The following outlines a partial list of the regional issues in terms
of the US, but variations of them exist in other developed countries as
well as developing ones. An integrative approach to planning may also
address other socio-economic issues, such as medical care, education,
and drug abuse. The menu of problem areas which may be included in an
integrative regional process include:
- Global competition for basic energy and mineral
resources is increasing prices rapidly for most types of economic and
- In most regions, industrialized countries are losing
factories and high quality jobs to China, India, and other developing
- In rapidly developing countries many regions are losing farm land and experiencing serious pollution.
- Much public infrastructure is degraded and inefficient.
- Transportation planning and investment centers on highway systems and gridlock grows more intense.
- In many housing markets prices are at record highs and there is a severe shortage of affordable housing.
- The damage of petrochemical farming to soil systems
and human health combined with the high cost of petroleum makes
industrial agriculture a model we can no longer afford.
- The early impacts of climate change are occurring
now and credible forecasts indicate major damage to farm productivity,
water supplies, the health of ecosystems, and the capacity for many
regions to support present human populations.
- Farms and wild ecosystems are losing biodiversity required for resilience and adaptation.
- Toxins are pervasive in the environment and human
bodies, many of them persisting for decades, and damaging human health
and viability of plants and animals.
Ending the fragmentation of effort and working
holistically with clusters of issues is likely to yield a high level of
synergy. For instance, the transition to sustainable farming, the
development of new enterprises and jobs, reducing oil and petrochemical
consumption, and preparing for climate change form a mutually
supporting subsystem of issues. Advances in one area help develop
solutions in another There are clear economic and environmental
benefits to be gained by working with several issues
- Efforts to deal with any of these issues are usually fragmented and short-term.
- There is little ability in most management systems to conceive solutions emerging from a holistic view of the crises.
- There is a high wall between urban planning and development and rural and wilderness planning.
- Cassandra-like forecasts are greeted with head in the sand responses. Fear is the dominant emotional tone.
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