UB Regional Institute Member of Macarthur Foundation Network on Building Resilient Regions

By Rachel M. Teaman

Release Date: April 13, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Kathryn A. Foster, director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, will serve as co-investigator for the Network on Building Resilient Regions, a recently launched initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The network will pursue a major national analysis of how regions respond to national demographic, economic and social challenges, while examining factors that contribute to "regional resilience," or the capacity for regions to make short-term decisions that yield long-term success.

The MacArthur Foundation grant provides $3.2 million over three years to the University of California, Berkeley, lead agent for the research and policy effort, which will re-grant awards to the 13 network members. The Regional Institute will additionally receive a sub-award of approximately $200,000 for management, administrative and research support to the project.

Among the network members are experts in regional planning, economics, political science, sociology and local government from Berkeley, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

"I am honored to be among such a distinguished group of regional scholars," Foster said, adding that this is a natural evolution for her research interests, which include governance systems, metropolitan decision making, and regional identity and leadership.

"That this project has received such substantial support from the MacArthur Foundation speaks to the critical need for improved understanding of regions," she added. "More and more, the regional level -- not the local, state or national levels -- is the framework from which economic, demographic and environmental challenges are most effectively addressed."

The network will evaluate how the features of a region, such as its culture, policies, institutions and governance strategies, contribute to regional resilience. Researchers also will address regional responses to national-scale issues, including how regions address the suburbanization of poverty or the rapid influx of immigrants or how declining manufacturing regions respond to extensive economic restructuring in a global economy.

Over the next three years, the group will carry out a series of quantitative analyses and case studies that compare the resilience of different regions experiencing similar challenges.

"These are all topics of practical relevance to the Buffalo-Niagara region, which is to serve as a model for several of the network's research inquires," Foster said.

Findings will be distributed through a series of working papers, articles, policy briefs and edited volumes published during the course of the program. The network also plans national conferences for academic and policy audiences.

Additional information and project materials are available at the Building Resilient Regions Web site at http://www-iurd.ced.berkeley.edu/brr/.

A major research and public-service unit of the University at Buffalo, the Regional Institute plays a vital role in addressing key policy and governance issues for regions, with focused analysis of the Buffalo-Niagara region. A unit of the UB Law School, the institute leverages the resources of the university and binational community to pursue a wide range of scholarship, projects and initiatives that frame issues, inform decisions and guide change.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, the largest and most comprehensive campus in the State University of New York.