Regional/Greater Community Development News – April 23, 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. More articles are at
Top 10 Stories
… members of the Metropolitan Council met with Scott County Association For Leadership And Efficiency (SCALE) members… to start a conversation on how the two can better work together.
… Council Chair “… heard the concerns that many of you (SCALE members) have been expressing,” particularly as they relate to the (Highway) 169 corridor, the proposed (Highway) 101 river crossing, transit, and general agency-to-agency relationship issues. “Honestly, it is difficult to work together as a region,” she noted. “There are a lot of natural tensions that arise when we’re dealing with limited resources. We need to put our focus on prioritization and partnerships.”
Haigh gave some history of the council and its mission (“To foster a prosperous, livable metropolitan region”).
… At the end of the session, Lemke asked, “How do we move forward from here? How can we work with each other and not just simply deal with each other?
Among the 2012-13 state budget line items vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott… $2.5 million for the state's 11 regional planning councils -- for the second year in a row.
… Last year, Scott vetoed the money because "there was a lack of performance measures and metrics documenting the effectiveness and need for (regional planning councils) to justify state funding at the time,"…
This year, the Florida Regional Councils Association submitted a five-page "return on investment" document ( explaining the roles that the councils play in economic development and providing local government assistance. …
Scott Koons, chair of association's executive directors advisory committee, said …
"We are faced with state mandated responsibilities without state resources to carry out those activities,"…federal or local funding typically are grants for specific services such as economic development, disaster preparedness or local development planning. …
Greater Washington is destined to become a polycentric metropolis in which downtown Washington will be one of many “downtowns” within the region. But will polycentric greater Washington be great? Without more regional thinking, coupled with coordinated public actions and infrastructure investment, probably not.
Explore greater Washington-Prince George’s, Montgomery, Arlington and Fairfax counties & Alexandria. You will see numerous formerly suburban areas that are becoming denser and more urban, and ultimately more urbane. However, making this future polycentric metropolitan region really great will depend above all on developing an effective, region-wide system of transportation tying these areas together.
…affordable housing… employment…education…preserving…environmental assets.
Achieving all this is challenging in a region so jurisdictionally fragmented and governed…Yet the region’s evolution as a polycentric metropolis is partly attributable to this fragmented political structure. …
When Northern Virginia leaders attempted a regional tax increase referendum to fund transportation improvements in 2002, it hit several types of resistance.
Dave Robertson, of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, said…that there were some who did not trust how the money would be spent, others who did not like the transit/roads mix in the infrastructure package and “there was the no-tax-for-anybody crew in there.”
The crowd of about 100 political, business and community leaders visiting from the Atlanta region laughed knowingly. The July 31 transportation referendum vote was a big topic for the Atlanta Regional Commission’s annual LINK trip, as ARC board members who attended are heavily promoting the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax, and the trip participants were a decidedly pro-referendum crowd. The trip is a chance for metro Atlanta leaders to learn from what other regions have done and to network with one another.
They got a cautionary tale from Washington region officials, …
Mobilizing civic leaders behind new ways to pay for an accessible, affordable, connected regional transportation system
The Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance…launched a new leadership initiative to champion a regional transportation system and the need for new sustainable ways to pay for it.
"Making it easier to move people, goods and services across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is critical to our region's economic, social and environmental prosperity," … Chair, CivicAction. "Metrolinx has an approved plan to build the system we need, but we have nowhere near the funds to pay for it. We have to be open to new ways to raise money that are dedicated to getting this done."
…meeting…with a diverse group of civic leaders who rely heavily on the region's roads and transit to move people, goods and services, and who are motivated to make that system better.… started forging a strategy to put this issue on the front burner of civic leaders and their constituencies across the region.
All for one and one for all is the working theory behind the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.
The organization was formed in 1973 to maximize resources in individual communities as well as meeting the common needs of the region as a whole, according to Executive Director Mike Norris,…
He explained that the need for regionalism arose because rural areas/municipalities regularly were outgunned by larger cities when it came to accessing grants, funds, services and other necessities in managing infrastructure and community betterment programs. …
Norris described SEIRPC as “longstanding and productive” in its aid to economic development in the region through securing state and federal funds for projects …
“It’s easy for us working in the region to say regionalism works…There are success stories all over the area. But it’s important to recognize how interrelated the nature of the region is. People aren’t stationary. People have to travel to and from work ... on a daily basis.” …
He cautioned RAP participants that despite the benefits of planning, “ a plan will help a community only as much as it can help itself.”
