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Archive for March, 2010

Greg Northrup  spoke recently with Candace Beeke of the Business Review about regionalism in West Michigan.

Beeke and her colleagues at Business Review do a good job sensing that regionalism is a trend. They also notice that it is easier to talk about collaboration than it is to make meaningful accomplishments.

But we remind West Michigan residents to consider the accomplishments in regional collaboration that have been made as we’ve moved from planning when WMSA was formed  10 years ago to action in the most recent years.

For example, WIRED, the Green Infrastructure project, and the Internship Initiative to name several efforts that required input and action from people across the region. Read more about those efforts in categories on this blog or at the WMSA Web site.

Also, keep in mind that those are just projects started by WMSA. Our mission has always been “to be a catalyst for regional collaboration.” So we take pride in any example of regionalism, whether we’re involved in it directly or not. Such examples are increasing every year.

Finally, if you want to really understand the benefits of regionalism you need to consider how regions–not just cities– are compared in a national and global context. You can learn more about that by attending our “State of the Region” event on April 27 at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville. As in past years, we will present the “Vital Signs” report, comparing West Michigan to 26 other regions on a set of key economic, environmental, and social indicators. If you are interested in attending, registration information is online.

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Site Selection Magazine ranked the State of Michigan 3rd in new economic development projects for 2009.

Meanwhile, for metropolitan areas with a population between 200,000 and 1 million, Grand Rapids-Wyoming was tied  for 3rd with Baton Rouge, and the Holland-Grand Haven metro was 5th in the country.

In an era with lots of bad economic news, and in which Michigan seems to be singled  out as an example of bad economic situations, this is particularly good news.

As Tim Mroz of The Right Place pointed out: “It means that the state and especially West Michigan are growing new projects faster than almost every other area of it’s size in the country.”

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