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1OMB Regs & seminar "Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas for a New Decade"

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  • Tom Christoffel
    Jan 17, 1999
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      Regions_work Subscribers and Regional Community Friends:

      1999 Greetings from the Regions_work List Moderator - May you have a Y2K
      Compliant New Year:

      Since beginning this list in April, I've had little time to build the topic
      on-line. Checking the list subscriptions yesterday, I was pleased to find
      some hardy souls had subscribed. On July 22 at the World Future Society
      conference in Chicago I launched the Regions Work Initiative - introducing
      myself as a regional evangelist. Software companies these days have product
      evangelists - and that's how I feel about this topic. In the coming weeks
      and months I will continue to develop the vision of regional data sets that
      match regional council boundaries. I'm looking for partners in the design
      process - skill sets it would take to build the information. I feel it is
      key to make the regional structure visible to the business community and

      There ought to be region locater when an individual would enter their zip
      code and/or community name/state that told them what region they were
      located in with a link or reference to the website. The website for my place
      of employment, Lord Fairfax Planning District Commission
      www.lfpdc7.state.va.us begins with a map to show geographic location. With
      many regional council websites, you are not told what state they are in. The
      Association of Bay Area Governments, San Francisco, CA has links to many
      states as do the NARC and NADO sites which can be reached from ABAG site.

      Re: Today's subject. OMB has MSA boundaries under review. This process began
      over a year ago at which time I advocated correlation of metropolitan and
      nonmetropolitan data sets with regional council boundaries.

      WAIS Document Retrieval
      [Federal Register: December 21, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 244)]
      [Page 70525-70561]
      >From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
      Part III
      Office of Management and Budget

      Alternative Approaches to Defining Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan
      Areas; Notice


      Alternative Approaches to Defining Metropolitan and
      Nonmetropolitan Areas

      AGENCY: Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and
      Budget (OMB), Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

      ACTION: Notice of intent to review the standards currently used to
      define metropolitan areas and to propose standards for defining
      nonmetropolitan areas following the 2000 census.
      SUMMARY: OMB defines metropolitan areas (MAs) in the United States and
      Puerto Rico for statistical purposes, following published standards.
      Statistical purposes include the collection, tabulation, and
      publication of data by Federal agencies for geographic areas. Decisions
      related to the criteria used to define MAs are made by OMB in
      consultation with members of the Metropolitan Area Standards Review
      Committee (MASRC), a group representing various statistical agencies
      within the Federal Government. The last revision of the MA standards
      was issued in 1990 (see Appendix A). OMB currently is conducting a full
      review of the MA concept and standards.
      This Notice describes potential revisions to the MA standards based
      on findings from the ongoing review. The Notice begins with a brief
      history of the standards and a discussion of why they may need to be
      revised. It then lists the findings of the review process to date,
      distinguishing between points of general agreement and questions still
      needing to be resolved. The Notice presents four approaches to defining
      metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas that answer in varying ways the
      unresolved questions.

      Issues for Comment: OMB is interested in receiving comments from
      the public on (1) the suitability of the current standards, (2)
      principles that should govern any proposed revisions to the standards,
      (3) reactions to the four approaches outlined in this Notice, and (4)
      proposals for other ways by which to define metropolitan and
      nonmetropolitan areas. In particular, OMB seeks responses to the
      following key questions that will determine how metropolitan and
      nonmetropolitan areas will be defined in the future:
      <bullet> What geographic unit should be used as the ``building
      block'' for defining areas for statistical purposes?
      <bullet> What criteria should be used to aggregate the geographic
      building blocks into statistical areas?
      <bullet> What criteria should be used to define a set of
      statistical areas of different types that together classify all the
      territory of the Nation?

      DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 12, 1999.

      ADDRESSES: Written comments should be submitted to James D.
      Fitzsimmons, Population Division, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC
      20233-8800; fax (301) 457-2644.
      Electronic Data Availability and Comments: This Federal Register
      Notice is available electronically from the OMB home page on the World
      Wide Web: <<http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/EOP/OMB/html/fedreg.html>>.
      Federal Register Notices also are available electronically from the
      U.S. Government Printing Office web site: <<http://www.access.gpo.gov/
      su____docs/aces/aces140.html>>. Questions about accessing the Federal
      Register online via GPO Access may be directed by telephone to (202)
      512-1530 or toll free to (888) 293-6498; by fax to (202) 512-1262; or
      by E-mail to <<gpoaccess@...>>.

      FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James D. Fitzsimmons, Chair,
      Metropolitan Area Standards Review Committee, (301) 457-2419, or E-mail

      There is a seminar on "Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas for a New
      Decade" January 21 & 22 , at Embassy Suites Hotel in Alexandria. It is
      hosted by the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics
      (COPAFS) with the sponsorship of the Census Bureau and other Federal
      Agencies. For info contact Edward Spar or Susan Cohen (COPAFS) by telephone
      at 703-836-0404 or by e-mail copafs@....

      Now is the time to advocate used of regional council boundaries for metro
      and non-metro - e.g. all state data aggregation. MSAs can be built up from
      that data set. It make take another decade to be heard, but something should
      be done now.

      County business patterns are useless in rural counties because of
      suppression. Grouping by regions would lessen the suppression and provide
      valuable regional data for all public and private users.

      For comparable analysis, fixed geography needs to be used. Changes in
      density are what is important, since rural areas are being sprawled by
      suburban land use styles.


      Tom Christoffel
      Thomas J. (Tom) Christoffel, AICP * e-mail: tjcdsgns@...
      Planner & Futurist - My mission: "Regions_Work_by_networking!"
      Why? "Production is local; markets are regional; the economy is global."
      For more: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe.cgi/regions_work
      *TJCdesigns * Box 1444 * Front Royal, Virginia (VA) 22630-1444 *
      "True peace is dynamic. For sustainability, design with re-use in mind."