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CCRL California Center for Regional Leadership
Connecting California's Regions to the State and Each Other
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200 Pine St., Ste. 400
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone (415) 445-8975
Fax (415) 445-8974

CalRegions Email Newsletters Archive

Volume II, Issue 1 - January/February 2001

Planning and Decision Tools for California's Regional Organizations

Contents

I. California's Regional Organizations Applying Planning and Decision Tools Informed Regional Choices
II. News and Publications on Tools for Civic Engagement
III. The California Center for Regional Leadership and Civic Navigator Website

Watch for the CalRegions Official Website Launch on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2001!

"The increasing democratization of the planning process, the increasing complexity of planning decisions, and the limited time that working families have to spend on these issues call for greater use of technology-based decision tools ... There is a cornucopia of tools available to regional decision makers, with more being developed all the time."

From Informed Regional Choices: How California's Regional Organizations are Applying Planning and Decision Tools (November 2000)

I. California's Regional Organizations Applying Planning and Decision Tools

The California Center for Regional Leadership (CCRL) is examining ways to aid regions in their use of technology-based planning and decision tools. California's regions need better planning and decision tools to inform regional decision-making. New technology-based tools are now available to aid with such things as land-use planning, economic development, school siting, community indicators projects, health and social services, and transportation planning. All of these endeavors require a better-informed and engaged civic sector with more efficient public sector planning processes, but many new technology-based tools are not yet widely used. It is CCRL's contention that we need to close the gap between the growing supply of tools and a lack of effective consumer demand.

With the sponsorship of The James Irvine Foundation and CCRL, Collaborative Economics has written a report for the Center intended to stimulate discussion about ways to expand the use of technology-based planning and decision tools by California's regional organizations and local agencies. In this report, Informed Regional Choices: How California's Regional Organizations are Applying Planning and Decision Tools, the authors surveyed some of California's regional organizations to better understand how they are using decision tools. Using case studies, the report outlines the need to address a number of perceived barriers to the use of decision tools and a need to provide feedback to developers of these tools to improve the ease of use and affordability.

The report makes the case for a statewide networked resource center (The California Alliance for Regional Information Technologies, CARIT) that provides access to services to support the efforts of California's diverse regional initiatives and organizations, and outlines specific goals that such a resource center could accomplish. Informed Regional Choices makes the argument that CARIT could help regional organizations gain access to the information tools they need, and concludes that "the timing is right: more tools are becoming available and regional leaders increasingly want to deploy them in their own planning ... to improve the decision making that so significantly affects their regions' future economy and quality of life."

For more information on regional applications of planning and decision tools contact:

Nick Bollman, President, California Center for Regional Leadership, 455 Market Street, Suite 1100, San Francisco, CA 94105, Phone (415) 882-7300, Fax (415) 882-7272, nbollman@ccrl.org

The Report Informed Regional Choices: How California's Regional Organizations are Applying Planning and Decision Tools, was prepared by Doug Henton and Kathie Studwell, Collaborative Economics, 350 Cambridge Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306, Phone (650) 614-0230, www.coecon.com

A copy of Informed Regional Choices: How California's Regional Organizations are Applying Planning and Decision Tools, can be downloaded from the CCRL website, beginning February 14, 2001. To obtain a hard copy, please email Renee Hild at rhild@ccrl.org.

II. News and Publications on Tools for Civic Engagement

- The Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities has published a new paper entitled Civic Participation and Smart Growth: Transforming Sprawl into a Broader Sense of Citizenship, written by Jonathan Weiss of the George Washington University Center on Sustainability and Regional Growth. The article describes how the growing concern about suburban sprawl can activate a new wave of smarter growth and broader civic participation in regions across the country. This is the fourth in a series of papers sponsored by the Funders' Network to translate the impact of sprawl upon issues of importance to America's communities and to suggest opportunities for progress that would be created by smarter growth policies and practices. For more information or to obtain copies, contact: Ben Starrett, Executive Director, Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, Collins Center for Public Policy, Inc., 150 SE 2nd Avenue, Suite 709, Miami, FL, 33131, Phone 305-377-4484, Fax 305-377-4485, bstarrett@collinscenter.org, www.fundersnetwork.org.

- The Partnership for Regional Livability is hosting an online forum on "Cultivating Public Participation". The goal of the forum is to identify tools to engage the public in regional issues. The PRL forum will be an opportunity for people to share principles and lessons learned from case studies of regional initiatives that have successfully engaged citizens in community decision-making. The forum will tie-in with the paper "Cultivating Public Participation," by Ruth Ann Bramson of Suffolk University, a helpful resource for anyone engaged in creating public dialogues in their regions. The PRL encourages you to join in this discussion by going to www.prlonline.org, or for questions contact Elizabeth Patterson or Alan Skinner at exec@prlonline.org.

- Looking ahead: the Alliance for Regional Leadership is developing its next monograph on Tools for Civic Engagement, based on principles and case studies of successful regional initiatives that have leveraged tools to stimulate community decision-making. This Monograph will focus on how to combine effective strategies and tools to engage citizens n technology as the enabler, not the driver. The Alliance Working Group on Tools would like to profile several regions around the country to suggest good case studies, contact Chi Nguyen at chi@coecon.com. For more information on tools for civic engagement or other issues the Alliance will be covering over the next year visit the Alliance for Regional Stewardship website at www.regionalstewardship.org.

III. The California Center for Regional Leadership
and Civic Navigator Website

The Center officially launches calregions.urbaninsight.com on Valentines Day, February 14, 2001!

The new CalRegions website will be the on-line home of the California Center for Regional Leadership and Civic Navigator. The website will provide CCRL with an interactive communications tool for supporting and promoting innovative regional solutions for California's major challenges. The CalRegions website will feature the latest news and activities effecting California's regions and will describe the Center's projects and publications most of which will be downloadable. Visitors will be able to sign up for the CalRegions E-Newsletter and can easily access the current and previous e-newsletter issues posted directly on the website. Users will be encouraged to provide comments or suggestions for the Center by emailing CCRL directly from the website. In addition, the CalRegions site will provide links to collaborative regional organizations across the state, important public and government initiatives such as the Speaker's Commission on Regionalism (www.regionalism.org), and shortcuts to networks and organizations promoting regional efforts across the country such as the Alliance for Regional Stewardship www.regionalstewardship.org.

As part of the Center's continuing commitment to supporting regional organizations across the state, CCRL has also created and will maintain the Civic Navigator site. Civic Navigator is the on-line communications vehicle for the network of California's Collaborative Regional Initiatives (CRIs). Civic Navigator is designed for CRIs to communicate with each other to reach a broad audience. It is also designed to enable calregions.urbaninsight.com visitors to make a one-stop connection to the CRIs as a group. Civic Navigator will be an easy way to learn about events or activities involving several CRIs in common projects or the network as a whole, such as the Civic Entrepreneur Summit. The site will be updated regularly, and for those wanting the most frequent updates on regional activities we will provide bookmarks to each of the CRI websites.