Regional/Greater Community Development News – May 21, 2012

     Multi-jurisdictional intentional regional communities are, in all cases, “Greater Communities” where “community motive” is at work at a more than a local scale. This newsletter provides a scan of regional community, cooperation and collaboration activity as reported in news media and blogs. 
Top 10 Stories
In his 2012 TED talk, venture capitalist and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman extolled the power of “network literacy” which is, he said, “absolutely critical to how we’ll navigate the world.”…
Those metros that have created successful networks have certain characteristics in common. …
When you look at global economic performance you’ll see that the top 30 metro performers today are almost exclusively located in Asia and Latin America. The 30 worst metro performers are nearly all located in Europe, the United States and earthquake-ravaged Japan. …
…The metro scale, and even the multi-metro and regional scale in certain places, is now the entry ticket to global competition.
The Great Recession was a wake-up call to American metro leadership. At its onset, many U.S. cities and metropolitan areas found themselves engaged in low-road economic growth, pursuing mall developers and condo builders, as if housing and retail were drivers of the economy rather than derivative of the sectors that truly generate wealth: Manufacturing, innovation and the tradeable export industries.
This consumption economy was mostly zero-sum. A dollar spent (and taxed) or a house built (and taxed), or a business located (and taxed) in one jurisdiction was lost to any other. So, in metropolis after metropolis, jurisdictions competed against each other for…tax revenue…wasting scarce dollars on enticing businesses to move literally a few miles across artificial political borders. The result: Metros prioritized short-term speculation over long-term growth and sustainable development. They did this until the bubble popped.
Candidate Bill Haslam made job development and economic rebirth the anchors of his campaign back in 2010.
One strategy outlined bringing economic development down to the regional level.
His campaign literature explained it like this: "From FedEx, the medical device industry and the TVA Megasite in West Tennessee, to the health care and entertainment industries in Middle Tennessee, to Volkswagen, UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Eastman Chemical in East Tennessee, there are unique opportunities in every region of the state to recruit to our strengths and create high-quality jobs. As governor, I will leverage each region's existing assets in order to grow jobs in every county of the state."
The first item on his plan for doing this was to "restructure the Department of Economic and Community Development by decentralizing the 'home office' and pushing leadership and support to the regional level."
… The governor has made good on his promise to decentralize the Department of Economic and Community Development. Promise Kept.
A lot of work will need to be done inside the Corridor to get people here to use the term… The Creative Corridor has been defined geographically as the Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties.
That could be key, as Jerry Anthony, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Iowa, said economists believe competition in the coming decades will occur between regions, not countries.
He said this area would be well served by acting regionally. Imagine selling Iowa City’s intellectual capital combined with Cedar Rapids’s manufacturing base and airport…
“If you market this entire area — Cedar Rapids and Iowa City as a region — then it has almost everything you would desire to maximize economic benefits,” …
There’s often a lot of talk about regionalism, particularly among local governments. But then parochialism takes hold when it comes time to act.
Anthony said that’s because cooperating regionally may cause short-term pain locally.
After decades of discussion and planning, the vision of merging the region’s vocational high schools has finally become a reality. …a massive crowd of state and local officials, vocational students, school committee members and administrators from multiple communities gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new $133.7 million regional vocational school in Danvers.
The…school will house a combined 1,440 students from Essex Agricultural and Technical High School in Danvers, North Shore Technical High School in Middleton and Peabody High School’s vocational programs.…
“The road here has been very long and often difficult,” …chairman of the Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School Committee. “But through the efforts of so many dedicated and focused people, we have finally come to this day of hardhats and shovels.”
Discussion of the project began back in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1998 that the state finally approved a feasibility study and a planning committee…
Note: Overnight success in a public planning project, from conception to implementation, usually takes decades. Getting something done in 20 years is fast-track. Persistence is required. This is a reality, not a criticism.  Ed.
The Metro Region Fiscal Scorecard research presented by… team of researchers at Michigan SU represents an important step towards developing a unified vision for our region. Our region now has a baseline of information from which we can develop sensible strategies towards the more efficient and effective delivery of government services in our region.
A steering committee consisting of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, LEAP, local business leaders and MSU President…have laid out a series of “next steps” that we believe are essential to ensure that we can capitalize on the momentum we are now experiencing as a result of the benchmarking study and continue to advance a regional agenda.
…next month…six local municipalities in partnership with a team from Plante Moran will release its findings from a study of emergency services in the region. Those municipalities have taken a leadership role in studying the possibilities of consolidation and/or increased shared services…
Selectmen are still reluctant to commit to a regional planning initiative that includes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a financial partner.
The Rockingham Planning Commission asked the town to join a sustainable communities initiative called the Granite State Future Project, which will create a regional planning document.
“We have never had a comprehensive plan for the region,” …director of Rockingham Planning Commission. “We have never been funded to do it.”
…the state's nine regional planning commissions received $300,000 in funding to create a regional plan that reflects a shared vision for the area and is useful to each town's individual planning efforts,
Residents were concerned by funding from multiple agencies, including HUD, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency and a number of state agencies.
“I believe the Rockingham Planning Commission is making a huge mistake signing up with the sustainable communities initiative,” …
 Regional Plan Update alternatives at a glance
Alternative 1 is a legally required “no project” alternative. …
Alternative 2 would reduce development compared to the 1987 Regional Plan while increasing regulation to reach environmental goals. …
Alternative 3 focuses on providing incentives for redevelopment. The option encourages transfer of new and existing development out of sensitive land into identified community centers. It also introduces the concept of Area Plans, where local, state, or federal governments would prepare detailed plans that are consistent with and part of the Regional Plan. …
Alternative 4 combines greater amounts of development — including 400,000 square feet of new commercial floor area, 200 new TAUs, and 4,000 new residential allocations — with modest incentives for environmentally beneficial redevelopment. …
Alternative 5 continues the rate of development under the 1987 Regional Plan. But the alternative includes more new allocations than any other option and would result in more growth at a faster rate
Plan Bay Area is …
Despite the naysayers, the regional plan to reduce greenhouse gases and preserve open space is now headed for a full environmental study.
The plan, which achieves that goal through the concentration of job and housing growth along transportation corridors in the nine-county Bay Area, won unanimous approval late Thursday from a joint meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Property rights advocates assailed the "global climate myth" and the regional planning effort as an unconstitutional and treasonous act that will lead to dense "pack 'em and stack 'em" high-rise transit villages.
"Regionalism equals communism," East Bay Tea Party founder ….
Exasperated Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan told them, "For those of you from the suburbs who don't want more growth in your communities, supporting inner-city growth is how you get what you want."
In exchange for the growth, Oakland-based social justice groups demanded restored transit funding for the poor, disabled and elderly; rent increase protections; and safeguards against gentrification.
In contrast, a business coalition …

