2015 Top 25
Sacramento Area Council of Governments, CA
Innovations in American Government Awards

In 2008, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), a Metropolitan Planning Organization with a board of elected officials from six counties and 22 cities, responded to criticism that its land use and transportation planning lacked adequate attention to and information about rural parts of the region by launching the Rural-Urban Connections Strategy (RUCS) project. Through technical work and stakeholder engagement, RUCS has brought on par the region’s understanding of both urban and rural challenges and opportunities, and how policies and strategies impact both parts of the region. The region’s prosperity and sustainability are now being viewed more holistically with a notable increase in attention to agriculture and food industries, in particular, and rural issues generally. RUCS seeks not only to support and enhance agriculture but also to conserve open lands and the ecosystem services they provide. Building upon the premise that conservation is bolstered by strategies that increase the value of and revenue from rural lands, RUCS is helping change the region’s perception of its natural assets and how to preserve and manage those lands accordingly.