Matthew J. McKinney and Shawn Johnson from the University of Montana Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy (formerly the Public Policy Research Institute) have co-authored Working Across Boundaries: People, Nature, and Regions, a guide for citizens, practitioners, and policy makers seeking to implement regional solutions that cross municipal, state and even international boundaries. The companion Web site for the book is Regional Collaboration.
“Our challenges today don’t fit neatly inside city limits or state lines,” said Armando Carbonell, senior fellow and chair of the Department of Planning and Urban Form, who views Working Across Boundaries is a kind of ‘missing manual’ for working at regional scales that are much more likely today to reflect the expanse of a watershed or an ecosystem, or a megaregion that can benefit from a larger land conservation or infrastructure plan. Regional collaboration can appear complex and difficult, given diverse stakeholders and conflicting interests that play out across complicated geographies. An example that runs the gamut of regional land use, natural resource, and environmental issues is Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Calgary is at the core of a metropolitan region of 19 municipalities struggling with serious urban-suburban conflicts over rapid growth, including water supply and wastewater issues, played out in a landscape of massive resource extraction, such as oil sands, and important habitat for moose, bear, and beaver. Other case studies and examples from across North America help to illustrate the principles, processes, and outcomes of diverse efforts by local officials and a host of networks, partnerships, and regional institutions to close the regional governance gap. Regional collaboration, to be sustained, must demonstrate that the benefits to participating stakeholders will exceed the costs, and the efforts should be carefully measured. The authors present an array of strategies and techniques, 10 guiding principles, five key questions for regional governance, and seven habits of effective implementation in a volume former Interior secretary Bruce Babbitt said was an important guide for sustainable landscapes. McKinney will appear at a specialreception Oct. 8 at Lincoln House to celebrate the book, following his participation in a working group on large-scale land conservation that day.