Hutt City Council will seek to stamp a collaborative approach on governance options for the greater Wellington region, says Mayor Ray Wallace.
“We are going to engage in a joint, independent survey run by a leading national research company, to ensure the true views of the community are revealed.
“This survey will provide an informed view from the region and our community that will guide our council in any submissions made to the Local Government Commission,” he said.
“We will work with Wellington City and other councils to achieve the best outcome for Lower Hutt and the region.
“Many of our residents have indicated to me they support the idea of a collaborative model involving shared services. Our view is that all options should be put in front of the community.
“Efforts by the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s to court our council have been declined – they have previously indicated a preferred option similar to the Auckland Super City model,” he said
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change… need for a strong regional mechanism geared towards facilitating co-operation and collaboration among Small Island Developing States (SIDS), especially on issues surrounding climate change.
Addressing the National Consultations on the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)…climate change is of particular concern to SIDS because of their vulnerability to its effects.
He stated the issue should remain on the agenda for the Rio+20 conference in June. “We need to ensure that this is reflected in the Rio + 20 outcome,” he stated.
…climate change is considered to be the most pervasive and truly global of all issues affecting humanity and poses a serious threat to the environment as well as to economies and societies.
The phenomenon, he said, is a threat to sustainable development in CARICOM states, even though the contribution of the region to global greenhouse gas emission is negligible.
On May 31st, NADO will be hosting a EDA Know Your Region Webinar on Statewide CEDS. Learn about how Regional Development Organizations in Alabama, Florida and North Carolina are working together to create value-added statewide economic development strategies. Planned Webinar Speakers include: Jeff Pruit – Planning Director, Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments Scott Koons – Executive Director of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council Betty Huskins - Executive Director of the North Association of Carolina Regional Councils

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