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Welcome to ARC's long-awaited newsletter! We intend to issue these communications regarding sustainable regional economic development at least quarterly. If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please follow the "Manage your subscription" link at the bottom of this publication or write to us at

Here is a brief description of ARC's work:

ARC works with local small businesses, cooperatives, and social enterprises to promote sustainable regional economic development, helping them obtain the goods and services they need to run their businesses from within the Washington Metro region. ARC's primary efforts include the formation of a regional purchasing cooperative for independent businesses and cooperatives, and distributing public education on the community benefits possible through local & regional purchasing. ARC is currently partnering with another non-profit, the Coalition for an Inclusive Economy of Greater Washington, DC, to introduce the Localight rewards app to business associations, anchor institutions, and government agencies.

If you or your organization would like to sponsor an upcoming issue, please contact Jim at
{click on the photos to see mini-biographies}

Recent & Upcoming Events

ARC's Exec. Dir., Jim Schulman, made a presentation at the 2023 Resilient Virginia Conference (August 1-2) on the Circular Economy in a workshop on "The Next Generation of Resilience Businesses." For information see:

Upcoming Small Business Anti-Displacement Network Conference (Nov. 1-3) at the University of Maryland. The theme of this 2nd Annual Conference is “Strengthening Community & Building Opportunity,” highlighting how promoting community control, ownership, and identity are central to creating opportunities for small business growth and sustainability in BIPOC and immigrant communities:

Zebras Unite, a greater DMV solidarity-minded online meet up of co-op member-owners met on Thursday, July 13. The gathering was officially a meeting of the new DC chapter of Zebras Unite, who want you to know about the following:
  • DazzleCon 2023: this is a global gathering of Zebras, October 19-21, based at Eaton Workshop on K St. "We think it will give the DC chapter a huge boost, especially as we have an opportunity to be key partners in creating the programming!"
  • DC Community Wealth Building Day: Still in planning, the proposed date/location is Oct. 21 at the MLK Library. "The overlap with Dazzlecon should make for some good mingling!"
For more information contact Elias Crim at


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A Modern Diogenes – a tribute to EM Risse - a sustainability giant
by Jim Schulman, Executive Director of the Alliance for Regional Cooperation

Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher who was famous for carrying a lantern around in daylight, looking for an honest man. Diogenes used the lamp to illustrate how much “in the dark” was so many people’s thinking at the time. The world recently lost a modern Diogenes, a giant in the realm of land use planning. EM Risse worked and wrote extensively about human settlement patterns and many critical issues of our age. He described himself on his comprehensive website,, as a Regional Strategist. Mr. Risse passed away in September 2021 at the age of 83, in The Woodlands, Texas, a community he had much earlier helped to design. Prior to living in Texas, Risse led Synergy Planning, Inc. in Warrenton, Virginia, in partnership with his wife Linda Risse. I became acquainted with Risse as a student in a graduate level night class he offered in “Planning for a Sustainable Region” at the Northern Virginia Community College. He also taught at the University of Virginia, George Mason University, and Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute. Many of my motivations to establish the Alliance for Regional Cooperation, fostering sustainable regional economic development, relate to Risse’s observations and philosophy. Risse’s scope of intellectual inquiry was vast: from anthropology, to ecology, to governance. He was a Certified Planner, an Architect, and an Attorney, with degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the University of Montana, Missoula.

Risse was a strong proponent of the crucial role of metropolitan regions - physically, biologically, and economically - in advancing environmental sustainability, especially in the Western world. He argued that the smallest area that could possibly become sustainably balanced in our industrial era is something he termed a New Urban Region.
Part of the reason that Risse’s understandings relating to patterns and densities of land use have not been widely adopted is that he advocated, in the face of much indifference, for the Planning Profession to utilize a more rigorous lexicon than is currently employed. The casual use of ill-defined words such as “city” and “community” mightily angered him. He referred to these as “core confusing words” that the profession uses without definition at its peril. So, in his ground-breaking books The Shape of the Future and Trilo-G, EM took it on as his mission to develop a glossary, complete with idiosyncratic forms of spelling and capitalization, to explain more precisely words used to describe development and its impacts.
Risse saw threats to the biosphere, social harmony, and democracy from a long way off. He recognized the organic and integrated relationships of physical design and fiscal expenditure to potential ecological collapse. He saw that the pattern of land use as at least as important as population density in determining quality of life. He also understood that humanity is still young in its understanding of what he called the “science of sustainability.”

Risse was responsible for planning new communities and large-scale mixed-use and multi-use developments. Nationally, he designed, planned, and managed the provision of professional services for 36 major projects in 13 states. These projects provided homes, employment, services, and open space for over 600,000 people on over 150,000 acres. Risse is also the architect of large-scale land-use control systems; the best known covers the 6-million-acre Adirondack Region in New York State. Risse served as Village Manager of Burke Centre, VA, from before the start of construction until the project was near completion and home to 18,000 of the planned 20,000 residents six years later.
Risse distilled much of his thousands of pages of thinking and writing into a relatively short volume called The Little Book, which, for the time being, you can still access without charge at:

I encourage anyone who cares about the survival of humanity and/or planet Earth to read The Little Book!
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