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Why Regional Planning?

Tackling challenges that transcend municipal boundaries

We work, play, thrive, and grow as a region—not just within our village, town, city, or even county borders. Challenges we face together such as access to clean water, good jobs, quality housing and transportation choices require regional solutions.

The Greater Madison region contains more than sixty units of local government. Having many municipalities means easier access to, and accountability of, local elected officials. However, it also makes it difficult to coordinate activities and solve regional challenges.

Achieving balance between local input and regional coordination was one reason the Wisconsin legislature enacted a regional planning law in 1970 that enabled the creation of regional planning commissions. The Governor’s 2007 Executive Order creating the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, includes the statement:

“Local governments need to work together to meet challenges that transcend municipal boundaries and effectively protect the natural resources and beauty of the capital area, as well as promote economic growth and sound land development practices.”

When people, businesses, and governments coordinate their vision and plan for the future they build a stronger region. Benefits include:

Where we live is a unique and respected place due, in part, to 40 years of effective regional planning. Planning contributes to our national accolades for quality of life, economic success, healthy natural environments, and thriving neighborhoods.