transit services in Delta, Montrose and San Miguel counties.

2. Aspen Historical Society urges a plan to interpret region's history |

Developing a regional plan to tell the Roaring Fork Valley's history won conceptual support from Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday, but a suggestion that the county foot the bill for hiring a consultant didn't fare as well.

Georgia Hanson, president and CEO of the Aspen Historical Society, urged the county to hire a professional consultant to help devise a plan for interpreting the area's history in a cohesive fashion, an expense she estimated at $50,000 to $100,000.

“The bridge that triggered this meeting is part of a much larger story,” Hanson said, outlining a vision for interpretive signs and other materials to convey that story — the valley's broad history — from mining and skiing to railroads, ranching and more. The planning would encompass the Roaring Fork drainage and the end result could be a boon to local tourism, she suggested.

“I think your vision is fabulous,” said Commissioner Rob Ittner, but he questioned how the county would fund such an endeavor.

5140-46 Arizona

Commentary: Valley regionalism needed to revitalize local economy - Camp Verde Bugle - Camp Verde, Arizona

Economic development stories ... This week the emphasis is in Camp Verde ... enhancing ... appeal as a tourist destination was seen as one of the keys to revitalizing the flow of money.

And, as is also typically the case, we are hearing a re-run of the same things we've heard about economic development in the Verde Valley for the past 20 years.

Instead of a community-by-community approach to these same tired issues in the Verde Valley, economic development is another of those arenas where group-think just might be preferable to provincialism. Already, we have a Verde Valley Regional Economic Development Council and it's time we use that group to give careful thought to how each cog in the Verde Valley wheel can be fine-tuned. We need an honest sharing of ideas ... we need a non-competitive inventory on the special assets of each individual community ... It's a matter of working together for the common good. As opposed to looking out for No. 1.

 5140-50 California

1. Despite post-9/11 funding, public safety communication gaps hamper cooperation - San Francisco Examiner

One of the major remaining projects is a regional communications system known as BayRICS. The head of San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, Anne Kronenberg, recently conducted the first joint powers meeting to get counties and local agencies to start communicating on the same frequency.

One of the major problems during the Sept. 11 attacks was that New York City first responders couldn’t communicate with each other. The same situation existed here.

“We couldn’t talk to each other,” Kronenberg said. “That’s it in the most simplistic way.”

Citizen awareness is one major change over the past decade, Kronenberg said. While equipment, training and communication have been the focus of millions of dollars in funding, it’s ultimately disaster preparedness that truly will help save lives.

2. Pro-sprawl tactic: Regionalism - Election letters -

This is a very big year in Modesto politics. ... Isn't it time that your representative does something to prevent Modesto from sprawling over our best farmland? Isn't it time for the Modesto City Council to send to the public an urban growth plan that prevents the loss of our best soils and directs development? For decades, citizens have been voting against measures that sprawl the city. This is not a problem of elected leaders not knowing what the public wants; it is a crisis of leadership.

... The latest tactic or excuse or reason is that growth is a "regional problem" and needs a regional solution. Currently, the action can is being kicked down the road ...

Each city has equal land-use authority and no one city is willing to relinquish that authority to another. Why should they? They don't need to! All they need is the will to do what the public has expected of them for years: Protect our best soils and send us the plan so we can approve it with our vote.

3. SB 375 Draws Ire of Tea Party | California Planning & Development Report

While the Tea Party movement has been trying to “take back America” on the national stage ... activists have also turned their attention to taking back California – and, specifically, Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that seeks to combat climate change by promoting density in the state’s metro regions.

... activists nationwide have fought against local and regional planning efforts, often invoking the United Nations’ “Agenda 21” sustainable development effort as the enemy. In California, Tea Party representatives have increasingly turned up at regional and statewide planning sessions – Steve Brandau, head coordinator for the Central Valley Tea Party, ... understood the speakers’ skepticism about government-led planning and social engineering.

