Money for Metropolitan Business Planning

March 22, 2011

One thing that we’ve lost focus on during the two years of the Metropolitan Business Plan process is that it’s not just about BETI. Yes, yes, we love our idea for the Building Energy-Efficiency Testing & Integration Center and Demonstration Network, and its proposal to catalyze our local energy efficiency IT cluster through validating these technologies in real-world settings. But although we identified the idea of BETI through the Metropolitan Business Planning process, the MBP goals are much broader.

And the exciting thing is that one of the big goals – funding of regions through Metropolitan Business Plans – may be coming to fruition!

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Here’s How I’d Like to Restructure the Federal Government

December 14, 2010

Over the last year or two, I’ve been working closely with the Brookings Institution in their efforts to reframe the federal-metropolitan relationship (which you probably know if you’ve spent any time whatsoever reading this blog). They believe that the federal government is “too top-down, siloed, and hard-to-use by increasingly creative, data-driven metro actors.” And so they promote things like metropolitan business plans and praise the creation of interagency taskforces (like TARIC: Taskforce for Advancing Regional Innovation Clusters) and funding programs (like the $130 million, seven agency E-RIC grant).

But in all my time with them, I’ve never heard them take that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. That is, if it’s true that the federal government is too siloed, then no interagency working group is going to be able to overcome the fundamental turf wars and differing priorities that keep departments from truly collaborating.

It would require an actual restructuring of government. And here’s my plan to do that:

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E-RIC Is Everything We’ve Ever Dreamed Of

February 16, 2010

Sure, this blog has in the past been used for some shameless self-promotion. But don’t let the title of this blog post fool you; it’s not me that I’m excited about, it’s the new support of an “Energy Regional Innovation Cluster” that the Obama Administration just announced as part of its $130 million Energy Efficient Building Systems Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative:

Anchored around a DOE-funded Energy Innovation Hub that will focus on developing systems-based approaches to designing, building, and operating commercial and residential buildings, the E-RIC will integrate this Hub into a broader regional economic development initiative by linking the Hub with complementary federal and non-federal investments in business development and support, public infrastructure, workforce development, and education.

Sound familiar? Read the rest of this entry »