| Resources for Regional
This page is a brief intro to a very large realm ofPlease send your ideas and suggestions for other organizations to ernielowe at indigodev.com (at = @)
actions and policies
overseas resources, and
to support the design of regional economic renewal.
The Federal Stimulus (American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill)
Although Indigo's regional recovery process focuses on bootstrapping community effort across the nation, it is important to track the stimulus funding that the Federal government will provide. Many economists say the level of Federal stimulus is far below what is needed to create and save jobs and businesses as demanded for real recovery. So it is vitally important to begin regional and local recovery programs immediately to add another level of stimulus to the economy.
The final American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as signed by President Obama. You can read and comment on the bill at this site:
NYT Stimulus topic page, with links to other sources and congressional bills, as passed:
ShovelWatch is tracking the stimulus bill dollars as they travel from Congress to your neighborhood. It is a joint project of the non-profit investigative group ProPublica, the morning news program The Takeaway and WNYC, New York’s NPR public radio station.
Comparison of House and Senate versions of the recovery bill (detailed):
Design Your Own Stimulus Package, an interactive page -- The Center for American Progress has set up an interactive tool so that users can design their own balance in the stimulus package.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus released a comprehensive plan for recovery and reinvestment at this site:
The Obama Administration web site: Send news of what you are doing and what you need from Washington in a new stimulus package to support local and regional economic recovery:
Community Wealth Building The Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland has created a powerful inventory of institutions and strategies for building community wealth. The strategies and methods tab opens a table to access brief overviews, case studies, detailed reports, and examples in your region. In addition the site offers reports on the field as a whole. community-wealth.org is one of the richest sources of ideas for communties and regions seeking to design economic recovery strategies.
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) serves as the national voice for regionalism. NARC advocates for and provides services to its member councils of government (COGs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs).
National League of Cities: City Practice Resources compiled by the staff of the NLC describe successful efforts of cities of all sizes around the U.S.
Alliance for Innovation has opened a participative wiki entitled Navigating the Fiscal Crisis: Tested Strategies for Local Government Leaders. The Alliance is a networking association for cities and counties committed to innovation and transforming local government, with partnerships with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Arizona State University (ASU). So far the content tends to focus inwards on government action, rather than broader business, citizen and community relief and recovery.
The site is based on white papers from a host of academic experts in public policy and administration. These are available as pdf files at:
Institute for Local Self-Reliance works to strengthen communities through the smart utilization of local resources, including resource recovery and evolution toward he Carbohydrate Economy. The latter proposes a return to an biomass based production systems.
www.carbohydrateeconomy.org/ - .
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies: The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, or BALLE, is the world’s fastest growing network of sustainable businesses committed to building local economies and transforming the community economic development field. BALLE is comprised of nearly 60 local networks of independent businesses in a variety of locales across the US and Canada, and represents more than 20,000 entrepreneurs.
Center for Rural Strategies
A Field Guide to Community Building
A web site produced with the Heartland Center for Leadership Development that combines "how-to" information about community development with stories that illustrate the impact of community work.
Small Planet Institute is a center encouraging local democracy, food security, and sustainable communities. Frances Moore Lappe says, "Reducing democracy to voting and shopping, it can’t tap our deep needs and capacities to be problem solvers ourselves. Essentially, humans aren’t couch potatoes and whiners! We are doers who thrive when we know our voices count.":
Links to other organizations
Sustainable Hudson Valley is a New York organization "devoted to sustainable development that builds and shares wealth, restores the environment and contributes positively to communities"
See especially Melissa Everett's analysis in Against Meltdown: Return to the Real
"Any answer has to begin with a return to the real, a big step away from the abstractions of paper that can be bought and sold without clear value, and back to a focus on the goods and services that an economy needs to provide."
Elizabeth River Project, in Virginia's Hampton Roads region, works toward restoration of a working river (with Navy and commercial ports and services) into a living river. Notable for its ability to link environmental, community, and economic concerns.