“We would be suspicious of projects that are built around population control and density control,” said Brandau. “We are leery of governmental agencies and their ability, based on the track record, to develop workable solutions.”

4. Richmond Joins Regional Approach to Ban Bags – Richmond Confidential : Richmond, California

Free single-use plastic bags are likely to disappear in Richmond retail stores next fall after the City Council decided Tuesday night to join a regional approach to ban the bags.

The council passed a unanimous resolution to collaborate with the West Contra Costa Integrated Waste Management Authority to develop a single-use bag ordinance and to conduct an environmental review. Richmond Environmental Initiatives, a division of the City Manager’s office that has studied the issue, recommends a ban on plastic bags, and a minimum 5-cent fee for each paper bag in all retail establishments.

“We’re recommending a fee of 5 cents per bag to discourage customers from using paper bags,” said Jennifer Ly, a sustainability associate with Environmental Initiatives, adding that fees in other cities range from 5-25 cents. “The department will also distribute reusable bags in targeted residential areas.”

The city has been interested in banning bags for years, ...

5. SANDAG logs 4,000 comments on its 2050 transportation plan |

When you draw up a plan to spend $196 billion over the next 40 years on transportation projects people will tend to have a lot to say about it.

In fact, nearly 1,500 people and organizations did just that, submitting 4,000 comments on the proposed 2050 Regional Transportation Plan and its companion piece, the Sustainable communities Strategies, according to the San Diego Association of Governments, the regional planning and engineering agency.

Apparently a lot of people shared the same thoughts. About 2,500 of the comments were identical "submitted by members of a few organizations," according to SANDAG.

The last transportation plan, which "built out" the region through 2030 received 500 comments.

SANDAG staff attributes the volume of comments to the sweeping ambitions of the plan and the increased means of communication available to the public to make comment.

6. Transit officials' toll lane plan less ambitious

Regional transportation officials are preparing to both move forward with, and scale back on, plans for a network of toll lanes circling the Bay Area.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, ... plans to seek state authorization to expand the region's nascent network of so-called express lanes - carpool lanes open to drivers willing to pay a toll - now a single 14-mile stretch on southbound Interstate 680.

But the commission's vision of an 800-mile network ringing the bay, and covering about two-thirds of the region's freeways, would be scaled back under a plan that will be presented ... this week. The downsized vision is the result of the slumping economy that has driven down job and traffic growth in the Bay Area along with transportation funding.

The commission plans to ask the California Transportation Commission for permission to install 290 miles of express lanes - on Interstates 80, 680 and 880 - with 150 miles of the system using converted carpool lanes.

7. Propane fire tested community - Lincoln News Messenger

Last week’s propane fire was both an emergency that easily could have turned into a disaster and a major test of our community’s character.
Now that life is back to normal, it is important to reflect on how the community’s strength of character was on display during its response to the emergency.
Residents of Lincoln who had to evacuate their homes deserve credit as well. Their patience and spirit of cooperation made a big difference.

The response also was a testament to the importance of regional cooperation.

As long as I can remember, all Placer County jurisdictions have cultivated a spirit of cooperation among local agencies, avoiding go-it-alone approaches.

That holds true during emergencies, as well as the everyday affairs of local government.

Through cooperation, local governments are able to use public funds more efficiently and to gain the strength to tackle problems that are best accomplished collectively.

8. Transportation Planning and Climate Change - YouTube

If we built cities differently, would people drive less? Marlon Boarnet, Professor of Planning, Policy and Design, asks this question and addresses the social issue of land use and transportation through his research. With the recent passage of California Senate Bill 375, the Southern California region is required to reduce 8% of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks through integrated transportation, land use, housing and environmental planning by 2020. Learn how the research in Social Ecology might help California reach this goal.

