Monday, February 20, 2006

Imagine Regionalism

We’re discovering a variety of definitions on regionalism exist. We expect we’ll hear even more this week as WKSU explores the subject.

The alarm for NEO’s need to embrace regionalism was sounded again last week, prompting us to further consider how we define the concept. This AP news report, which tells how inner-ring suburbs often suffer from a lack of government support (i.e., tax dollars) at the expense of exurbs and core cities, helped crystallize our thinking.

Considering that the NEO region is expanding while its population remains relatively stable, this news report foretells trouble for more than just inner-ring cities; it's a warning shot for any suburb in Cuyahoga County as residential development proceeds into the greenfields of Geauga, Medina and Lorain counties. This might explain why Bay Village’s mayor was once lobbying for a seat on The Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium.

Can you imagine if Cuyahoga County's suburbs had embraced regionalism in 1950? Their leaders would now be prepared to tackle the exacerbated issues they’re facing today. Had they embraced the challenges and troubles of neighboring cities like East Cleveland or, better yet, Akron and Youngstown, they would have answers to today’s problems.

Again, imagine how different our worries would be today if we had been operating as a region since the 1950s? We suspect our worries would involve choosing between the best opportunities and less on how to avoid disaster.

If our definition is true, the sooner NEO acts as a region the better.


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