Prospects for Expanding Regional Planning Efforts

June 2010
Elisabeth Gerber, Carolyn G. Loh

We assess the potential for expanding regional planning by asking local government officials their perspectives on the potential for increasing regionalism in their communities, and the most promising approaches to achieving greater regionalism. Our study involves analyzing data from a recent survey of local government officials in Michigan. We find that support for regional planning declines amongst local officials who are already heavily involved in regional efforts, and increases amongst those who perceive greater fiscal challenges. However, local government officials who support expanding regional planning are less supportive of working through existing regional institutions; they prefer to create new regional entities to pursue additional cooperation. Those with experience with regional planning efforts are more supportive of working through existing institutions.