6000 - Pacific Ocean

7000 - Oceana


'Get serious': McCully tells Pacific | Business Spectator

The Pacific has been warned to "get serious" about the challenges it faces if the region is to become financially prosperous.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully has painted a grim picture of regional development, saying even the brightest industries - tourism, agriculture and fisheries - face major constraints.

As leaders begin to fly to New Zealand on Monday ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum, the minister called for "real action" and a stronger sense of focus.

"We need to get out of `business as usual' mode and get serious about tackling the issues that have attracted a good deal of talk at regional meetings in the past but too little action and follow-through afterwards," Mr McCully told a conference organised by Sydney's Lowy Institute in Auckland.

Tourism holds huge potential and already makes hefty contributions to Pacific GDP. But he warned the sector was constrained by major obstacles, particularly limited flights, poor investment in transport hubs and ...

7420 New Zealand

People of NZ have no idea about Pacific Islands Leaders Forum -

As the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum kicks off in Auckland today, what do the people of New Zealand think about it?

Well many people do not even know that the Pacific Forum will be held in their country this week.

Although a lot of focus is being placed on regional cooperation and talks are also expected on Fiji’s suspension from the Forum since 2009, there is little coverage in NZ.

Radio Australia spoke to a number of people in Auckland on whether they are aware of the Pacific Islands Forum being held in their city.

Some even said that the Forum is a waste of time.

7430 Australia

Latest round of Royalties for Regions funding - Pilbara Echo

Communities in regional Western Australia will soon benefit from projects that have been successful in receiving funding in the third round of the State Government’s Royalties for Regions’ Regional Grants Scheme (RGS).

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the $7.98million allocated in the latest round of the RGS would provide communities in regional areas with improved economic and community infrastructure and services.

“The primary objective of the scheme is to develop infrastructure and services to regional areas ...

The Minister said funds in the RGS were focused on community, public and private organisations to assist regional communities to prosper.

“Local decision making is vital for regional communities to identify the projects that will help improve the quality of life in each region,” he said.

“The Royalties for Regions funding allocations will provide new opportunities for local communities and help to plan for a sustainable economic and social future.”

8000 - Asia


Haze and Euro Show Limits of, and Needs for, Regionalism - Asean - Thailand Business News

The ASEAN and EU institutions, by themselves, cannot resolve these regional problems. ... On the other hand, that does not mean that the existing regional institutions in ASEAN and the EU are irrelevant. Without the peer pressure of its fellow ASEAN members, Indonesia would have even less incentive to curb the brush-clearing. Without the EU institutions, Greece and the other PIGS would be tempted to go it alone by leaving the Euro and drag the rest of Europe into the economic toilet.

Regionalism thus helps national governments more fully appreciate their role in dealing with regional issues. Without the regional institutions, no one would speak for the regional interest. In fact, as I have argued before, these regional institutions need more authority to speak for the regional interest, if not to act for the regional interest.

What is needed, therefore, is for the responsible parties in ASEAN and the EU to take charge of the situation and act for the regional interest. ...

8140 China

1. China releases new national policy paper - PressTV

China's State Council issued a new white paper, described as the most comprehensive and systematic clarification yet of the national ideology of “peaceful development”.

It was the first document of its kind since 2005, and also the first official listing of the country's so-called "core national interests”, defined to include sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and national reunification.

The paper said that in pursuing peaceful development, China would not seek regional hegemony like previous rising powers. All countries, it said, were invited to participate in regional cooperation.

8160 Hong Kong
8170 Macau

2. Public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area launches

The Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao governments ... jointly launched a three-month public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area (The Plan).

"The overall objective of the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area is to transform the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region into an exemplar cluster of green cities for quality living through the compilation of a long-term co-operation blueprint for the three sides," the Under Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, said.

"This is the first regional plan jointly compiled by the three sides. The consultation document puts forward the objectives and vision to transform the Greater PRD region into a low-carbon, high-technology and low-pollution city cluster of quality living.