Actions and policies
Foreclosure Manual: Government and nonprofit resources to help homeowners avoid foreclosure:
ACORN foreclosure resistance: "Acorn is working with its membership and activists around the country to build "Home Defender Teams." These teams will be prepared to mobilize on short notice to peacefully help defend a family's right to stay in their homes until a fair solution to the crisis is put into place by the new Administration."
Local foreclosure relief
Milwauakee, Wisconsin -- along with other cities -- is acting to support homeowners facing foreclosure. The City's main page features Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
Mayor Tom Barrett asked County courts to suspend foreclosure proceedings on October 30, 2008 and formed a Milwaukee Foreclosure Partnership Initiative (MFPI) – “a public-private partnership made up of lenders, foundations and community stakeholders with the primary goal of steadying Milwaukee neighborhoods most affected by the foreclosure crisis using a threetiered approach: Prevention, Intervention and Stabilization.”
The Inland Empire Economic Recovery Corporation (So Calif) will purchase, rehabilitate and sell foreclosure properties in order to restore the regional real estate market. It is also hosting hosting home foreclosure prevention seminars.
Innovative financing for renewable energy and energy efficiency
California AB 811 (2008) New Financing Opportunities for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Installations.
This act enables cities to set up an assessment districts in order to finance "distributed generation renewable energy sources or energy efficiency improvements," for permanent installation on developed property.
Cal. Stats. & High. Code §§ 5898.
The City of Berkeley CA set the precedent for this legislation by creating a Sustainable Energy Assessment District in November 2007. The full description of this program is on Berkeley’s web site under FIRST (Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology) as an Addition of Chapter 7.98 to the Berkeley Municipal Code - Special Tax Financing Law - Sustainable Energy Financing District”
Sonoma County Energy Independence Program
Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Water Agency created California’s first countywide program under this legislation. The program supports homeowners and owners of commercial property in cutting energy costs through installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency retrofitting. It also covers costs of equipment that reduces water usage. The cost is covered by the County and repaid over a 10 to 20 year period through the property tax assessment.
More time off -- forum on the European Solution
Six economists and labor experts respond to the NY Times questions: "For American employers, is one approach — layoffs versus shorter workweeks and wage cuts — better for the economy? Could it be true — as the Germans argue — that keeping more workers on the job is a good way to stimulate the economy in a recession?"
Easing the shock of unemployment
Newspapers and tv/radio stations around the country are covering the financial and economic crisis, but some go a step beyond by building links offering ideas and support to those directly hit by it. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has set up “Easing the shock of unemployment” with a collection of stories and links to public and private services. This could easily be extended to other issues involved in local and regional recovery.
Big Box store closures
Big Box chains are closing stores and going bankrupt as people cut consumption due to the economic crisis. The closed stores are big hulks that are not easy to market. One approach to recovery is to consider innovative redesign to make them usable to your community. Here's a link to a Washington Post story with many good ideas.
Big Box & Beyond : Today's Temples of Consumption Don't Have To Be Tomorrow's Ruins. What's in Store?
By Joel Garreau Sunday, November 16, 2008
Washington Post Staff Writer
20 Resilient Responses for Troubled Times, by Bob Waldrop. The Peak Oil Blues site has many other posts helpful for people struggling with the economic crisis.
Job Hunting in An Economic Depression: A Changing Landscape:
10 Tips for Taxpayers Hit by the Recession, "If you’ve lost your job, are searching for a new one or attempting to strike out on your own, your tax return may be affected. The same is true if you are collecting unemployment, lost your home in foreclosure or tapped your retirement accounts early." New York Times, February 10, 2009:
The Local Government Association in the UK is taking a leading role in helping local councils cope with the economic crisis. Many ideas in this site and the papers below may be useful in the US:
download two papers:
Global slowdown, local solutions
‘From Recession to recovery: the local dimension’
President-Elect Obama stated a critical theme for economic recovery in his promise to stimulate development of renewable energy and environmental ventures and jobs. We have gathered a number of important reports supporting his vision of renewing our economy through energy development and climate action.
