Regional/Greater Community Development News – June 11, 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
So here in town the topic of ‘Regionalism’ always breaks down quickly into to two irreconcilable camps. Those who think our hyper fragmented local government in Allegheny (one of the most fragmented in the nation by the way, if not the most fragmented in the world) is costly and inefficient and those who perceive the opposite as a movement toward one big ‘metropolitan’ government.
Both sides are wrong IMHO.  Those who say fragmented government is expensive never really look at what the expenses are of our smallest municipalities. If you have few or no cops, no professional fire department and rely on the state police or the county for much of what larger communities pay for then guess what… low cost.  They may not be effective and really are foisting costs onto other taxpayers, but they are not costly to the local taxpaer.  On the other side, there are so many ways to deal with the situation and few rise to the level of creating some ‘mega’ government that technicially has not legal basis at the moment and really is not on anyone’s agenda. But the paranoia exists. …
Ten cities & seven counties govern most of the 1.7 million people in Hampton Roads. Each has its own police, fire & public works departments.
And in the decade that ended in 2010, the region's population grew slowly, by about 6 percent.
Contrast that with the Charlotte, N.C., area, where half of the area's 1.8 million people reside in Mecklenburg County, a sprawling jurisdiction of 524 square miles that is larger than the cities of Virginia Beach & Norfolk combined.
Charlotte & Mecklenburg essentially act as one government, jointly providing everything from water service & police protection to the construction of a downtown sports arena. … Charlotte metropolitan area's population grew by 32 percent - among the fastest in the nation - from 2000 until 2010.
The message in those statistics is clear to Virginia Beach City Councilman…Davis - in order to thrive, Hampton Roads' largest cities should, where possible, begin sharing services.
"Either we truly become one region, or we will fall while the Charlottes & other cohesive regions rise," …
Regionalism seems to be the topic du jour for everything from economic development to disaster recovery to tourism. I can speak to one of those areas, economic development, and assure you taking a regional approach to industry recruiting is crucial.
I don't mean the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce just talks about working with our partners in Baldwin County and beyond, but the organization's mission and its staff walk the walk. We are 100 percent committed to regionalism rather than just pay it lip service.
It is undeniable that should a major project creating thousands of jobs locate in Baldwin County, Mobile County will reap benefits as well. In fact, I would submit that many other surrounding counties would benefit as well, including Washington, Clarke, Escambia and Choctaw. And that is not to mention the counties in neighboring states.…
To that end, the economic development efforts of Baldwin and Mobile counties should not be seen as competitive, but as cooperative. …
To the Editor:
It’s no great secret to those who have known me for a while that I am a strong supporter of regional cooperation. With ever increasing demands on resources, unreasonable state mandates, and a sluggish economy, our small towns need to do whatever they can to deliver good quality services at the lowest cost to taxpayers. …
There is potential to do more, especially in education, and especially at the high school level, where the recently adopted common core standards has the potential to dramatically increase local taxes. I applaud the regional cooperation now in place, …
However, there are barriers which restrict even greater sharing of staff and services. One of these is the current structure of the state’s ECS (Educational Cost Sharing) program, which is calculated on a town-by-town basis and discourages regional cooperation.
As a state legislator, I will support removing barriers to regional cooperation. However, I will strongly oppose forced regionalization…
SLICE: Strengthening Local Independent Co-ops Everywhere, is an annual conference and organizing project in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The SLICE vision of an expanding cooperative economy, one that feeds its own growth while promoting ecological sustainability and social justice, has resonated inside and outside our region’s co-op sector. 
Since 2009, SLICE has engaged cooperators in the Pacific Northwest with several key related ideas:
  • Recognize the power of cooperation and the strength of the existing cooperative economy.
  • Envision and work to grow a co-op economy that meets human needs across the board.
  • Advocate a cooperative movement in which co-ops commit resources to grow the co-op economy.
  • Inspire a cooperative model in which co-ops account for their -ecological and social impacts.
Collaborating to grow a cooperative economy
SLICE is designed as a break-even project and, with the support of its collaborators, has approached that goal in its three years of operation.
The town will join forces with Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) as part of an ambitious, three-year project being led by the state’s nine regional planning commissions. Officials hope the regional effort will ultimately spur economic growth …
During…Londonderry Planning Board meeting, SNHPC President David Preece shared details of the regional planning project, made possible with the 2011 approval of a federal Sustainable Communities grant.
