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Integrative  Regional Action Planning: realms of action

Blue Oak leaves Integrative regional action planning requires coordinated activity linking several key realms of sustainable regional planning and development. Some of the realms of action that the Mantaray Team draws upon to deal with the multiple crises outlined earlier include: 

1. Improve the local/regional financial infrastructure:
  • Form a consortium of public, private, and civil sources of investment that are aligned with the dual economic and environmental aims of the initiative.
  • Create investment funds for the private sector activities that grow out of action projects. (Venture, real estate, land cleanup, and sustainable farming support.)
  • Set up a virtual or real incubator for ventures receiving investments from these funds.
(This section on finance outlines a process successfully applied by Economic Innovation International and Sustainable Systems Inc. The former has created US$100 billion in regional development funds in North America, Europe, and Asia through variations on the strategy outlined here. Sustainable Systems is an affiliate of the Mantaray Team.)

2. Base local economic development planning in the requirements for regional sustainability.
  • Understand regional natural and human resources and constraints.
  • Identify economic development opportunities strongly based in regional needs and resources.
  • Consider development opportunities in the restoration of damaged ecosystems and the recovery of value from society's discards.
  • Avoid the illusion of yesterday's "new economy" . Silicon Valley has already happened and moved to Asia. 
3. Provide standards, incentives and support for design, planning and construction of a high performance built environment:
  • Urban and regional plans with relatively high density, mixed use, and mixed income patterns.
  • In infrastructure rehabitation, seek advanced
  • Residential, commercial, industrial, public, and farm buildings designed to higher than LEED standards.
3. Conduct development master planning processes in the context of integrative regional action planning:
  • Master planning for a specific property accounts for conservation of regional resources and abatement of regional environmental impacts.
  • Augment the environmental (and socio-economic) impact statement with a statement of likely positive impacts of the development regionally.
  • The development company or land owner leads creation of a public private partnership to leverage the project’s positive impacts.
4. Provide standards, incentives and support for high performance manufacturing systems and products:
  • Set goals for reducing pollution and resource consumption/unit of GDP through higher efficiency of production and improved product design.
  • Strengthen voluntary programs for pollution prevention and cleaner, more sustainable production.
  • Design for high performance products that are efficient in operation, durable, repairable, recyclable, etc.
5. Provide incentives and support for the transition to sustainable farming;
  • Evaluate the feasibility for an agro-eco-industrial park for organic processing, distribution, marketing co-ops, and support firms and public agencies.
  • Create funds for development of support firms such as integrated pest management, products and services to build soil productivity, and holistic organic consulting.
  • Link government and university and college ag research and extension programs in to support the transition.
6. Establish a framework for adapting to climate change in the region in focus
  • Set targets and create incentives and support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors.
  • Evaluate existing scenarios that project impacts of climate change in your region on farming, water resources, industrry, towns and suburbs.
  • Identify highest risk locations, economic sectors, and ecosystems.
  • Quantify the potential costs of not preparing for climate change and the benefits of region wide preventive and response systems.
  • Develop strategies for adaptation based on most likely impacts and highest risks.
  • Involve all agencies of cities, counties, and regional governments.
7. Strengthen support for renewal of natural capital
  • Achieve coordination among soil and watershed conservation districts and  restoration initiatives.
  • Assemble funding for conservation of habitats and biodiversity, and for restoration of ecosystems from private, civic, and public sources.
  • Support enterprise development in the region, such as native plant nurseries, restoration NGOs, and ecological engineering firms.
8. Integrate and coordinate urban. rural, and wild land planning
  • See all of the action areas outlined above as a whole system, each supporting the other.
    • Geographic information systems
    • Graphic system mapping
    • Scenario planning and visioning processes
  • Evaluate existing regional land use plans in terms of sustainable ecological, economic, and social values (using conservation and renewal of natural capital as an underlying value.)
  • Study the regional metabolism or flow of resources across urban, suburban, rural, and wild areas.
  • Assess combined biomass output from urban and rural sources in the region (using GIS system) and project critical points for applying advanced technology for bio-energy and bio-products.
  • Identify priorities for regulatory enforcement and voluntary programs to address major sources of pollution and low efficiency of resource use.
  • Identify points for upgrading of infrastructure that yield high value for the investment.

This list only begins to suggest what comprehensive action will require.

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