Southern California is no longer the Great Satan of suburban sprawl. Last month, the Census Bureau released a list of America's densest urban areas, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ranked first. New York-Newark was fifth.
Nothing symbolizes the emerging shift, however, like the unanimous vote this month by the Southern California Assn. of Governments, or SCAG, to adopt the landmark 2012-2035 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy. With a price tag of $524 billion, it aims to guide growth around public transit and walkable communities. Suddenly, our region is being hailed throughout California as the new model for a sustainable future. The SCAG blueprint exceeds even tough new state standards for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan includes expansion of housing near public transit by 60%, a 350% increase in funding for biking and pedestrian improvements and projections of more than 4 million new jobs — with public transit within half a mile of most …
It’s not surprising that Englewood chose to name its high school for Dwight Morrow, a city resident who was a U.S. senator, an ambassador to Mexico and a powerful Wall Street banker. However, Morrow’s most enduring influence might have come through a position that doesn’t even rate a mention in his Wikipedia entry.
Morrow served on the influential 10-member committee that fashioned the 1929 “Regional Plan of New York and Its Environs,” the first master plan for any city or region in the country. That multivolume agenda became a seminal blueprint for the growth of New York City and the entire metropolitan area, and, in the eyes of many, codified the strategy that perpetuated the city’s role of dominance on the world scene.
As it turned out, by virtually laying out the structure of roads that serves as the region’s circulatory system and projected path of development, it also helped to create something unanticipated. Call it the City of North Jersey, the place we live and work in now.
Since the housing and financial collapse of 2008, Clackamas County homeowners have struggled with some of the highest foreclosure rates in Oregon, regularly outranking neighboring Multnomah and Washington counties.
"I think we made a bit of a policy mistake in not trying to allocate more of our growth to the west side," said Gerard Mildner, director at the Center for Real Estate at Portland State University. "We've fixed some of our thinking about that, but in some ways, we're living through some of the difficulties where we've tried to encourage homes to be built in the places in the region where growth would not normally happen."
In trying to preserve prime farmland in Washington County, Mildner and others say Metro, the Portland area's regional government, encouraged more growth in Clackamas County than jobs or transportation could support.
"In the past, it's…been…land good for farming? …for houses?… Jobs probably wasn't as important. I think it will be more important in the future.
After the 2008 State election in Western Australia, WA National Party…sparked a national trend that could be reversing the fortunes of rural Australians…used…party’s balance of power negotiations to secure the State’s Royalties for Regions program.
The policy transformed…into a legislated investment program…delivering for WA regions in spades.
That power sharing deal with the WA Liberals now sees about $1 billion a year - raised through 25 per cent of the State’s mining and petroleum royalties - re-directed towards important projects that improve the social and economic prosperity of regional communities.
The WA Country Local Government Fund (CLGF) is one of three funds operating under the State government’s Royalties for Regions program, designed to provide and renew infrastructure and support capacity-building across regional WA. …$306 million had been allocated to the fund since it started in 2008, seeing about 1200 projects funded across the State’s 109 country local governments.
NADO Research Foundation…special report, Regional Resilience. The issue brief summarizes recent research and practice on economic and community resiliency, including a potential framework for regional development organizations to use in preparing and responding to economic shocks.
Disasters, whether natural or man-made disasters, often know no boundaries and a community’s ability to recover is mostly determined by its capacity to respond to the magnitude and severity of the event. A resilient region anticipates threats, develops resources to reduce their impact, responds appropriately, and recovers. A resilient approach extends beyond emergency responsiveness by utilizing advanced planning and leadership to address vulnerabilities and support vibrant, healthy communities.
In partnership with Rupri and … Economic Development Administration (EDA), NADO is working to assist regions in taking a more pro-active approach to pre-disaster preparedness and post-disaster economic recovery. …

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