The State of California's Regions (2001)
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Throughout California, people from every walk of life are working on new ways to solve the social, economic,
and environmental problems that beset the State's communities—problems that will be even more challenging
in the future. These people are business leaders, community activists, developers, economists, educators,
environmentalists, planners, public officials, and just good citizens. We call these new leaders "civic entrepreneurs"
or "regional stewards." They come from the new economy and the old and the old-changing-to-new. They
represent the prosperous and the poor. They reside in inner cities, older suburban areas, new suburbs, and
rural areas. They are working in every region of the State. And, they care about their communities.
They are joining together to think and act in new ways at the regional level. They are reinventing
California from the grassroots up, and from a regional perspective. They share common principles and a
common sense of purpose: the resolve to build a better future for their communities, their regions, and the
State, by collaborating at the regional level in ways that shed traditional intellectual and institutional
approaches. They have created a new kind of organization, the Collaborative Regional Initiative (CRI), to
carry out this work. CRIs are led by committed volunteers and highly competent staff.
The State of California's Regions, 2001 (SOCR 2001) is the first annual report about this extraordinary new
movement. It is the mission of The California Center for Regional Leadership to help this field grow and
develop, and to tell its story to a broader public. SOCR 2001 represents the first installment in the story of
these civic entrepreneurs and the regional collaborations they have created: the story of hard-won victories
and painful failures, of lessons learned in the struggle to improve our communities. It tells a story that
is still unfolding, yet holds great promise. We will update this story annually because there is much still to
be done, to be learned, to be shared.
SOCR 2001 briefly describes the challenges and opportunities faced by our communities and regions—the
pressures of population growth, the promise and perils of the new economy, and the divide between rich
and poor. It defines and describes California's New Regionalism and the work of the CRIs on an array of
crucial issues, all of which demand comprehensive, long-term, regional solutions. SOCR 2001 summarizes
some of the CRIs' accomplishments in 2000 and their plans for 2001. It also presents a brief overview of
the fourth annual Civic Entrepreneur Summit, held in September 2000 in Huntington Beach, which
brought together 145 individuals from 20 regions throughout California to share their struggles, strategies,
successes, and lessons learned, and to forge new ideas for sustainable change.
This report is also an invitation to all Californians to join together at the regional level to help lay a new
civic foundation for the decades ahead. California's New Regionalism is not a "quick fix," but rather an
important first step toward establishing a new approach for addressing the State's economic, environmental,
and social challenges. We think that the generation of regional civic leaders highlighted in SOCR 2001
are up to the task of meeting these challenges. Please join them, and us, in this important civic mission.
Because this is the Center's first SOCR report, we are anxious to have your comments and suggestions. We
are honored to be a small part of this important movement, and we want always to do our very best to serve
the civic entrepreneurs, the CRIs, and the people of California. Let us know how we can do better—for
you, for them, for the children, and for future generations.