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Regional Centers of Excellence

Volunteers plant trees in Topeka, Kansas.

In 2010, the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service established the Regional Centers of Excellence initiative to recognize regional planning organizations with excellent regional green infrastructure planning and implementation programs and promote peer-to-peer sharing on the subject. In 2010, NARC recognized the Houston-Galveston Area Council in Houston, TX and Land-of-Sky Regional Council in Asheville, NC as Regional Centers of Excellence to receive small grants to serve as national models of land conservation and natural resource protection. Regional Centers of Excellence are selected through a national call for applications based upon their program quality, capacity and reach, along with geographic, demographic and ecological diversity. As Regional Centers of Excellence, the organizations carried out a variety of activities promoting regional green infrastructure planning to peer regional planning organizations nearby and across the country.

As the 2010 Regional Centers of Excellence, Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) and Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) leveraged additional resources to complete significant communications and outreach activities inside and outside of their regional planning organizations’ boundaries. H-GAC and LOSRC work with other organizations and governments; share their project products, processes and lessons learned; and provide technical assistance to regional planning organizations wishing to implement a similar project in their region. In 2009, the Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission in Green Bay, WI and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in Philadelphia, PA were selected as Regional Centers of Excellence for their work promoting green infrastructure and Landcare practices in their region, and both organizations carried out similar peer-to-peer outreach across the country.

Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)

  • H-GAC’s most recent Eco-Logical project promotes livability through integrating the region’s long-range environmental and transportation planning. Supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, and many regional partners, the project led to the development of a regional decision support system, an interactive geographic information system (GIS) based mapping tool.

Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC)

  • LOSRC works with a multi-disciplinary group of leaders from across its four-county region to develop a project that brings together data and expertise from public, private, and non-profit sources, resulting in a series of maps, GIS datasets, information and other tools that help guide land use decisions across the region.
  • The goal is to develop and provide a valuable set of resources that can help local governments, land trusts, developers, and landowners make land use and development decisions that will bring the regional green infrastructure network design into reality on the ground.

National Association of Regional Councils, 2011.

Jenee Kresge
(202) 986-1032 x215

Mia Colson
(202) 986-1032 x211