Regional Community Development News – January 9, 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. 
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We in New England have a long-standing habit of seeing our lives through the cities and towns in which we live and work. Because of that, taking regional approaches to problems and issues has been difficult here, compared to, say, Southern states, where county government has much more muscle and can facilitate regional solutions.
Even a regional school district — a handful of which you’ll find in Central Massachusetts — can be a delicate undertaking when, for example, each member town has to approve a school’s budget.
But in a still-struggling economy, taking a regional approach to economic development can be just as valuable, if not even more so, than a community-centric approach. That’s why we particularly like one of the Patrick Administration’s economic development goals for 2012: the encouragement of regional approaches to spur economic growth. The administration is backing it up with some dough too: state aid for infrastructure improvements as a primary incentive.
Stanislaus County is a unique community. Ours is a county where city leaders come together on a regular basis to discuss ideas, strategies, and opportunities where regional collaboration can best be implemented.
… mayors from all nine cities began to meet on a regular basis nearly eight years ago. Through our discussions we search for ways to collaborate on topics of interest and issues facing our respective cities. More importantly, we recognize that a regional approach to address our challenges can often be approached with a collective solution.
A primary source of contention for many years has been regional planning; those seeking to stop growth from moving onto fertile farmland vs. the growing pains of population centers attempting to balance housing-jobs needs …
Nearly eight years later … the mayors have developed a series of maps that help pin point the areas of growth for each city while protecting one of our most valuable resources, our prime agricultural land. …
Regionalism can mean different things to different people. It is not necessary, or perhaps even always desirable, for local governments to consolidate in order to jointly serve overlapping constituencies. Cooperation in areas of common concern achieves efficiency and improves effectiveness, while leaving each local government to achieve its unique purposes.
People often ask, "Why must we have Tulsa county and local city governments covering the same territory servicing the same citizens?" One reason is that county and municipal governments perform quite different functions. …
Counties and municipalities do share common functions in some areas. In those areas, there is a long tradition of regional cooperation in the Tulsa metropolitan area.

We are fortunate in that most of the elected officials in this region honestly understand the "whole is larger than the sum of its parts." They know that whatever is good for the region will definitely benefit their local interests as well. …
About this time a year ago, a crowd of Columbia County Chamber of Commerce members sat in a room at the Georgia Capitol and heard comments from Michael Schaffer.
Now that reapportionment is over, and with Columbia County facing elections this year for a legislative map that carves the county into giblets, his comments take on entirely new meaning.
Columbia County, he told the assembly last January, needs “to start thinking more about regionalism.” His comments were in the context of reapportionment rather than economic development, the more common use of the term “regionalism.” At the time, I interpreted those comments to mean because of Columbia County’s overwhelmingly Republican voter base, combined with the Republicans running the Legislature, that the county would gain more authority in the region.
Well, no. With the remap … appears what Schaffer really meant is that Columbia County will no longer be its own entity in the Legislature. Now we’ll just be diluted into a “region.” …
There is an old saying about the best-laid plans, but Jennifer Howland will gladly tell you that no blueprint is one-size-fits-all.
"What we envision is not a plan where everything would be the same no matter which community you are in," she said. "It's more about giving local communities options that they can select from and take steps based on their own sets of priorities to achieve a more sustainable future for their citizens."
As sustainability planning manager with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, Howland has had a lot of time to think about those priorities of late and she's very much hoping the community will join her in that process. Since late 2010, Howland's agency has been working on a regional plan for sustainable development. …
Set to run through 2013, the funding has attracted 10 agencies, all of which are providing both expertise and projects to meet the requirements from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has incorporated public and internal input received earlier this year into a set of proposed revised regulations designated to streamline and clarify requirements, provide additional flexibilities to the agency's stakeholders, and support current best practices, while protecting taxpayer dollars.
Once again, EDA is asking its stakeholders to provide public input and will incorporate that feedback into final regulations that the agency expects to publish in 2012.