The Double Bottom Line Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the field of Double Bottom Line investment private-equity funds. Double Bottom Line (DBL) private equity funds 'do good' and 'do well' by producing two bottom lines:
First Bottom Line: Risk-adjusted market returns for large repeat institutional investors (the first bottom line), andA number of regional double bottom line funds have been launched across the United States in order to attract private capital investment into distressed neighborhoods. The intent of the Handbook is to help community stakeholders better understand how DBL funds may benefit their regional economic goals and how these funds are created.
Second Bottom Line: Measurable jobs, wealth, and community revitalization for community stakeholders in low-income neighborhoods (the second bottom line).
Dealing with the Downturn: Issues and Strategies for ESOP Companies covers the state of Employee Stock Ownership Plan companies, financing, dealing with more difficult credit markets, valuation concerns, and ideas for employee communication:
Testimony before House Committee on Education and Labor, Hearing on “Building an Economic Recovery Package: Creating and Preserving Jobs in America” October 24, 2008
Testimony of Robert Pollin, an economist and founding director of Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Can Green Industry Save the Economy?
What's the Downside in Creating Jobs While Helping the Environment?
Robert Pollin et al. 2008. Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy
As the nation continues to debate its energy future, a new report shows that the U.S. can create two million jobs by investing in a rapid green economic recovery program, which will strengthen the economy, increase energy independence, and fight global warming. Green Recovery was prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under commission by the Center for American Progress and released by a coalition of labor and environmental groups. The authors are Robert Pollin, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, James Heintz, and Helen Scharber of PERI.
Update linking the Green Recovery paper to the actual stimulus plan proposal and arguing that a stimulus reaching for major energy and environmental policy objectives is feasible.
Robert Pollin, Doing the Recovery Right, The Nation, February 16, 2009
an excellent political economic analysis of the stimulus by the researcher cited above.
Deutsche Bank report:
Mark Fulton. 2008. Investing in Climate Change 2009: Necessity and Opportunity in Turbulent Times
Global Head of Deutsche Bank's Climate Change Investment Research
"The opportunity is timely. We believe that, when combined with energy security, climate change policies will play a role in government efforts to stimulate their economies in 2009. Governments now have an historic opportunity to define long-term regulatory frameworks to encourage private investment in climate change initiatives. Additional opportunity exists for governments to boost their economies by funding infrastructure projects that will serve to foster energy independence and climate-proof their economies."
Largest investors groups call for climate action in spite of financial crisis
The US-based Investor Network on Climate Risk, the European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, and the Investors Group on Climate Change in Australia and New Zealand. 135 leading institutional investors, representing more than $6.4 trillion in assets, signed a joint statement to head of governments and climate negotiators calling for “a strong, binding framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol” and warning that “clear and long-term policy signals are essential if investors are to allocate the huge amounts of private capital required to fund the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Reuters' report at http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081111/ts_nm/us_edtclimate_investors
UN says credit crisis can enable "green growth"
Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:51pm BST
By Patrick Worsnip
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Instead of sidelining the fight against climate change, the global credit crisis could hasten countries' efforts to create "green growth" industries by revamping the financial system behind them, the U.N. climate chief said on Friday. But that would depend on governments helping poor countries -- who are key to saving the planet's ecology -- tackle their problems, instead of spending most available money on rescuing the financial world, Yvo de Boer told reporters.
De Boer said the financial "earthquake" that has seen markets plunge worldwide in recent weeks could damage U.N.-led climate change talks, but only "if the opportunities that the crisis brings for climate change abatement are ignored."
"The credit crisis can be used to make progress in a new direction, an opportunity for global green economic growth," de Boer, who heads the Bonn-based U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, told a news conference.
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