It also suggests initial co-operation directions and proposals in the five areas of environment and ecology, low-carbon development, culture and social ...

8272  India

Centre to consider NCR-like plan to decongest Chandigarh - The Times of India

As part of its multi-pronged strategy to decongest Chandigarh and retain its original architectural character, the Centre will consider formulating a comprehensive plan to develop peripheral areas of the Union Territory (UT) on the lines of the National Capital Region (NCR) surrounding Delhi.

The plan is likely to be incorporated in the Master Plan 2031, which is being prepared keeping in mind the overall growth of Chandigarh.
The NCR is a unique example of inter-state regional development planning for a region comprising 15 districts of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan with the national Capital Delhi being at its core. It was constituted in 1985, with an objective to contain haphazard and unplanned urban growth by channelizing the flow and direction of economic growth of the entire region.


India and Bangladesh sign Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development

... Prime Ministers agreed to put in place a comprehensive framework of cooperation for development between the two countries, ...

I.Framework Agreement on Cooperation for Development
3.The Agreement lays down the framework for enhancing mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas. These include - promotion of trade, investment and economic cooperation; connectivity; water resources; management of natural disasters; generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, including from renewable or other sources; promotion of scientific, educational and cultural cooperation; people to people exchanges; environmental protection and responding to challenges of climate change through adaptation; sub regional cooperation in the power sector, water resources management, physical connectivity, environment and sustainable The Agreement may be amended ... to enhance, deepen and widen the scope of cooperation, including regional/ sub-regional expansion.

8288 Nepal

The Himalayan Times: Workshop to curb small arms trade - Nepal News Portal

The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia Pacific, in cooperation with the government of Nepal, is organising an inter-institutional training course on combating trade in small arms and light weapons in Kathmandu ... 

The training course aims to boost the expertise of law enforcement agencies to curb trade in firearms, the UN said.

“The proliferation of illegal weapons is on the rise in Nepal.”

“The emergence of armed groups in Tarai, and the relatively low price of firearms have contributed to the recent surge in illicit trading of small arms,” the UN said in a statement today.


Participants of the programme will be trained on diverse topics such as arms trafficking, the situation of small arms in Nepal, impact of small arms on women, ways of enhancing regional co-operation and management of stockpiles.

Experts from various international anti-crime bodies such as Interpol, and UN agencies will conduct the training.

8364 Thailand

Call for clear policy towards regional gateway - Thailand

Private companies have urged the government to establish a clear policy on promoting the logistics sector if the Kingdom is to become a regional gateway for marine and inland transport, as well as a logistics hub.

... if the Laem Chabang deep-sea port is to provide linkage between marine and inland transport for the trans-shipment of products and goods between Thailand and such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, its capacity must be expanded ...

The equivalent Malaysian facility is capable of handling 20 million TEUs, while Singapore's capacity is 50 million TEUs, he said. Both are run by private companies.

"If the government were to make the seaport and inland transport more competitive, Thailand could become a regional gateway for marine and inland transport between Asean and other regions such as the European Union and the United States. Besides, it can be a hub for logistics transport within Asean," ...

9000 - Indian Ocean


The Regional Studies Association seeks to appoint a team of Editors including an early career editor and members of the Editorial Advisory Board for a new start international journal titled Territory, Politics, Governance to be published by Routledge.

This journal will be launched in 2013, and will have a significant circulation footprint and the potential for far reaching impact, as it will be distributed from Volume 1, Issue 1 with its sister journals, Regional Studies and Spatial Economic Analysis. Territory, Politics, Governance will engage with topics at the interface between the analysis and practice of territorial development, including:

Theories of socio-spatial relations, such as territories, places, scales and networks;
Analyses of territorial governance, politics and policies;


1. Meeting of the Minds - Smart+ Connected Communities Institute Meeting of the Minds - September 22-23, 2011

Meeting of the Minds challenges old paradigms with untold urban sustainability innovations and fresh ideas from around the world. The Regional Plan Association is co-organizing this year's meeting.