EDA recently published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) requesting public comment on proposed revisions to the agency’s regulations, particularly ways EDA can provide better customer service through its programs and processes and more efficiently leverage resources to help communities reach their goals more efficiently. Highlights of the proposed regulations can be found here:
Stakeholders have until Monday, February 6, 2012 to provide comments. … visit
We invite you to browse and explore the Web Book of Regional Science. These materials, which are used worldwide by teachers and professionals alike, cover a wide range of regional science topics. You may find them useful as references, or as texts and supplemental information in the classroom.
Talk of regionalism in the Chagrin Valley area was a hot topic in 2011, but the Orange mayor said it may be another year before a vote is taken.
Regionalism has taken a big step forward with discussions of merging the four east side suburbs of Pepper Pike, Moreland Hills, Orange and Woodmere by 2015.
Mayors Bruce Akers of Pepper Pike, Kathy Mulcahy of Orange Village, Susan Renda of Moreland Hills and Charles Smith of Woodmere attended a meeting and a press conference … along with Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, announcing a study that will focus on regionalism.
Mulcahy has talked of regionalism several times during council meetings and with other public officials. She said Orange is in the perfect position to be a leader in testing the municipal theory of regionalism.
… may be an additional year before the issue is taken to the voters... If there is not enough time to process the data, the group will agree to go slower, since having a vote by 2014 seems too ambitious. …
The Richmond region wants another seat at the table when Virginia divides a dwindling pot of money for road construction.
Adding an at-large seat for the region on the Commonwealth Transportation Board is the top priority of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission in the General Assembly session that begins Wednesday.
Local officials say the Richmond and Petersburg area has never held an at-large seat on the state board, only a representative for the regional construction district, and has gotten short shrift in road funding as a result.
"We have 7 percent of the vote and 15 percent of the population," said Hanover County Planning Commissioner C. Harold Padgett, "so our suspicion is we may not be getting our fair share of money."

The Greater Richmond area is only one of the state's three largest urban areas not to have an at-large seat on the board.
In Megapolitan America, Arthur C. Nelson and Robert E. Lang look ahead to 2040, a point in time when they foresee a United States dominated by 23 "megapolitan" areas, or large regions of interconnected metropolitan areas. As commuting patterns continue to shift, where people work and where they live can be two very different places. These commuting patterns are mainly what informs the Census Bureau’s definition of metropolitan areas … similar approach to identify their megapolitans. …
These 23 megapolitan areas – further combined into 10 clusters – are projected to house about two-thirds of the U.S. population in 2040. Strong foreshadowing of the megapolitans can be seen today, … Dallas-Fort Worth is just one example, which by itself extends to include a total of 29 counties. The Dallas-Fort Worth megapolitan is further connected to two others in the area, one driven by Houston, the other by Austin and San Antonio. Together these three megapolitans form a 67-county cluster
Officials estimate the current system should be able to meet members’ water needs through 2023.
“In recent years, the downturn in housing and economic activity has affected demands for water throughout the Puget Sound region, and this effect is expected to persist for the next several years,” alliance Chairman Lloyd Warren said in a statement. “This is a change from past planning efforts when rapid growth was occurring.”
Officials considered more than 20 water supply options to meet long-term needs for alliance members. In 2024, the alliance plans to dip into the Green River supply from Tacoma Public Utilities. Water could start flowing northward from Lake Tapps to local residents in 2030.
“This, coupled with our conservation efforts, means the demand for water in Cascade’s service area is forecast to remain constant through 2020 at about 40 million gallons per day,” Warren said. “After that, the demand begins to rise again
Utility customers in Carmichael, Calif., are wasting less water. Until a few years ago, there were no water meters on most residential properties and residents paid a flat rate. Then meters were installed … Ironically conservation efforts in the city… have been so successful that revenue has dropped and so rates will go up 18 percent. And while raising rates may be a necessity for the city, ratepayers who stopped washing their cars and watering their lawns may justifiably look at the rate hike as a penalty for their conservation efforts. ... is there a way to avoid the conservation penalty?
The business case for water conservation was explored last spring at the Central Texas Water Conservation Symposium. Conservation yields “long-term cost savings due to avoided costs of purchasing new water supplies or building new infrastructure,” said a report released in March 2011 from the symposium. So long term, the incentives are positive. Short term, however, is a different story.