Londonderry planning officials will help represent SNHPC during the project, working with other planning officials from the North Country Council, Lakes Region, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee, Southwest Region, Central N.H., Nashua Regional, Rockingham and Strafford Regional planning commissions.
… SNHPC will participate in program for next three years with the goal of expanding and updating the existing regional comprehensive plan, spanning nine regions and extending long-range planning for the Granite State well into 2030.
In an effort to have New Jersey reinstated to the nation's only cap-and-trade system, two environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environment New Jersey have filed a law suit against the state's Department of Environmental Protection.
Filed in Trenton, the lawsuit claims New Jersey's Governor, Chris Christie (R), decision to withdraw the state from participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was illegal because it was accomplished without adhering to the states' administrative laws. If it was done legally, the group argue, the public would have had an opportunity to comment on the decision.
Formed in 2007, RGGI represents the first United States' market-based system to regulate emissions. The regional cap-and-trade network, which now includes nine states along the east coast, requires heavy emitters to cap their emissions. ...
Families' median net worth fell almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, down to levels last seen in 1992, the Federal Reserve said in a report Monday.
As the U.S. economy roiled for three tumultuous years, families saw corresponding drops in their income and net wealth, according to the Fed's Survey of Consumer Finances, a detailed snapshot of household finances conducted every three years.
Median net worth of families fell to $77,300 in 2010 from $126,400 in 2007, a drop of 38.8%--the largest drop since the current survey began in 1989, Fed economists said Monday. Net worth represents the difference between a family's gross assets and its liabilities. Average net worth fell 14.7% during the same three-year period.
Much of that drop was driven by the housing market's collapse. Families whose assets were tied up more in housing saw their net worth decline by more. Among families that owned homes, their median home equity declined to $75,000 in 2010, down from $110,000 three years earlier.
Representatives of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) member countries pointed to the region's strategic significance.
They also noted opportunities for further strengthening of cooperation, during a BSEC meeting… in Belgrade.
The participants of the 26th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the BSEC praised Serbia's chairmanship of the organization and announced that the next BSEC summit…will be co-chaired by Serbia and Turkey, which takes over the six-month rotating presidency on July 1.
Opening the meeting, Assistant Foreign Minister of Serbia Slađana Prica said that the goal of the organization was to make the Black Sea region a “region with no problems whatsoever between neighboring countries and part of the world that is prosperous and peaceful.”
Strengthening BSEC's internal structures was Serbia's chairmanship priority…stressing that it led to the strengthening of cooperation in two priority areas - environmental safety and energy. ...
Government says its ongoing reform of mining policies will need the collaborative efforts of stakeholders in the sector to achieve the targeted, strategic national vision.
“It is through a deepened partnership of stakeholders that the industry can achieve the six priority areas of poverty reduction, revenue management, local content, regional development planning, social investment, and dispute resolution,”… Minister for Lands and Natural Resources…
The government in its 2012 budget statement increased the corporate tax rate for mining companies from 25 to 35 percent, introduced an additional windfall tax of 10 percent, and established a uniform regime for capital allowance of 20 percent that is deducted over five years.
…review of mineral agreements and to redesign draft agreements to ensure that they yield maximum social and economic returns to the country.
… Approximately 100 mining & power companies from Ghana, Mali, India, China, Senegal, Canada and Australia…attending…conference
+ I joined the American Association of Geographers in 2009 on the recommendation of Sally, Regional Studies Association. Having been a planner since 1973 and involved with the American Planning Association and its predecessors all those years, I did not realize that I was also a geographer. Wikipedia has an overview of the science. The link to regional geography is included. I went to geography looking for the “perfect region.”
… Geography as a discipline can be split broadly into two main subsidiary fields: the human geography and the physical geography. The former largely focuses on the built environment and how humans create, view, manage, and influence space. The latter examines the natural environment, and how organisms, climate, soil, water, and landforms produce and interact.[9] The difference between these approaches led to a third field, the environmental geography, which combines the physical and the human geography, and looks at the interactions between the environment and humans.[7]
R/GCDNews hiatus: I will be in Beijing, China June 17 to 28 in order to attend the Regional Studies Association Global Conference 2012. The paper I am developing for presentation is entitled: “Community Motive: The Untapped Identity Factor for Regional Development” Publication should resume July 2.  Tweets and Delicious links will continue daily to the extend there is Internet access and time.
More at Delicious: Topic Stacks or Links
Daily via Twitter
Newsletter  subscription
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

"Global Region-builder Geo-Code Prototype" ©