What is the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission?
Working with a professional planning staff and a citizen commission, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) seeks to enhance the regional resilience and quality of life in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts through a variety of initiatives and projects encompassing land use, transportation, economic development, environmental management, sustainable communities and public health. BRPC has been actively collaborating with 32 rural and urban communities since 1966 to deal with the regional challenges, opportunities and assets. Recommendations are crafted to strengthen the region’s built environment, natural landscape and environment, governance and economy. Per federal mandate, BRPC is responsible for major regional transportation planning programs and projects in our region, and is also responsible for regional review procedures as required by various federal and state programs.
Why is it important?
BRPC addresses the challenges which face individual communities as well as those that affect the entire Berkshire region. Transportation, communications, economy, environment and land present cross-cutting issues and benefit from cross-cutting solutions, meaning they can improve conditions at the community and regional scale, and influence activities and impacts in related topic areas as well. Much of the agency’s work focuses in these topic areas. BRPC provides technical assistance and also provides guidance in broader topics of regional interest and concern, including energy, governance, fiscal management and environmental remediation.
A variety of matters affecting both quality of place and quality of life are matters of regional concern, most effectively addressed through a regional scope: highways and roads, land use, recreation, conservation, open space, economic development, water supply, pollution control, sewerage, lake management, drainage, solid waste management, energy, agriculture and food, health and wellness, and housing. These are all areas in which BRPC works, or provides technical assistance to communities and partners who are working in these areas.
A regional planning commission provides a focal point for the discussion and evaluation of area wide, inter-municipal problems and needs, and also provides a nexus for the development of collaborative solutions.
BRPC also serves as a ‘united voice’ for the Berkshires when dealing with state and federal agencies. Through internal and public engagement opportunities, member communities share their experiences and results of studies and plans, facilitating greater networking and peer learning opportunities.
BRPC maintains a professional staff and uses consultants who provide direct technical assistance to Berkshire municipalities.