The well-used Franklin County Bikeway is a study in patience. Conceived in the 1970’s, as a response to the energy crisis, it was finally implemented five years ago. The 44 mile primary loop didn’t require much infrastructure as the majority of the route is “shared roadway” on low traffic roads. The loop connects Greenfield, Deerfield, Montague and Gill with spurs through Leverett and Sunderland into Hampshire County and north to Northfield. A link to the map can be found on the Franklin Regional Council of Governments website
China will continue to boost the development of the country's less-developed western and northeastern regions, according to a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council ...
The meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, has approved guidelines for the development program of China's west and the revitalization of the northeast old industrial bases in the country's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), according to the statement.
The two regions have been at a new starting point in history, said the statement.
The vast western region is still a "short plate" in the country's regional development, and achieving its prosperity is an important but difficult task in the building of an all-round well-off society, it said.
Priority should be given to the implementation of the strategy of large-scale development of the western region in the country's overall regional development scheme, to maintain its continued stable and rapid economic and social development
Coalition politics has weakened federalism instead of strengthening it as regional political forces have started vying for spoils rather than championing regional issues.
… observation… Institute for Development Communication … important ahead of elections as Akali politics in Punjab has flourished on issues related to regionalism and unique identity culminating in Anandpur Sahib Resolution demanding all powers to states except defence, telecommunication, currency and external affairs.
… election trends and federalism and analysed in detail the coalition politics finishing regional agendas.
… coalition politics has turned cooperative federalism to bargaining federalism as those who have bargaining power in coalition politics take the cake leaving the remnants to other states … market-led reforms have reduced the say of states as they are not consulted on issues of global market integration and are forced to vie for private flow of capital and face conditions attached with this.
… Regional economic cooperation rests on the premise that some sovereignty is best exercised at the regional level. In the language of economics, this is because the actions of one economy can produce externalities that affect others, particularly as neighbouring economies grow closely connected. Some democratic societies … have proven totally incapable of providently exercising sovereignty over fiscal policy at the national level, by being too ready to spend but too reluctant to tax. …
Europe has been a model of regional economic cooperation to which other regions, like Asia, look for inspiration. Its approach was to create regional institutions to which member countries yield sovereignty in specific areas. But the strengthening of sovereignty at the supra-national level (supra-nationalism) is counterbalanced by the parallel principle of inter-governmentalism, allowing each ‘sovereign’ member country to veto a decision to move supra-nationalism a step further.
As Europe continues its desperate struggle to salvage the euro and monetary union, the spotlight of regional cooperation is shifting to Asia.
… European leaders retro-fitted the union with fiscal disciplines which impose binding limits on national budgets and borrowing. All but Britain opted in; ... not prepared to yield such fiscal sovereignty. Lack of fiscal integration alongside commitment to a common currency was a serious design flaw
… the European mess has revealed just how inept Europe’s supra-national institutions were in dealing with a regional problem of the proportion that has emerged there. Inter-governmentalism — that is, a willingness to cede position and sovereignty through decision making in the collective interest — moved centre stage as the instrument of crisis management.
… despite over half a century of regional institution building, the huge Brussels bureaucracy proved little more than a paper tiger. The implications for Asian regional cooperation are profound. …
The Asean National Tourism Organisations (Asean-NTOs) discussed sub-regional Asean cooperation …

"The discussion of the cooperation agenda is closely related to the programs that are being or will be implemented this year at sub-regional level,"…
The sub-regional cooperation covered three areas. One of them concerned the Greater Mekong Sub Region (GMS) which involved Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, …
The second area of cooperation concerned development of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) in which Thailand had been appointed chief of the tourism field.
The third area of cooperation dealt with development of the Brunei-Indonesia- Malaysia- Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) with Malaysia as chief of the tourism field.
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1000 - Europe
2000 - Africa
3000 - Atlantic Ocean
4000 - Antarctica
5000 - Americas
6000 - Pacific Ocean
7000 - Oceana
8000 - Asia
9000 - Indian Ocean

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