The 2011 Meeting will convene more than 200 leaders from a dozen countries to explore a rich variety of smart design, planning, policy and technology innovations that enable cities/regions to respond to increasingly complex challenges. Boulder’s international reputation in sustainability will provide the backdrop for the core theme of this year’s Meeting: innovative approaches that help to accelerate the transition toward post-carbon metropolitan regions.

Register to attend the virtual, free Live Streaming. 

2. 2011 Peak Oil, Energy & the Economy Conference | November 3-5, 2011 | Washington, DC

Conference sessions will be held on Thursday and Friday, November 3-4, with policy briefings and Capitol Hill focused activities planned for Wednesday, November 2, and working group sessions on Saturday, November 5

Truth In Energy is the theme of this year's conference -- focusing on the importance of reliable, transparent energy information, and the need to educate influential leaders and the public on the peak oil energy challenges facing our nation.

The program will build on our internationally acclaimed annual conferences to interpret the latest technical data, forge new partnerships, and develop innovative ways to communicate about peak oil issues and reach new audiences. More information will be on our website soon,

Financial Crisis - Economics

1. Debt: The First 5,000 Years - BookTV - Interview with the author David Graber

David Graeber talks about the history of debt and its impact in the world over thousands of years. During this event from Melville House Bookstore in Brooklyn, New York, Professor Graeber talked with Left Business Observer editor Doug Henwood, author of Wall Street and After the New Economy.

2. Keiser Report: (E182) - @ 12:50 Max Keiser talks to anthropologist, David Graeber, about his new book, Debt: The First 5000 Years

This week Max Keiser and co-host, Stacy Herbert, discuss passing the currency grenade and the Central Bank  of Nigeria mentions trading oil with China in yuan. In the second half of the show Max talks to anthropologist,  David Graeber, about his new book, Debt: The First 5000 Years.

3. Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy - Mission

The mission of CASSE is to advance the steady state economy, with stabilized population and consumption, as a policy goal with widespread public support. We pursue this mission by:
educating citizens, organizations, and policy makers on the conflict between economic growth and (1) environmental protection, (2) ecological and economic sustainability, and (3) national security and international stability; promoting the steady state economy as a desirable alternative to economic growth;studying the means to establish a steady state economy.

4. RSF Social Finance - Operating Principles

Place-Based Economies

We support direct-investment vehicles and other means of exchange designed to match investors from a particular region with community-based enterprises in that same region. We know that people develop a sense of shared responsibility when spending time face-to-face on a regular basis in an effort to care for each other and the places where they live. We view the power of place as essential to a thriving economy.

RSF Social Finance (RSF) is a pioneering non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. In partnership with a community of investors and donors, RSF provides capital to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises addressing key issues in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

New Technologies Collaboration

The challenge: What would our research, technology design, and thinking look like if we took seriously the momentous opportunities and challenges for learning posed by our digital era? ...

The response: HASTAC ("haystack") is a network of individuals and institutions inspired by the possibilities that new technologies offer us for shaping how we learn, teach, communicate, create, and organize our local and global communities. We are motivated by the conviction that the digital era provides rich opportunities for informal and formal learning and for collaborative, networked research that extends across traditional disciplines, across the boundaries of academe and community, across the "two cultures" of humanism and technology, across the divide of thinking versus making, and across social strata and national borders.

The solution: You. HASTAC is open to anyone. One joins simply by registering on the HASTAC website. ...

Basic Geocodes - 
0000 - Earth
0900 - Arctic Ocean
1000 - Europe
2000 - Africa
3000 - Atlantic Ocean
4000 - Antarctica
5000 - Americas
6000 - Pacific Ocean
7000 - Oceana
8000 - Asia
9000 - Indian Ocean

Information on the "Global Region-builder Geo-Code Prototype" © is at:

and on the blog: